Thanks to our friends over at EA Sports for this mid-season update.
Some interesting stats in here – noticeably the absence of any Arsenal player in the Goalscorers Top 6. It’s hard to win anything without scoring, and Arsenal has had one of its lowest scoring seasons in ages. We have hit the woodwork a lot, had a ton of PKs not awarded, and our xG figures are shocking. Perhaps our luck will change in the next 19 games. Don’t hold your breath!
Surprisingly, Aaron Ramsey is ahead of assist-meister Özil in Assists. Özil and Sanchez both feature in the Chances Created list – but this merely serves to highlight how profligate the Gunners have been in converting all of those chances.
Sanchez – apart from losing the ball as much as he has in recent matches – has had 22 Shots On Target, only scoring from 5 of those. The Chilean’s form since his country failed to qualify for the World Cup has been terrible. Erratic, at best. It will be interesting to see if he is still an Arsenal player in February. Why would Manchester City want him? They are doing fine without him – and he would be a headache for Guardiola, who is already struggling to keep his players happy (Aguero).
Arsenal is sorely lacking a Dribbler, having sold Ox to Liverpool in the summer. The only players we have who are comfortable in taking on defenders are Wilshere, Iwobi and Alexis. Iwobi and Alexis tend to be dead-ends – their dribbles tend to end with a drool. Lets hope Jack continues to find form – we sorely need players who can break through the banks of defenders we face in every game – as the endless passing, left to right and back again, don’t seem to further our goal-seeking cause.
Another disappointment is the Successful Crosses stat: the first thing it screams to me is how on earth Bellerin makes the starting line-up week-after-week?! His crossing is atrocious, never mind the fact that for all his pace, he seems unwilling or incapable of utilizing the acres of space ahead of him, game after game. I personally can’t see the use of him. I’d rather see Debuchy there, or Reiss Nelson. Since Hector joined Man Bun United he has been useless: he reminds me of Mrs Doubtfire, and not in a good way. Kolasinac seems to be more effective crossing from the left, as does Nacho. I wonder if Ainslee Maitland Niles can play on the right? I wouldn’t be sad to see Bellerin leave.
Which brings us to Nacho – who is quite possibly my favourite Arsenal player right now. People rave about the BFG’s reading of the game – but I would propose that Nacho’s is even better, and the fact that he tops the Interceptions stat for the league would serve to support me. Nacho has been the anchor of this team for a couple of years now – whether in the centre or on the left.
Monreal also features in the Passes Completed list – which shows the pivotal role he plays in our build-up from the back. Granit Xhaka was always going to feature in this list too, as he is at the centre of everything we do. Prone to carelessness, Xhaka has been a bit of a mixed bag. He has certainly been to blame for a few calamitous goals conceded, and that doesn’t endear him to fans. It remains to be seen whether he can consistently perform the role for which he was hired. If he slots his pile-drivers home more often, that’ll help!
Ozil and Xhaka both feature in the Passes Completed In Opposition Half column – however this stat only shows how much time Arsenal tends to spend in the opposition half – and how seldom we convert that possession into goals. It is interesting to note that we have no players featuring in the Touches In Opposition Box list – although not surprising, since we spend most of our time swinging the ball backward and forward on the outside of the opposition box. That, and also the opposition box is usually overcrowded, with eleven opposition players camped out in there already.
Arsenal is not known for its Aerial Duel prowess. In fact, we have a number of players who seem to specifically avoid them: Iwobi, Özil – I’m looking at you. We also don’t defend that much (apart from panicky, last-minute heroics towards the end of games when we invite unneeded pressure.). We’re mostly caught on the break, or on shoddy set-piece defending.
Stats can be read in a million different ways – and I am certainly no @7amkickoff. These are just my observations – if you have a differing opinion, please feel free to enlighten me in the comments below.
Once again – thanks to EA Sports for the tables.
Peace! I hope you have a fantastic holiday.
Arsenal Top Goalscorers:
Alexandre Lacazette – 8 goals
Alexis Sanchez – 5 goals
Stats courtesy of EA Sports
I was eleven-and-a-half. My family had just emigrated from Rhodesia to South Africa. All the kids on my street supported United or Liverpool, because of their Southern African goalkeeper connections: Bailey for United and Grobbelaar for ‘Pool. Problem was: I didn’t like the colour red – so when FA Cup Final day came around in 1979, I supported the team in yellow, even though their name sounded like “Asshole”. At the final whistle, I had bragging rights and a team that had won my heart.
Then I discovered that the Gunners also wore red. Luckily, I remained loyal, and the Arsenal has kicked my heart around ever since… (apart from a few lost years in the ’90s and early ’00s, when I was busy doing grownup things as a composer in Hollywood).
Abandoned invinciblog.com to launch this site with 1 Nil Down 2 One Up blogfather Dave Seager – and we have used this platform to help launch the writing careers of a number of amazing Arsenal bloggers.