Arsenal v Leeds: the Arsenal team, and the question of shots and goals

By Bulldog Drummond

As we have seen in recent posts, everything is pointing in Arsenal’s direction for this game  – which is always worrying, and the journalists settle down with hopes of “giant upset”.

One stat we haven’t looked at much this season – which is obviously my mistake – is the number of shots.

Team Total Per Game
Shots On Target Goals Shots On Target Goals
Liverpool 638 234 86 18.76 6.88 2.53
Man City 623 227 84 18.32 6.68 2.47
Arsenal 524 173 54 15.41 5.09 1.59
Chelsea 517 186 68 15.21 5.47 2
Man United 483 178 57 13.42 4.94 1.58
Southampton 452 162 41 12.91 4.63 1.17
Leeds 444 141 38 13.06 4.15 1.12

Now we all know that Arsenal’s problem this season has been a lack of goals – we are sixth in the goalscoring league, three behind Manchester United and six behind Tottenham.   That’s not quite as bad as some people like to make out, but it is not as good as it could be.

But if we look at the number of shots, we can see that Arsenal have the third highest number of shots in the league – with more shots than Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham etc etc.

Which suggests we don’t need more shooting but better shooting.  True we have 13 fewer shots on target than Chelsea, but this is roughly one shot fewer on target per three games less, which is not a huge amount.

But I think there is a hidden bonus here, and that is the age of our top scorers.  Saka with 12 goals, Smith Rowe with 11, Odegaard with six and Martinelli with five are all young players, and if they follow the normal pattern, they each have maybe six years of improvement still to go as their strength and experience continue to grow.

On the other hand we should note also that Liverpool and Manchester City are both putting in three shots per game on target more than Arsenal, which is enough to explain why they are scoring one goal a game more than Arsenal.

So this deficit may not completely correct itself next season, without buying a new 30 goals a season man, but all the figures suggest that there will be some improvement, simply because of the fact that the current goal scorers are all so young.

Here is the Evening Standard’s projection for the team…


Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares;

Odegaard, Elneny, Xhaka;

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Sports Mole suggest using the same players but in different positions.


Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares;

Xhaka, Elneny;

Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;


There are lots of publications suggesting that Nuno Tavares is the problem to be fixed and Gooner News come up with this solution


Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric,

Elneny, Odegaard, Xhaka,

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

The Short Fuse do however find a place in the line up for Smith Rowe…


Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares

Elneny, Xhaka

Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe


The reason for including Tavares is summed up by Pain in the Arsenal which says “Another nightmarish performance from Nuno did improve as the West Ham game went on, which is the level he needs to maintain from the start in this match.”

Virtually everyone else has some combination based on those selections above.  Which means all we have left to offer is the current league table after yesterday’s matches…

Tottenham can overtake Arsenal if their results are better than ours over the remaining games, but Manchester United can now only reach 61 points, and West Ham can now only match the same, which means Arsenal are back in Europe next season, and the dreadful Europa Conference (from which Tottenham so ignominiously got kicked out this season, has been avoided.

So it is either the Champions League or the Europa League depending on the outcome of these last games.  And that after all the early season talk of relegation, and West Ham having a break-through season and all that usual mindless gibberish.   How odd that so many writers could be so wrong.  Why is that?

The league table after last night’s games…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 35 25 8 2 87 23 64 83
2 Manchester City 34 26 5 3 84 21 63 83
3 Chelsea 35 19 10 6 70 31 39 67
4 Arsenal 34 20 3 11 54 41 13 63
5 Tottenham Hotspur 35 19 5 11 60 40 20 62
6 Manchester United 37 16 10 11 57 56 1 58
7 West Ham United 35 15 7 13 53 46 7 52

27 Replies to “Arsenal v Leeds: the Arsenal team, and the question of shots and goals”

  1. I know this may sound absurd, preposterous, but if our top scorer (from open play) – Emil – spent more time on the pitch than on the bench, we just might score more goals …
    Anyway, let’s be wary, they’re not consistent, but they can play good football, these Ellan Road boys

  2. Also Leeds have the huge incentive of having to avoid relegation. Amidst their own respective weaknesses, both Burnley and Everton have had at least one unexpected successful result in the last few games, so we must recognise that the same is possible for Leeds.

    Liverpool’s performance yesterday shows that even the most confident and well-established expectations can be unfulfilled, so there must be no complacency on our part.

  3. Smith Rowe is one of our more accomplished finishers with his knack of simply and calmly passing the ball accurately into the net instead of trying to take the leather off of the ball, Martinelli has wonderful skills but he just needs to calm down when taking a shot.

  4. Our women have kicked off in their final match of the season away at West Ham. It’s live on BBC2. A game we need to win and we also need Chelsea to drop points against Man United for us to be champions.

  5. United have an early goal against Chelsea. No score yet in our game but we have had all the chances so far

    Dammit Chelsea have equalised.

  6. Our final passes have been a little off so far. We should be out of sight by now.

    The BBC2 commentators are terrible, full of praise for West Ham and criticism of every slight error by Arsenal.

