Arsenal v. Burnley: the stats say this should be an easy win for the Arsenal

Man City, Man U, Tottenham, and Liverpool all dropped points this weekend and gifted Arsenal a golden opportunity to climb into second place with a win over Burnley. Though such a feat is far from guaranteed.

Much has been made of Burnley’s away form this season and for good reason. They have taken just one point in 9 matches, scoring just three goals and conceding an amazing 20 goals.

The reason Burnley are so atrocious away from home is that they are an Allardycian side: they sit deep, don’t act proactively to win the ball back, hit long balls over the top, and try to control the clock more than the ball. They do this both home and away.

Burnley attempt the third fewest passes of any away team in the League (349), the second most total long balls (81), and the 2nd highest percentage of their passes are long balls (23%). But despite playing deep and giving the opposition most of the ball this doesn’t mean that they are trying to win the ball back. This is what I mean by Allardycian.

They have the second fewest tackles of any away team (25.1) and 3rd fewest fouls (11.1). They are 9th in interceptions and that is their one and only proactive defensive stat. What they do a lot of is clearances (33.3), shots allowed (22), blocked shots (7.1), and saved shots (5.6). They are 3rd, 2nd, and 1st worst in all of those categories. In real terms, they deserve the away record that they have. As a manager, your team cannot just simply lie there are take it up em the way that Burnley do.

They are also the worst in a ton of these categories in the final 15 minutes of matches, meaning that at basically no time in the match, are they at all trying to win games. They are even dead last in shots taken in the first 15 minutes of away games (0.8), third worst in saves (0.7), and (of course) number one in aerial duels in the first 15 minutes (9.3). Their entire game plan revolves around sitting back and trying to hit opposition on counters.

Arsenal should have this.




  1. Joey Barton is an outspoken overrated journeyman footballer who thinks his intellect is higher than his ego. He is wrong.

  2. Joey Barton is an outspoken overrated journeyman footballer who thinks his intellect is higher than his ego. He is wrong. His only contribution will be getting himself a red card

  3. I had the ‘privilege’ of watching Burnley in the flesh at Man City recently. Even playing against 10 men for most of the game, they were woefully short of ambition or penetration. Frankly if we can’t seriously improve our goal difference this afternoon we don’t deserve to be thinking about winning anything even if they have added an ageing gobshite in the middle.

  4. We need to approach this match with a real frenzy at the start. An early goal or two and it should be ok. But the longer it stays 0-0, the more aggressive Burnley get in the tackle (and if the ref allows it), the harder it’ll become to score. And the greater chance that they sneak a goal at the other end.

    Normally I’d be very confident about this, but there’s just been a nagging worry that we’ll play really well without being able to score.

  5. Good Saturday of results for us no doubt and I think we have the gumption and mentality this year (whatever those things mean) not to slip on this particular banana peel.

    How about that Gabriel Jesus though? What a talent. Kid almost scores on his first two touches. Poised to terrorize the Premier League for years to come.

  6. On the contrary, Shard, with them sitting very deep, I feel we need to be patient but alert. Wonderful if we can score an early goal which will bring them out.

  7. We’ll take the points, of that I’m confident. But I think too it might be another “huff and puff” game in which we will struggle mighty to break them down.

    Would love to see Welbz in action to add some more speed and dynamism in attack. And c’mon who doesn’t love Welbeck?

    1. In the event you were right. Spot on in fact. And agree, everybody loves the big, handsome, always smiling Danny Boy.

  8. Did you think City should have had a penalty for the push on Sterling? The commentators were all adamant it was a clear penalty, but when is a push like that ever called as such?

    1. Totally. But who cares? It’s Man City! The Stoke – Man United game was even worse. The Orcs won due to the excellent officiating of the Premier League. That and United’s excruciating averageness. But as as far as I’m concerned that is a feature not a flaw.

      1. Not won but drew of course. Damn Rooney and his record. Sir Bobby Charleton looked quite…unimpressed.

  9. Was a penalty, all day long. Shame, it requires a player to go down in order to get the call. Once he failed to score, the referee should have called that move back for the pen. Sterling was hard done by yesterday on two occasions.

