Sunday, August 7, 2022

Arsenal’s set plays and headed goals record: by the numbers

What is up with Arsenal, set plays, and headed goals???

47 – Goals Arsenal have scored this season (2nd in the League)
14 – Number of goals Arsenal have scored from set pieces so far this season (1st in the League)
30 – Percent of Arsenal’s goals which have been scored from set plays this season
5 – Number of those set piece goals which were penalties (1st in the League)
5 – Number of those set piece goals which were scored off corners (4th in the League)
3 – Number of those set piece goals which were scored off crossed free kicks (tied for 3rd with Man U, Tottenham, Palace)
1 – Direct Free kick goals Arsenal have scores (yes, that’s a set piece goal, Alice.)
11 – Last Season Arsenal scored 11 set piece goals and were ranked 16th in set piece scoring just 16% of our total goals scored were from set plays
1 – Did I mention (yes I did) that Arsenal are 1st in set piece goals this season???

Ready to have your head done in?

10 – Arsenal have allowed 10 headed goals this season 2nd most in the League behind Burnley’s 14 — a stat I hear a lot on twitter
28 – Arsenal have only conceded 28 goals this season
36 – Yeah… 36% of Arsenal’s goals conceded are from headers I’m pretty sure that’s the worst, Burnley have conceded 35% of their (14/40) goals from headers, Stoke have conceded 31% of their goals (9/29) from headers, Man City have conceded 29% of their goals (7/24) from headers
6 – Conversely Southampton have conceded 1 of 17 goals from headers (about 6%) and Chelsea have conceded just 3/21 from headers
8 – Last season Arsenal only allowed 8 goals off headers out of 41 total goals conceded, 19% of their total
12 – (now things get weird) and last season Arsenal scored 12 goals off headers (about 18% of their total goals scored) which was tied for second best in the League behind Liverpool’s 14 goals scored off headers (which was only 14% of their total)
9 – This season Arsenal are again tied for second in the headed goals scored category with 9 which is also 19% of our total goals scored
5 – Number of those nine headed goals which came from a set play, meaning that we have also conceded 4 headers from open play crosses and since I’m only tracking Arsenal and I have no sources which give me data on how many shots Arsenal have faced in these situations, how many aerial challenges we lost in our defensive half (WhoScored and Squawka lump all aerial duels together) I don’t even know what any of this means! But, unlike other stats guys who preset data without context, at least I admit that I don’t have the context. How many headed shots are Arsenal facing? How many crosses do they deal with in the context of the League? How many more or less set plays do Arsenal face in a game than the League average or than the top teams like Chelsea?

The simple explanation is that certain players suck at aerial duels. But that doesn’t explain why Arsenal are both simultaneously great at set plays and terrible. Something is weird here and my guess, a hunch based on watching the way that the referees give Arsenal an advantage any time we are fouled and conversely give the opposition a dead ball set play, combined with a perceived weakness in the air, is that teams are taking a lot more set plays against Arsenal than against the other top four teams.

Leicester bored me to death…

1 – Number of times Cambiasso undercuts Coquelin while the Arsenal player is trying to win the ball in the air
1 – Number of times Cambiasso falls down and appears to handle the ball in the penalty box
8 – Number of Arsenal players who see Cambiasso do all of this weird stuff and raise their hands looking for a call
0 – Number of calls referee Mike Jones gave Arsenal, all day


Theo Walcott: the Running Man

73 – Minutes played against Leicester (these are all just his Leicester stats)
16 – Touches
4’33” – Minutes and seconds per touch on average
6 – Completed passes (of 9)
1 – Interception
1 – Aerial duels won
0 – Successful dribbles (of 2 attempted)
1 – Unforced turnover
2 – Shots
2 – Shots on goal
1 – Goal
9 – Number of times I heard the commentators talk about how many intelligent runs Walcott made
1 – Number of times Theo Walcott said that Leicester were “one of the best teams that have come to the Emirates this year”
20 – Position Leicester find themselves in the Premier League table
18 – Goals Leicester have scored this season
2 – Goals Leicester have scored against Arsenal this season
5 – Goals Leicester have scored against Man U in one match this season


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Ultimate Gooner

Perception is king in England. Statistical analysis is only for those suspicious intelligent foreigners.

