Arsenal 3-0 Burnley
Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock between Arsenal and Burnley with a header in the 70th minute. It was Arsenal’s third headed goal of the season in all competitions (including the Community Shield) and was a fabulous example of Alexis’ sheer will to win. He is one of the smallest players on the pitch and yet he powered in between two taller defenders and won the ball, knocking a big defender flat in the process.
It would be easy to write 1000 words about Sanchez’ performance today but I will leave that to the 10,000 other Arsenal writers. Instead, I think it’s important to highlight the players and tactics which set up all three Arsenal goals.
Arsenal attempted a season high 49 crosses today (which includes the 18 corners Arsenal took) and 12 of them were successful. It’s important to remember that a “successful” cross just means that an Arsenal player started the pass and another Arsenal player received the pass. It doesn’t matter if the pass went from one side of the pitch to the other as long as two Arsenal players connect.
Typically, Arsenal aren’t very good at corners or crosses but today, the Gunners created nearly all of their goal-chances off play down the wings. So, the first goal was a cross from Chambers. The second goal was a corner taken by Cazorla. The third goal was a cross by Gibbs. Podolski’s rocket volley saved by Heaton was from a Cazorla corner and Podolski’s bar rattler a moment later was from a Walcott cross.
In the final assessment, Arsenal’s play down the wings was so crucial to this match that Chambers and Gibbs notched the two Arsenal assists, Cazorla created three shots from corners, Ox created four shots from the right side of the pitch (one corner), Sanchez had 9/14 dribbles (5/8 were on the left of the penalty box), and Ox had 5/7 dribbles (4/5 were on the right side of the penalty box).
And as if to hammer home the point, Arsenal’s top three players in terms of attacking third passes were Calum Chambers (31/36), Alexis Sanchez (27/38), and Kieran Gibbs (23/30).
The 7amkickoff Index
This is an idea that I have been working on for years. The gist is that I want a visualization which comprises all of Arsenal’s goals scored, all of the goals conceded, and pertinent information about those goals (header, penalty, fast break, time of goal, goalscorer, etc.). To make this idea real, I’ve worked with several people (including my good friend Brian from 11 Cannons) and we have had some rather grand ideas about making it visually appealing but they have all turned out to be difficult to implement.
That said, I like the idea so much that it would be a shame to not publish it just because I don’t have the resources to make it as visually appealing as I want.
I think you can click the image to embiggen it.
What you see here are all 17 matches Arsenal have played this season and all the goals they have scored and conceded.
You can see what time the goal was scored, who scored it, who assisted, and how they scored the goal.
You can tell if it was a game winner (red on the right), if it should have been a winner (blue on the right), or if it was the tying goal (purple on the right).
If either team kept a clean sheet I grey out the boxes.
Home team is in bold. Black font is for Premier League games, dark blue for champions league, orange is the community shield (I’ll probably recycle this for FA Cup), and green is the League Cup.
A comma between two letters on the goal scored (e.g. H,O) indicates a headed goal from open play. A PLUS sign indicates two goals scored in the same 5 minute period.
Using this we can say the following about Arsenal’s offense:
15 – Second half goals scored
14 – First half goals scored
19 – Goals scored from open play
4 – Goals scored off opposition errors (own goals, etc)
3 – Goals scored off headers
2 – Goals scored off corners
2 – Goals scored on Fast Breaks
1 – Goal scored off a direct free kick (Sanchez, Southampton)
And we can say the following about Arsenal’s defense:
10 – First half goals conceded
7 – Second half goals conceded
6 – Headed goals conceded
6 – Fast break goals conceded
3 – Goals conceded from corners
3 – Penalties conceded
Using this new visualization you can also see trends. For example, Arsenal have played 17 games and conceded 17 goals. In the first 10 games you can see that Arsenal conceded 10 goals and they were evenly divided between fast breaks and set plays. But since that disastrous night against Southampton in the League Cup, Arsenal have only conceded two goals from set plays, both penalties.
Similarly, everyone is talking about nothing but Alexis because he has scored 4 of Arsenal’s last 5 goals and has nearly single-handedly won two games.
Well, what do you think? Is this a worthwhile endeavor?