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How did we concede the goals this season?

By Walter Broeckx

Lots has been said about the goals we conceded so far this season. Many posters say where we should work on to improve the defence and making claims that half of the goals we score are from corners or from free kicks or from…

I thought why not try to analyse the goals a bit and see if we can make up a few categories in which we could put the goals down and see how the totals are after that.

I tried to find a few categories in how we conceded goals. The first one was the category of goals conceded from free kicks and corners. As in popular mythology this is what we do most of the time: concede from corners.

The next one was goals from penalties.  I then also took the goals being down to individual errors. Defenders miss kicking the ball, keepers dropping the ball. You know the clangers we sometimes get to see on a football field.

The next category was the goals on a counter. I was rather strict in this and took the goals when we were pushing up field and then suddenly lost the ball and got punished.  One could argue that some of those counters could count as an individual error but I think counters might be more down to the whole team not returning to the defence in a whole.

Of course we also had goals going in against us the the opponents made some good moves and scored from it. The goals we would have been proud of ourselves. And finally I came up with the shots from distance meaning from outside the penalty area. Of course those last 2  are goals that are usually not really down to our own bad defending but more to the good work of the other team.

First problem I encountered was that sometimes things aren’t that easy to put in one specific category. Let us take the Aston Villa goal it was a counter but the shot from distance  should also have been saved by the keeper. But as we can only count each goal as a 1 in total I had to split up some numbers. In the case of the Aston Villa goal I split it up in 3. That was the most I had to split a goal up. Mostly it was rather straight forward and sometimes I had to split it up in 2 different categories.

And this is what I found of the 30 goals we conceded so far in the PL using the categories I mentioned before.

CORN/FK

PEN

I. ERR

COUNT

GOOD

DIST

Total

Aston Villa

0,33

0,33

0,34

1

Liverpool

1,5

0,5

2

West Ham

1

1

Chelsea*

1

1

2

Man C

1

1

2

Southampton

1

1

Newcastle

1

2

3

Reading

1

1

2

Swansea

1

1

2

Everton

1

1

Totts

1

1

2

Fulham

1

0,5

0,5

1

3

MU

1

1

2

Norwich

1

1

West Ham

1

1

Chelsea

2

2

Man C

1

1

Southampton

1

1

7

1,5

10,33

2,33

6,5

2,34

30

CORN/FK

PEN

I.ERR

COUNT

GOOD

DIST

%

23,33

5,00

34,43

7,77

21,67

7,80

If you want it visualised you get something like this

 

When we look at these numbers we could say that 29.47% of the goals could not be avoided. We do have to give some credit to the opponents for a good move. So if you like round numbers one could say 30% of the goals were just down to the opponents being better in that moment.

When we look at the dead balls we can see that we conceded 28.33% of the goals from corners, free kicks and penalties.  One could also say that is almost 30% of the goals.

But the biggest category of goals we conceded are from errors be it individual or from the team. I think that conceding from a counter is a bit down to the team not being alert enough to see the danger. Moving too many men upfield at once is also a mistake at times.  The bad thing is that from those individual mistakes we conceded more than 34% of our goals.

Was it a defender slipping up at the wrong time, was it a defender miss firing the ball, was it a keeper spilling the ball… we have seen it all and in too high numbers. If you add the team mistakes of a counter on to that you get more than 40% of the goals we conceded from errors. Goals created by ourselves by making errors.

In a way this is good and bad news at the same time. The good news is that our defence is not that easily caught out in general as we have the second best defence in the league.  But the bad news is that too many goals have come from players making mistakes or from the team making mistakes.

And another bad thing is that when such mistakes happen the players will suffer from it and might lose confidence. And thus resulting in making more mistakes and conceding  more goals.

Now of course the slipping errors are rather difficult to avoid. One could say using longer studs might help it but that could result in more injuries and even more severe injuries with ligaments being ruptured and other unhealthy problems.

And how do you react to a player miss-kicking a ball? Take him off and ruin his confidence? Or support him and give him the chance to improve himself?