Proff Gooner

The realest shit you’ve ever wrote.

Take a bow son!


Theo is better when he has no time to think in front of goal.
Theo is so fast that he often has time to think in front of goal.

As Alanis Morrisset would say – “isn’t that’s ironic don’t you think”?



Bould's Eyeliner

Fortunately you seem to have a better grasp on irony than Alanis Morrisette

Martin Murray

Ah but isnt it ironic, that she made a song about ironic situations… none of which were ironic??

Bould's Eyeliner

Whatever you are smoking Martin, I suggest you do us all a favor and pass it around.





I was thinking of that yesterday actually, we are usually hopeless with the corners but started scoring goals from them recently! Not bad!

I am hoping that we will have another 5-6 match winning period is ahead of us! COYG!


We started scoring goals from corners and have chances to score from corners intimidately after we ditched that tactic to direct every corner to Per head in the first post.


That tactic was courtesy of Defensive God Steve Bould, saving Wenger’s bacon since ’96, bitches.


Or to the ankles of the opposition defender standing on the corner of the 6 yard line…….


Can’t wait for Chamberlain. That’s all I’m gonna say!


Agreed, I think with Ramsey’s new injury it’s the perfect moment for the Ox to get healthy and cement his place as our box-to-box midfielder. That’s where I see him playing in the future and now is the perfect time to show it’s his for the taking.

La Défense



Brilliant! Laughed way harder than I should have

Dr. Gooner

Like Tim says, we don’t really know based on these numbers if we really are terrible at set plays or not, and conversely it doesn’t tell us if we’re really great at our own set plays, especially since penalties shouldn’t really be filed into that category. He points out that we conceded a lot of headed goals, but that’s not necessarily the same thing. Just as we probably face a lot of set piece situations, particularly at the end of close games when teams lump it in the mixer from their own half, we have also WON a lot of… Read more »

A$AP Rocastle

I was 3rd row clock end yesterday and about the entire stand saw the handball in our box, as did 8 arsenal players as you pointed out. Bizarrely, the referee and his many assistants, all of whom are paid and given the latest technology to spot fouls, did not see it. Hopefully the £5.1bn will help the FA bring in a couple of decent refs.

side note: excellent corners stat considering how crap our corners have been

True Red

Amazing how the same dick also missed the obvious handball by the thug Danny Simpson. It’s almost like he was favouring Leicester but of course we all know that the referees in the PL are great and totally impartial




It means they need to attack the ball on defense the way they do on offense.

Danger Mouse

Nice that we can score headers. Who’d a thunk it !! ….Completely off topic and I know its been said by others but what in fucks name is the story with referee’s refereeing us totally differently to how they ref anyone else? Kick Sanchez all round the place, giroud gets physically assaulted every fuckin game, the opposition are ROUTINELY allowed to commit 5 or 6 fouls against our players before theres a booking but dare an Arsenal player commit an innocuous foul and the ref is practically spunking in his shorts at the thought of getting to book one of… Read more »

alexis' shorts

in December I got so mad at the refereeing that I started watching way more matches involving other top 6 teams just to see how the refs handle it. While I cannot deny an inherent bias, I definitely see a lot more of those none-calls getting called for other teams than us. Sometimes we’ll have a game where the ref gets most of them right for us, but generally that is not the case because the referee does not want to put players in the book too early unless they get fouled during a counter attack against us – so… Read more »


Jonathan Moss gave Hazard a foul when he asken for it. Nice to see the Russian’s ‘protection money’ being put to good use.


I thought it was handball by Cambiasso at the time but, after watching it again on Arsenal Player today, it does look as though he might have actually have dropped onto it and stopped it with his chest.


Which would constitute obstruction, and should still result in a free-kick.