  10. Some refs will call it. Michael Oliver or Clattenburg will, for instance. Andre Mariner has his faults but he should be getting help from the assistant ref there.

  11. Fun? I am still catching my breath. Wow! Not sure how much more the old ticker can take of that. Sweet 3 points.

  12. Anyone seen the Xhaka red? (They were showing cricket where I am).

    Deserved? Moss, btw, is inconsistent. That’s twice now he’s sent off Xhaka. A few games ago he failed to send off a Man U player for the same kind of “dark yellow” challenge for which he sent off the Swiss against Swansea.

    1. Thought it was harsh myself. Especially as he only showed a yellow to a Burnley player who deliberately tripped Sanchez off the ball on a counter attack a few minutes earlier.

  13. This match was a statement game for the EPL’s position that refereeing excellence and accuracy doesn’t matter because the bad calls even themselves out. On Xhaka’s red, I agree that it was warranted. He was studs up, completely out of control in the air, sprinting towards the player, and dangerous. Problem is the arbitrary nature of the call. I think most of the time, refs give a yellow for this and of course, sometimes, not even a card. The lack of consistency is terrible. Frankly, I think the card was based as much on Xhaka’s reputation as anything else. And of course, both of our penalty incidents were wrong. We should’ve had a penalty in the 1st half for Gray’s foul on Mustafi(?) and Koz was offside prior to the penalty. Guess PGMOL really does believe two wrongs make a right.

    1. By the standards of the refereeing in the PL, that was nowhere close to a red. This is the second time Moss has sent off Xhaka for something which normally would not get more than a yellow.

      Yes. That foul was on Mustafi. Just seemed to reinforce my question as to when is a push in the back ever given a penalty. Especially if it doesn’t completely throw you off your feet. (Though Mustafi went down)

      I know what you are saying, but I am just relieved we got that pen call at the end. It’s not often that it evens out in our favour ever. Let alone in the space of the match.

      Moss seems like he’s a fair, but terrible ref.

    2. Having seen the replay again, I think your description is closer to the truth than it being nowhere close. We have seen some such fouls given as red. BUt it is rare, and I still think this was harsh because there was a lack of real force behind it (he only caught his toe with one foot rather than clatter through him)

      And Chelsea just got away with no penalty call against them.

    3. I thought the red card was harsh especially from another angle on the replay which happened to be closer to the view the linesman had, so how John Moss gave the red after consulting with him is a bit confusing to me. Think you are right in saying Xhaka’s reputation preceded him on that call and I highly doubt if the foul was other way round we would get the same call. In the end though, Xhaka only has himself to blame. He is getting better but needs to iron out this particular aspect of his game.

      I felt Dean Marney’s foul on Ozil soon after that incident was more dangerous as Ozil was running on full tilt.

    4. Just to highlight the inconsistency of calls, why wasn’t Ben Mee given a card, arguably a red card if not definitely a yellow for his penalty? Koz got kicked in the face and that play could definitely have caused serious injury and no card given.

  14. And is there anyone on the planet who saw 7 minutes of injury time and thought ‘That’s about right’.

    1. Yes, I did. The stretchered off guy took appx four mins, Xhaka sending off a minute and six substitutions

  15. When’s Elneny due back? We’ve just lost Xhaka for 3 games. We’re left with just Coquelin and Ramsey.

      1. It’s three games for violent conduct, with an added game because it’s his second sending off of the season.

    1. Egypt is likely to qualify for the knockout stage, so they will play at least a QF match this weekend. Earliest Elneny could play is probably the Chelsea game.

  16. We gained on 4 rivals with a beautiful 3 points in a most ugly win.

    Almost bottled it but not quite. I’ll take it, thanks very much.

  17. We gained on 4 rivals with a beautiful 3 points in a most ugly win.

    Almost bottled it but not quite. I’ll take it, thanks very much.

