Arsenal may be shooting more but it is not helping: by the numbers


After a 2-2 draw at the Emirates against Hull City, you’re probably looking for some good news and you’re in luck…. I have good news!

The good news is that Arsenal are shooting more!

That’s right, after two years of heavy spending in the forward position, buying Özil (£40m), Sanchez (£32m), and Welbeck (a bargain at £16m), Arsenal are starting to reap some reward and have seen their shots per game rise from 13.8 (9th in the League) last season to a much more respectable 15.75 (3rd in the League) this season.

Welbeck is leading the Arsenal charge with 3.6 shots per game — an improvement over last season’s leading shooter, Olivier Giroud, who only managed 3.1 per game. Tied for second behind him are Ramsey, Sanchez, and Cazorla who each average 2.3 shots per game. The contrast here with these players over last season isn’t so much in the per game numbers but rather in the number of minutes played. Most of Arsenal’s top, per-game, shooters last season (Ox, Walcott, Podolski, Gnabry, and Ramsey) had injury shortened seasons. Most of Arsenal’s top shooters this season have not.

So Yay! It’s all better!

Except, it’s not.

After 7 games, many of them difficult opponents, Arsenal aren’t struggling to get shots, they are struggling to get goals. Why? Because they are taking too many shots from distance and they are apparently terrible at taking shots from distance.

These are all League numbers, so don’t spit out your dummy about the Alexis goal in the League Cup.

Most teams convert shots from outside the 18 yard box at a rate below 5%. So, if a team takes 100 shots outside the box we’ll probably see somewhere between 3-5 goals scored. For Arsenal last season they converted just 3% of their shots from outside the box: 203 total shots from distance and just 6 goals. They buoyed this terrible number by lashing it to an impressive 19% conversion from shots in the box. And they took 61% of their shots from inside the box.

“What’s wrong with them shooting more from distance this season?” I hear you say “Arsenal need to shoot more from distance! Have a crack! Work the keeper!” And I agree, Arsenal should be working the keeper with their distance shots but they aren’t.

In the League this season, Arsenal have taken 64 shots from outside the 18 yard box and 51% of our shots this season have been shots from distance. Worse, 41% of our distance shots have been blocked. And worstest (it’s a word today), Arsenal have only even bothered the keeper on 19% of those distance shots, scoring ZERO!  Here is a chart comparing last season to this in terms of all the numbers above:


Arsenal used to be the most conservative team in the League when it came to shots from distance. Last season they were 17th in the League in long distance shots and only took 39% of their total shot output as hopeful pokes from outside the box.

This season Arsenal are number one with a bullet. I wouldn’t normally mind but these shots from distance have been particularly terrible this season. Here is a shot diagram from two of Arsenal’s most vexing draws: today’s match against Hull City and the match against Leicester City.


poor shoooting

Sure, take shots from distance, but let’s try to get some near the keeper.

Part of the reason Arsenal have missed so many shots² is that they have had an extraordinary number of their shots blocked already this season, 33% of the total compared to 26% last season. 41 of Arsenal’s 126 shots have been blocked, 26 of those 41 have been shots from outside. So, it’s little wonder, then, that Arsenal’s distance shots haven’t been working the keeper: they are being hunted down before they get to the keeper.

Interestingly, Man City, Chelsea, and Everton have only combined for 5 of the 41 blocks against Arsenal’s shots this season. That means that the lion’s share of Arsenal’s shots that have been blocked have come from games like Hull and Leicester.  Hull had 10 blocks today.

I suspect this is happening because those teams are playing Arsenal in the “low block”. In other words I think teams want Arsenal to shoot from distance while they have a crowded box. We will have to keep an eye on this as the season progresses to see if this is a permanent change at Arsenal or a phase.


The other problem is a return of the old Arsenal problem of allowing the opposition to score off just a few attempts. So far this season, Arsenal have conceded basically the same number of goals as they have scored¹ — 11 conceded, 12 scored — and they have conceded those goals on less than half as many shots — 57 to 126.