Dear Hi-brid – I thumbed you up before reading the comment that appeared after yours.
Please minus one from your total when considering your feedback, sorry

True Red

I thumbed it down to equalise

andre santos

you buggers are jobless


I can see your point, but I don’t think it’s that clear cut. It looked quite instantaneous, not like he lay there on top of it. Maybe he was sly in that way, I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t want to get a reputation for defending opposition players, it doesn’t befit me. Just relieved that it turned out to be academic.

David C

it wasn’t a hand ball, but now I have to research obstruction based on other user’s comments. It 100% did not touch his arm, but who cares, we won!!!

I think the ref is a buddy of John Terry.


I looked it up, out of curiosity. From FIFA Laws of the Game: “Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either player. All players have a right to their position on the field of play, being in the way of an opponent is not the same as moving into the way of an opponent. Shielding the ball is permitted. A player who places himself between an opponent and the ball… Read more »


Nonetheless, I do believe that putting your head between an opponent’s legs to scrum him off the ball constitutes a foul


I’m a bit confused by some of this analysis. It says that we have SCORED 9 headed goals, 5 of which were from set plays, but then says that this means we have CONCEDED 4 headers from open play crosses. Looks like wires are crossed here or am I misreading it? I guess still that the overall point seems to be that we are better at attacking set pieces (albeit quite a few have been penalties) than we are at defending them.

La Défense

Yea, that bit had me confused too.


Obviously Bould does the offensive headers, and Wenger does the defensive headers, right gays?

Why are we talking about refs every single week? You might not think the referees have cost us points, but when the standards are so consistently low, they’re bound to at some point. And that’s beside all the injuries it costs us.

andre santos

who are the “gays” you are talking to ?


Can we agree yet that the referee’s and FA are corrupt and biased..

Why do you think teams get away with so much against us nobody wants us to finish in that top 4 we are a threat to Man U and Liverpool


Also just found this site have a look don’t be so close minded.. you think these referee’s are all accidently making bad decisions refereeing games we are in, or perhaps maybe you realise theres more to it?


That picture is absolutely hilarious.

Gooners & Roses

Cunty ref, cunty ref everywhere!

andre santos

why cant wenger see that we struggle with a lack of pace when mesut plays on the left.
it ok if we re playing a quick striker but when its mesut and giroud we really struggle to produce any sort of counter attack nor hold onto possession.

Dick Swiveller

Or someone like Sanchez and Walcott? I don’t think it’s necessary that he has someone quick right by his starting position to maximise his potential, our formation is pretty fluid so he floats to find the spaces he can use to hurt teams; we lack pace when we lack pacy playes, but not due to where Ozil is nominally positioned.

However, I should mention that we tend to lose pentration without the players that are willing to make runs, rather than our players not having enough speed to actually create chances.


Blog.. is there any way you to know if I am being thumbed up. I had to check old posts to check up my comment.

Anonymous Physicist

Maybe the interpretation is that we’re really good at set pieces when Giroud, Mertesacker and Koscielny are all available, but rather bad when they’re not? It would be interesting to try to correlate this data with the availability of the three of them.

Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

Who was the moron that did the commentary for the game. He said that Koscienly’s goal was “probably the first corner Arsenal had scored this season”. Do these guys do any research before they go on the air and make such stupid comments? Who holds these clowns accountable?


Love that last stat – hope Leicester City continue to beat manure!!!

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Has our improvement have anything to do with delivery? I get the impression that özil is better at putting the ball in the right spots

Dick Swiveller

Could be that you need to concentrate on only one offensive setplay to make an impression, whereas if you concentrate on only one defensive setplay you’ll find things go south pretty quickly.

Read an interesting thought that it might actually be zonal marking at fault, in that it’s more difficult to do the pushing/shoving/shirtpulling/genital squeezing that seems to help certain teams level the playing field, due to lining up and going for the ball instead. Not sure I buy it, but interesting nonetheless.


not too many people really understand. walcott is coming back from an acl replacement surgery. one of the most common ways acl tears happen is when defending aggressively and having your foot slide out on the surface.
i dont blame theo for not wanting to agressively defend on the ball, if its not in a danger situation. he needs to get more minutes to get back up to speed, period. whatever it takes for him to do that is whats best.
he is making intelligent runs and he probably deserves more service.

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