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Premier League Betting and Odds

A closer look at Gael Clichy

By Wrenny

While recently perusing the excellent football stats site I came across some numbers concerning Arsenal’s much-maligned left back Gael Clichy which I found intriguing. And I thought Untold readers might be intrigued by them too.

Before I begin though I would like to make one thing clear – I did not set out to write an article to defend Clichy before looking through his statistics. This really came about by chance; a quick glance at his numbers piqued my interest to investigate further, and as I dug deeper into the stats and put together a few comparison tables I found the strength of them convincing and felt compelled to share my surprising findings.

So as I was saying, while casting my beady eye over some stats my attention was drawn to a particular table on the Arsenal page of the WhoScored site – the top 5 Arsenal players for the 2010/2011 season, according to their average match ratings. While there were no surprises on the leaders with Van Persie in first place, Cesc in second, and Nasri in third, I was very surprised indeed to see that Clichy had sneaked into fifth place, just behind Alex Song.

Now, I suspect many of you will be rather sceptical of the worth of these ‘match ratings’ and I don’t blame you. So was I at first, but having looked at the wealth of information collected on individual players that forms the basis of these ratings, I believe there is plenty of clout behind these figures. Nevertheless, I am not attempting to prove anything with these ratings alone; they were simply a jumping-off point which lead me to look at ‘the numbers behind the numbers’. Below you will find the table for Arsenal players’ individual ratings for the season, which I expanded from the site’s top 5 to include the top 10 performers.

Season Rating Season Rating
Van Persie 7.53 Vermaelen 7.00
Fabregas 7.46 Sagna 6.98
Nasri 7.28 Arshavin 6.91
Song 7.12 Diaby 6.91
Clichy 7.03 Wilshere 6.91

I thought it interesting that Clichy actually came above fellow full-back Bacary Sagna in these figures (although their ratings are not very far apart) when Sagna is widely perceived to be a far superior defender to Clichy and was of course voted into the PFA Team of the Year while Clichy is often spoken of as a liability. For the purpose of my analysis however, I will be focusing on Clichy and comparing him to his fellow Premier League left-backs. So for my next task I put together the season ratings for the most-played LB of each Premier League club, to see where Clichy would end up when compared to his peers such as Ashley Cole, Patrice Evra and the on-form Leighton Baines. From there I could select the top performers and look more closely at their numbers.

Season Rating Season Rating
Baines 7.09 Warnock 6.60
Clichy 7.03 Robinson 6.58
Assou-Ekotto 6.93 Elokobi 6.55
Evra 6.85 Figueroa 6.54
A. Cole 6.82 Collins 6.50
Bardsley 6.80 Givet 6.48
Enrique 6.79 Konchesky 6.46
Crainey 6.67 Bridge 6.46
Kolarov 6.65 Ridgewell 6.42
Salcido 6.65 Shorey 6.34

Surprised? I certainly was. According to the WhoScored ratings, Gael Clichy was only out-performed in his position by Everton’s Leighton Baines, and only then by a small margin. The ‘Best Left-Back in the World’ Ashley Cole came a disappointing fifth.

From there I decided to take the 5 highest-rated players in the table and have a much closer look at their statistics, hoping to discover how their overall ratings might have come about. As much of the criticism aimed at Clichy seems to be of his defensive ability, I deemed it best to compare the players’ attacking prowess first. My thinking behind this was to find out whether Clichy’s high rating of 7.03 could have been ‘inflated’ due to him contributing more in attack than other left-backs, therefore disguising a relative weakness in his defending. If anything, the opposite was true:

Goals Assists
Baines 5 11
Clichy 0 1
Assou-Ekotto 0 0
Evra 1 1
A. Cole 0 3

As you can see, Spurs’ Assou-Ekotto is the only one of the five to made fewer goal-scoring contributions to his team last season than Gael Clichy. Looking at this table it also becomes apparent how Leighton Baines has topped the left-back charts – by virtue of taking many of Everton’s set pieces and delivering plenty of teasing crosses he amassed an incredible 5 goals and 11 assists. Where might he have placed if judged purely on his defensive work? Lower than Clichy, that is without doubt. Cole and Evra also made bigger goal-scoring contributions than Clichy, though to a much smaller degree than Baines, yet find themselves with a lower overall rating than Gael.

