Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool: By the Numbers


Wenger painted it as a tale of two halves; that Arsenal dominated the first and dropped off physically in the second and the stats show that actually it was a much closer game in the first 45.

Arsenal edged passing: 240-229
Arsenal were out tackled: 14-19
Arsenal lost possession more: 15-9
Arsenal were forced to clear the ball a lot less: 3-12
Arsenal intercepted the ball a lot more: 12-3
Arsenal took fewer shots: 6-7
Arsenal created the only big chance of the first 45 (penalty)
BUT, Liverpool created three dangerous shots with Klavan, Mane and Firmino
Both keepers made 2 saves, Mignolet making the better of the two.

Where Arsenal lost the match was in the 20 minutes between the 45th and 65th minutes.

Liverpool dominated passing: 154-84
Liverpool dominated Arsenal in shooting: 7-1
Liverpool dominated Arsenal in goals: 3-1

All of the other stats in that period were fairly even and actually unusually low. For example, in that 20 minute period both teams combined for just 4 tackles. Just to show how weird that number is, over the 90 minutes both teams attempted 63 tackles combined. In any 20 minute period we should see an average combined of 14 tackles. The same with interceptions, Arsenal made 20 interceptions in the match but only 2 (about half of what we would expect) in that crucial 20 minutes.

In that 20 minutes, Liverpool utterly dominated Arsenal.

So, what happened?

The key stat is that Alexis couldn’t get into the game. He took one shot, a pot shot from distance that was blocked. He was also just 1/8 on aerial duels, made just 1 key pass, and had just 1 dribble. In the end he only even touched the ball 28 times. Walcott, who is normally ball-shy, got on the ball 40 times.

That was entirely because Arsenal’s midfield couldn’t retain possession. Coquelin only completed 76% of his passes. Holding only completed 74% of his passes. Chambers completed 81% of his passes. Not only that but the entire back four dominated Arsenal in touches: Monreal led all of Arsenal with 109 touches, Chambers 99 touches, Holding 70 touches, and Bellerin 52.

The big problem is that Arsenal’s players didn’t have anyone to pass to and were often caught in possession without a teammate around to help bail them out. Ramsey made just 26 passes in the 60 minutes he played before pulling his hamstring. Elneny made just 36 passes in the 66 minutes before he was oddly taken off. Coquelin made just 37 passes in all 90 minutes. Xhaka had 25 passes in the 24 minutes he played and he completed them at a team high 96%. That was toward the end of the match when Liverpool shut up shop.

I wouldn’t blame any one player in Arsenal’s three man midfield, rather I’d say that the unit didn’t work. There were too many times where there was too much space between Chambers-Holding and Coquelin-Elneny. They were often even out of my picture, as in this screen grab (courtesy @njm1211)


This should just not happen and yet it was a common theme for Arsenal’s defenders for most of the match and a major reason why Chambers-Monreal, Monreal-Chambers, Chambers-Holding, and Holding-Chambers were the top four pass combinations for Arsenal.

So, I don’t think I would agree that it was a tale of two halves or that it was entirely down to fitness. On offense, Arsenal were unable to move the ball up the field and on defense, for that crucial 20 minute period where Arsenal were left chasing shadows by Liverpool’s superior passing — they simply couldn’t catch up, Arsenal were exposed for space time and again. Rather than fitness or simply a bad half the bigger problem is that the team didn’t play well as a unit. The midfield was choked off and the forwards were starved of service on offense and the team looked like a team that hasn’t played together much on defense.

At least that’s what the stats show me.



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Do you know what the stats prove…? That my eyes didn’t deceive me. My eyes saw shit, my brain believed it was shit, and the stats simply confirm it was shit. The team simply functioned… like shit.


tks for pooping

we probably need a new manager more than a defender or striker now…


Okay Zeus, leave the articulation to 7AM. We have enough naysayers already. I came for a statistical understanding of what happened, not a comparative study of my team with digestive by-products.


I also came for a statistical understanding of what happened, in that sometimes we miss things, or areas of the team actually functioned better than we believed whilst watching the game.

In this case the answer is no. The team itself as a cohesive unit really didn’t come to yesterday’s launch party and the midfield (the one area where we did strengthen) went missing in action.


Eloquently put.

I dont know why he does this. We set ourselves up for failure.
If we keep pretending we aren’t a big team when it’s time to splash the cash. Very soon we will not be.