Mistakes are a part of football. We have to accept that in a way. I think no player, unless he is a cheat, and I don’t suspect any Arsenal player to be a cheat, will deliberately miss a ball or a control and let the other team score.  So when it happens we can be angry at first but then we should try to help this player to regain his confidence and his desire to make up for it.

And I still am convinced that the best way to do this is by getting behind him in times of trouble.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

 

19 comments to How did we concede the goals this season?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    How does this compare to the rest of the league? Or, how does this compare to teams that play a similar style as does the Arsenal?

    Good article, Walter.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I would love to know that also Goinggoinggooner. But to do that I need all the goals from all the games in the PL and I don’t have them at my disposal.

    I don’t know if any stats side has it like that to be honest.

  • Mick

    For those who say we are defensively worse this season than last, so far we have conceded on average 1.11 goals per game, last season it was 1.29 per game. Away from home we have conceded just 11 goals in 13 matches, an average of .85 goals per game, better than any other team. Overall, as Walter says we have the second best defence in the Premier L this season. Not bad for a team who, we are constantly being told by the media experts are basically crap, an accident waiting to happen, devoid of leaders and coached by a manager who cannot pick a defender to save his life, indeed is not even interested in doing any defensive coaching or training. We are also supposedly in dire need of a defensive midfielder to replace Song, despite the fact that our defence this year has shown a noticeable improvement on last season. I think Walters breakdown and the figures I have just given are proof that we are not quite as bad defensively as we are led to believe. If we could just cut down our individual error count by even 50% we would have a more than decent defensive unit. I wonder what that twit Hansen would make of all this.

  • Mandy Dodd

    ThAnks for an interesting analysis. Think there are a few problems with balance and the team getting used to each other. Sometimes they seem like strangers other times they tear teams apart. Hopefully time and a couple reinforcements will cure.there is too much pressure now to organically introduce players into the team a bit of a shame as this is what wenger does best. Have a feeling we will be exponentially better next season

  • bob

    “We are also supposedly in dire need of a defensive midfielder to replace Song, despite the fact that our defence this year has shown a noticeable improvement on last season. I think Walters breakdown and the figures I have just given are proof that we are not quite as bad defensively as we are led to believe.”
    Mick,
    Ok, “not quite as bad” is not the same as “proof” that we are good. But despite you and Walter’s yeoman efforts to rally the troops, these palliative numbers are not the “proof” of anything you want them to be. They do no account for when the goals we conceded were conceded and their impact. FFS, there’s an entire qualitative dimension – the context, the situation, the impact on a game, what it does to morale at that time – none of which gets captured or weighed by a purely quantitative analysis. This has been an abiding, unaddressed problem for quite a while. The numbers tell us something. But they also omit something major, which takes harder work, which is to analyze the numbers (ideally any given number) in terms of its effect in real time, midstream; which is a qualitative, interpretive, and messier but essential piece of the puzzle. If all you need is stats to fix a perception problem (and re-write history), then, Ok, please explain the 3 B’s – Bradford, Blackburn and Bayern – to me. There’s a whole dimension that your number-worshipping exercise (or is it exorcise) does not account for.

  • Mick

    Bob
    The losses against Bradford and Blackburn were more the result of a failure to convert chances than poor defending. Yes Walcott should have tracked the runner and Scez cocked up but had we accepted a couple of the numerous chances we created we would have won comfortably. Bayern were simply much better than us, defensive mistakes or not.
    I agree stats are not everything but you cannot disregard them completely. As I said if individual errors, which are nothing to do with systems, coaching methods, whether we have a defensive midfielder or not, are reduced then we would have a good defensive unit, not invincibles standard but not bad. Surely you must accept that we are not nearly as terrible as popular opinion would have us believe. Man U have conceded more than us but they are better than us at putting the ball in the net thanks to RVP. If we still had him we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. Selling him was our biggest blunder.

