This week our statistician analyses how and when Arsenal's most prolific players score their goals.
Arsenal failed to score in the league for the first time this season last weekend, having been the only team to score in each of the first 10 games of the Premier League campaign.
The defeat at Old Trafford also brought an end to a 15-game unbeaten run on the road, and was the first away match Arsenal failed to score in since the goalless draw at Villa Park on November 24, 2012 – a run of 26 matches.
Arsenal have had 10 different scorers in the Premier League this season, no other side has had more. In all competitions so far, 13 different players have got on the scoresheet, scoring 34 goals between them from 19 matches.
There are now 11 players in the current squad with 10 or more career Arsenal goals to their name. Here we analyse when these 11 goalscorers tend to find the net, and what impact their goals have on the game.
WHEN GOALS ARE SCORED
Theo Walcott is the current leading scorer in the Arsenal squad, with 64 goals, while Lukas Podolski has the best goals per game ratio - he has netted 18 from 46 matches at 0.391 per game.
Twenty-one first-team squad players have scored at least one goal. Of these 21, 11 of them have reached double figures, and these are the players we will focus on here.
Only two of the 11 (Olivier Giroud and Abou Diaby) have scored more first-half goals than second half. Thirteen (52 per cent) of Giroud's 25 goals have come before the interval, while 11 (58 per cent) of Diaby's 19 goals have been scored in the opening half. In fact those 11 goals were all scored in the first half-hour. A random anomaly is that four (nearly a quarter) of Diaby's goals been scored in the 18th minute.
But generally in football, more goals are scored in the second half of games, so most players' stats reflect this, and none more so than man of the moment Aaron Ramsey.
A whopping 91 per cent of his goals (all but two) have come after the break, and 77 per cent (17 in total) of Ramsey's goals have been scored in the last half hour of games. His average goal time is 67.09 minutes, compared to 37.79 for Diaby for example.
Mikel Arteta also favours second-half goals, with 77 per cent of his 13 goals coming after the break, and none of his goals arriving in the first 25 minutes.
The kings of the late, late goals however are Nicklas Bendtner and Tomas Rosicky. Bendtner has scored 11 (24 per cent) of his total goals in the final five minutes, including three late winners. Rosicky himself has six goals in the final five minutes, which represents 27 per cent of all his goals.
Looking purely at the 90th minute (and injury time), Walcott leads the way with five goals. He also has the most first-minute strikes in the squad (three) so overall 12.5 per cent of his total have come in either the first or last minute of the match.
Walcott's average goal time is 51.44 minutes. For context, Thierry Henry scored 228 goals for Arsenal, and on average they arrived 49.75 minutes into the game. Twenty-one (nine per cent) of his goals came in the final five minutes of games.
Note: Included in Theo Walcott's 14 goals between 76-90+ is one goal in extra-time (marked in dark grey).
Current leading scorers *with 10 goals or more
More important than when players score is the impact that their goals have upon games.
Arsenal have broken the deadlock in 15 out of 19 games so far this season, and won 14 (93 per cent) of those matches. So it's evident that scoring the first goal of the game is a massive advantage.
Lukas Podolski has also struck a high proportion of equalisers - three out of his 18 overall goals (17 per cent)
Walcott has more 'first goals' than anyone else in the squad (17) though that's not surprising as he is the top scorer overall. So looking at first goals as a ratio of players' totals, it's Arteta who comes out on top. Nearly half of his Arsenal goals (six out of 13) have broken the deadlock, including his only goal so far this season (at Crystal Palace).
Diaby also has more than his fair share of 'first goals'. The midfielder has opened the scoring eight times, which is 42 per cent of his total.
This is not to belittle the efforts of those players who tend to grab their goals later though, as these strikes are often equalisers or winners. When it comes to scoring equalisers, it's Thomas Vermaelen who sets the standard. The skipper has scored four equalising goals, from 15 overall, which represents 27 per cent of his total. His most recent goal was an equaliser - in the 88th minute of last season's Capital One Cup game at Bradford, to take the tie to extra time.
Lukas Podolski has also struck a high proportion of equalisers - three out of his 18 overall goals (17 per cent).
Even more important than equalisers though, are winners, and it's a defender who tops this chart in terms of ratio. Laurent Koscielny has netted three winners from his 10 overall goals (30 per cent) including two particularly valuable winners. He scored the winner at The Hawthorns on the last day of the 2011/12 season, and the only goal at St. James' Park on the final day of last season. Both goals secured Champions League qualification.
