Arsenal striking statistics through the roof! | Will Wenger’s BIG decision pay off?

by .


Well, well, well. Arsene knows. Right?

He certainly sensed that Ludogorets might pull a number in Paris. I watched PSG lose to Montpellier at the weekend by 3 and it certainly appears Emery is having a struggle with his side at the moment. I really didn’t think that result was in threat, but hey, this is football and these things happen.

The good news is not only do we finish top of the group, we also qualify without losing a game… for the first time since our incredible run in 2005/06 when we reached the final playing out some epic battles with a pretty avg squad. Also worth noting that we deserved to finish top because we had a far better goal difference. Say what you want about the rules, that particular one is a total joke. So the footballing gods definitely owed us the upset.

So, down to business, according to the BBC who I’ve done a cut and paste job on, we could face:

  • Bayern Munich, their conquerors in 2013 and 2014
  • One of Borussia Dortmund or Real Madrid
  • Benfica
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • One of Porto or FC Copenhagen
  • One of Juventus, Seville or Lyon

So all up in the air really. Ideal teams would be Leverkusen who sit 9th having conceded a goal a game. Porto who sit 3rd in their league behind the impressive Benfica and Sporting. Copenhagen, because we LOVE playing in that city. Maybe Lyon, though the thought of going up against 12 goal Lacazette after fobbing him off for being overpriced does worry me… but the reality is Lyon sit 6th in their league and aren’t the force they once were.

Dortmund (Tuchel getting spanked by Wenger would shut me up), Sevilla under Sampioli (guy who had Chile purring), Munich (who have stuttered) and Madrid would not be ideal. But hey, you have to beat them all…

We deserve a plum draw after 6 years of pulling favourites.

Looking back at the game, you can’t help but be impressed that we’re 2 games into December, we’ve created 31 chances, put 17 on target and banged in 9 goals. Quite the turnaround from 11 goals from 10 shots on target in November (or whatever it was in the end).

What made yesterday even more beautiful is that Lucas Perez, who I’d wondered about in yesterday’s post, came in and played through the middle and dropped the sort of performance Franny Jeffers was supposed to bring to the table. Two poachers goals crafted from beautiful interplay, along with a real strikers goal with a low buried shot to the back post. It was also special to see Alex Iwobi find himself back on the score sheet after having his confidence shaken against Spurs a few weeks ago.

Whisper it… out squad is not only good on paper, it’s doing a job on the field. I mean, fu*k the League Cup. Anyone crying over that now?

The only negatives, and I keep harping on about this, but Wenger couldn’t resist taking and playing Ozil and Sanchez. Sure, they were integral to our play and both had hands in the goals. Ozil playing superb passes to start moves and Sanchez doing his best to get involved too. The two are undroppable, but as we’ve seen so many times in the past, these boys aren’t invincible… and there are very few names in the world that can be undroppable these days. Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and Suarez can afford to because they don’t have many intense games. But not in the Premier League. Beasting players always kicks back at you in the end.

We could have done the job without those two and we should have. But hey, I’ll celebrate the moment, just don’t accuse me of being knee jerk if the worst happens.

I’m hammering the point, but I’ve seen it so many times before. Hopefully the club are doing more behind the scenes to look after bodies (or Wenger is seriously listening to his excellent backroom team). We now head into a 3 game period where I don’t think there’s any chance we’ll see any of our star names rotated because the games are too important. So let’s just hope that we take advantage of the extra day against City and let’s hope we don’t pay a Premier League price for taking a full squad away to a game our reserves, or at least a half reserve team could have taken care of.

Back to positives. Granit Xhaka schooled his old team in passing terms, he made a whopping 104 with a 94% pass completion rate, made 14 ball recoveries, 3 tackles and 4 interceptions. All action hero. Aaron Ramsey only made half the passes, with a 90% completion rate, but dropped 3 tackles and made 8 recoveries. Ozil a bit behind him in the passing numbers but made 15 successful passes in the final 3rd with 88% completion rate. A good night for the midfield, but a better one from the defence who all chalked up impressive numbers.

Final shout out of the match goes to Kieran Gibbs. I’ve been a big critic of him over the years, so much potential, a lack of fight to deliver it… but jeez, was he good yesterday. He looked like a world-class wideman at times. Involved in the first two goals with an assist and a blocked shot, integral to the third with the interception and release.

A big 12 days ahead… sail through these, and you’ll have me and the doubters believing Arsene!

The victory train chugs on…

243 Responses to “Arsenal striking statistics through the roof! | Will Wenger’s BIG decision pay off?”

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  1. Joe

    Alex is the biggest troll here.

    Wenger has said kronke never stops wenger in the transfer market.

    Wenger has said you muppet troll

    You’re so wrong.