By the numbers: 54, that’s the amount of years I’ve been a gooner. Started when I was 8. 48, the amount of years I’ve been paying for my own ticket 10, the years I’ve been listening to Arsene’s plan and hearing “we are working hard etc” Myriad, the times my poor wife has had to listen to me saying “FFS BUY a striker” The atmosphere was dire on Sunday and I really don’t want to be part of a baying crowd. I used to feel really at home with Arsenal fans, most weeks we’d be delirious optimists whilst at other… Read more »


Spoken like a true fan. I feel your pain. There are too many septics, keyboard warriors and tourist fans these days. I want Wenger to change, I need him to, if only to breath some life into our dire support.


I think I can feel your pain, although I’m not really sure, I live across the pond since 1985, never saw Arsenal live, but follow them since the beginning of this century (the good old days for me). I’m even older then you, been a football fan all my life, my father played for good clubs in Romania and Hungary before WWII, and started taking me to matches in the 1950s. So Arsenal FC comes to my “back yard” this summer, to get more dough, and I just couldn’t convince myself to give part of my money to Wenger to… Read more »


I don’t agree. We were pretty good in the first half, probably better than the stats give us credit for (for example, the early pull-back from Monreal is at least as good an opportunity as a random shot around the box, because if it reaches an Arsenal player it’s almost always a goal) Their little flurry of goals was really unfortunately timed for us, and I think Holding’s inexperience showed a little bit for the most pivotal, Coutinho’s second. That really put us in a difficult position, but up to that point we had control of the game. If either… Read more »


Awh who the fuck gives a shit anymore?

A Gorilla

Next year we’re gonna have such a good team


Sick of going to big games at home expecting to lose or hoping to scrape a draw.
No energy in the stadium….everybody can feel the whole club is directionless and will never, ever win the league with this manager.


You got it right – we failed as a unit. Simple as that. A fit santi as a number 10 would’ve been very very useful today.
Can’t wait for the other guys to come back. Feel sorry for holding. First game and 4 goals conceded.

Oh and speaking of which, I’m surprised no one is talking about Cech’s performance. He should have saved at least 2 of those goals (lallana and Coutinho second). He has been a few soft goals that have been overlooked. Hope we don’t see more of this


I have been saying…it seems to me Cech is on a rapid decline. He let in a couple of soft goals towards the end of last season as well!!


True, I’ve been a bit sceptical of his keeping for a while now. Not that he is a bad keeper or something, I just think he’s not used to such long range shots from his time in Chelsea. One of the most underrated traits of a keeper is his ability to organise a Defense as a keeper has the best view of his Defense and Cech probably didn’t have to do that in a Defense centric Chelsea. So I feel he’s come up short in that count as well and that’s a place Ospina is slightly better and would do… Read more »


With Arsene Wenger in charge it will always be like this. Fans can’t do anything to change it. Accept it or you’ll go insane thinking about it.

It's just not cricket

The high passing stats for the defenders are because they just passed to eachother. I thought Liverpool were poor and had no striking force and they still got 4 past us. Why is Walcott still being played? I am baffled by the team selection. What is wrong with Joel Campbell Mr Wenger?

Jack Clark

Walcott was pretty good first half. He completely disappeared in the second but so did everyone up front, I think that was more a product of our midfield completely function as a unit, as the article observes.


Coquelin, Elneny, and Ramsey aren’t the most creative and can’t control sh*t. I seriously hope we didn’t play Xhaka and Cazorla simply because they were not match fit. Speaking of which, why don’t other teams suffer from match fitness as much as we do?

Bobby P

We have had fitness problems at the start of every season since we stopped having the preseason training Camp in Austria. To ditch the camp was a purely commercial decision which would be ok if we actually spent the extra revenue

Bould's Eyeliner

preach brotha


Thanks for taking the time to analyse this. Was thumbed down massively on here after the 0-8 win over Viking because I said we had a lot of work to do on improving our passing out from the back. That aspect of our play needs to be radically reworked if we’re going to play to the strengths of smaller forwards like Alexis & Theo.

But our problems go even deeper than that.


25 passes in 24 minutes for Xhaka is very encouraging stat.

Hopefully Wenger sees sense and starts Xhaka and Elneny in midfield, and Cazorla in the 10 role. Xhaka can pass from deep, link up with Cazorla who then passes to Sanchez to smash in a goal.

Wait did i just say i hope Arsene sees sense? Sorry i forgot to take my meds this morning.


I like that midfield. Don’t like that some of it may be forced through injury.