So by now I’m itching to analyse Clichy’s defensive stats; if he has rated above the highly-regarded Evra and Cole and got so close to assist-machine Leighton Baines on the season’s average ratings, despite a low offensive contribution, his defensive numbers must be strong. I wasn’t disappointed.

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The following table shows each player’s average number of successful tackles, successful interceptions and clearances per game in the 2010/2011 season, providing a very strong indicator of each left-back’s defensive contribution to his team.

Tackles p/g Interceptions p/g Clearances p/g
Baines 2.2 1.3 2.7
Clichy 3.4 3.2 4.5
Assou-Ekotto 2.7 3.5 3.8
Evra 2.3 2.3 2.7
A. Cole 2.6 1.3 1.2

Once again, Clichy’s numbers throw up a big surprise. He is well ahead of all his peers in the number of tackles and clearances he makes per game, and by a large margin. He only failed to top the chart on the number of interceptions he makes per game, which went to Assou-Ekotto, yet he still makes far more interceptions than the three other defenders in the table.

I also took the liberty of combining the players’ numbers of tackles, interceptions and clearances into one total figure, to get a feel for how many critical contributions they are making in defence in an average game.

Tackles + Interceptions + Clearances p/g
Baines 6.2
Clichy 11.1
Assou-Ekotto 10.0
Evra 7.3
A. Cole 5.1

Overall, this paints a picture of Clichy as a player who is defensively very busy, much more so than other defenders at the big clubs. Perhaps the question should be not whether we could find a better left-back, but if we are capable of offering the left-back we have greater protection so that he is not forced into getting through quite so much defensive work. It might also be worth pointing out that, although he is not lacking experience, at 25 Clichy is the youngest of the five left-backs in this analysis.

The last stat I will be looking at concerns losing the ball. Clichy has often been criticised for losing possession in dangerous areas, and although I cannot show where exactly on the pitch the ball is being lost, I do have the stats for the average number of dispossessions and turnovers each player suffered per game last season. Is this where Clichy finally lets himself down?

Dispossessed p/g Turnovers p/g
Baines 1.3 0.8
Clichy 0.7 0.4
Assou-Ekotto 1.0 0.6
Evra 1.3 0.8
A. Cole 1.2 0.9

No. Yet again, he comes out on top. Baines and Evra are dispossessed of the ball almost twice as often as Gael, and the numbers for turnovers tell a similar story. This is not a player who appears to be careless or sloppy with the ball.

I would like to finish by saying that I believe statistics can only tell us so much, and this piece is not meant as any kind of conclusive proof of Clichy’s quality. But I hope that the numbers here can help us better understand his performance levels and inform any discussions regarding him. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the comments.

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59 comments to A closer look at Gael Clichy

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for this very interesting article Wrenny.
    I must say that these numbers are a bit impressing and also contradict the usual: “oh, he is crap, just believe me because I write a blog about Arsenal so I know better” which you can find on the internet a lot.

  • Mandy Dodd

    This confirms what I have thought for some time, Clichy is a player we should be trying to hold on to

  • WalterBroeckx

    And I think Clichy makes mistakes every now and then, like all players do. Just look at the first Barcelona goal at Nou Camp and Cesc. If it would have been Clichy some would have told him to go. But nobody blames Cesc for his stupid mistake or talks about it.

    Like in other article where someone said that it would be Clichy who was guilty of a lot of penalties we conceded. And the number of his mistakes or fouls was zero in fact that lead to a penalty.

    Just one of those: “we made up our mind so he is and always will be to blame.”

  • Arvind

    The sad part is the AAA really. If they don’t like a player, they sit and scrutinize him so they get to jump on him as soon as he makes 1 single mistake. All the good work he does is just ignored or glossed over condescendingly. And they boo [No I don’t attend games, but booing is stupid]

    Clichy is just one more such player who has fallen from the eyes of many after that 4-4 against Spurs. Despite plenty of excellent performances after that. The stats also confirm the myth that Evra assists plenty more.

    There is possibly only 1 difference between Evra, Cole n Clichy. The former 2 are in teams that have won trophies and have that ‘winning mentality’ – whatever that is. So the mistakes they make are overlooked. By himself, you want find many better left backs than Gael Clichy – mind you. And no.. Kieran Gibbs is not ready. Not just because of his injuries. He’s not yet ready.

