Behind the Numbers

This week our statistician analyses Arsenal's debutants since the year 2000.

Two players made their Arsenal debut on Saturday - one was the Club's all-time record signing, and the other was a product of the youth academy who has been at the Club from the age of seven.

Attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil started against Sunderland at the weekend, less than a fortnight after his record-breaking transfer from Real Madrid, while 17-year-old forward Chuba Akpom came on as a late substitute in the 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light.

"None of the last 18 debutants started with a defeat"

They took the total number of players to make their first-team debut for Arsenal since the year 2000 to 128.

Of those 128, nearly half (45 per cent) have been homegrown players, while the other 55 per cent - including Ozil - were bought in. Yaya Sanogo is the third debutant so far this season, after coming on during the second half of the win over Fulham in August.

Last term nine players turned out for the Club for the first time, and there were 14 debutants the previous season.

Sanogo, Ozil and Akpom have taken total number of players to represent the Arsenal first team to 815, in the Club's 127-year history.

All three of our recent debutants started life as Arsenal players with a win - as indeed have each of the last nine players to make their debut. None of the last 18 debutants started with a defeat.

Overall, 72 per cent of the 128 new players this century kicked off with a victory, 13 per cent began with a draw, and the remaining 15 per cent lost on their debut.

All three of this season's debutants also started away from home, though this is less common as only 39 per cent of debuts since 2000 have come in away fixtures (and a further four per cent at neutral venues).

Arsenal's last four debut-makers (Nacho Monreal in addition to the three this season) have all done so in the Premier League, which is the second most popular competition in which to kick off a Gunners career this century (39 per cent), after the League Cup (47 per cent).


First team debuts per season

First team debuts per season


Ozil needed just 12 minutes of his Arsenal career to make a significant contribution, laying on the assist for Olivier Giroud's opening goal.

"Ozil completed more passes in the final third (34) than any player has in a Premier League game this season"

However none of the last 35 debutants have marked the occasion with a goal themselves. Only seven players (five per cent) of the 128 on the list did manage to score in their first game.

The last example of this was Sanchez Watt - the young forward who left for Colchester in the summer - who found the net in the 2-0 Carling Cup home win over West Brom on September 22, 2009. It was his only goal for Arsenal.

Ozil impressed in a variety of other ways though. Opta stats tell us he completed more passes in the final third of the pitch (34) than any player has in a Premier League game this season.

He was on the pitch for 80 minutes, took 97 touches, and attempted 79 passes - of which 71 were successful (90 per cent).

His passing accuracy was even better when just taking into consideration passes in the opposition half (92 per cent) and he created three chances (including the assist) during his time on the pitch.

Mesut Ozil complete match stats

Minutes played 80
Touches  97
Shots  2
Shots on target  1
Chances created  3
Passes  79
Successful passes  71
Passing accuracy  89.9%
Passes in opposition half 63
Passing accuracy in opposition half 92.1% 
Passes in final third  38
Passing accuracy in final third  89.5%
Corners  3
Tackles  0
Interceptions  0
Fouls conceded 0
Fouls won 2
Offsides  0

Akpom was only on the pitch for a matter of seconds at the end of the game, replacing the injured Olivier Giroud, but at just 17 years old, he knows more chances will come his way.

Indeed Akpom became the 39th youngest player in the Club's history (17 years and 340 days) when he was introduced in injury time.

He's only the 41st player to represent the Arsenal first team before his 18th birthday - and 22 of those players were first selected by Arsène Wenger.

Akpom, born in Newham in 1995, played and scored for the first team during the pre-season tour to Asia, after grabbing 18 goals in all competitions for the youth sides last season.

He was also on the bench for the first team's Champions League match away to Olympiacos last December.

An England under-19 international, Akpom is the 39th Englishman to make his Arsenal debut this century. That accounts for 30 per cent of all players in this time. The next most popular nationality is French (14 per cent), followed by Spain (six per cent).

In all, 35 different nationalities are represented among the last 128 debutants.


Last 128 debutants by Nationality

Last 128 debutants by Nationality


With thanks to Opta. Stats correct as at September 16, 2013

Matchday Programme

Get more stats and analysis in every edition

Subscribe now

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info