  18. The 4 game loss of Xhaka (even if he is reckless, his control and passing from the back is usually excellent) could be disastrous. I thought Ramsey was better today, and I rate both him and Coquelin, just not together. Neither of them has the composure and the touch to consistently build the play from the back, especially against the now ubiquitous high press. Elneny back could be helpful, whenever that happens, but Coq-Elneny tends to be too conservative in their passing (though Elneny given a run in the team can be more expansive in his passing, I think), and Elneny-Ramsey leaves our defense way too exposed. Basically, all our best central midfield combinations involve one or the other of Xhaka and Cazorla, and we’ve all seen how dire our team can look without a well functioning central midfield. Oh, and it would be handy to have Wilshere around right about now….

  19. Whatever about the manner of the win, it’s great to move up to second place. Sometimes in the past we’ve failed to take advantage of results around us. Well done to the lads for not giving up and getting the winner.

  20. Through the muddle of today’s game, Moss did at the end put us in a position to win which is all we ever ask for.
    Reputation or not, I knew that was a red card before Moss began his walk. This foul was more serious than the the foul on Barrow.
    This is the Arsenal of yore who would get a red cards and still win matches. Well done boys.
    The linesman on the far side of the pitch missed the obvious PK on Mustafi and missed Koscienly being in an offside position. If the linesman gets the first call correct, then the Burnley probably are in this match mentally and Xhaka might not feel the need to make that challenge after losing the ball.
    Wenger probably looking at a one match ban for the push on Anthony Taylor.

  21. Losing Xhaka is going to be a problem.

    RamCoq is going to be exploited by the high press. I don’t know who would give us either security and passing/ball carrying to break the press and be willing to play enough defense. Iwobi, Zelalem, Ozil all seem suboptimal. Sounds like we’ll need to play Giroud and Welbz to receive long balls.

    Too bad Payet is a jerk and doesn’t play defense. His ball carrying skills would be a welcome addition. Also he’s not CL tied.

    1. I don’t like Payet. Small team stud who needs the spotlight; would want the ball too much, would not track back, would not play deep enough to give us what we’re missing without Santi; but he would demand first team type wages and contract. Not a good investment.

      1. Agreed. I don’t get all the hype around Payet. He’s a good player on his day, but he’s roughly at his level at West Ham.

        Maybe it is time to try Iwobi in midfield, and have either the Ox or Perez (or even Welbeck) play wide. He did train there during Santi’s injury last season (and played 1 game I think)

        The other weirder option might be to play Coq furthest back with Ozil next to him for his ball control and distribution and let Ramsey play the No 10 free role.

        Otherwise it’s down to the youth. Maitland-Niles/Jeff/Bielik?

        But when is Elneny back?

          1. But when has RamCoq ever worked? This is going to be tough to watch, I fear. Our title challenge (such as it is) could be over after the next two league games.

        1. Egypt’s last group game is Wed. They are second in their group and play group leaders Ghana. While third place Mali plays last place Uganda. If Egypt loses and Mali wins, they will be level on points. So maybe soon? I don’t know if the top three make it through or just top two.

          1. It’s the top 2, and tiebreaker is goal difference. Right now Egypt is +1 and Mali -1.

      2. I saw Ramsey drop deep to protect the back 4 after the red card which was encouraging. In fact, I noticed Coq ahead of him on quite a few occasions so fingers crossed they can build an understanding that works. I think Iowbi and Bellerin’s roles become even more pivotal now because we will need Iwobi to move inside to provide support in mid-field while Bellerin plays his usual wing back role. I know we have had issues with RamCoq in the past but just because it didn’t work before doesn’t mean it can’t work now. Coq is a much improved player and Ramsey seems to be getting on with the program – even though that rabona cross and the attempted scorpion kick might wrongly give the impression that he is still too “Hollywood”. We will find out soon enough against Southampton.

        As for Payet, I became a fan of his last season but his best attribute is taking set pieces and his worst is his attitude. I don’t think we need either of those right now. His overall game seems to have suffered this season as well.

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