    If Clichy wants to go.. I guarantee you we will miss his immense heart, tireless running and that famous interception which he makes when he bursts 10 yards forward. I hope he stays.

  • Wrenny

    Thanks Walter. I was just as surprised as you are while I was putting together the numbers. Clichy just kept coming out on top in so many categories! Stats obviously can’t tell you the whole story about a player, but I thought it was pretty strong evidence that he’s underrated, and also quite misunderstood.

  • ak47

    thanx for clearing that up geez, i guess pool were having a laugh if they indeed offered 5mil. according to those stats 10mil isnt enough. hope he stays and gets better protection. with new signings coming into midfield cant wait to see who our starting eleven is.

  • 037

    I am also surprised by those stats!

    Based on several match reports, Clichy is often exposed through long balls aimed at his area and often the counter-attacks fruit a positive result from there.

  • two

    Firstly, thanks Wrenny. This is a great post and fantastic analysis. The problem that Clichy gave the impression of sloppy play is that he dispossessed at the wrong time and caused danger inside the penalty box.

  • jayj

    nice one but what all this bollox about Joey (scum) Barton?? please god let this be agent talk…

  • Lanz

    Amazing! No wonder Wenger believes so much in him! God forgive some of us!

  • Prabal Rakshit

    Good one Wrenny.
    Some time back 7am kick off produced a similar analysis of our defenders and Clichy came up with very impressive numbers. For all criticism of Clichy’s individual errors (e.g. playing David Villa onside in Emirates) it has to be remembered that he handles an awful lot of traffic and the chances of having a slip in concentration is much more.

    One very valid criticism of our 4-3-3 formation is that the wide players are stationed much deeper into the opposition territory and do not track back too often. The same thing is ameliorated to an extent when we have occasionally switched to 4-4-1-1.

    For bulk of his playing career, Clichy had the likes of Arshavin, Denilson and Jack Wilshere in front of him. None of them can be labelled as a defensive cover by any means. On the other hand Sagna had Alex Song helping out on the right wing, and now even Theo has learnt to track back better.

    Clichy almost single handedly has been expected to provide cover against wingers like Nani, whereas (remember out 0-1 loss at OT last season) Patrice Evra had the cover of Park Ji-Sung and together they bottled up the very threatening nasri.

    I feel this clearly has been a defensive blindspot for Arsene. He traditionally loves his right flank to be more direct and left to be more creative (Parlour vs Overmars, Ljungberg vs Pires), but in a 4-3-3, this has been cruelly exposed. Quite a few of our goals against top clubs have come on our weaker left flank.

    I would really hope we could post a defensive minded player in front of Clichy at least in the big games. If we land both Samba and Cahill can Vermaelen do this job?

  • James

    I agree to an extent with the inferences you make from these stats but I think like all stats, there is a lot of misleading information and hidden stuff that can only be seen from watching games.
    True, Gael Clichy is often left extremely exposed especially since we switched to a 4-3-3 and since we lost the crux of the starting 4 he grew used to, a lot of times, the left sided attacker is the more attack minded of our front 3 and Arshavin, in particular, has been played out of his natural position in the middle so he’s been lazy at times and has failed to appropriately adapt to the defensive requirements of a flank-player in such a narrow formation. True, a lot of teams gang up on him as the realize that he’s not as strong aerially as Sagna nor as nasty in the tackle do his side is often used as the second launching pad for all the high balls to our soft center. However, I do believe that he has not developed accordingly in the poise he shows when the team is under pressure and sadly, he’s seemed fragile in confidence for a variety of reasons (a staple of a lot of underperforming players we have).
    I also think he has left a lot of the good in his attacking play somewhere in the last 3 or so years and our new ‘wingerless’ style hasn’t encouraged him to get it back. I will miss Clichy playing for us if he leaves, he was and is a truly committed gunner, who gives his all every game unlike Denilson but it might be better for his career if he’s re-energized and inspired in another system. I wouldve preferred to see his play in a more conventional 4-4-2 at times but Wenger hasn’t done that for a while.
    Best of luck with your decision, Gael, sadly you suffered from becoming the most ‘senior’ member of the squad before you were ready!

  • ben

    hello, u must understand that clichy has to make more tackles because it was arsahvin infront of him , while the other players has their left midfield helping out.
    simple as that, dun believe the stats.