    Get lost troll

  2. steve

    “Been a long time Arsenal topped its CL group, so this gives me great pleaseure. In fact, last time we did, we got to the final.”


    Not true.

    “I am willing to bet most of the teams in Europe will not be looking forward to drawing this Arsenal team either.”


    I’d say most teams in the CL would fancy their chances against Arsenal.

  3. Ozy

    @Joe: “Seriously if you were a season ticket holder and living in London , who would you rather see.

    Real, Dortmund Juve or Bayern.

    Or benfica or bayer

    Not that I’m
    Saying we would beat those teams but for the star attractions”

    Disgusting formatting aside, will you be standing outside of the stadium trying to get a signature, Joe? I’d want the easiest draw every single time. Lmao, star attractions..

  4. Joe

    Disgusting formatting aside, will you be standing outside of the stadium trying to get a signature, Joe? I’d want the easiest draw every single time. Lmao, star attractions..

    Typical stupid comment from a brainless akb.

  5. silverhawk

    Why you guys keep replying to Joe’s comments is a big myth to me… Ignore the troll. The doesn’t deserve the stress.

  6. Joe

    Silver hawk you brainiac

    How is it trolling saying I would rather play real, Bayern , Dortmund or Juve than Bayer or benfica or Porto

    Seems you don’t even know what trolling means but just throw it out because someone else did.

    Fucking sheep

  7. OC Gooner

    OK (looks in mirror, considers not taking the bait)

    I’m really just a reader here and typically amused, but there’s a whole shit-ton of stupid being spouted recently.

    1. The Line-Up

    Sending out a strong line-up is a signal to the team and the supporters that Wenger believes in a winning mentality and consistency when it comes to his priority targets. I think everyone here agrees that Alexis, Koscielny, and Ozil, in maybe that order, are the first three names on the sheet. You never seem them in a League Cup games, and Wenger is willing to rotate everyone else to keep them fresh, even in important competitions (UCL>League>FA Cup>League Cup being the priority list, it seems). He knew that there was a possibility of PSG dropping points and felt compelled to field a strong side in order to put the club in a position to take advantage. A strong Arsenal side will have those three players in the line-up. That’s true of every team in the world, BTW, not just Arsenal. Messi starts all the important games for Barcelona, so this isn’t a “depth” issue. the UCL is a high priority, and if we have the opportunity to improve out position there, Wenger is going to start his top 3 players if fit. Period. And that’s the right thing to do.

    2. Squad Depth

    Every team has indispensable, undroppable players. I believe we have three (see above). I’m hard-pressed to think of a good team that has less than three undroppable players. We do have excellent depth and ability to rotate outside of those three players and can even paper over the cracks when those three are out, especially when (if?) Cazorla returns. Every other position has multiple options.

    3. Arsenal Budget

    First off, Arsenal have a budget, with constraints. PSG and City really don’t. Chelsea is similar. AC And Inter had very unconstrained budgets in the 2000s until each changed ownership. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and United are out of sight on the revenue side, mostly because of decades of success building their global brands and the way the TV contract is structured in Spain (look it up). Arsenal is still years away from that kind of brand. Bayern and Juve have similar brand strength and history and utilize that for commercial revenues, though the TV contracts and gate receipts are much lower in Germany and Italy.

    Wenger had to live within a budget, and one that is healthy but not out of sight. He’s in a league where three of his competitors operate until either very loose budgets or with much higher revenue to create a budget from. In addition, he had to be very careful in the early days of the stadium due to uncertain construction costs and uncertain revenue on the property sales side since the entire world of real estate imploded as Arsenal was trying to market and sell the excess development property. He (rightly) assessed that the only way to keep Arsenal successful at the time and maintain healthy revenue streams was to capitalize on young (cheap) players. And he actually pulled it off. The team was entertaining and competitive. Once the debt was restructured and significantly paid down and revenues increased, the risk of investment decreased and be started buying world class players. Kroenke doesn’t tell Wenger he can or can’t purchase a plyer and always gives Wenger a budget, but Wenger knows that he has to stay within budget or can only go outside of it for something truly exceptional since he knows there are finite resources. Mourinho, on the other hand, has pretty much operated outside of budgets or with really high-revenue teams, and can spread money around as he sees fit without a lot of constraints. Too many people with no business or financial experience comment about Arsenal’s financial and business strategy on here. Most of them are either deceptive or ignorant.

    4. The Season
    We’re doing very well. The EFL loss is in a very low-priority competition and was treated as such. The only other loss, to Liverpool, was a 4-3 game where we started our 5th and 6th choice centerbacks and were missing Ozil. Also, that’s not poor planning. You don’t purchase international-class players to paper over 1-2 game issues. See January transfer window. Second in the league, first in UCL group with solid goal differentials is a great place to be. We are the best-positioned English club team right now. It’s hard to complain about that. Unless you aren’t really a supporter of the team. Or you are so blinded by hatred of the manager that you’ve stopped being a supporter.