On fitness and form, I’d like to see Cambell on the right, Ox left and Theo up top. Alexis should come on late for the 20-25 he’s fit for, maybe earlier if Theo sucks.

Send a message — quality, a name and seniority is not enough! Fuck, start Chuba! Award hunger and fitness and fuck the rest.

Yes, we do need another striker, but I’m talking about what’s available now.


Theo and Ox to start ahead of Alexis, take some pills, Theo, Ox, Ramsay and Gib need to be sold for younger players to have a chance, they reach their peak and may not even start for QPR..


Arsenal fans always believing our young players are always better, instead of accepting the issue is not the players its the manager.


Alexis, when he’s fit, always starts. He shouldn’t start just because he demands it. He’s coming off a competition and an injury, and several seasons of being overplayed. We can lose games with him. Why not lose one without him, if he’ll be healthier the rest of the season and send a needed message to the rest of the team? No way he’s “better” than Theo. That’s not the issue.


I thought some of our players didn’t look fit at all. Ramsey and Alexis in particular.

We cut them open quite a few times in the first half but unfortunately didn’t manage to make it pay.

We never looked comfortable when they attacked, although the two young CBs didn’t do much obviously wrong.

Bobby P

Ramsey’s decision making was very poor today


Why “today”?

westside stevie


Ponsonby Gooner

Strange numbers and a strange match overall. The early shots they had on goal seemed quite lacklustre and I thought whatever game plan we were set up with from the start worked quite well up until Coutinho scored the free kick. Quite how they managed to score 3 past us in such quick succession after the break, I can’t really understand- all were well taken goals on the back of a wave of confidence maybe. Its v frustrating to have lost our opening game again particularly at home but its way to early to jump to any conclusions about how… Read more »


The Club only have themselves to blame, but providing they finish in the top 4 and qualify for the last 16 of the CL they won’t give the slightest of fucks


This is a very good assessment of what went wrong. All too often, we looked stuck playing out of defence. Chambers would look like he had nowhere to go because Le Coq and El Nino were too high, and so were the full backs (Bellerin in particular, who thinks he is a winger). So Chambers would pass to…Holding! When Per and Kos play, you’ll see them take the ball up further to connect with the midfield or call the midfield back to them. That’s a difference in experience. Although Chambers’ speed of thought worries me, and I suspect he is… Read more »


Wengers last season. Diego simeone please, bring in greizeman too ?


Speaking about numbers, apparently we have identified all the players we needed and everything on that player purchase criteria is ok apart from one thing. We are busy in the market trying to figure their resale value. Hey Barca and City (you know how Arsene usually rips them off), If I gave you Mustafi or Lacazette in 3 years, would you be interested? For just 150 m a piece. I understand but you know how the market is inflated these days. Good players are hard to come by and I tell you one or two of them will be top… Read more »


And why the fuck wasn’t cazorla playing? Ramsey ain’t a no 10 player plus Santi had a good preseason and was recovering in the euros aswel. Wenger you are deluded at times!!!!! We ain’t getting shit! He ain’t gonna spend shit!!! The geeza acts like it’s his own fucking money, plus he gets a good salary too from our money and support!!! He’s a fucking joke, now his time is up. Better managers available, don’t get me wrong AW is a genius but I think it’s about time we change. I had a curry this evening…a king chicken biriyani then… Read more »


Arsernal need to sell some British players who are keeping this team down and not giving other younger players the opportunity to join the first team, first, sell Ramsay, Ox, Theo and Gib, rhey are not good, purchase a central defender, central striker and attacking right mid fielder who scores goals.


Ox cared a lot more than most. When the 4th goal went in he smashed some water bottles all over the place. Wasn’t surprised when he came on and scored and tried to get the crowd fired up.


If there was a stat for Mental Strength, Arsenal’s would be a poo emoji.


These are worrying times, you know it’s bad when your significant other asks why you aren’t screaming and shouting at the tv anymore.. I wonder how mahrez is feeling at Leicester ryt now.. Cause we could really do with his touch.. A man can only dream.. It seems.. But the ox looked like another man last night! That was one of the highlights if any.. That pace


I did notice the gap between the Mids and defenders in the first half. Cocquelin runs away from having to face his goal when receiving the ball. When Xhaka came on, the difference was night and day.


