Category Archives: The 7amkickoff Index

I like how Luis Suarez pulls back his sock to reveal the devestating injury that Szczesny supposedly inflicted.

Liverpool v. Arsenal: stats preview

  • Arsenal are third in the league in goals scored with 47, Liverpool are second with 58
  • Arsenal have scored more (25) away goals than home (23)
  • Liverpool have only conceded 8 goals at Anfield, second best home record, only bettered by Arsenal
  • Liverpool have scored the second most home goals in the League (33) and have already scored as many goals at Anfield this season as all of last
  • Suarez has scored 23 of Liverpool’s goals this season. That’s the same number of goals as he scored all of last season. Suarez has taken 84 fewer shots to score those 23 goals this year over last (103 v. 187)
  • Suarez has scored 16 of his 23 goals at Anfield this season, 70% of his total goals.
  • Suarez is averaging 6.3 shots per game at home meaning that he’s scoring every 3.5 shots on average
  • Suarez has scored in 8 of his 9 home games (all but the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa)
  • 15 of Suarez’ 16 home goals have come against bottom 10 teams. In fact, Suarez has only played one top 10 team at home, Everton, and he did score.
  • In fact, Suarez has only scored 3 goals against top 10 teams this season
  • Olivier Giroud has scored 6 goals on away days, 1 less than Suarez’ away record
  • Podolski has scored all three of his goals in away games
  • Both Arsenal and Liverpool lead the League with goals scored off headers with 9
  • Arsenal’s goals have actually come in a very evenly distributed manner: 19 goals with right foot, 19 goals with left foot, and 9 from headers. No other team has such an equal distribution between left and right and only three teams are left foot dominant (Hull, Palace, Cardiff).
  • Arsenal have only scored 3 goals in the first halfs of each of the last 10 matches.
  • Arsenal had scored 12 goals in the first halfs of each of the previous 14 matches
  • Arsenal’s opposition are scoring on one of every 50 shots from outside the 18 yard box (best in the League), one in every 26 shots inside the area (excluding the Red Zone*), and one in every 3 shots in the Red Zone.
  • Arsenal are scoring one in every 23 shots from outside the 18 yard box, one in every 7 inside the box and one in every 4 in the Red Zone
  • Liverpool are tied with Chelsea for most prolific team from outside the 18 yard box, they have score 12 goals from distance this season, 8 of those have been at home, 5 of those 8 goals from distance have been scored by Suarez, off just 25 shots (not including blocked shots)
  • Arsenal are the only team who have stopped Liverpool from scoring when both Suarez and Sturridge have played together (from the 442 app)
  • “Liverpool have won just one of their last 13 Premier League games against Arsenal and none of the last six at Anfield” (also the 442 app)
  • Liverpool lead the League in defensive errors with 28, Arsenal are second with 23.
  • However, Arsenal have only conceded 4 times from those 23 errors, all away
  • Liverpool have conceded 6 times from those errors, just 1 at home.


*Red Zone refers to the area in the 6 yard box, extending in a T to the penalty spot, this:

red zone


Who has the better center back pair, Arsenal or Chelsea?

Almost daily right now I get asked to use WhoScored or Squawka to compare X player to Y player and I understand, because it’s entirely my fault having helped popularize stats in football with this blog and with my column on Arseblog News. And I have usually obliged the requests and will often post some boring old “here’s a box, with some numbers in it” style answer. It satisfies, or perhaps mollifies the crowds but really, let’s face it, people like shiny new things. So, I made you this:


What I did here was take Mertesacker and Koscielny’s numbers and mashed them up into one beast and then took Cahill and Terry’s numbers and mashed them up into an uglier beast. Then, instead of dividing by Per90 or by the number of matches that they played, I just used their bulk stats. So, clearances is the total number of clearances that each pairing made, interceptions is the same, tackles and everything except passes. I chose to do passes on a per game basis because it would really look weird to have several thousand events in one category and “two” in assists.

Now, as you can see, the four center backs are similar in some ways and different in others.

Similar: all four center backs clear the ball at nearly identical rates. Chelsea clear slightly more than Arsenal on a per game basis but because of injury to Cahill their bulk numbers are basically the same. Passes per game are also almost exactly the same and all four players pass the ball at an 87-92% rate.

Actually, Arsenal have the edge here because Mertesacker and Koscielny lead the League (no.1 and 2) in pass percent (not included in the graph above). Not only are the two Arsenal men overall better at making the average pass, they are vastly superior in long passes. This could be down to the fact that Terry and Cahill don’t have a target man up front but for whatever reason, Per-Koz have only misplaced 21 of their 161 long passes (13%) while Cah-Ter have misplaced 86 of 229 (38%). To make this point even clearer, Per-Koz have completed a total of 140 long passes and Cah-Ter 143, that’s despite the Chelsea players attempting 68 more long passes.

The other advantage for the Arsenal pair is in interceptions and tackles, which is shown above. The interceptions number (100-39) is almost entirely down to the speed of Koscielny. Koz could very well be the fastest center back in the League and it shows not only in his ability to steal the ball off opposition strikers (3 per game, 4th best in the League) but also in his ability to recover and get back for a block.

As for tackles, Mertesacker and Koscielny have attempted and won more tackles than Cazza-Tazza but the truth is that you don’t really want your center backs making a lot tackles because the dangers involved as last man. And Koz again gets the plaudits here, whereas Terry and Mertesacker are 52% tacklers and Cahill is slightly better with 57%, Koz is 63%. To put it another way, Terry and Cahill have only combined for 27 successful tackles, Koz alone has 32 (combined, Arsenal’s CBs have 56 successful tackles).

