Thinking Outside The Box

Behind the Numbers - Long range goals

This week our statistician Josh James looks at the goals Arsenal have scored from long-range and free-kicks in the Premier League over recent seasons.

Arsenal's winner against Stoke City on Saturday - albeit deflected - was the second free-kick goal the Gunners have scored in the Premier League this season, matching the total from last term, and beating 2010/11's tally.

Both free-kicks this season were scored by Lukas Podolski, the other came back in September during the 6-1 win over Southampton.

That was also at Emirates Stadium, and indeed nine of the 11 direct free-kicks Arsenal have scored in the Premier League since 2006 (when Arsenal moved to Emirates) have come at home.

"The Gunners are seventh in the list for free-kicks scored in the past seven seasons"

These 11 free-kicks account for just 2.3 per cent of the Premier League goals Arsenal have scored in that time scale (from the beginning of 2006/07), and the Gunners are seventh in the list for free-kicks scored in the past seven seasons.

Manchester United lead the way with 18, but looking at free-kick goals as a percentage of the team's goalscoring total, Birmingham set the standard - their nine converted free-kicks represent 7.4 of their total Premier League goals since 2006.

Arsenal's ratio of 2.3 per cent is one of the lowest, though higher than the likes of Liverpool (2.2 per cent) and Tottenham (1.8 per cent) for example.


Arsenal Premier League free-kick goals


All free-kick goals in the Premier League since 2006/07

Team Free kick goals Percentage of all goals
Manchester United 18 3.3
Chelsea 17 3.5
Everton 13 3.6
Wigan Athletic 12 4.7
Fulham 12 4.2
Manchester City 12 3
Arsenal 11 2.3
Aston Villa 10 3
Birmingham City 9 7.4
Sunderland 9 3.8
Blackburn Rovers 9 3.2
Liverpool 9 2.2
Bolton Wanderers 8 3
West Ham United 7 3
Newcastle United 7 2.6
Tottenham Hotspur 7 1.8
West Bromwich Albion 6 3.5
Hull City 5 6.8
Norwich City 5 6.5
Middlesbrough 5 4.3
Portsmouth 4 2.4
Blackpool 3 5.5
Queens Park Rangers 3 4.9
Sheffield United 2 6.3
Burnley 2 4.8
Swansea City 2 2.6
Reading 2 1.6
Stoke City 2 1.1
Charlton Athletic 1 2.9
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 0.8
Derby County 0 0
Watford 0 0
Southampton 0 0

Arsenal's 11 free-kick goals in the past seven seasons have been scored by six different players. Robin van Persie scored five and Podolski two, followed by Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry, Mikel Arteta and Denilson with one each.If you include Arteta's Everton goals as well, he has scored six free-kicks since 2006 - only three players have more in the Premier League in that time.He's the only right-footed player to score a direct free-kick for Arsenal since 2009. More than half of the 11 set-pieces on the list below were scored with the player's left boot.Podolski's free-kick at the weekend proved to be the difference between drawing and winning, and it was the eighth time in a row that Arsenal had gone on to win a game after scoring a free-kick.

Arsenal free-kick goals since 2006/07

Player Date Opponents Venue Score
Robin van Persie Oct 28, 2006 Everton H 1-1
Thierry Henry Nov 18, 2006 Newcastle H 1-1
Robin van Persie Nov 29, 2006 Fulham A 1-2
Robin van Persie Oct 7, 2007 Sunderland H 3-2
Denilson Dec 19, 2009 Hull City H 3-0
Cesc Fabregas Dec 27, 2009 Aston Villa H 3-0
Robin van Persie Jan 1, 2011 Birmingham City A 3-0
Robin van Persie Oct 16, 2011 Sunderland H 2-1
Mikel Arteta Mar 24, 2012 Aston Villa H 3-0
Lukas Podolski Sept 15, 2012 Southampton H 6-1
Lukas Podolski Feb 2, 2013 Stoke City H 1-0


Premier League free-kick goals since 2006/07


Podolski's strike against Stoke City was also the fifth the Gunners had netted from outside the area so far in the Premier League this season (including open play). That already matches the team's seasonal totals from 2010/11 and 2008/09.Long-range strikes account for one in 10 (10.2 per cent) of the team's total this season. Overall in the last seven seasons roughly one in eight (12.6 per cent) of all league goals Arsenal scored have been from at least 18 yards out.

"Theo Walcott has not yet scored from outside the box in the Premier League"

The most goals from outside the area Arsenal have netted in one season since 2006 was 18 - in 2009/10. During that campaign nearly one in four league goals the Gunners scored was a long-range effort.Unsurprisingly it was the highest total in the league that year. In fact it was nearly twice as many as the next best: Manchester City with 10.As for goals conceded from outside the area, Arsenal's total so far this season is also five. That relates to 18.5 per cent of all league goals conceded this term, a very similar figure to last season (18.4 per cent).The highest in recent seasons (as a proportion of the total) was nine, in 2007/08, which accounted for nearly one third (29 per cent) of all league goals Arsenal conceded that season.The previous season, more than a quarter (25.7 per cent) of all league goals Arsenal conceded were from outside the area. The stats in each of the past four seasons have been considerable lower.There seems to be little difference in the data for home or away games, though an interesting anomaly occurred in 2010/11. That season Arsenal neither scored nor conceded a goal from outside the area during all 19 Premier League games played at Emirates Stadium (out of a total 48 goals scored there).

Arsenal's Premier League goals from outside the penalty area

Season Scored Conceded
  Home Away Total Home Away Total
2006/07 6 2 8 5 4 9
2007/08 8 2 10 3 6 9
2008/09 2 3 5 4 3 7
2009/10 11 7 18 2 2 4
2010/11 0 5 5 0 6 6
2011/12 6 4 10 2 7 9
2012/13 4 1 5 4 1 5
Total 37 24 61 20 29 49


Arsenal Premier League goals from outside the penalty area



Goals scored from outside the penalty area

Overall under Arsène Wenger, Arsenal have scored 160 Premier League goals from outside the area in the Premier League (13.5 per cent of the total), with Henry way ahead on 29.


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Dennis Bergkamp is next with 12, while Robert Pires and Van Persie had 10 each.

Henry's 29 long-range goals represented 16.6 per cent of his league total, but Fabregas' strikes from outside of the box accounted for more than a quarter (25.7 per cent) of all his Premier League goals. Patrick Vieira (seven out of 28) had a similar ratio while Podolski, early in his Premier League career, has scored three (37.5 per cent) of his eight goals from distance.At the other end of the scale, Theo Walcott - with 37 Premier League strikes to his name - has not yet scored from outside the box in the league. In that sense he is similar to Ian Wright, who scored 27 league goals under Wenger - all from inside the area.


Premier League goals from outside the area under Ars


Stats correct as at February 6, 2013. With thanks to Opta


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