That stat is mostly explained by the fact that 4 of Arsenal’s 7 games this season have been come from behind matches. In other words, the opposition have scored on their first or second shot and then have looked to defend while Arsenal have been forced to take shot after shot.

The result is that Arsenal have taken a lot of shits from the outside, missed a lot of shits, and are basically shitting all over the place while the opposition takes one shit and smears it in our faces.

Wait… I mean shots. I think. Ugh, it’s early in the season and a lot of this could change very quickly but that is the deplorable state of the Arsenal at the moment: 13 goals scored, 11 conceded, lots of useless shots boomed hopefully from long range and just 10 points off 7 matches. UGH.

As Arseblog put it, today’s match was a bag of shit.

Errr. shots.


¹When counting conversion rates we don’t count Own Goals. So, Gibbs’ cross-cum-shot-own-goal against Villa isn’t counted.
²Every time I type “shots” my finger wanders over to “shits” I swear this is purely accidental. I’m sure Arsenal don’t take a lot of shits from outside.


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43 Comments on "Arsenal may be shooting more but it is not helping: by the numbers"

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Wasteful in the final third. everybody wants to be outside the box trying to play a pass rather than attacking the box.

Chambos touch is awful with often readable passes but he tries so hell come good at some point. not scoring enough too.


Sorry to say but I’m getting a little tired of this. I’ll always be a Gooner and walking away isn’t an option but I want to see some positive results. We should be thumping teams like Hull and not in a state of bemusement because they play hard football. They aren’t a bad team but we need to be picking up points before Christmas. Oh well…..I’ve been supporting Arsenal now for over 50 years and I guess i’m too old to change. COYG and give Anderlecht a slap on Wednesday


Also my boy wilshere trying too hard in two things

1. winning the ball back
2. winning back the ankle injury that kept him out for so long.

he needs to calm his titts

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

We are not getting any of the benefits you expect from a vastly experienced manager. We often do not find the adequate tactics, our squad is not managed in a way to cut down on injuries to players. Fans get disappointed every two weeks and humiliated in front of Chelsea supporters all the time. WENGER FOR FIFA PRESIDENT ! A man of honour who will surely clean up all the corruption out there.

La Défense

Welsh Jesus needs to repent from his Hollywood ways and go back to basics. Win the ball and guard the spaces first. The rest will follow. Welsh Jesus needs to stop playing like he’s some superstar who’s already made golden boot.


First of all, this makes for much more enjoyable reading than the usual by the numbers stats! Kudos 7am! Sadly though it’s still as depressing as the old by the numbers after a frustrating match…

As you said teams are packing the box and that’s leading to more shots being blocked but that is a symptom of our sometimes ridiculously slow build up and overly intricate play. By the time we get to the opposition box they have already shoved all ten men in and around the box which leads to either us A. Taking a crap shot. B. Trying to find an incredibly once in a lifetime movie pass or C. Playing endless one touches that lead to nothing most of the time…

I really miss the days when we had one of the fastest counter attacks in the league and I don’t know why we aren’t trying to replicate that again cause now, unlike previous years, we have a front 3 with blistering pace that would scare even the best defences in the world… But no, instead we pass sideways to death and take unnecessary touches and take way to long to convert a ball that has been turned over… This season especially, we look void of any ideas up top and that’s why maybe we put on our shooting boots but sadly they are woeful…

Surprised that we have taken that many shots this season to be honest but I guess since they are being blocked you tend to miss it…

Si in Galway

Agree with this so much.

To add:

1. Since shooting from range is something almost certainly discouraged and probably even an offence in training, it’s no surprise we’re not great at it.
2. And bolstered by having some of our best “shooters” out – Poldi, Walcott, Giroud
3. And it being early in the season, people finding their passing touches but not their range shots yet?
4. Glueing those together, with your comments, slowly passing it around the box then someone (usually Santi) getting frustrated enough to try to craft a ranged shot right next to a packed box is almost certainly a worse way to score from range than if diistance shots are something you practice, aren’t going to be crucified for, and prepare for by deciding early and setting yourself.

