Arsenal face Stoke City in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

With Stats Zone, you can brush up on the facts and figures behind every Gunners match this season, brought to you by Opta and the official matchday programme. 

Fig 1. Gibbs distribution v Marseille; Fig 2. Gibbs defending v Marseille
Fig 1. Gibbs distribution v Marseille; Fig 2. Gibbs defending v Marseille

GIBB AND GO

The Gunners’ victory in Marseille on Wednesday night was ultimately well-deserved - but they had to earn the right to score their two second-half goals.

Kieran Gibbs epitomised the team’s mixture of defensive resolve and determination to make forays upfield count. His man-of-the-match performance included vital contributions at both ends, as the graphics above show.

It was Kieran’s cross (the horizontal red arrow into the box) that, via a Marseille head, teed up Theo Walcott’s opener - and then his simple, intelligent pass to Aaron Ramsey (blue arrow) proved to be the assist for Arsenal’s second goal. While Kieran was hardly slinging ball after ball into the area, he effectively laid on Arsenal’s two most important moments of the match.

He achieved all of this while making a huge contribution at the back - in a game that saw Marseille put their visitors under considerable pressure at times. Most notable here are the yellow arrows, which indicate recoveries - winning possession back for his team - and the purple arrows.

The latter indicate clearances, and Kieran completed nine of these, seven of which were inside the area. A left back he may be, but Kieran was certainly a man for all areas of the pitch on Wednesday night.

Olivier Giroud v Robert Huth
Olivier Giroud v Robert Huth

KEY BATTLE

Olivier Giroud and Robert Huth will both be relishing what promises to be an intense physical tussle between them on Sunday.

Both are in fine form, Giroud having scored in all four of the Gunners’ Premier League games to date and Huth proving a mainstay of a Potters back line that has kept consecutive clean sheets against West Ham and Manchester City.

The Arsenal striker has provided a potent mix of aerial power and mobility on the ground this term. A 51.4 per cent success rate in individual duels is perfectly respectable for a lone central attacker who will inevitably receive close attention from centre backs, while his 62.5 per cent rate when going up for headers demonstrates that - in either box - he is more likely to be successful from high balls than not.

At just 85.3 minutes per goal, with four from just 12 attempts this season, his overall efficiency is not in doubt.

Huth’s statistics for duels and aerial battles are all that you would expect from a centre back renowned for his towering displays. Losing only three aerial duels in four games, he will prove a tough opponent for Giroud this time out.

Huth's pass completion statistics are interesting too - an overall figure of 83 per cent might suggest a more patient approach from Stoke under Mark Hughes, perhaps taking care to build from the back, although that figure drops on the occasions that he looks to make combinations in the opponent’s half.

The duo will fancy their chances of, respectively, further goalscoring glory and another shut-out this weekend.

SUNDERLAND v ARSENAL - MATCH FACTS

  • The Gunners have won all five Premier League matches against Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium
  • Peter Crouch has scored seven Barclays Premier League goals against Arsenal; only against Blackburn (8) has he been more prolific
  • Stoke will be the fifth team Mark Hughes has coached in an away game against Arsenal in the Premier League, but he has lost all six previous visits to north London to play the Gunners
  • Mathieu Flamini has been booked in both of his appearances for Arsenal in the Premier League this season
  • Arsenal have scored all eight of their 2013/14 Premier League goals from open play, whereas two of Stoke’s three goals have come from set-plays
  • Stoke have completed 79 per cent of their passes in the Premier League this season; more than in any of the five Premier League seasons under Tony Pulis
  • The Potters have also averaged more passes per game this season (397) than in any of the previous five Premier League seasons under Pulis
  • Olivier Giroud is one of only nine players to score in his team’s opening four games of a Premier League season and the second Arsenal player after Jose Reyes in 2004/05
  • All four of Giroud’s goals this season have come before half-time and all before the 24th minute
  • Without Giroud’s goals this season Arsenal would still be seventh, only two points worse off than they are in reality

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Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Nick Ames 21 Sep 2013