Where the Chelsea duo have the advantage is in aerial duels won. Both Chelsea CBs attempt more aerials and are more successful than the Arsenal pair. Cahill wins 73% of his duels (66/91) and Terry wins 66% (75/114). Meanwhile, Arsenal’s Big Flying German wins 73% of his duels (65/89), but Koscielny is only a coin flip at 52% and oddly has only even attempted 52 total aerial duels. Over his career, Koz has been better, 62% in his first year and 64% last season, so I have to wonder if his low numbers both in terms of attempts per game and in success isn’t by design on the part of Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould: especially on set play defense, where Olivier Giroud is often deployed to clear opposition corners.

The Chelsea duo also have the advantage in terms of the small numbers at the bottom: errors, goals, and assists. Because these are such small numbers (2 assists for Chelsea, e.g.) they could swing rapidly at any time over the next 10-12 games so, take them with a Himalayan grain of salt.

Not shown above is that when Mertesacker and Koscielny have started together this season (in the League) Arsenal have won 14. drawn 3, and lost 2. That’s good enough for 2.36 ppg. This is almost exactly the same as Gazza-Jazza who have played 17 together, won 12, drawn 1, and lost 1 for 2.35ppg.

That said, there is a significant population of people who will point out that for both of Arsenal’s losses with Per-Koz, Koscielny missed part of the game. Against Villa, Koscielny was shown a red card in the 66th minute, after which Tony Moon scored the 3rd Villa goal. Arguably, Arsenal were already in a losing position at that point in the game. Also, Kozzer came off injured in the 41st minute against City, after which City put four goals on us, though, again, the Citizens were already up 2-1 and again Arsenal were in a losing position. Still, if we take away the goals that Arsenal conceded when either Koz or Per were off the pitch, the Arsenal center back pairing have only allowed 12. Meanwhile, the Chelsea pair have allowed 13.

No matter how you look at it, this is an extremely close call. Do you prefer blockheaded lumberjacks pounding balls out of the backfield or nimble defenders stealing the ball and distributing to kick start a counter attack. It’s close, but I give this one to Arsenal’s center backs.

Because I’m biased.



Arsenal v. Crystal Palace: stats preview

  • Tony Pulis has faced Arsene Wenger 12 times: winning 3, drawing 2, losing 7
  • Matches with TP v. AW have averaged 1.67 goals for Arsenal and just 1 goal for TP
  • Tony Pulis has spent €30m on transfers this season (net)*
  • In Tony Pulis’ time at Stoke, he spent €110m in transfers (net)*
  • In that same time, Arsene Wenger has earned €10m in transfers (net)*
  • Before the last time Arsenal faced Crystal Palace this season, Arsenal had only kept 1 clean sheet in 8 Premier League matches
  • After Crystal Palace, Arsenal have kept 9 clean sheets in 15 League matches
  • Crystal Palace have kept 2 consecutive clean sheets and have won both matches 1-0 off Jason Puncheon goals
  • Jason Puncheon has scored Palace’s last three goals
  • Palace have scored just 5 away goals, the worst in the League
  • Arsenal have only allowed 6 goals at home, the best in the League
  • Arsenal have not lost at home in the last 10 games in all competitions
  • Arsenal have not conceded a goal at home in the last 456 minutes in all competitions (Deulofeu)
  • Arsenal have scored a first half goal in just one of their last 7 League matches
  • Arsenal scored a first half goal in 11 of their first 16 League matches
  • Arsenal have scored a goal in a prime position (right in front of goal) in 9 of their last 12 League matches
  • Arsenal have conceded a goal in a prime position in just 4 of their last 12 League matches
  • Arsenal conceded 5 goals in prime positions in one of those matches (Man City)
  • When these two teams last met, Palace took 13 shots to Arsenal’s 10 but Palace only got two shots off against Arsenal in prime positions and Arsenal got 5, scoring 2
  • Szczesny made a save of the season against Jedniak’s strike in the last match
  • Szczesny needs just one more save (71) to match last season’s total of 72 saves, this seems significant, until you realize he only played 25 matches last season and tomorrow will be his 24th match this season
  • He also has the same number of clean sheets as last season (10)
  • Rosicky has made 13 League appearances for Arsenal this season and Arsenal have only lost once (Aston Villa) but have won 9 of those matches
  • Mertesacker leads the League in pass% with 92.8%
  • In fact, Arsenal have 4 of the top 5 passers in the League: Mertesacker, Koscielny, Flamini, and Arteta (5th inn the League)
  • Koscielny is 4th in the League in Interceptions per game (2.9) and first among center backs
  • Crystal Palace have only scored 8 goals from open play, the fewest in the League
  • Crystal Palace also have the fewest short passes per game average (280) and Arsenal have the second most (516, Swansea are tops)
  • Crystal Palace lead the League in tackles per game (22.3) and Arsenal are 8th best in that category (19.7)
  • Crystal Palace are second per game in interceptions (16.5) second behind Manchester Everton
  • Crystal Palace are the worst team in the League at retaining possession and they are the worst in pass percent
  • Though they are second best in aerial duels won per game (24.2)
  • And, naturally, they are second worst in shots per game


*data from transfermarkt