@7am: good piece, i’m with you on the in-depth analysis on one subject rather than headline stats per game. I’d be interested to see what percentage of our blocked shots are from Santi.

“So far this season, Arsenal have conceded basically the same number of goals as they have scored¹ — 11 conceded, 12 scored — and they have conceded those goals on less than half as many shots — 57 to 126.”
Frustrating as our attack is right now, that is a brutal, brutal statistic.


I too would love to see a bunch of fast counter attacks but the other team has to get out of their half. For the most part Hull attacked with as few players as they could. Even City played a fairly conservative, counter attacking game against us. Is it the way we play or the way teams play us? It’s a bit of a chicken/egg dilemma and the answer is somewhere in between. I mostly watch Arsenal, do other big teams get this sort of treatment?

The Rozzas

I love Szczesny so much i went to the trouble of spelling his name right but i think he goes to ground far too easily i thought goalkeepers were told to stay on there feet until the last moment


Agreed. From that angle Diame would have found it almost impossible to score if our keeper had just stood his ground.


How long before we kill Alexis’ motivation?


It took a year for us to beat the free kick accuracy out of Cazorla and the desire to shoot out of Podolski, so in a few months time you might see some changes.


Last season we take points off d smaller teams but so far we have struggle and failed to take out reasonable points….. Has Wenger lost his charisma? We find it difficult to dictate and impose our game on teams these days…. #No_game_plan

#YOLO Toure

It’s like every team in the league has figured out how to play against us but Wenger’s the only one that hasn’t realised.


AW: “its ok Steve bould has been training with the team, he still have his mental strength, togetherness and physically sharp, i think he will play next match”

Az Ahmed

I have not been one to jump on the WengerOut band wagon but what he has done this season knowing the weaknesses we had in defence and defensive midfield is nothing short of unforgivable. He had all summer to sign at least one centre back and one defensive midfielder. What does he do? He signs a right back (Chambers), and with his logic, he has filled the centre back and defensive midfield position.
With a heavy heart, I say Wenger needs to go now. If he really loves Arsenal he should do what’s best for Arsenal and leave. He should have no say in who will be the new boss because his suggestion will be someone similar to him to carry on his ‘project’ whatever the hell that is. A fresh young manager, fresh ideas, fresh outlook, attacking football with defensive strength. He has been trying to replicate Barcelona and Spain but these two teams have had their success and gone. It is all about Bayern and Germany now but that is the whole point of the matter. Why are we trying to replicate these teams? We need to innovate ourselves. We should take a pragmatic approach, build a team based on the requirements of the league – strength, power, pace and skill in equal quantities and add the flair, that extra bit of flavor that seperates the good from the great. For Mr Wenger it is all skill and flair. Even the Spanish league known for its skill was won by strength, pace and power as it’s main focus alongside skill, rather than just skill by Simeone. Bayern is the same. It looked at the strengths of the Spanish side and saw what was missing and improved on it and destroyed Barcelona at the Allianz. The point is, the Barcelona way has been used, it was successful, but it’s time has gone as teams have figured out how to play against the high press and tiki-taka style. Mr Wenger’s arsenal are years behind.

Follow the money

Wenger wants them to walk the ball into the net. Ergo no shot from distance training. Ergo we suck at it. Change the manager


Brilliant analysis that makes for awful reading. We are lacking in creativity and some invention. We move the ball too slowly at the moment allowing for the massed ranks in front of us and thus the long shots. The stats are brilliant, great work 7am, and I agree with you when you say we don’t practice long shots in training. I guess If anyone did shoot from long range in training would be tarred and feathered. We need to exploit the pace we have like we did at Villa.

