21 – Crosses attempted by Arsenal tonight
37 – Crosses attempted by Arsenal in the first match
2 – Crosses completed by Arsenal tonight (Xhaka, Welbeck)
2 – Crosses completed by Griezmann tonight (of 4 attempted, led all players)
14 – Crosses completed by Arsenal in the first match
1 – Cross for a shot by Arsenal tonight (corner, Xhaka to Mustafi)
1 – Cross for a shot created by Griezmann tonight
7 – Crosses for a shot by Arsenal in the first match
1 – Goal from a cross by Arsenal in the first match
43 – Tackles attempted by Arsenal tonight
31 – Tackles won by Arsenal tonight
16.6 – Average number of tackles Arsenal win per game in the Premier League
14.8 – Average number of tackles Arsenal win per game in the Europa League
7 – Tackles won by Ramsey tonight (of 7, led all players)
7 – Shots by Arsenal tonight
6 – Shots by Diego Costa tonight
1 – Shot on Target by Arsenal tonight (Xhaka)
4 – Shots on target by Diego Costa tonight
0 – Big chances for Arsenal tonight
2 – Big chances for Diego Costa tonight
0.49 – Expected goals for Arsenal tonight
1.23 – Expected goals for Diego Costa tonight
1 – Utterly crazy defensive possession where Bellerin switched off and then couldn’t catch his man, Xhaka did a funny little “head fake” tackle on Griezmann in midfield, and Diego Costa buried the Wenger segment of Bellerin’s career
Mesut was singled out for criticism by Martin Keown and on first glance at the game you could see why: Ozil did his typical job of passing quite a bit and camping in the final third but lacked a that killer final ball or shot.
Ozil averaged 3.9 key passes per game in the Europa League, 2nd best behind Sergio Canales but tonight he managed just 1.
Ozil was 2nd on Arsenal behind Xhaka in overall passing (57/67) and first among all players in final third passing (31/38). 82% passing in the final third against an Atletico side who are pressing constantly is an impressive feat. It’s also important to note that the only way to break down teams like Atletico is by using intricate passing in their area and Ozil and Jack Wilshere are keys there. Jack was 4th in the Europa League in short key passes this season.
What some people criticized is Ozil’s commitment in the tackle or his overall workrate but Ozil did win 4/4 tackles, two down the side when he was moved there, one in his own 18 yard box, and one in the opposition 18 yard box which we will get to in a minute. Four tackles for any player is great but when your attacking midfielder is making four tackles and leads the team in final third passes, that’s far from a lazy performance.
What rankled were the few chances that Arsenal did create. On the chart above, Ozil makes a tackle in the Atleti box. He then makes a dribble (his only dribble) and gets free. But instead of a shot he elected to cross. He actually did this twice in the danger area as you can see from the image below.
Those two attempted passes into the six yard box were critical. If he completed either one, he’s the hero of the day. But he misses both and Wenger goes home red eyed and ends his Arsenal career with zero european trophies.
Maybe Ozil should have shot. Maybe he was unlucky. Maybe this is just bad luck: Henry also missed in the Champions League final and Vieira missed a penalty in the first Europa League final to deny Arsene/Arsenal a European trophy before tonight. Regardless, it’s a sad night in Madrid and the reality that Arsenal’s finishing in the first leg and propensity to leak goals over both legs were the reason why Arsene Wenger and Arsenal aren’t moving on to the final.
Sources: Opta, my personal formula for the Expected Goals