  • Gus

    Congratulations on writing an incredibly thorough article. 10/10

  • mark

    Thanks for this. The good thing about errors and mistakes are they can be eliminated or reduced. I think the concentration levels have been a bit inconsistent and if the team can improve in this area then the gunners can be stingy.

    We have had loses where it was more due to failure to score. I do think the gunners ought to be better (more aggressive in attack) against the parked bus. They face this week after week. I would like to see more running with the ball into the box to draw fouls and free kicks. I would like to see more passing the ball into space with players moving to the spaces. And I would like to see more intensity in attack early in games.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Bob

    “FFS, there’s an entire qualitative dimension – the context, the situation, the impact on a game, what it does to morale at that time – none of which gets captured or weighed by a purely quantitative analysis. This has been an abiding, unaddressed problem for quite a while.”

    There is something to that however in the same vein you must admit vis-a-vis morale, etc. that this is your interpretation and reflects your morale which which, if I may be so bold is patently extremely low. Walter’s comments, etc. indicate that his morale (or optimism) remains quite high (like mine). It is clear that no set of positive numbers will rescue some people from their despair…even a victory over Spurs (sadly).

  • bob

    “If we still had him we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. Selling him was our biggest blunder.”
    Mick,
    Thanks, fair points on both sides of the coin methinks. And on this point we totally agree. To gift Lord Football his Rednose XX by selling him our best. And then to get to read that condescending (read, self-satisfied) crap in the press from him about how, ‘whew, that Wenger sure drives a hard bargain in squeezing every centime out of a negotiation.” Anyway, I’ll leave this one there for now, and gear up for the most important game of our season…

  • bob

    “that this is your interpretation”
    GooingGoingGooner,
    Yep, gobsmacked!, I am. That is quite the observation. Very well done, lad. Well done, indeed. But Statistics (a capital S, to your mode of worship) can never stand alone and simply speak for themselves. They always and must depend on interpretation to have a meaning. To mean anything. (Which is not the same as the sin of being purely subjective, you see?). And, Triple Gee, I did use the word “morale” (before you leapt at me jugular, and wrenched it [the word] all out of context) as but one of a list of actual possible impacts that a given in-game goal-against might have had in the course of a specific game. (Whether it came via your and Walter’s favorite reason – a “mistake” –, or via incompetence or via the other side’s excellence). So, that’s what context means to me, you see (,in my despair).

    Now, that said, (as you really fancy having your go at me, and personally, and not that I blame you, but) you do cling to papa walter (who I admire, mind you, no matter any disagreement, and nothing can change it) as you squeal forth (so boldly, mon brave!) the following deathless words: that my analysis “reflects your [my] morale which which, if I may be so bold is patently extremely low…[As]It is clear that no set of positive numbers will rescue some people from their despair…even a victory over Spurs (sadly).”

    Well, triple gee (for glee?), some people will seize on anything, even Statistics, to not see or debate specific (constructive, dare I say) criticism. That said, I totally agree that (as you imply) this moment should now be about destroying Spud-Dumb. Yep, and so after this last wee riposte, it will become my sole desire. But for you to snivel forth, at this moment, that my despair so terminal as NOT even to wish “even a victory over Spurs (sadly).” Really? Why, I never thought of that. Breath-taking perception, triple gee. (And it makes you sad, too?) Well, then, do dry your eyes. Indeed, were my despair (I mean aside from global warming)that deep, it would be the Absolute Sin, the cardinal sin of absolute despair. And truly, herr dr. freud, that would be the ultimate accusation (worse than an AAA alert!) to level at a fellow supporter two days before our club’s match of the year. (Why, I’m cut to the quick, sire.)

    But, 3-G, on that very note, let us, you and I, leave all statistics and despair behind, and summon forth, to hearts and minds, the immortal words from LvB9’s (my true hero outside TH, that is) to summon forth an Ode to Joy that, perhaps, even we two might share on the eve of this season’s Defining Derby:
    (ok, now listen up…)
    “O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!…
    (ok now, ready? let’s do it:)
    “Freude, schöner Götterfunken
    Tochter aus Elysium,
    Wir betreten feuertrunken,
    Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
    Deine Zauber binden wieder
    Was die Mode streng geteilt;
    Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
    Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.”
    And that, dear fellow, is my gift, via schiller and LvB (against all thoughts of RvP), to you, and to Walter, and to Arsene, and to Santi and Jack, and to all the lads on Sunday. And so, to an end to all despair, and victory to all gooner gunners.
    (English translation:) COYG!

