Friday 15 December 2017

Arsenal clock up 100 goals - but still lag behind 'boring' Chelsea

Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the third goal for Arsenal
Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the third goal for Arsenal Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith

When Alexis Sanchez rounded Steve Harper and casually rolled in Arsenal's third goal at Hull on Monday, he was not just setting the seal on another Champions League qualification bid.

The Chilean's effort also ensured that Arsene Wenger's side have now clocked up a century of goals in all competitions this season - becoming just the eighth team in Europe's major leagues to achieve the feat.

But how do the goals break down - and how do they compare to their rivals at home and abroad?

When are they scored?

This graph shows how Arsenal's goalscoring has developed over the season:

When Arsenal scored their goals

Date (Goals scored)

Sep 1 (9)

Oct 1 (16)

Nov 1 (26)

Dec 1 (37)

Jan 1 (54)

Feb 1 (64)

Mar 1 (77)

Apr 1 (90)

May 1 (97)

May 4 (100)

The notion of Arsenal racking up a ton of goals would have seemed improbable back in October. Then, a sluggish start to the season saw Arsenal lagging well behind their Premier League rivals in the race for a top-four finish, and struggling to keep pace with the Premier League's leading scorers.

hey scored 37 goals in the first three-and-a-half months of the season, and it was only when December kicked in that Arsenal began to put their foot on the accelator. Wenger's team plundered 19 goals in December and have only failed to find the net twice in matches since then - against Southampton in January, and Chelsea last month.

There is also a striking trend relating to when Arsenal are most dangerous within games. This graph breaks down when they score goals in matches:

When are Arsenal most dangerous in games?

Time (Goals)

0-15 (12)

16-30 (18)

31-45 (23)

46-60 (10)

61-75 (16)

76-90 (20)

ET (1)

The evidence suggests that Arsenal are particularly lethal towards the end of halves, presumably when sides who have spent much of the previous 45 minutes chasing the ball begin to tire and commit mistakes.

How are they scored?

This is a break-down of how Arsenal's 100 goals have been scored this season:

How are Arsenal's goals scored?

Goal type (Tally)

Head (11)

Left foot (29)

Right foot (59)

Own goal (1)

It will be of little surprise that a relatively small percentage of Arsenal's goals - just over 10 per cent - have been scored from headers, given Wenger's predilection for swift, short passing and an almost allergic attitude to crossing.

 Compare them to West Brom - managed by the anti-Wenger, in Tony Pulis - and the trend is thrown into even starker relief: an extraordinary 42% of Albion's Premier League goals this season have been headers.

That also applies to where Arsenal score their goals:

Where do Arsenal score their goals?

Effort struck Goals

Inside area 87

Outside area 13

When faced with the prospect of sliding an angled pass to a scurrying midfielder making a darting but utterly unthreatening run, or having a shot at goal, Wenger's players tend to plump for the former - which doubtless helps explain why their percentage of goals scored from outside the area remains relatively low (Sunderland, by way of contrast, have scored 21% of their league goals this season from outside the box).

Who scores them?

There's no great surprise when it comes to the most lethal attackers in Wenger's side: Alexis Sanchez's tally now stands at 21, while Olivier Giroud has 18 and Aaron Ramsey 10. What is more striking is the sheer volume of different goalscorers in Arsenal's ranks:

Number of different goalscorers

Team Name (Goalscorers)

Arsenal (21)

Liverpool (18)

Manchester City (17)

Chelsea (16)

Crystal Palace (16)

Newcastle United (16)

Tottenham Hotspur (16)

Hull City (15)

Everton (14)

Leicester City (14)

West Bromwich Albion (14)

West Ham United (14)

Aston Villa (13)

Manchester United (13)

Southampton (13)

Swansea City (13)

Stoke City (11)

Sunderland (11)

Queens Park Rangers (10)

Burnley (9)

Arsenal have had 21 different scorers this season - three more than their nearest rivals, Liverpool, and five more than the champions, Chelsea. The table also highlights the relatively small spread of scorers at Manchester United this season: Louis van Gaal's goals have been scored by just 13 different players this season, the smallest spread of any top seven club other than Southampton.

How do they compare?

Arsenal might like to consider themselves the great entertainers, but the bald facts are that they still lag behind many of their great European rivals.

Who has scored most goals this season?

Team Goals Games played

Barcelona 159 53

Real Madrid 147 54

Bayern Munich 117 47

Paris Saint-Germain 110 55

Chelsea 105 51

Sevilla 105 54

Arsenal 100 51

VfL Wolfsburg 100 48

Barcelona and Real Madrid are way out in front of Wenger's side in terms of goals scored this term, having racked up an astonishing 159 and 147 goals respectively - tallies that are, admittedly, helped by the relative povertry of opponents in the nether regions of La Liga (8-0 versus Cordoba, anyone?).

 But perhaps the most galling statistic for Wenger, given his attitude to all things Jose Mourinho, is that Chelsea actually have 105 goals from the same number of games played this season (51).

It might make Gunners fans think twice before they next start striking up a rendition of 'Boring, boring Chelsea'...

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