  • Charlie

    @WalterBroecx Clichy made a terrible mistake in that game and it was totally ignored. The rest of the defense played the offside trap but he didn’t move playing the Barca player onside and Barcelona scored. Also 3 assits in 4 seasons is a poor contribution and the fact that other left backs at other teams aren’t doing well either isn’t an excuse. I personally don’t think the team will miss him when he leaves. Incidentally Evra got 7 assists the previous season, Baines 9, Ivanovic 6, Sagna 5, Ashley Cole 4, Eboue 4 and Clichy 1.

  • Wrenny

    Yes, unfortunately the numbers can’t tell us where on the pitch the dispossessions are taking place.

    But we do know that Clichy is the least dispossessed player of the five I looked at, and so the chance of him also being the most often dispossessed in dangerous areas must be rather slim.

  • obichibz

    Great article! But Wrenny, I do feel stats should be all we care about when it comes to measuring player performances as pointed out by Walter re. Cesc at the nou camp, favoritism colors our ‘on the spot’ judgments about the players. the truth is that the league is won/lost over a period of 38 games and every player will make a mistake here and there some more damaging than others. Given his numbers we would do well to keep keep him for a few more seasons.

  • slugboy

    Clichy is a very effective defender, with his weakness, defensively, being his positional play and and in the air.

    Offensively he is poor. He gets a nose-bleed when venturing past the half way line. He is not a wing back in any way.

    Would be a shame to see him go, but not a big a loss as Ashley Cole was. I hope Gibbs can step up – he has great potential and hopefully is becoming mature enough

  • Shard

    I think the frustrations of Clichy stem more from some visible ‘gaps’ in his performance. One is that he is now associated with moments of madness. Two, that he does not contribute anything going forward, and three that he loses out in headers. The last two are definitely true. I don’t remember his heading statistics now but they were quite poor. However, he is 5’8″ so heading stats most likely won’t be great.

    On the plus side, the interceptions he makes are brilliant. They break up the attack and often set us up for a counter attack. His tackling numbers are also high. And on the mental side, there is no doubt that he gives his all whenever he plays.

    I’m a bit divided on this one. I really really like him, and I think a lot of his ‘decline’ was last year. This year his defending has picked up and he is getting back to his best. His attacking is quite useless though.

    My verdict. I don’t want him to go. I do think we can improve in the LB position (especially in terms of attacking output), but there are definitely higher priority areas to improve on with our limited resources. Clichy does a more than acceptable job, despite some errors (which every defender makes to be fair), and Clichy does seem to care about the club. How that fits in with the reported contract stalemate and whether he goes or stays remains to be seen. If he does go, I still think the club can cope. So as I aid, I’m divided on this. No big fuss either way, but i would prefer him to stay.

  • Wrenny

    Heading is something I overlooked in the article, I went just now to have a look at the aerial duel success rate:
    Baines 63%
    Clichy 51%
    Ekotto 63%
    Evra 63%
    A.Cole 42%

    And you’re right, Clichy doesn’t come out favourably there in comparison.

  • IvoryGoonz

    How about the number of passes not completed and goals against following?
    Can rely on such stat, sorry. But the stats and how the game happened need to be looked at together. Even if he was having the best tackles won ratio, if he keeps giving balls away poorly, or other things that are not in the stats but behind people’s mind, then it’s no good.
    Clichy is excellent, but to see his full set of skills, we first need to sort out our core defense and win trophies. Then only will he truly strive like Evra.

  • IvoryGoonz

    I also agree with Arvind.

  • Stevie E

    @wrenny – thanks for the great article, it makes me happy to see that a player who the aaa criticize is actually one of the best in the pl, especially when they all want AW to sign players with pl experience. For me, clichy is a tremendous player, yes he makes the odd mistake and isn’t the greatest in the air, but he will run all day and sweat blood for the team.

  • Wrenny

    @James, Ben

    I did make that point in the article. Clichy’s statistics show a high defensive workload and low offensive contribution, which confirms what many have been suggesting – he is being left unprotected by the players in front of him and not afforded the freedom to regularly get forward.

    However, would asking Wilshere to be more reserved to allow Clichy to get forward be more beneficial to the team overall? Or are we better off as we are, with Clichy pinned back and Wilshere given the freedom to burst into the final third? I don’t know, and I don’t think any of us are really qualified to answer such a complex question.

    There are other options too – Diaby could take Wilshere’s place in the double pivot next to Song, adding a lot more height and power which could be helpful to Clichy. Or we could move back to a conventional 4-3-3 and have Song as a dedicated holding player, perhaps that would give more confidence to the full-backs to aid the attack. But then again the midfield fluidity that we would lose by doing that might do more harm than good… a lot of things for the manager to think about!

  • VJ_Gunner

    Just unbelievable.. I bet 90% of the people who read this blog would have started running in the streets scratching their heads..

  • Wrenny

    And while we’re on the subject of stats in football, I cannot recommend this article enough!:

  • nicky

    I would hope Clichy stays for a season or two at least. Gibbs has quite a bit to learn and is presently injury prone. In the sidelines, waiting for his chance is the impressive Miquel, who played in the LB position against Leyton Orient. We are therefore pretty well served at LB unless the rumour that Clichy wants to leave, is proved to be correct.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Heard some chatter we may buy a defender, or two and put Vermaelen at LB. Not sure I buy this but an interesting angle.

  • nahalum

    I was convinced by this article until I saw the goals and assists table. It is not normal for the left back who plays almost every single match of a team that has one of the best attack of the premiership and averages 60 percent of possession per match to have made only one assist in the whole season, and scored no goal. That just proves that we need someone better offensively at his position.

  • Ellidinho

    The problem with Clichy as well as Arshavin last term was their poor body language!That left a bad feeling cos as one of the more senior players at The Arsenal, he should show more leadership on the field.Having said that, i still believe Clichy is a major asset for AFC and should only be allowed to go if we acquire Baines from Everton!

  • Dark Prince

    Interesting. Even though i’m not a huge believer of the match ratings, but the number of clearances and tackles proves something. And thats the way our defence is exposed so much. Maybe its bcoz Arshavin didn’t really provide the defensive support all the time. I believe Clichy is a very good left back. Though have to admit he’s not consistent.

  • Gooner

    Nice analysis. For those who want him out, they will have to find a replacement for something like £9m. Impossible, now that Taiwo has gotten away.

  • Davi

    I thought clichy looked a bit prone to these mistakes during the two seasons previous to this, but he has been good this year, as the analysis suggests. He looked to be back to something like his 2007/08 form, particularly in the 2nd half of the year.

  • Emeka.

    I wouldn’t have time to go through this write-up. But i just thnk clichy must have paid u some considerable amount of money to waste ur damn time writing this trash.

  • docbrody

    I Blame Arshavin for half heartedly tracking back.

  • WalterBroeckx


    wow, what an intelligent remark…. sigh…

  • Stuart

    I am wondering what the stats would reveal if you could factor in failed tackles.

  • Tembi Mbapeh

    Hi Wrenny,

    Great post! I had not quite expected to see Clichy step up like that. The numbers presented are pretty staggering and do a lot of justice to a player that has been called all sorts of names before in an Arsenal shirt.

    Wenger’s best bet is to go back to Gael, and mend the relationship, resign him on a long term contract and give him a better pay package.

    Last comment: I would like to see this done for the holding midfielders as well. They too come under a lot of stick. How does Alex Song compare to his team mates and the rest of his Prem league peers? Have a sneaky feeling he will be as good as they come. Any takers?



  • jeromey the homey

    Clichy is quality!! Young, fast, intelligent, great attitude, superb stamina and I also believe, loyal. I believe he will so much be an Arsenal player next season that I may get his name printed on the new away shirt once it’s available. He’s staying, and I believe is the best we have and one of the best in the world!! Better than Evra in my opinion. He should be racking up the caps.

  • Matoo

    Over the past two seasons, I did feel that Clichy was a liability in the team, but even if he is, there is one important question which no-one seems to want to answer. Who the F*** is going to replace him?

    This stats just go to show that we should be incredibly happy with whom we have doing a job at left back for us. Although I would like to take a look at his pass completion ratio.

  • anatra

    I agree with docbrody. Is it a coincidence that Clichy started to get a lot of criticism about his playing two years ago? Until then I don’t think I heard anyone saying so much negatives about him as we do now. As Matoo says “over the past two seasons….”.
    I have always felt that Arshavin never tracked back the way he should have, and thank’s to Wrenny it seems I was right about it.

