Let’s talk about some of the players…
Before the match I tweeted out a series of annoying messages showing how Arsenal have dropped defensively and offensively since Cazorla and Coquelin were injured.
They went like this:
Dribbles per game with Cazorla: 13.6/20.6
Dribbles per game w/o Cazorla: 9.25/13.75
Chances created per game with Cazorla: 13.9
Chances created per game w/o Cazorla: 8.8
Tackles per game with Coquelin: 16.4/36.9
Tackles per game w/o Coquelin: 11.4/27.2
Interceptions per game with Caz/Coq: 20
Interceptions per game w/o Caz/Coq: 16.6
The dribbles stat is important because (as Wenger said in his recent interview about stats) players like Cazorla use their dribble to break midfield pressure. Once the pressure is broken, he’s free in an attacking space and creates more mismatches.
The chances created drop is important because Cazorla is Arsenal’s second creator. He is 2nd on the team with 2.6 key passes per game, Alexis is 3rd with 1.7, and Ramsey is 4th with 1.5.
Cazorla and Özil both like to drop behind the 18 yard line, collect, and if they can pick someone out, they do. If not, they cycle possession. As you’re going to see in the section below, without Cazorla, Özil is doing that all on his own.
In the game against Southampton, Özil created 4 shots for his teammates and took 1 shot for himself, Arsenal only had 8 shots in that game, Özil was 60% of Arsenal’s offense. And the same story today against Bournemouth Özil created 9 shots and took 2, that’s 11/13 shots guys.
Tackles and Interceptions are also down, Coquelin leads the midfield in both of those stats.
My point, which annoyed everyone, is that just buying one midfielder won’t cover for the two we are missing. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish Arsene would buy, of course I do, and he’s already signed that guy Elneny, right?
Since Elneny is unlikely to fill in for both an attacking CM and a defensive CM, rather than simply “buy, buy, buy, buy” Arsenal need to find a way to make up the holes in attack and defense with the players we have through a combination of tactical changes and lineup changes.
Today’s match, against Bournemouth, showed a bit of promise. Tackles were up to 19/30, Interceptions up to 20, dribbles were up to 11/19, and chances created were a whopping 12.
The problem is that those stats were distributed in a weird way: Ox led Arsenal with 4/4 tackles (Ramsey 3/5) while Ramsey had 3 interceptions, but Gabriel had 6; Ox also led Arsenal with 4/5 dribbles but three were into the corner and one was in the right back position, this isn’t the same as Cazorla’s center circle magic; and for the second game in a row, Özil called all the shots with 9 key passes, Bellerin, Walcott, and Giroud chipped in with 1 each.
So, work to do.
Please note I spared you the ugliness of saying “such and such player needs to do this thing”. Wenger needs to sort that out, get the shot numbers back up to a good level, spread the work out in the right way, and get the team clicking.
Let’s talk about Özil…
16 – Özil now has 16 assists in 18 games. That brings him level with Eric Cantona (35 games) on the single season assists list
8 – That’s twice as many assists as 2nd place Kevin de Bruyne this season
80 – Özil also has 80 key passes, that’s 30 more than 2nd in the League Dusan Tadic who has 50.
17 – That’s 17 more Key Passes than Ryad Boudebouz who is 2nd in Europe’s top five Leagues and has played 13 more minutes than Özil
243 – Arsenal have created 243 Key Passes
33 – Özil has created 33% of Arsenal’s key passes
31 – Arsenal’s players have only scored 31 goals (minus own goals)
52 – Özil has assisted 52% of Arsenal’s goals
61 – If you count his goals scored as well, Özil has scored or assisted 61% of Arsenal’s League goals
29 – Last season Cesc Fabregas scored or assisted on just 29% of Chelsea’s League goals
66 – At this current pace, Arsenal are set to finish the season scoring just 66 goals
40 – For Özil to finish the season with 61% of 66 goals, he’d have to score or assist 40 goals
44 – Thierry Henry scored 24 and assisted 20 in 2002-2003, which was 60% of Arsenal’s total goals that season, and Arsenal finished 2nd
0 – chance that Özil finishes with 40 goals scored and assisted, because he isn’t going to score 20 goals for Arsenal and the idea of him getting 32 assists in the Premier League is fanciful at best. Teams will start to notice that Arsenal, at this point, are a 1-man team and will just mark Özil out of the game
9 – For example, Özil had 9 key passes today against Bournemouth, all 9 were in the 18 yard box, and 4 of them were big chances (all in the first half of play) — Arsenal took 13 shots today, Özil created 9 of them, and Arsenal had 7 big chances, Ozil created 4. That is unsustainable from a single player for an entire season.
67 – The fewest goals a Premier League winning team has scored is 67, in the inaugural season, 1992-93 when Cantona led the League in assists with 16 and topped his team with 15 goals, accounting for 46% of his team’s offensive output
68 – Two teams won the League scoring 68 goals, Man U and Arsenal (Wenger’s first title)
100 – Percent chance that Arsenal need Cazorla and Alexis back to help take some of the pressure off Özil and help score and assist more goals
That single season assists list is:
02-03 :: Thierry Henry :: 20 assists**
14-15 :: Fabregas :: 18 assists*
04-05 :: Lampard :: 18 assists*
07-08 :: Fabregas :: 17 assists***
15-16 :: Özil :: 16 assists
92-93 :: Eric Cantona :: 16 assists*
*Won the League
**Finished 2nd and probably should have won the League if not for those draws against Villa and Bolton
***Finished 3rd and probably would have won the League if Taylor hadn’t broken Eduardo’s leg
Sources: Opta, my personal DB.