Third Plebeian

Love this, 7am, but do you ever get tired of doing analyses like this? I mean, over the past many years, Arsenal have found a hundred ways to suck. Figuring out which way they suck now is just part of a monotonous story about how Arsenal have lost their way over and over again.

We never learn from our mistakes. We look like an average team that may just about fight for fourth. As always.

Nothing has changed. We haven’t even gotten better after spending record amounts of money.

Truth Hurts

We lost because our defense sucked
Our defensive midfield sucked
We saw this coming
Arsene knew about it
He talked about it and did nothing about it.
We are weak defensively.
No one’s protecting our back 4
Diame is an average player but he is still better than Flamini.
why we we didn’t t buy him or Schneiderlin beats me as I’m sure they’re both cheaper options to khedira. (If money was the problem)
This is only the begining, it gets worse from here unless some healer heals up our injured.
Hopefully Wenger will take care of this same problem that even my grand mother who watches Arsenal games once in a month noticed herself.

Andre's sandals

From how they played yesterday, its either the players dont practice their moves enough, they dont fear arsene, or they are concious of the fact that the system and tactics are shite and therefore make half-hearted moves. They particularly didnt look keen to win the match against Hull save for the final 6 minutes. And hull scored 2 from the only two decent chances they had. Shit.


Who saw Cesc’s goal yesterday? Chelsea now playing the ticki tacka…
Hmmm interesting development..
oh btw #WeDontNeedCesc



But Chelsea are a bus parking, ball hoofing, all out defensive team that can’t attack while we are ‘attractive and try to do things the right way, playing beautiful football’. That’s what some of these bitches tell themselves so they can sleep better at night.


The whole world and his mother has known for the the last two years we needed defensive minded midfielers but Mr Wenger continues to know best.Is there any point in Steve Bould being there as his body language tells a different story seems to have little input on what happens on and off the pitch


We all love and respect Wenger. But I can’t say I was particularly pleased when our board were falling over themselves to renew his contract.

He is a legend but he doesn’t have the tactical nous to deal with having a squad with with top players in the same position. He is as stubborn as he has ever been. Trying to implement a new formation which we can see that the boys clearly struggle with has cost us the league again.

Not buying defensive cover after selling two centre halves, while knowing Kos has a niggling achillies issue,as well as letting jenks go out on loan is nothing short of criminal.

It's really a simple game
It's really a simple game

I’m dying here. Let me tell you why.

I used to believe in this with football:

Under-8’s through to under-15’s, teach the kids the skills, the structures, the fun, the enjoyment. If you want to win something, well then all you needed was one killer striker, 30 goals a season, you know the type.. And a team of at least average players behind him/her.

Under 16’s to youths, you still need your killer striker to win anything but the other players evolved in intelligence and fitness. Tactics became important now. Systems kicked in. Four four two, three five one one, five four one or others, depending on your strengths or the opposition’s.. defensive tactics, counter attack, etc.

Adult football then at all levels was a further strengthening of those systems, with increasing complexity and skill as you moved upwards from Sunday league to professional levels. Every one contributed, one great striker helps but isn’t enough. You need creativity, pacey wingers, ball winners, solidity, focus, hard work, spirit, tekkers all over the park..

My beliefs have now changed. They say you experience childhood twice in your life if you live to be a great age. With the changing of the game over the last twenty years favouring the attacker.. pass back rule, offside rule, red card for goal stopping fouls, yellows for simple sneezy snots in the wrong direction, three subs rule and the ball evolving into something that resembles a balloon with leather capable of zig zag auto-pilot in mid flight.. The game has reverted back to its childhood. Quite simply, one awesome striker and a team of competent players behind them capable of chipping in with the odd goal now and then can be enough to get you in a trophy winning situation. Think last year, think Liverpool. Suarez. What would we have achieved with the pint sized wee biter?

Also, think last year, think Chelsea. No striker, no chance. Think this year, think Chelsea. Costa. Striker. Awesome chance.

