Arsenal face Cardiff City in the Premier League at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.

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. 

GOING THE DISTANCE

Fig 1. Ramsey defensive work v Marseille. Fig 2. Heatmap v Marseille
Fig 1. Ramsey defensive work v Marseille. Fig 2. Heatmap v Marseille

Aaron Ramsey heads back to boyhood club Cardiff City on Saturday - and could hardly be in better form. The Wales international's attacking stats are impressive enough (13 goals in 24 games for club and country), but his defensive contribution is also hugely important for Arsenal.

A key element of Ramsey's game is his exceptional workrate and stamina. He has covered 59.19 km in the Champions League alone this season (from 444 minutes on the pitch), the fourth-most of any player in Europe, and he was at it again in the Marseille match on Tuesday night.

As our heatmap above shows, Ramsey's high-energy game allows him to cover a wide expanse of pitch and helped the Gunners establish almost complete control of the midfield. Not only did he play more passes than any other player (112 with a success rate of 88.4 per cent) but he also put in the most amount of tackles (9).

And, as our chalkboard shows, the successful tackles (green triangles) were concentrated in the danger zone between Arsenal's defence and midfield. Even more impressively, the Wales international also won possession back 17 times for his side (yellow triangles).

As Arsène Wenger says, Ramsey is quickly turning into the "complete midfielder" and his manager will expect him to thrive again this weekend.

KEY BATTLE - MEDEL v RAMSEY

Gary Medel v Aaron Ramsey
Gary Medel v Aaron Ramsey

If Ramsey is to play a starring role in south Wales, he will have to escape the attentions of Cardiff's new signing, Gary Medel. The Chilean is nicknamed 'The Pitbull' and his fiery performances in the Premier League this season show why.

A tough-tackling, energetic player, Medel makes an average of 2.6 tackles per game and sits directly in front of the Cardiff backline. But there is more to him than just the physical element, he can play a bit too - as his 90.5 per cent accuracy rate from 676 passes shows.

However, Ramsey has not only made more tackles than the Chilean (and everybody else in the Premier League this season) but has a better success rate of 82.5 per cent to Medel's 77.4 per cent. The Wales international has also created 15 chances for his team-mates in the top flight alone, whereas the Chilean has yet to manage one.

For Ramsey to thrive on Saturday, 'The Pitbull' must be tamed - and the 22-year-old will relish the challenge on his return to south Wales.

CARDIFF CITY v ARSENAL - MATCH FACTS

  • Cardiff have allowed their opponents more shots on target against them than any other team in the top flight this season (75)
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in the last 11 matches in all competitions against Cardiff City, winning six and drawing five
  • Peter Odemwingie has scored in two of his three Premier League starts against Arsenal
  • Defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Arsenal’s last away game ended a 10-match unbeaten away run in the Premier League (W9 D1)
  • Cardiff City have won just one of their last six Premier League matches (W1 D2 L3)
  • Only in 2007/08 and 2003/04 (30) have Arsenal had more points after 12 matches than they have mustered so far this campaign (28)
  • Only one of Olivier Giroud’s 18 Premier League goals has been scored outside London
  • Only one of Arsenal's last 22 Premier League opponents has managed to score more than one goal in a game against the Gunners (Aston Villa, 3-1 in August)

The Matchday Programme is now available on the iPad! Find out more here.

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 Rob Kelly 29 Nov 2013