  • americangooner

    Quite instresting to note we have conceded less per game on away matches. Could be various reasons. But I see some correlation between the level of support from supporters going to away matches as opposed to half-empty(figuratively) home stadium with added pressure to perform else the fans not boo. We lost to bayern & blackburn @ emirates; lost to swansea at home but drew at liberty stadium; lost to schalke04 at home but drew at schalke; drew at etihad but lost against city at emirates; won at anfield without conceding, drew against them at our home. I certainly see a pattern there.

  • Adam

    At the start of the season we was always conceding (when we eventually did)goals at the back post. I soon lost interest in where we was conceding, does anyone have a distinct memory on where we concede most now, is it on the break?

    @Walter agree that mistakes are a part of football. That is also an area where we could improve, Inducing mistakes from the opposition.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Having said all this, Clive Woodward once managed England to a rugby World Cup. He did many things in doing so, but one of his more quoted actions was to take a hundred issues and improve them by 1 percent. This comes straight out of business, engineering some of the more modern managers take this type of approach, often data driven, including Jose. Wenger seems to have his way, and he sticks to it. Maybe it works for some and not others, but just wish we would do the same at times, nobody could convince me that there are not many issues with this team that could not be improved by at least 1 percent. I have been with Bob all the way on this – selling Song and not replacing him certainly has not improved us 1%. But all will be revealed come May, a top 4 position with all the recent transition followed by a period of relative stability, and things will start looking much better for the future. Failure to do so, and questions must be asked at all levels. Results are everything.

  • Fishpie

    Walter, I was looking at something similar recently.I know the Opta Stats are not perfect but they lead to a very similar conclusion to you. They record defensive mistakes that lead to goals and defensive mistakes that lead to attempts on our goal. Their data, up until just a week or so ago, had Arsenal having made 34 mistakes this season that led directly to attempts on our goal, 13 of which ended up as goals. And, for the whole of last season, we conceded 13 goals as a result of defensive mistakes that lead to 31 goal attempts against us. And here’s the killer fact : we may quibble with Opta about how they judge what a mistake is but given they judge all teams the same way, the data shows we were, last year and again so far this year, THE WORSE TEAM IN THE PREMIERSHIP FOR MAKING DEFENSIVE MISTAKES. Just reducing individual player errors or team mistakes would make a big difference to the points we keep dropping. Either you coach and set the team up for better defensive team cohesion and discipline(which all of our main rivals have over the years have made a central part of how they play) or you need better individual defenders who are good enough to cope with being exposed. Trouble is, the evidence of just watching us play tells us our team do not play with much off the ball cohesion and our individual players are prone to giving the ball away, or rash tackles, or mistimed or missed clearances, slow movement, or goalkeeping slips. It’s a core source of frustration with and criticism of Mr Wenger that he can’t resolve this problem. If he just spends the new commercial monies the club, and he, are saying is now at his disposal just on more fancy attacking players, nothing will change.

  • Gf60

    Interesting article Walter…and Fishpie’s comment equally so.
    Any chance of your doing the same analysis but for the goals we score?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Good work ,Walter , some of the goals scored against could and should have been prevented .Or at the very least ,anticipated.
    I remember that Nigel Winterburn once remarked that, that great defence of yesterday was due to the individual members and then as a whole became great by cutting out errors over time.
    To do this we need continuity and familiarity among a set group of players .The longer they stay together ,the more stable they’ll be .Maybe even near telepathic understanding .
    That said ,we have conceded weird goals that for some reason does not happen to the other teams !

  • Gf60

    How do we classify the two on Sunday? I know what I called them but as this is a family site perhaps I shouldn’t mention?