  • Henry

    Clichy and Sagna need to cross… they’re both strong in their own ways but whenever Clichy is afforded the space to move up, generally with good combination with Nasri he still cannot produce a consistent cross or decision. He always tries to crack one from 30 yards whenever we’re losing, something that if he could nail we’d be glad but its just a waste of possession.

    I hope he stays, the mental part( that is, mistakes) is something a morale boosting talk or rest could fix. If the whole team instilled the same mentality as Wilshere the team would never lose.

    Improve the offensive side for Clichy, and Wenger has got to work on set pieces for defense…the mental aspect is the key i would say.

  • Dan

    I feel the problem is not with Clichy but a problem with cover and defending as a team. I think we would see a much improved attacking threat from Clichy if he could roam forwards and know his position was covered. I rate Clichy as a player. I think stats asside he hasn’t had his best season but he is still quality and I think with more cover people would realise his quality more.

  • Dan

    If you have a rational arguement as to why you believe the stats not to be fully accurate then state it. Otherwise respect the writer of the article.
    These stats take a lot of time and effort to compile and many people enjoy the articles and the findings of the articles.
    If you do not enjoy them then that is fine but do not slur the Author with irrational statements just because you do not like statistics.

  • bob

    @Wrenny, Prabal, Shard, others:
    I think you’re work on Clichy as Clichy is really good, but also the method ignores a key contextual issue (the Clichy-Arshavin connection). I’ll get back to this shortly.
    First, to cull from others above, I agree that: Clichy is fast, great work-rate (industrious), good interceptor, seems to want to be here. On the downside, to cull from others above, I think Clichy’s lack of headers are a liability, his crosses are woeful, his too-often shots from 30 yards out are profligate.

    Back to Context: I ESPECIALLY feel that he doesn’t get defensive cover, largely because Arshavin, mostly being played out of position, does not (until the last 2-3 games), cannot or will not fully commit to tracking back and tackling and providing cover. This left-side POROUS channel must be shut down. The mighty statistics machinery might show either that it allows for too many defensive opportunities or it is counter-balanced by Arshavin’s opportunities on offense. It was Arsene’s season-long choice to sustain this channel and it needs further analysis:

    Not yet having those stats at hand (perhaps Wrenny you can look into it), I feel that Prabal nails it very well in his post above:
    “For the bulk of his playing career, Clichy had the likes of Arshavin, Denilson and Jack Wilshere in front of him. None of them can be labelled as a defensive cover by any means… Clichy almost single handedly has been expected to provide cover against wingers like Nani, whereas (remember out 0-1 loss at OT last season)… [T]his clearly has been a defensive blindspot for Arsene… [I]n a 4-3-3, this has been cruelly exposed. Quite a few of our goals against top clubs have come on our weaker left flank.”

    Clichy/Arshavin as either a “blind spot” or, as a calculated risk, opens us to more defensive goal opportunities than it provides for on offense. I would urge our analytics to focus on this channel rather than evaluate Clichy in isolation.

  • Mahesh

    Hi wrenny,Am i allowed to post this article on my page just to shut people up who are on about clichy?

  • FunGunner

    Thanks, Wrenny. I’ve been spreading the word!

  • Steve Blaney

    Clichy has good stats but as a full back he gets way to tight to early. This option sometimes works for him but he needs to stand his winger up more. Next time he plays watch how quickly he tries to shut down his winger and nick the ball this option does not always work. Also he tends to get to deep when defending and stops arsenal playing offside ( goal against Blackpool away and a few others) overall he has good experience should we be getting rid of that? Really wanted Gibbs to take his place but he has struggled this year but another good pre season and who knows? Think if clichy has not signed by pre season he has to go. Lets be fair to wenger has he ever bought a bad left back??

  • Göteborgs Gooner

    Hi Wrenny, thanks for taking the time out and doing some research, much appreciated. Also, thanks for that stats article link on, very interesting read. I was wondering if we can see a stat that says something about number of goals conceded from individual mistakes.

