The Game Plan?
Arsenal’s first two shots were from counters. The first off a corner, the second off a set play. That seemed to be the desired attack for the first 20 minutes but after that Arsenal applied the handbrake and ended the half with just 3 shots, one for Walcott’s goal.
The announcers here in the States were raving about Olympiacos but the truth is that Arsenal were doing exactly what the Professor ordered: forcing Olympiacos into shots from distance and being patient attack. All of the Greek team’s fire* came from outside the box while all of Arsenal’s shots were inside the box in great areas. It drives people crazy and I understand why but Wenger is playing the percentages with this style of play.
Olympiacos scored from:
1 – A deflected shot from distance — this is why long shots are low percentage and also why people love to see them (if you’re on the scoring end)
2 – An own goal — that kills your team and we will talk about that in a second
3 – A terrible lapse in concentration — people make physical errors like the first two goals, but when a group of professional athletes makes mental errors like the one which led to the third goal it steams my humbow. That undid all of the hard work that players like Alexis did in that game and is very difficult to take for the fans as well.
1 – Own Goal by Ospina v. Olympiacos for a goal (loss)
0 – Errors by Arsenal v. Leicester for goals (win)
1 – Own goal by Chambers v. Tottenham for a goal (win)
2 – Red cards by Arsenal (1 later rescinded) v. Chelsea (loss)
1 – Red card by Giroud v. Dinamo (loss)
0 – Errors by Arsenal v. Stoke for goals (win)
0 – Errors by Arsenal v. Newcastle for goals (win via own goal)
0 – Errors by Arsenal v. Liverpool for goals (draw)
0 – Errors by Arsenal v. Cry Pal for goals (win)
2 – Errors by Cech and Ox v. West Ham for goals (loss)
10 – Arsenal matches this season
5 – Arsenal matches where they make an error, own goal, or have a player sent off (rightly or wrongly it makes the game difficult to win)
3 – Points Arsenal have taken from matches where they make an error
13 – Points Arsenal have taken from matches in which they didn’t make an error
Errors as used here are specific events recorded by Opta and I’m using Opta’s data here to give you these stats. They don’t give an official definition of what an error is but I can tell you that it’s not just any errant pass. It’s usually an errant pass, bad dribble, or some other catastrophically bad event which leads to a shot or in the case of this post, to a goal.
To give Arsenal’s record some context: in all 38 League games last season, Arsenal had 8 errors for goals and 2 red cards, with just 1 own goal. But, critically, 7 of those error-goals, the 1 own goal, and both of the red cards came before January. Arsenal played 18 matches after January 1st (not inclusive!), winning 13, drawing 3, and losing 2 while making just 1 total errors for goals and having no players sent off. And if you include the FA Cup run, Arsenal also made zero errors, allowed zero own goals, and had zero players sent off.
If Arsenal had 11 “events” (errors for goals, own goals, and red cards) in 18 games last season, they already have 7 in the first 10 this season.
What happened? I don’t know but it’s an annoying pattern now.
It was good to see Coquelin back bossing the midfield. He looked energetic and feisty. He only misplaced 3/39 passes and did his normal job breaking up play. But it was Alexis delivering on both ends of the pitch which was truly magical.
He took 4 shots (tied for the most)
He scored another headed goal (if he grows his hair he could be our long haired leaping gnome)
He had 6 ball recoveries and 1 tackle (remember that ball recoveries are what we often think of as tackles and that tackle almost all happen when the opponent is dribbling at you)
He created 4 shots for teammates
He created Walcott’s goal
What more does he need to do??? Maybe he needs to put the gloves on for corners?
Moreon* Dean v. Arsenal
Class? Pay attention. Please read this paper proving, scientifically, that Mike Dean is a Wanker. I will be expecting a full report in the morning.
— Andy Field (@ProfAndyField) September 29, 2015
*DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE???