Stoke 0-0 Arsenal: By the Numbers (why Ox couldn’t pass)

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The 7amkickoff Index

1 – Arsenal’s position in the Premier League table
2 – Points per game average by Arsenal so far this season (tied with Leicester)
76 – Points Arsenal will finish the season with at that pace
75 – Fewest point total a team has amassed to win the Premier League (1996-97 Man U)
78 – Points Arsenal needed to win the League for Wenger’s first League title in 1997-98
88 – Average number of points teams have needed to win the Premier League since Arsene Wenger’s last League title in 2003-04
92 – Max points Arsenal could finish this 2015-16 season with if they win all 16 remaining games
16 – Points Arsenal could drop and still finish with 76 points this season
5 – Number of losses Arsenal could still allow and finish the season with 76+ points
4 – Number of losses Arsenal could still allow, along with 4 draws, and still finish with 76 points
5 – Number of “top” teams Arsenal still have to face this season (Chelsea at home, Leicester at home, Man U away, Tottenham away, Man City away)
100 – Percent chance that I would take a draw in each one of those 5 games
10 – Teams Arsenal have to face in the final 16 games who are bottom half teams
2.63 – Points per game Arsenal have averaged from 2013-14 to 2014-15 against those bottom half clubs
1 – Loss Arsenal had in those two years against those bottom half clubs
2 – Points per game Arsenal have averaged this season against bottom half clubs (astute readers will suss out how many points per game Arsenal have won against top half teams…)
3 – Losses Arsenal have already had against bottom half teams this season

Recent Struggles Continue

14 – Shots taken by Stoke City against Arsenal today
8 – Shots taken by Arsenal today
4 – Games this season in which Arsenal have taken 8 shots (8 is the fewest shots Arsenal have taken in a League game this season and oddly it has now happened 4 times)
7 – All 4 of those games have come in the last run of 7 games, since Sunderland on December 5th
2 – Number of points earned per game before the recent slump
2 – Number of points earned per game after the recent slump
6 – Shots on target by Stoke (Arsenal had just three) all saved by Cech, plus Cech had a single claim, and while none of their shots were considered “big chances” by Opta, there were at least three outstanding saves by Cech, 2 of them from shots in the 6 yard box to earn him a point in his points tally for the season (link to my site 7amkickoff.com), bringing him to 8 points saved

Passing struggles (blame OX!!!)

Arsenal had a hell of a time passing the ball today, a combination of their freshly tilled pitch and the makeshift nature of the midfield didn’t do the Gunners any favors.  Arsenal finished the game with a very poor 78% passing rate.

The pitch at the Britannia is specifically designed (narrow) to crowd the midfield and stop passing teams. Which is why Arsenal managed just 78%, Man City passed the ball at just 72% in their 2-0 loss to Stoke at the Britannia, Man U just 77% in their 2-0 loss to Stoke at the Britannia, and Chelsea played a little better passing 82% in their 1-0 loss. These are the top passing teams in the League and they struggle at the Britannia.

Oh yeah, you also read that right, Man U, Man City, and Chelsea all lost at the Britannia this season. Of the top teams only Leicester (1), Liverpool (3), and Arsenal (1) have taken points from Stoke at home.

Ox hit exactly 78% of his passes and created just one chance for his teammates. That’s quite a drop from Özil, who leads the League in chances created with 4.4 and passes at an 87.5% rate. But again, before you climb on Ox’s back, you have to understand that Stoke’s pitch and team are custom made to stop teams from passing because the narrow pitch it makes it so easy for their midfielders to close space.

It’s also why I laughed my tits off when I read that people are calling them “Stokelona” and that Mark Hughes is proud to wear the moniker.

Ramsey had a good game, he led Arsenal in passing and ball recoveries. He also had just two total turnovers, passed the ball at an 84.5% rate, missed all three of his tackles and both his shots, and created the best chance of the game for Arsenal with that corner that Giroud nearly headed into the net.

Oh yeah, Walcott was 6/7 dribbling and Ox was 5/5. They were only dispossessed twice, combined, though Walcott did have 4 bad touches and Ox 2.

Bleh game made worse by their horrible fans, their disgraceful pitch, and the fact that we didn’t win.

@7amkickoff

Sources: Opta, my database

Qq

Correction: According to the Premier League handbook, all pitches have to be 105x68m unless the stadium cannot fit such a pitch (there are several clubs playing in outdated stadiums which are granted a waiver: Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton, and Liverpool are notable). Further, those dimensions cannot be changed during the season without the consent of the board.  I had gotten my information from secondary sources (newspaper articles in the buildup to the game) but according to the handbook the pitch at the Britannia is 105x68m. However, that still doesn’t explain why top teams can’t pass there and why the pitch looked cut up, especially down the wings.

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