Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle (plus week 18 stats): by the numbers


760 – Passes attempted by Arsenal
111 – Failed passes by Arsenal
57 – Failed passes by Arsenal in the 2nd half
18 – Failed passes by Xhaka
14 – Failed passes by Xhaka in the 2nd half (of 44 attempted, 68% passing, led all players in passes attempted and failed passes)
10 – Failed passes by Bellerin in the 2nd half (of 42 attempted, 76% passing)
5 – Failed passes by Ozil (of 48 attempted, 90% passing)
6 – Key passes by Ozil in the second half (led all players)
3.6 – Key passes per game average by Ozil (leads all players in the Premier League)
50 – Key passes from open play (not a corner or free kick) by Ozil this season (leads the Premier League)
7 – Key passes from open play by Ozil today against Newcastle (14% of his total for the season, led all players)
5 – Failed passes by Alexis in the 2nd half (of 19 attempted, 74% passing)
5 – Failed passes by Giroud (of 11 attempted, 55% passing)
3 – Failed passes by Lacazette in the 2nd half (of 11 attempted, 73% passing)
3 – Failed passes by Monreal in the 2nd half (of 38 attempted, 92% passing)
3 – Failed passes by Wilshere in the 2nd half (of 30 attempted, 90% passing)
2 – Failed passes by Koscielny in the 2nd half (of 47 attempted, 96% passing)
1 – Failed pass by each of Iwobi, Ainsley, and Coquelin
6 – Failed passes by Fernandinho in Man City’s dismantling of Tottenham (of 37 attempted, 84% passing)
25 – Percent of Arsenal’s failed 2nd half passes by Xhaka

Xhaka’s Failed Pass Map (he’s not even creating, just passing the ball poorly):

6 – Tackles attempted by Xhaka (led Arsenal)
2 – Tackles successful by Xhaka (did not lead Arsenal)
3 – Fouls by Xhaka (led Arsenal)
11 – Tackles attempted by Merino (led all players)
6 – Tackles won by Merino (led all players)
6 – Tackles won by Hayden
10 – Dribbles attempted by Wilshere (led all players)
5 – Dribbles won by Wilshere (led all players)
5 – Dribbles won by Iwobi (of 7 attempted)
4.7 – Dribbles won per game averaged by Wilshere in the Europa League this season (leads Arsenal, 4th in the Europa League)
3 – Times Wilshere was dispossessed or miscontrolled the ball today
6 – Times Alexis was dispossessed or miscontrolled the ball today
1 – Dribbles won by Alexis (of 3)
2 – Key passes by Alexis
4 – Key passes by Iwobi
10 – Rank of Alexis in the Premier League for being dispossessed (2.3 per game)
2 – Rank of Alexis in the Premier League for bad touch (3.3 per game)
23 – Shots today by Arsenal against Newcastle
2 – Big Chances by Arsenal (Wilshere, saved, pass by Giroud; Lacazette, missed, through ball pass by Iwobi)
6 – Big Chances Man City made against Tottenham today (scored 3, missed 3)
16 – Big Chances Tottenham had allowed in the 17 matches prior to today’s match against Man City (2nd best in the League)
3.82 – 7amxG for Man City against Tottenham
0.28 – 7amxG for Tottenham (season low)
1 – Goal Tottenham scored against City from outside the 18 yard box
5 – Shots by Arsenal outside the 18 yard box today
7 – Shots blocked by Newcastle today
2.48 – 7amxG for Arsenal today against Newcastle
10 – Shots by Newcastle today
0.58 – 7amxG for Newcastle today

Week 18 Consolidated Spreadsheet

Here’s a screen grab from my current database of shots. A couple things to know: I do count penalties, I don’t count own goals, “BC” stands for “big chance” which is a shot category defined by Opta as basically one-v-ones with the keeper or other chances that you expect the player to score, and “SIP” is a “shot in prime” which is a category defined by me as shots between the penalty spot and the goal.

Big chances created, scored, and missed are absolutely key to a team’s season. They are converted at nearly a 50% rate and so the more you can create and the fewer you can concede, the better your attack and defense respectively.

Man City are, of course, running away with the League, having created 24 more big chances than 2nd best Arsenal. To give that some context, there are 10 teams in the Premier League who haven’t even created 24 big chances this season. The same with shots in prime, they have 97, which is “only” 17 more than 2nd best Arsenal. About one more per game than the Gunners.

Defensively, City are also best in the League, having conceded just 16 big chances in the first 18 games. They created 6 today against Spurs, who were the 2nd best defensive team, until today. And they have allowed just 30 shots in prime. Quite mad. Again, Arsenal’s defense is 2nd best in terms of shots in prime allowed and 3rd in big chances allowed. I know us Gooners think Arsenal are quite shit at defending and that Wenger is out of ideas but statistically, Wenger has Arsenal playing some good football. And if not for City, you have to admit that Arsenal are a title challenger.

If you look at Burnley in 5th place (below Arsenal) you see why the stats people are all down on them. They have only created 11 big chances this season – tied for the lowest in the League and they have allowed 24 big chances and 58 shots in prime. Also take a look at Man United’s numbers: for a team managed by a man who is supposedly world renown as a defensive manager, who routinely parks the bus against any team with attacking talent, they are quite crap at team defending. They are 9th in Big Chances allowed, and 6th in SiPs allowed!

So, what’s going on? Well here’s the conversion chart:

Man United lead the League in big chance saves and shots in prime saves. Both numbers are well above average (which is 34% for big chance saves and 45% for SiP saves).

Note that City and United are also converting at 16%, the average conversion rate in the League has historically been around 10%. So, this is nuts. What’s bumping their conversion numbers up is that they score 10% of their shots from outside the 18 yard box. Shots from there have an average scoring rate below 4%.

Burnley are literally just riding their luck. I’d be surprised if they can finish a season conceding just 4% of their total shots as goals, but then again, they also lead the League in blocks, which is what Leicester did when the won the League. That season, Leicester’s defensive conversion rate was a more realistic 7%.

Now, look at Arsenal’s line. Every single category is below average; shots converted, goals allowed, BC saves, SiP saves, everything. Wenger has the team configured to play well – they are creating the chances that should see them scoring more goals – but they aren’t performing up to expectations. Cech in particular. Sorry to say but he’s looking like a real liability.

Arsenal’s most wasteful shooters are Alexis (4 goals on 53 shots, 7.5% conversion), Ramsey (3 goals on 40 shots, 7.5%), and Xhaka (zero goals on 36 shots). Those three players have attempted 129 shots and scored just 7 goals (5.4% conversion). Arsenal have taken just 324 shots this season and those three players have 129 of them, 40% of the total.

What’s saving Arsenal at all this season is that the three forwards are scoring at what I consider the average rate for forwards, 20%. Lacazette has 8 goals on just 40 shots, Giroud 4 on 18, and Welbeck 3 on 16. That’s 15 goals on 74 combined shots and here’s an idea I just had: maybe they should take more shots?

One reason why Arsenal’s conversion rate is so poor is that they don’t score goals from outside the box. They have just one so far this season (against Bournemouth) and haven’t scored a goal from distance in over 100 shots. While City and United are bombing in 10% of their shots, Arsenal are converting just 1%. Again, that’s largely down to Alexis and Xhaka. They have taken 60 shots from outside the 18 yard box and not scored a single goal. And again I just had another idea: maybe Xhaka could stop shooting and learn to pass the ball to his teammates, like Lacazette, instead? I mean, I’m no football phD or anything, so maybe I’m wrong.


Sources: and my personal database


Leave a Reply

27 Comments on "Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle (plus week 18 stats): by the numbers"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted