Lacazette v. Kane
Touches: 31 – 38
Passes: 21 – 14
Accurate passes: 16 – 11
Key Passes: 1 – 1
Big Chances Created: 1 – 0
Assists: 1 – 0
Loss of possession: 3 – 4
Dribbles: 1/1 – 2/5
Shots: 1 – 5
Alexis v. Alli
Touches: 69 – 41
Passes: 41 – 29
Accurate passes: 25 – 20
Key passes: 3 – 0 (all open play)
Loss of possession: 7 – 3
Tackles: 4 – 0
Dribbles: 5/6 – 3/4
Superman Slides: 1 – 0
Shots: 6 – 2
Big Chance Shots: 3 – 0 (2 saved, 1 scored)
Goals: 1 – 0
Özil v. Eriksen
Touches: 52 – 68
Passes: 32 – 53
Accurate passes: 26 – 38
Key passes: 4 – 2
Big chances created: 1 – 0
Assists: 1 – 0
Loss of possession: 3 – 4
Tackles: 2 – 0
Shots: 0 – 3
Shots outside the box: 0 – 2
The Team Effort
14 – Clearances by Mustafi (led all players)
22.8 – Clearances per game average by Arsenal (5th in the League)
37 – Clearances by Arsenal today
16.3 – Clearances per game average by Man City (fewest in the League)
45 – Total clearances by Mustafi in the Premier League this season
31 – Percent of those clearances he made today versus Tottenham
9.4 – Clearances per game average by Shane Duffy (leads all players this season)
11 – Clearances by Koscielny today
25 – Clearances by Koscielny and Mustafi combined
68 – Percent of Arsenal’s clearances by just Koscielny and Mustafi
5 – Clearances by Dire (led Tottenham)
9 – Tackles attempted by Ramsey today (led all players)
6.6 – Tackles per game attempted by Wilfred Ndidi this season (leads the League)
5 – Tackles attempted by Xhaka today
19 – Tackles attempted by Tottenham today
14 – Tackles attempted by just Ramsey and Xhaka
4 – Number of times each of Ramsey and Xhaka were dribbled past (led all players)
6 – Interceptions by Monreal (led all players)
3.3 – Interceptions per game by Monreal this season (leads all players)
Final 30 blitz
Both teams took 14 shots in this game and let’s take a look at that for a second. Arsenal had the superior expected goals score with 2.03 to 1.05 but to tell the whole story (which doesn’t tell the actual whole story) I have to admit that Arsenal took 10 of those shots after the 61st minute and that those ten shots counted for 1.45 of the expected goals score in this match. That means that Arsenal scored two goals with a combined expected goals of under 0.5.
That isn’t unusual, of course. There are plenty of times when a team scores with their first shot from outside the box (which I assign an xG of 0.03) and then after a bunch more shots the expected goals tally catches up to the actual goals.
But Tottenham didn’t just give up a few odd chances at the end of this match, they gave up two shots to Alexis that he probably should have converted. If you ever want to know what the definition of a “big chance” is, just look at Alexis’ two shots at the end of the game, both saved by Lloris. I imagine if he had just poked either shot with his left foot instead of switching to his right, he would have scored. Regardless, these two shots account for the majority of that 1.45 xG in the last 30 minutes.
That wasn’t the only weird stat in the end of the game. Alexis went kind of crazy in the last 30 minutes of this match. He attempted 6 dribbles and took 5 shots. That means that all 6 of his attempted dribbles were in the last 30 minutes along with 5 of his 6 shots.
Ozil also sprang to life, he created three of his four key passes in that last 30 minutes which is kind of incredible because he only played until the 84th minute. Arsenal as a team created 8 of their 10 key passes in this game in that last 30 minutes.
Tottenham on the other hand, went straight up long ball. They attempted 25 of their 79 long passes in the final 30 minutes and with Llorente on the pitch won 11 aerial duels to Arsenal’s 2. Arsenal made 15 clearances (of their 37) in that time with Mustafi making 7 (of his 14) clearances in that last 30 minutes and Koscielny and Mustafi combining for 6 headed clearances in this time.
Spurs also tried to battle back into the game, attempting 10 of their 19 tackles in the final 30 minutes. But since they had removed their World Cup diving team, Alli and Kane, they weren’t able to draw any fouls in the 18 yard box.
What made this match so special was not just the 2-0 scoreline but these final 30 minutes: Arsenal took the match to Spurs and were unlucky not to score at least one more goal, Spurs tried to get back into the game but ended up just lobbing the ball up for Arsenal to clear. Spurs did have one good shot at the end of the match – the Dire header – but Cech did very well to save and keep the Arsenal clean sheet.
It all evens out
We will now spend the next six months hearing about how the two bad calls in the City match were evened out by the bad calls in this match. But there’s a very simple way to refute such a claim.
In my last column I calculated the “referee advantage” in favor of Man CIty to be around 1.15. If I do the same for Arsenal against Tottenham and assume that Sanchez wasn’t fouled and that Mustafi was offside (I didn’t check with my ruler) you still have to concede that the header by Mustafi was a very low percentage shot, and I gave it a 0.10 xG. So, while Mustafi scored it was a much more difficult goal to score than a penalty plus another big chance which is what City were gifted by their two bad calls.
Yes, I know, sometimes stats just prove the obvious.
One other thing needs to be mentioned here: the Alexis foul was easily more of a foul than 90% of the ones I see given from the same position all the time. In fact, it is a deliberate tactic of the “tough teams” who “like it up em” to go down whenever they feel any contact in the Arsenal half. They do this because it’s usually the only chance they get to create a shot.
So, I was delighted that Arsenal got to turn the tables on a team for once.
Sources: WhoScored.com, my personal database