Arsenal beat Leicester 2-1 but the match was much closer than people think, especially in the first half before the referee decided to make the match all about him. The same way that a penalty changes a game a red card changes a game as well.
You know that, of course, and I feel stupider for having typed that sentence. And that last one.
I don’t want to be accused of saying the red card wasn’t deserved, it was stupid of Simpson to drag Giroud back by the arm while on a yellow, but I do want to point out that doing a “by the numbers” column is weird when you have a red card in the game. I can’t just say “Arsenal made 692 passes” or “Ramsey had 3 key passes” because that’s not the actual story of the game. I have to divide the game into pre-card and after card stats.
Here, take a look at this and see what I mean:
1 – Minute in which Arsenal attempt their first shot (Alexis, from a corner)
69 – Minute in which Arsenal get their first shot on target (Walcott, goal, big chance, assist Giroud)
15 – Minute in which Leicester get their first shot and their first shot on target (Vardy header, big chance, saved)
44 – Minute in which Martin Atkinson gives Leicester their last shot on target (Vardy, penalty, big chance, goal)
54 – Minute in which Danny Simpson is sent off
7 – Shots Arsenal had created up to the 54th minute
5 – Shots Leicester had created up to the 54th minute
0 – Shots on target Arsenal created up to the 54th minute
3 – Shots on target Leicester (plus Atkinson) created up to the 54th minute
17 – Shots Arsenal took after the 54th minute
6 – Shots on target by Arsenal after the 54th minute
2 – Shots Leicester took after the 54th minute
0 – Shots on target by Leicester after the 54th minute
Before the card things were pretty equal as you can see by the shots stats. Leicester were assisted by Martin Atkinson in the 44th minute but there were only 10 minutes of game state which Leicester had the lead. Up to the 54th minute Leicester played their game plan, win the ball back, hit with quick counter attacks.
For example, up to the 54th minute, Arsenal had 497 touches and were dispossessed or turned the ball over 24 times. That’s nearly 5% of their touches resulting in loss of possession. In the Man City game, playing against Tottenham’s constant pressing, City had 649 touches and lost possession just 29 times. But after the red card, Arsenal finished the game with another 407 touches and lost possession just 10 times. That’s 2.5% of their touches resulting in loss of possession after the red card. Clearly, Leicester’s pressing game was squelched when they lost a player.
So, it’s kind of uninformative to do a “by the numbers” column on a game with a red card. Things just get too distorted by the advantage of having an extra man.
The Profligate Son Returns
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Theo Walcott lashed in Arsenal’s opening goal against Leicester. That was Theo’s 8th touch of the game and he, more than any player on this team, is usually mister efficiency. Still, he had gone over 500 minutes since his last goal and had taken 16 shots without hitting the back of the net.
He’s not the only player who was in a dry spell. After jumping out to an incredible start, Mesut Özil hit the skids and went over 500 minutes without an assist. Thankfully, he and Welbeck ended that streak with the last minute header against Leicester.
It’s not popular to point out but Giroud, Alexis, and Ramsey are all in a dry spell at the moment and they are a major reason why Arsenal have only scored six goals in our last six games.
505 – Minutes of play Theo Walcott went between scoring for Arsenal against Man City and scoring for Arsenal against Leicester
536 – Minutes of play Mesut Özil had gone between his assist against Bournemouth and his 17th assist of the season today against Leicester
471 – Minutes Giroud has played since he last scored (21 shots)
450 – Minutes Aaron Ramsey has played since last scoring (13 shots)
270 – Minutes Alexis Sanchez has played since he last scored (13 shots)
42 – Percent of big chances converted by the top 7 teams
34 – Percent of big chances converted by Arsenal
73 – Big chances created by Arsenal (blows everyone away)
25 – Big chances scored by Arsenal
39 – Goals scored by Arsenal (minus 2 own goals)
64 – Percent of Arsenal’s goals scored that come from big chances
51 – Expected goals for Arsenal based on the number of big chances and shots in prime areas they have created this season
46 – Percent of big chances converted by Giroud (7/15)
18 – Percent of his overall shots Giroud is converting (all competitions 19/103)
9.7 – Percent of all shots that are being converted in the Premier League this season
36 – Percent of big chances converted by Alexis (4/11)
11 – Percent of his overall shots that Alexis is converting (10/89)
33 – Percent of big chances converted by Özil (3/9)
18 – Percent of his overall shots that Özil is converting (7/40)
23 – Percent of big chances converted by Theo (3/13)
11 – Percent of his overall chances that Theo is converting (7/63)
20 – Percent of big chances converted by Ramsey (2/10)
9 – Percent of his overall shots that Ramsey is converting (6/69)
0 – Percent of big chances converted by Ox (0/1)
7 – Percent of overall shots converted by Ox (3/43)
100 – Percent chance someone will blame Ox for why Arsenal have been profligate of late
0 – Percent chance that is what I am doing here
Sources: Opta, my database