  8. JJ

    Underrated – we need that many as we ALWAYS have injuries. As soon as Welbeck comes back someone else will get hurt (more like him again)…. and who cares about money? We have loads to pay our stars and then some. I’d rather spend it on a good squad than sit on it.

  9. reality check

    Quality player. Being destroyed by jose. Wish players would just stick to the football.

    Leicester looking disinterested. Already through so…

  10. karim

    Lyon need 2 goals v Sevilla, they already hit the bar twice and the ref forgot a blatant pen.
    0/0 half-time
    One of those nights I suppose..

  11. Joe

    Benfica. Bayern. Bayer L. RM. Porto. Sevilla

    are our possible opponents.

    Benfica. Bayer. Porto are the 3 cushy draws

    Sevilla a little bit tougher.

    Madrid and Bayern the two big draws.

  12. Joe

    It’s funny that alex actually thinks people
    Like him
    On here. One who was begged by almost everyone on here to fuck off all summer.

    Ironic isn’t it alex

  13. Alexanderhenry


    It’s a lot funnier that you just called Marc a ‘cunt’ and insulted his wife- even though he doesn’t have one, and now you’re asking him who he’d like arsenal to face in the next round.

  14. Joe


    You absolute simpleton

    It’s called banter because he said I hadn’t called wenger a cunt yet. And he also said I make
    Red interesting so I made a joke about a Pic if his wife

    If you weren’t such a boring fucker maybe you’d see the sarcasm in it.

    Are you really that clueless?

  15. Joe


    Seriously. Who do you think you are??

    No one cares what you think on here.

    You consider yourself some
    High and mighty poster on le grove.

    Get the fuck over yourself.

  16. raptora

    We can have a true european night in the quaters or semis. Anyone else but Bayern or Real. Not just yet. Give us an easy draw to get past this bloody 1/8 and then with some more belief we can fancy our chances against a top top side.

  17. Marc


    As long as though don’t begin with a “B” I’ll be happy really had enough of those BBBBastards.

    The CL group stages are a bore feast it’d just be nice for a change to last more than one round as it gets interesting.

  18. Alexanderhenry


    I’m just an arsenal fan. I support the team and I’m happy when when they win and sad when they lose.

    You get angry when arsenal win and gloat when they lose.

    That’s not an arsenal fan.

  19. Joe


    You’re an arsene wenger fan. End of.

    Don’t tell me what I am or am not

    Been supporting Arsenal since the 80s. Don’t need a loser like you to tell
    Me how to
    Support Arsenal

  20. Joe

    anyway. I’m hoping for Madrid. It’s why we are in the CL. To play the best teams in Europe. Not the benfica’s or Bayer L

    My feeling anyway

  21. Joe

    And why not real. Dortmund just went there and drew and were equal with them
    And has chances to win

    If they can. Why can’t wenger ?

  22. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Hand on heart
    It would be better if we draw on paper a strong team, think Monaco everyone expected a breeze through , -Alas…..

    So bring it on

    We have home advantage …don’t forget …

  23. Wallace


    nice! I remember Beckham was furious afterwards. apparently they’d thought we wouldn’t go for it in the away leg.

  24. Joe


    If you dont think you can beat Real Madrid in the round of 16, do you really think we are going to win the tournament? Do you really think we will get benfica’s all the way until the end?

    And would you put money on us beating Bayer, Porto or benfica. Or would you be too worried about us pulling a Monaco?psv?

  25. HillWood

    Let another team beat the big boys in the knock outs.
    Who knows which team will be in form when the competition resumes?

  26. somerandomperson

    “It would be weird if you loved aChelsea player”

    No it wont be in legrove. You can claim yourself real Arsenal fan and not an AKB and love all Chelsea players, manager, fans. You could have an option to replace Chelsea with Man Utd too. All you need to do is label every one else as AKBs.

  27. HillWood

    If Sanchez wants £ 400 k a week and says he get that in China then fuck him off to China
    No player is bigger than the club

  28. reality check

    Girouds agent saying he won’t leave

    Hahahahahaha oh oli you plonker. As if you’d ever leave the “paradise” that is Arsenal.

  29. reality check

    HillWoodDecember 7, 2016 23:57:46
    Players pay should be performance related.
    When they are shite they earn less

    True. Unfortunately this is where the agent steps in and says ‘if you want my clients services you must remove that stipulation from the contract, and by the way, we’ve had offers from real barca and china’

    You know when we hear reports that, ‘a fee has been agreed but personal terms are still yet to be finalised’.. Yeah, all that bollocks.

  30. Goonereris

    Alexander, ‘Remember it well. Henry, unplayable’.

