Arsenal take on Norwich City in the Premier League at Carrow Road 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.
In this week's edition, we focus on the goalkeepers - Vito Mannone and John Ruddy.
PLAYER COMPARISON - MANNONE v RUDDY
Both of Saturday’s goalkeepers are on an upwards trajectory at the moment. Vito Mannone is enjoying a steady run in the Arsenal first team and John Ruddy has continued to show good form after receiving a first England cap in August.
Norwich have the top flight’s second-leakiest defence, and Ruddy’s save percentage suffers accordingly. In fact, only three Premier League keepers have made more saves than the Canaries’ shot stopper this season.
Only two have been called upon to save fewer times than Mannone, although he has played two games less. Ruddy’s save percentage is the seventh lowest in the league which, added to the previous statistic, suggests that he is left exposed too often. Mannone’s is the seventh highest, if we discount Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris’ flawless record after just one game.
The goalkeepers’ distribution figures are telling with Ruddy making 128 passes in total but just 19 of those to players in his own half. In stark contrast, Mannone has gone short with 31 of his 66 passes.
Ruddy is clearly under instruction to release the ball further and earlier, looking for Grant Holt or Steve Morison to win headers deep inside the opposition half. Balls out to centre backs or full backs are few - in this match last season (see first chalkboard below), Ruddy only made two short deliveries, both to right-back Kyle Naughton.
That pattern may change slightly this year, Javier Garrido being a technically-accomplished left back who is happy to carry and distribute from deep, but Norwich have made the fourth fewest passes of the Premier League teams and 1,594 fewer than Arsenal - so the principle remains the same.
As Mannone’s figures against West Ham (see second chalkboard below) show, Arsenal aren’t averse to longer distribution too - especially with Olivier Giroud so prominent a figure in attack.
Seven of Mannone's 18 attempted passes are to players in his own half, though, and he shows a willingness to play from the back even against a combative and energetic home side.
Neither side is likely to change tack on Saturday. Arsenal will tend to play patiently forward from Mannone, while Norwich attempt to force a longer pass. The home side will, generally, look to play off the talismanic Holt - and Ruddy will have an important role in this.
Whatever the outcome, it’s likely that these two young, impressive keepers will have a big impact on the spectacle we see on Saturday evening.
- There has been a total of 25 goals scored in the last five Premier League meetings between Norwich and Arsenal
- Steve Morison scored in both games against the Gunners last season
- Arsenal have won five and lost none of their last 11 games against Norwich in all competitions
- Norwich have won just one of their last 12 Premier League games (W1 D4 L7)
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League away games (W7 D4 L1)
- The Canaries have conceded the most goals from outside the box this season (5)
- Santi Cazorla has scored more goals from outside the box than any other player in the top five European leagues since August 2011 (9)
- Norwich have averaged 15 attempts for every goal they has scored this season (excluding blocked shots), the least efficient conversion rate in the top flight
- Chris Hughton's side have allowed their opponents the joint-most shots on target against them of Premier League teams this season (41)
The Matchday Programme is now available on the iPad! Find out more here.Copyright 2013 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 18 Oct 2012