Before the first half, I was telling myself we must go into the second half with a lead and Holding had to go and grab someone. I feel Cech could have adopted some movements from other goalkeepers when they face freekicks, they take a gamble and move to the direction where the wall protects just in case its a precision shot by someone really talented in the top corner. I suspect, Klopp’s instructions were to up the pressure right from the whistle of second half and we barely coped. Just like the article said there was too much space between… Read more »


Well new season same poo we paid price for having inexperienced centre halfs , be fair wasn’t a foul for the free kick but still we were shit . If a team lets mane run past players and score a goal then that team don’t deserve to win a game .


Our game simply doesn’t function without Cazorla playing at present. Midfield pivot should be Cazorla and then one of Xhaka, Elneny or Coquelin. It again means Ramsey doesn’t start or gets put put wide right, which does work but he doesn’t like it.

I thought we looked good in the first half but that was down to Liverpool not pressing, when they did we struggled. We badly need a CB who can pass from the back too..


You’re right, last year with Cazorla in the middle and Ramsey on the right, and everywhere, was quite successful and good to watch.


Thanks for the stats, and I do agree with you when you conclude the team didn’t really “dominate” on the first half. But i also think your analysis is a little short on the game as a whole, because they fail to explain how and why Arsenal could score 2 goals after those devastating 25 minutes, and to be fair they could could also have equalised. How do you explain that with the stats? you do have the stats for the whole game, right?


I was shocked by the amount of space we afforded Liverpool in the first hour of the game and it’s clear to see what happened. Our forward players tried to press high up the pitch but our backline stayed very deep. Elneny and Coq were caught in between and were easily outmanouvered. Shocking that Wenger couldn’t spot and correct that. Or a leader on the pitch try and address it!


Be patient guys… Another 4-5 years he would have not choice but to leave

Dial square

3…..the number of goals scored by Lacazette’s


Looking at yesterday’s performance will any potential still be interested in joining The Arsenal?


Yes, although it was awful to ship four goals at home it was a bizarre kind of game. We were missing lots of key players yesterday (Liverpool a couple as well) Wenger’s team selection didn’t work either, Santi has to be starting big games for us, he won’t play all our games but he’s so important to the way we play in terms of building out from the back and no one in our team can do what he does for us. I’m not writing the season off but our lack of planning going into the first game of the… Read more »


The most important stat is +10 years with below par performances in the league. Wenger was great, but he must step down. Bring Laudrup, Koeman, de Boer, somebody with taste for good football, experience and YOUNG




What a ludicrous game

on another note, Klopp the man nevermind his teams are a joy to watch. from foaming at the mouth to down to earth affection to laughing at the silliness of it all as his team concedes the first goal, it’s hard to take your eyes off him and not feel a certain amount of warmth for him


i will say again, its time for wenger to go. I actually watched the game fully expecting a loss. the loss didn’t even hurt. that’s what wenger has done to me. I also expect ozil and sanchez to agitate to leave next season.


Cazorla needs to be on the team, he adds pace and creativity. Campbell needs to be trusted and get inserted on the starting XI, somewhere between RW or even center forward. Walcott hard effort but limited on skills, he should not be starting.


If Wenger can make the same mistakes, I can write the same report, so: As soon as Scousers came out second half putting young defenders under pressure, we could no longer pass out of defence. Worryingly our midfielders were also unable to control and pass when the panic balls came to them,. Santi’s arrival improved that but too late by then. Coq always seemed likely to get a red and Granit then went into competition with him to get it. It was clear that Coq should come off for safety. Also clear that changes were required to protect defenders. Why… Read more »


The above picture should, henceforth, be the official portrait of Arsene Wenger (Cover your face in shame). He has lost the plot. A manager of over 20 years experience who is never prepared at the start of every season? Almost every football player on planet earth would be delighted to play for Arsenal Football Club, yet Arsene Wenger never finds any player from January to December in all corners of the earth? GIVE ME A BREAK


I agree with all you said except ” Almost every football player on planet earth would be delighted to play for Arsenal Football Club”.
I think Arsene damaged this club so much that not even that FC Vardy wants to come.

A Different George

I am a little surprised that people don’t draw the obvious lesson from the statistics: Centre-halfs are key in Arsenal’s beginning play and Chanbers and Holding were not good enough on the ball. Coq and Elneny were there to screen for them defensively (which worked in the first half), but without Santi or Ramsey to receive the ball from the back, the play kept going sideways between Holding and Chambers or to Monreal, and this allowed Liverpool (once Klopp had spoken to them at halftime) to press successfully.

Lula da Gilberto

The biggest indictment i can think of os that noone is surprised.