Three of Arteta's 13 goals (23 per cent) were also winners, all in 1-0 victories. Bendtner also deserves a mention here. He has the most winners overall (seven) which is 15.6 per cent of his total. These include last-minute winners against Hull and Wolves within the space of a few weeks in 2010, and a late winner with his first touch after coming on in the north London derby at Emirates Stadium in December 2007.
For the purposes of this analysis, we have defined winning goals as goals that were scored when the scores were level, and proved to be the last (and therefore deciding) goal of the game.
So Mikel Arteta's two penalties at home to West Brom last season, for example, aren't counted, as neither goal proved to be the 'winner'. His goals were the difference between a draw and a win though (the game ended 2-0) so another measure of the importance of goals is how the result would differ if an individual player's goals for that specific match were to be removed.
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Here we need to look at the number of games players have scored in, rather than overall goals, and work out how many results were changed as direct consequence of those goals.
In this category, Aaron Ramsey is the leader - his goals have changed the outcome of 45 per cent of the games he has scored in, a higher ratio than any other player.
Ramsey has scored in 20 different games, and without his goals, nine wins would have been draws instead. The most recent example of this is the Borussia Dortmund away win earlier this month. In fact, Arsenal have won 19 of the 20 games in which Ramsey has found the target, including each of the last 13.
Bendtner also has an impressive record of turning draws into wins, he has done that 11 times (from 38 games in which he's scored).
There are four players in the squad who have single-handedly changed defeats into victories though.
Walcott did it with a hat-trick against Reading last season (it would have been a 5-4 defeat without his goals). Giroud's brace against Brighton last season also transformed what would have been a 2-1 defeat into a 3-2 win. Tomas Rosicky's goals were responsible for the three points against West Brom away last season – the last game in which he found the net. And finally Santi Cazorla's two-goal contribution against Aston Villa at home last season converted a potential 1-0 defeat to a 2-1 win.
Walcott also specialises in saving a draw from a losing position. He has done this 10 times, which is 19 per cent of all the games he's scored in – a much higher proportion than anyone else on the list.
|Player||Loss to win||Draw to win||Loss to draw||No change|
|Theo Walcott||1 (2%)||8 (15%)||10 (19%)||34 (64%)|
|Nicklas Bendtner||0||11 (29%)||3 (8%)||24 (63%)|
|Olivier Giroud||1 (5%)||1 (5%)||3 (14%)||16 (76%)|
|Tomas Rosicky||1(5%)||4 (20%)||2 (10%)||13 (65%)|
|Aaron Ramsey||0||9 (45%)||0||11 (55%)|
|Abou Diaby||0||4 (22%)||1 (6%)||13 (72%)|
|Lukas Podolski||0||3 (19%)||2 (12%)||11 (69%)|
|Thomas Vermaelen||0||3 (21%)||2 (14%)||9 (65%)|
|Santi Cazorla||1 (10%)||2 (20%)||0||7 (70%)|
|Mikel Arteta||0||4 (33%)||0||8 (67%)|
|Laurent Koscielny||0||3 (30%)||1 (10%)||6 (60%)|
Four of the players on the list - Walcott, Ramsey, Cazorla and Koscielny - have scored more goals away from home than at Emirates Stadium.
Walcott's figures also include two goals scored on neutral grounds (one at Wembley, one at Millennium Stadium, both against Chelsea).
Most players have a fairly even split between home and away goals, apart from Podolski (66 per cent at home) and Arteta (69 per cent at home).
Olivier Giroud scores most of his goals in London - all but one of his Premier League goals came in the capital - and it's no surprise that the two teams he has scored most goals against are London sides: West Ham and Fulham (three each).
Fulham is also Lukas Podolski's favourite opposition while more than a quarter of Cazorla's goals have come against Reading.
|Theo Walcott||Newcastle (6)|
|Nicklas Bendtner||Leyton Orient, Porto, Newcastle (3)|
|Olivier Giroud||West Ham, Fulham (3)|
|Tomas Rosicky||Bolton (3)|
|Aaron Ramsey||Fenerbache (4)|
|Abou Diaby||Aston Villa (4)|
|Lukas Podolski||Fulham (3)|
|Thomas Vermaelen||Wigan (4)|
|Santi Cazorla||Reading (4)|
|Mikel Arteta||West Brom (3)|
Copyright 2015 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
15 Nov 2013
Stats correct as at November 14, 2013