    From those captions, it is clear every team has some team they would rather avoid in the last 16. It’s part of the pre-draw talk. When it is done, any of the teams will play whoever they draw. I will rather be 1st place and if the draw says Bayern or Madrid, approach the game like a side that topped their group.

    Like I recalled earlier in this thread, we beat Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal on the way to the ’06 final. Bring it on, I say.

  31. Goonereris

    Sorry, Alex. I guess there must have been a glitch on my view of the comments section. Somehow, the “Arsenal news” section of the site came up under that comment I referenced; and I was referring to the caption that said Zinedine Zidane wished to avoid Juventus (for emotional reasons, I guess).

  32. Ankit_gooner

    I’d say most teams in the CL would fancy their chances against Arsenal.

    No,There are about 8 teams who would fancy their chances against us.Sure there are more teams who can beat us but as far as fancying chances against us,it has to be the top eight teams.

  33. Ankit_gooner

    “Players pay should be performance related.
    When they are shite they earn less”

    Not exactly.Of course there are performance bonuses but salary is any field is basically your replacement cost.That doesn’t change much even if you have a poor 6-12 months if you are someone like alexis or ozil

  34. Ankit_gooner

    Bayr leverkusen and sevilla are not preferable.Best bet would be the portugese clubs.If you see bayr and sevilla play,you will understand.Ozil and alexis are guranteed to have poor games against them if they are fresh.World class players can do anything if they don’t get any good options or any sort of time and space.

  35. Ankit_gooner

    Bayr leverkusen and sevilla are not preferable.Best bet would be the portugese clubs.If you see bayr and sevilla play,you will understand.Ozil and alexis are guranteed to have poor games against them if they are fresh.World class players can’t do anything if they don’t get any good options or any sort of time and space.

  36. grooveydaddy

    at this point I think I’d rather face bayern than real??

    they’re not winning the league at a canter for a change. they might actually have to play their first XI and actually expend some energy in their league games preceeding CL ties…

    plus, they’ve looked far from invincible this year

  37. Dream10

    Ozil 450k a week? Media trying to get clicks. That money is reserved for prime Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar from this generation,
    I appreciate what Sanchez offers, but I feel he’s being put on a best pedestal. He’s been terrific this season, by far his best spell over a lengthy period (few months) for Arsenal. He’s a quality player who has a couple of matches every year where he is at Messi’s or Neymar’s level. If you believe that he is our best and most important player, I can see that. I wouldn’t put him in the class of great difference makers like Thierry, both Ronaldos, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Messi, Neymar or a Robben though.

  38. Ankit_gooner

    “Ozil is a good player but one we could do without. Sanchez should get what he wants ie salary”

    Ozil > alexis.
    Football is a team game.A player who raises the team’s underlying performance is better than a someone who produces more magic but is an individualist.Of course that piece of magic changes the game state but if you raise your team mates game,chances are you are in a good game state.

  39. Ankit_gooner

    My choice-porto,benfica,bayern,real,leverkusen,sevilla.
    Our team is best when we sit deep and counter.We will get to do that if other team has superior players.We are weak against good pressing teams and teams who have an in depth tactical plan.

  40. Leedsgunner

    The last thing we need to do after topping our group is to lose our focus. 2 dangerous ways of this happening.

    If we draw a team like FC Copenhagen we become complacent and mentally place ourselves in the next round and take them lightly. We can’t do this. We need to treat each team with respect…

    … but not with too much respect. If we get Bayern or Real let’s not get too down about it and give them the tie mentally before the ball is in good form. It’s still a game of XI versus XI and we have a good squad. If anything being an underdog might suit us and encourage them to become complacent.

  41. tunnygriffboy

    Having the second leg at home is an advantage I reckon

    Re these two salaries. £220k a week should do it. There are apparently 15 players in the PL who earn more than Alexis.

    There’s also uncertainty over who manages us next season. That may be an issue. Also they may want to see progress this season and continued ambition.

    There would be meltdown if they leave. Gazidis knows this and I would imagine he’s doing everything he can to keep them. There’s a lot of click bait about, no one knows how negotiations are going apart from those involved.

  42. BacaryisGod

    I can understand all the angst over Alexis and Ozil, but the club will survive if one or both of them leave. It’s the way it has always been. Besides, they both will start to decline in 3 years anyway and we’ll likely have to replace them around 2020 no matter what. In our 130 year history, keeping them for three more years is a pretty small window of time in the scale of things.

    I would love for them both to renew but I remember how bad I felt when Brady, Stapleton, Vieira, Thierry and Cesc left and how upset my 6 year old was when Van Persie took off to Man United. He’s 10 now and doesn’t think twice about him as he pulls on his Alexis shirt to play. I’m guessing the same will happen 4 years from now when I’m buying his Christian Pulisic shirt for his 14th birthday and Alexis is fuming quietly on Real Madrid’s bench.