Arsenal 2-2 Man City: By the Numbers


Emblematic of the season, Arsenal got off to another slow start and nearly paid the price as City opened the scoring in the 5th minute through a Leroy Sane 1v1 with Ospina. Arsenal struck once to reply after a broken defensive play left Theo Walcott with an unmissable shot in front of goal but just two minutes later Wenger went from fist pumping to throwing water bottles as Aguero scored from an impossible angle to restore the visitor’s lead. Wenger was left with crediting his players with mental strength after Mustafi scored an equalizer but while the scoreline was equal the numbers tell a slightly different story.

Pass quality as measured by me is a metric which looks at total passes, final third passes, through balls, and chances created. I assign a value to each event and then tally them up for each five minute period in a match.

Man City started strong and Arsenal didn’t catch up until the 25th minute. One way of looking at these passes stats is with game state in mind. City didn’t need to be very attacking because they already had the lead. Still, credit to Arsenal for attacking to get back into the match and taking advantage of City taking their foot off the gas.

The chart shows that Arsenal  dominated the totals between the 25th and 70th minutes but this is a bit deceptive. Arsenal had such a strong burst between 25th and 30th minutes that their momentum keeps their line above City. Between the 30th and 90th minutes, Arsenal dominated the pass numbers for just 15 total minutes. And while Wenger will laud his team’s mental strength, after Mustafi’s goal in the 53rd minute Arsenal’s passing went completely south:

Perhaps Arsenal simply ran out of steam but only one team were going for the win here and that was Manchester City. We should also credit Arsenal’s defense in this period, they were able to beat off one of the strongest attacking teams in English football and keep a “clean sheet” for the final 40 minutes of the match.

The shots chart backs this data up and shows that Man City were actually dominant throughout: creating more shots by volume and better quality shots.

(That ’53 minute goal should read “Mustafi”)

Reminder that my shots data measures the average for shots from the 6, the 18, outside the 18, big chances, and penalties. So, each shot is examined from its position on the pitch and assigned a number based on the average likelihood of scoring. Those are then tallied and a line drawing is created.

Once again, we see that Arsenal’s slow start means that they didn’t get a shot off until after the 20th minute. Meanwhile, Man City started right out of the gate with a “big chance” the 1v1 with Ospina.

Arsenal’s shots selection was limited by Man City’s control of possession but Walcott got and scored a big chance in the 40th minute.

And again after the Mustafi second goal Arsenal applied the handbrake (or City dominated them) and didn’t even manage a shot until nearly the end of the match.

Overall, Arsenal were bossed by City from start to finish and they should consider themselves lucky that they could grab a point. The “luck” being that Arsenal and City both seem to have calamitous and disorganized defenses.

Match Stats

1 – Arsenal won 1 more dribble than City (15-14)
1 – City won 1 more tackle than Arsenal (24-25)
1 – City got 1 more interception than Arsenal (20-21)
1 – Arsenal had 1 more clearance than City (20-21)
5 – Arsenal lost possession 5 times more than City (28-23)
11 – Alexis lost possession 11 times (dispossessed 7 times, 4 turnovers)
3 – Number of Alexis’ lost possessions which happened after Özil passed him the ball while he was standing in a crowd of defenders
6 – Number of those 11 lost possessions which were in his own half
1 – Number of those lost possessions in his own half which were turned into a shot for City
7 – Aguero lost possession 7 times
5 – Sterling lost possession 5 times
2 – Number of Sterling and Aguero’s lost possessions which were in their own half
83 – Touches by Alexis (led all players)
86 – Touches by Aguero and sterling combined
4 – Number of times Coquelin lost possession
4 – Number of times Fernandinho lost possession
2 – Number of times Mustafi lost possession
2 – Number of times Oatamendi lost possession
2 – Number of times Özil lost possession
1 – Number of misplaced Özil passes which resulted in a goal
11 – Number of attempted dribbles by Alexis (led all players)
7 – Number of successful dribbles by Alexis (led all players)
4 – Number of Alexis’ attempted dribbles in his own half! (3/4 successful)
11 – Number of ball recoveries by Alexis (led all players)
8 – Number of ball recoveries by Alexis in his own half
3 – Number of chances created by Özil (tied with Navas and Silva)
1 – Number of assists by Özil (corner, set play)
2 – Number of chances created by Alexis
9 – Number of tackles by Jesus (led all players)
6 – Number of interceptions by Nacho (led all players)
5 – Number of interceptions by Alexis
8 – Number of tackles by Coquelin (led Arsenal)
6 – Number of tackles by Alexis
1 – Number of shots by Alexis
100 – Percent chance that Alexis was playing his role on the team today as “left winger” and
0 – Fucks I give about who ran more, Alexis or Özil – remember who said “run around a bit”? Exactly.
1 – Man of the match award that goes to Mustafi for the goal and the assist


Sources:, 442StatsZone App, my personal database


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