  • Richard B

    Three points:-
    Opponents always target Clichy in the air, not least because Sagna is seen to be so much better in that respect. In fact Clichy wins more than his fair share – hence the numbers.
    Secondly Arshavins poor tracking back is probably why Clichy wants a move. If AA left I think Clichy would rather stay – but he may have burnt his boats.
    Thirdly his low assists by comparison may be down to the fact that others play in high crosses which Arsenal do less than most. Clichys job is to lay the ball back to others who then provide the final pass. Assisting the assister sadly goes unmeasured.

  • Anne


    Good article. Thanks for doing the work. Personally, I like Clichy, so glad to see some vindication for him 🙂

  • munawwar

    the problem with this article is that its stat based. i like stats, but it can mislead. sure clichy makes good interceptions, tackles.. etc etc.. is 5th in this player ratings… but the problem is he makes far too many mistakes in terms of offsides sometimes… he makes these few errors which has cost lot of goals.

    each game he will have amazing stats but then he misses a ball, forgets to track a marker, does not know where the marker is, and then its too late. goal conceded. and with him it has happened way to many times last season.

    so stats can be mis leading.

  • Voodoo Chile

    Clichy is massively underrated. When I watched our finest performance this season against Barcelona for a second time, I couldn’t help but notice just how good he was (apart from the goal). He was perhaps one of the best defensive player that day (much better than Sagna), apart from the goal.

    But the thing about Clichy is that Arshavin nor Nasri tracks back nowhere near as much or as effectively as Theo does, which forces Clichy to defend more and puts him in trouble. Also, other teams see Clichy’s poor heading and jumping ability as a weakness, and teams like Stoke use that to their advantage by shoving their big striker out on the right and launching balls towards him. It’s not a coincidence Clichy’s finest performance was against a Barcelona that is distinctly less physical than us.

    If Clichy leaves I could very well see Arsene shoving Vermaelen out on the left back. Vermaelen is very attacking by nature, is stronger and surprisingly quick. Will be a very interesting pre-season.

  • the article is insightful but dont forget the stats lie most of d times.You only have to look at Arshavin’s stat to understand what I mean.

  • Davey

    First, a clearance is not always a good thing.

    Second, how little he turns over the ball points towards a lack of ambitious passing (whether or not you want your left back to make ambitious passes is debatable).

    Third, and most importantly, this page doesn’t take into account the NUMEROUS times our offside trap has been RUINED by Clichy.

  • Gary

    Hi Guys, just want to ask why do you want to confuse the fans by trying to objectively analyse things? Seems like many prefer their subjective opinions fueled by the tabloids and the assholes at Legrove and the like. Enjoy your blog tremendously. Thanks.

  • Bonstar

    I’d like to know how many goals each player is a large contributing factor to.

    How many times did Arsenal concede goals to due Clichy’s poor positioning?

    Were the other LB’s dispossessed in advanced positions or in dangerous positions?

    Clichy clearly needs more protection, but it’s his mind, not his footballing ability, that is the main issue.

  • Ziontrain

    This attempt at analysis is admirable and incomplete.

    For example the statistic on dispossession/turnover. Its cute to present it but in fact what you really want is the ration of how many times the player loses possession per the number of total touches he has. One would also consider how often the player attempts crosses and dribbles. This would quickly show that Evra and Baines have more touches and particularly in the offensive half, where they are expected to make things happen. Clichy in contrast is an offensive zero (which is hinted at in his goal/assist numbers).

    Also in baseball for example there is a statistic for Errors and when in the game they are made and how much they cost you in opponent scoring. Late in the game Clichy inevitably slips, loses possession or threatens to, needlessly. Which puts his colleagues on edge and under pressure. And he is the most experienced player on the team with 8 years so far in the Arsenal first team? Surely this one is clear as bells at dawn?

  • Ziontrain

    Oh and I forgot to mention, have you not noticed the number of key games in which opponents DELIBERATELY target Clichy? Its not a mystery why. Its fine and well for him to rack up tackle numbers while being targeted, problem is he does make errors on top of the tackles and they cost. Big time.

  • Mike

    Come on guys statistics are more than real I’m sure all of you guys like aresenal statistics when we are killing other teams also I’m sure you guys hated it when it was about Barcelona killing us !!!!! And now because those stats are showing that clichy isn’t that bad like us English people want him to be you are getting upset. Listen put any of those defenders behind arshavin and you will see how good or I should say average they are!!!!! Teams were targeting arsenal left side not for clichy but arshavin who was never in position!!!!!!