Sorry for the late post, typically I get these done before midnight on match day but this weekend was crazy and I couldn’t get to the post before I heard the sweet siren call of alcohol. But the bonus is that you get more to talk about and under the fresh light of day to boot.
Ozil assist #10
You know all this stuff already, because Blogs tweeted out the stats, but it’s worth repeating that Arsenal’s Mesut Özil created his 10th assist of the season last night. That was his 6th consecutive Arsenal match with an assist, beating Fabregas’ record of 6 games in a row which he generated by assisting in his last three Arsenal matches and his first three Chelsea matches.
Özil now has 54 key passes and that, along with his 10 assists makes him the most prolific provider in the top five Leagues of Europe.
Özil was determined to get an assist in this match, he created 7 chances in this game. Of those 7 chances 3 were “Big Chances” and 6 of the 7 were for shots in prime areas. Because of Özil, Arsenal created 4 big chances and 6 shots in prime compared to Tottenham’s 2 big chances and 3 shots in prime.
Four of his chances came from set plays, corners and free kicks, which is something that Özil practiced and learned while at Real Madrid. It’s fabulous that Arsenal finally have a threat from set plays. Though, his only assist did come from open play!
In fact, with Özil creating such gilt-edged chances Arsenal were unlucky not to score more than the one goal. Michael Caley’s Expected Goals tally has Arsenal with 1.8 to Spurs 1.3. My own, simplistic, expected goals put it at 1.5 to 1.
Does that change your perception of the match? I’ve heard that some folks thought Arsenal did poorly and of course, that Ozil is “nicking a living” but I didn’t see it that way. I saw a team ravaged by injury playing against a fully healthy opposition, gutting out a 1-1 draw that very easily could have been a victory.
Difference between Campbell and Ramsey
The day before Ramsey went down injured I was going to write an article about the differences in playing style between each of the three Arsenal right-sided wing players. But it’s not really much of an “article” because it boils down to one key stat: passes.
Ramsey averages 63 passes per90. That means if we divide his total minutes played by 90 and then divide his total passes into that, we get 63. That’s a lot of passes for a wide player and what that shows me is that Ramsey’s industry down the right side, along with his penchant for coming inside to offer a passing option, acts like a ventilator for Arsenal’s attack. He is providing the Arsenal midfield with options, helping to open up play, and breathing life into the midfield.
Joel Campbell averages 25.1 passes per90 and Ox 43.8.
Joel Campbell changes the team dynamic. He’s not involved in build-up play as much, and not providing an outlet on the right as much as Ramsey. Sagna used to play a similar role on the right and when he went down injured we saw a similar problem with the midfield being overrun.
Ox, on the other hand, is the middle between Ramsey and Campbell in terms of passing but he also provides Arsenal with something unique on the right: he’s a Neymar/Douglas Costa level dribbler. Ox has 4.9 successful dribbles per90 while Douglas Costa has just 4.4 and Neymar 4.3.
There are 11 days until the next match. I trust that Wenger will be getting Ramsey and Ox some extra treatment so that he can have a few more options available toward the end of the month.
Let’s talk about shots, baby
Did Arsenal have a shot in the first 45 minutes? It depends on who’s counting. Opta counted the Alexis attempted back heel off the Campbell pass despite the fact that it was offside. The reason why they counted it is because I don’t think the referee actually called for offside. I think they just got back on with play.
The funny thing is I think that they would have called offside if he’d have scored. So, is it a shot? For now, it is.
If you don’t count that shot then Arsenal went 48 minutes without a shot and then blitzed Spurs with 9 shots in 36 minutes. Between the 48th minute and the 84th minute, Arsenal created 9 shots, including all of the chances I talked about in the Özil section above, Spurs had 6 shots in that time, 1 which produced a top quality save from Cech to keep the game in reach.
The tackles thing
Debuchy put up some nasty defensive numbers in this match, completing 9/10 tackles on the day. He was part of a crew of Arsenal players who were putting themselves about in order to win the ball back. Arsenal ended the match making 35/51 tackles. In context, Arsenal only average 21.7/33 tackles on the season.
It was a weird defensive match all around. Arsenal out-tackled Spurs 35-22 and Arsenal won the ball in their half of the pitch 8 times compared to them winning the ball in our half just 4 times.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are 2nd in the League with an average of 20.2 interceptions per game and Tottenham are 5th with 18.5 yet neither team seemed interested in playing the passing lanes and finished the game 13-14 interceptions.
What drove a lot of this tackling for Arsenal was the fact that Deli Alley (mmm… sandwich) went dribble crazy, attempting 12 dribbles in this game. Fortunately, Debuchy had him covered and the Englishman completed just 4. Spurs only attempt 19.3 dribbles per game on average and only complete 10 per game so, one player going 4/12 is pretty nuts.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are the best dribbling team in the League, averaging 13.6/20.5 dribbles this season. But against Tottenham, Arsenal went 5/15. Arsenal’s three best dribblers (beside Ox) are Özil, Alexis, and Cazorla but against Tottenham last night they went 1/5, 1/2, and 1/1.