It’s in my new belief that my frustration builds like a layer of plaque on my arteries. Molecule by molecule, death by a thousand layers, every Hull, every Leicster, every Spurs, every small team adds a layer of plaque. My heart attack is in the pipeline.

Where is my lipitor, where is my cholesterol busting net breaking striker? Come on Arsene, we are dying here. It’s that simple. Enough midfielders, enough next generation wonder kids, buy the best f’n striker you can get. Someone in the 20 you 30 goal zone would elevate this team. Last year we rocked because Ramsey put us there with an incredible goal scoring run. Imagine that run all year from a striker, with midfield kicking in a few more?

So, the second childhood is what we need. A great striker, with a decent team. Until we have that, we will be the Cinderellas of football. Allowed into the ball but asked, no, expected to leave at midnight when the party is only starting to get going.

Meanwhile, my arteries clog as I am addicted to the gunners, a passion I can’t shake, nor want to, my passion is killing me slowly. I’m dying. Save a fan Arsene, buy an f’n striker.

alexis' shorts

We don’t need anything more than the strikers we have. We need quicker build up. We need players making
runs. That’s not happening, the only one running is the person with the ball while everyone else waits for
the perfect pass in order to START their run. This would work if the entire opposition wasn’t set up to stop
exactly what we want to do. It’s annoying. Tiki taka is not reactionary, it’s proactive and we are not doing
that. Sure the opposition is ALWAYS [I wish I could just use italics] set up to defend us, but that’s okay
because you can’t score without the ball. However, if you take so long to play through that you need to get
everyone forward to counter against what you’re doing then one bad pass means a counter against our two
center backs (two-ish?). Play through quicker or put on the wings, sure I’m watching from the stands/tv but
there’s so many times we can give a fellow running on the wings the ball but we don’t because that’s so

Considering the way the Prem is ref’d, we are not set up to play through the middle (are the players even
willing?) when the other team defends. But we are certainly able to take advantage of space better than
other teams. Considering the space other teams have when they counter us, we actually defend quite well
that we don’t allow that many goals (we just get countered more than other top teams).


With the current number of shots from outside the box, we ought to just put Podolski lurking outside their box and set him up with some cracks from distance. Then we might actually convert a few of the shots into goals for a change.


In the league we have converted 10 % of our shots and the opposition 19 %. Mostly it is down to our opponents having more of their shots on target. We converted 33 % of our shots on target and the opposition 39 %.

If however you add CL things change dramatically by regressing towards the mean. Then our overall conversion rate is 11 % and that of our opposition 12 %. Of the shots on target we converted 34 % and our opponents 30 %. The conversion of shots on target is very close to historical means. In the three past seasons we converted 12,6 % shots and the opposition 9,8 %. I would expect some regression towards the mean in that department.


I want Ian Holloway as the new manager – he can’t be any worse and is far funnier! 🙂


If we had won all the games we drew this season we still wouldn’t be top! Oh fuck!


7amkickoff, I’m in awe of your ability to analyse and interpret statistics, and convey your findings in a insightful and meaningful way. Thank you!


The real problem is conceding the shit goals. Teams like hull will always be deep but by giving them soft goals and something to hang on to we drive them even deeper until the entire game is played on the edge of their box.

I agree we dilly dally way too long half the time but it’s very hard to break with speed if the other team don’t come out.

Stop conceding stupid goals and the other side will come occasionally and we’ll have more space to play


Let’s not kid ourselves. Arsenal’s problem is mental. Wenger is only interested in winning fair. This is who he is. Someone will say that the period from 97-05 doesn’t show this. Well, that’s because of the character of players AW had at the time. You’d also say that AW bought the likes of Viera, true but he grew up as a footballer under the leadership of Adams. All those red cards and rough play that made that team champions was not what AW wanted. When he said “I didn’t see it” he actually mean’t that. It was not to protect his players but himself. Now he’s had the chance to create a team with his character, this is the result. Football is not fair abd can’t be won playing fair. The other team don’t plan too win or avoid defeat playing fair so why should Arsenal. If Flamini was thinking like this he would have played to the whistle. For so long we complain about unfair tactics or officiating like it hasn’t always been like this. For Arsenal to change their mentality, AW needs to move on and take care of FFP and bring in a Manager who is interested getting his players ready for games with the right mentality. Final point, AW hasn’t won against Mourinho, because his teams never play fair.