  7. Half time.

    West Ham 0 – Arsenal 0
    Chelsea 1 – Man United 2
    Reading 0 – Man City 2

    As it stands we will be Champions, Chelsea second and Man City third

  8. Chelsea back level. We need to get a goal and win this game

  9. Chelsea now ahead – if that remains the same then no matter what the result in our game we can’t be champions

  10. Blackstenius scores with her first touch after coming on for Foord. To the Arsenal one-nil

    Beth Mead so close to making it two with a thunderbolt off the bar

  11. Steph Catley makes it two nil. This game should now be secure. Need United to get an equaliser now

  12. Chelsea with another goal, as I feared they are too strong for United. Chelsea will win the title by one point.

  13. No that’s it. We won by two nil but Chelsea are champions by one point.

  14. how many goals must eddie nketiah score/before the “buying a striker ” mantra is hushed?; the answer is blowin’ in the wind, i guess
    i think it’s the first time i’ve seen this young bunch so absolutely superior from the getgo; only city-‘pool-chelsea could convey such an impression lately
    those leeds boys have behaved like a sunday morning football team of thugs facing a superior opponent; old master bielsa must have felt very sad, and ashamed, in front of his tv screen
    MA will probably take out some lads come the 60th minute, in order to rest them before thurday’s game; what’s not to like about such an afternoon?

  15. Absolutely. Two quickfire goals from Eddie who is looking more and more like a PL striker and a moment of madness from our ex academy player Luke Ayling with referee Kavanagh being given no choice by VAR to upgrade his original yellow card for the correct red one. The only question is why a FIFA accredited referee didn’t show the red in the first place.

  16. well, that was disappointing
    tomi didn’t look comfortable on the left, and sure didn’t look like the sharpest knife in the drawer on that goal
    really don’t know what to make of such a half, but a look at the table is all it takes to warm an old fan’s heart
    now, you-know-who at you-know-where: at least a draw, boys, please!!

  17. Well, they won, that is all that counted.
    Eddie is getting minutes on the field and it is starting to show.
    I just hope they figure out a way to keep him, the sriker they are looking for is already there.

    The one thing I can’t figure out is why Arsenal seem only rarely to be able to go for the jugular.
    How come they stop at 2 goals so often. Where is this ‘lack’ of whatever you need to finish off a game ?

  18. Elneney brilliant again, I don’t think he misplaced a pass the whole game. If he did it passed me by.

  19. The coverage on the Leeds corner was disappointing given that we were 11 v 9 and in the second half we did not convert our chances but on the whole this was a comfortable match. I can’t think of an area of the pitch that we did not dominate…very promising.

    And, as a bonus this puts the 4th place race firmly in our hands. Spurs has to take all 9 points to realistically have a chance at overtaking us. Any combination of us getting or Sp*rs dropping 6 points and we are home and dry. I am optimistic.

  20. agree with you about mo 100%, mick – my thought exactly at some point in the game; actually i think it would be very interesting to add up the number of passes he misplaced in … the last 4 games!! (pretty sure the fingers of one hand would be enough), as well as the number of “line-breaking” passes he did place (pretty sure there would be a jaw-dropping amount of them eventually)
    i can’t help thinking of dear old kevin richardson every time i watch him play now, and to me, kevin was perfection – period

  21. Very happy with the 3 points, of course. Hard to score a 3rd with 10 men in the box. Agree with Mick Shelley and LE GALL re Mo Elneny. He’s been really solid since Partey went down. This has led to Xhaka handling the ball more and initiating more like he does for Switzerland. This comes at the expense of Odegaard. A note to MA: run the offense through you’re #10 wearing #8. Good things happen with the ball at his feet. Sometimes Arsenal have long periods of time on the ball without Odegaard touching it. That’s just wasteful and completely mystifying. There were several times today where #8 was standing alone to the right of play and never sniffed the ball! He must be the primary option for the back 6, PERIOD. Minutes and minutes of possession without your primary playmaker seeing the ball. I’d like to see that change. All in all, wonderful bunch of players and very enjoyable season. COYG!!

  22. big 3 points and should have scored more in the 1st half when we really dominated the game. well, another 3 points in the bag is what really matter. we all should slow down a bit with all this paranoia about the new striker and let the season finish first. pretty sure the club and the manager is trying their best to convince Eddie to stay put at Arsenal and his contract offer already on the table, it’s all up to the lad. gutted for the women team who is just point short on becoming champs. Spurs is next and i want their scalps at the lane, Arsenal ’till i die

  23. Elneny brilliant, especially when holding things together during the latter stages when we had our shaky period.

  24. A bit nervy, and allowed a team with nothing to lose back in the game with what I believe was their first shot on target, which always makes life difficult.
    But possibly a point on a learning curve for some players, this is a very young team.
    Should have been more comfortable, but things don’t always work out that way in football or in life in general.
    A tough assignment later in the week of course, they have very few injuries to key players ( Matt Doherty?) and seem to need very few chances to score in some games, like many of our opponents! But it’s about time we won there! The pressure is on them at home.
    After that, Everton, who could be safe by then, and hopefully, an on the beach, Newcastle
    Can only agree with the comments on the magnificent Elneny.

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