this is an outstanding point – AW inherited TA, Keown at al, players who know the dark arts of the game, who in turn taught them to Dennis, Patrick, Titi etc.

there is a word that keeps coming to describe AW this season – criminal – & i couldn’t agree more. we got away with it last season at the back, & for him to say we have the same defenders is, frankly, taking the piss out of his own supporters.

i was so excited when we got Alexis, & genuinely thought that 3 or 4 more would follow because it was so obvious that was what we needed. Hangeland would have been perfect as a 3rd/4th choice CB, & I would even have considered bringing Song back.

We don’t need a DM per se, just someone who can do some of the menial tasks you need a central midfielder
to do. Flamini not been the answer for 6 months I’m afraid, get rid of Podolski & use that money to get one of the Bender boys.

grrrrrrr…….. will be pissed off if we scrape 3rd or 4th, then all we will hear is how we can we keep with fiunancial doping & all that rhubarb. we are not exactly paupers

Wilshere for EPL player of the season
Wilshere for EPL player of the season

I, like most of us gooners.. I believe are tired to even lament anymore after watching us keep repeating such disappointing performance. Season after season.


The buck stops with arsene wenger, it’s his team, he decided not to buy a defensive midfielder and a centre back. As the posters before me said it has become so pathetic that I was not sure what to say in my post without saying something I have not repeated before.
I am not a Wenger out person but more of he needs a kick up his arse.
Ypu get paid 8 million , a top salary, so the least you can do is own up to yor deficiencies, its not a excuse to not learn.

Dare I say(100 lashes for me while sitting on a cactus with a open umbrella in my ass) Chelsea are playing much attractive football than us. I can see that you can have a good defense while still playing attractive football and getting the three points too. Fuck me that was hard to say.


..Arsene Wenger…


You don’t stop playing until the ref blows the whistle, even if you are fouled.
Understood Flamini?
Not the first time you are costing us important goals.
And Per, grow a pair! Attack this facking ball!!! You should win headers all day long.
And what is this corner taking? Can it be slower? Can you make it easier to defend?


I don’t doubt the statistics at all, but ~16 shots per game on average sounds good. So why does it feel like so much of what I’ve watched this season has been so poor?

Also, I’d be interested to see if there’s a difference in shooting ratios in CL games? We are told European teams are more expansive and likely to “let you play”; is this true and are we taking advantage of it?

Le' Cheupez

The shooting statistics are baffling. I wouldn’t say i haven’t noticed them though. The Ox and Carzola have been particularly guilty of speculative shots which in my opinion and certainly Arsene’s are not ‘our’ game. With all the bile that that Hull result brought on us i think it’s important not to forget our offensive deficiencies of last season. I believe it was properly addressed in the transfer window and we’re just struggling in that learning curve trying to form relationships in the final third. I don’t believe AW is not tactically astute as some may have you believe, when called to change tact he has done so with instant results. He prefers his team to play on its own merits which is beautiful when successful but heart wrenching when not. Ultimately, the defensive bit of the game is easy to mend, we can always pack a bus if required, it’s that efficiency of forward play that is the tricky bit to employ consistently. Even with Khedira in that DM slot, outcomes wouldn’t be too different thus far. We have immense talent upfront. If we can get goals from the front three reliably and abundantly (regardless of combination of players) then we become a different proposition altogether. All the best Arsene but faith with a massive 11 points of the top is a big ask even to the most loyal fan.


Chelshit are so much better than us it hurts.


Meanwhile we’re spunking good money on pedigree players we never use.