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Stat Attack – AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal

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Written by Matt Stevenson

It’s a labour of love documenting a game where we didn’t really turn up. Although in my mind this is the only one so far this season. Two rash challenges to give away two penalties pretty much sealed our fate, although for the first 40 minutes, we sounded competitive (I was listening on the radio).

The first real chance of the gap was an open goal for Arsenal. Odegaard swung over a cross to Jesus who headed at goal (rated 1 in 50). It struck the face of the goal, with Neto trying to keep it out and rebounded to an unmarked Saka to head home (nearly 4 in 5). I don’t know enough about goalkeeping to know if Neto should have done better, but Kerkez will be disappointed he didn’t track Saka’s run from wide. The game had hardly any chances approaching halftime until Aarons slid in on Nketiah and didn’t get the ball. Penalty to Arsenal which Odegaard scored (about 3 in 4). At half time the xG was AFCB 0.23 and Arsenal 1.76, with Solanke having AFCB’s biggest chance. A shot rated 1 in 8 that was put wide.

The second half started brighter, Saka having a big chance (about 1 in 2) that was saved and in the same move Zinchenko having an effort blocked (1 in 10) and Solanke having a headed chance (1 in 11). The game was effectively over after 52 minutes when Christie slid in on Odegaard to give away another penalty (about 3 in 4) and it was 3-0 to Arsenal. There were hardly any chances in the next 20 minutes although AFCB did have a 5-minute period of pressure with attempts (all about 1 in 10) from Philip, Ouattara and Kerkez. But it appeared Arsenal were just holding us at bay. Near the end of the game Smith-Rowe had a good chance (38%) saved by Neto before in additional time White was unmarked from a free kick to head home (about 1 in 3) having lost his man (I think Semenyo) stepping back from an offside position before the kick was taken.

The xG was AFCB 0.64 Chelsea 4.14, although Opta had it less one-sided, but still a comprehensive Arsenal win (0.65 vs 3.43).

xG Timeline.JPG

We continued to play a high line with all but Neto (1) and the two centre-backs (Senesi (25) and Zabarnyi (27)) having an average position in Arsenal’s half. Kluivert’s (19) positioning is interesting being more tucked centrally alongside Cook (4) whilst the opposite winger Tavernier (16) was the furthest forward in the team. From this diagram, it appears that Kerkez (3) was providing more of the attacking threat on the left. The game was effectively over when we made our first substitutes with the wingers replaced, as is Iraola’s way with Sinisterra (17) replacing Kluivert and Ouattara (11) replacing Tavernier. Whilst Sinisterra was wider than Kluivert, the imbalance in advancement on the flanks was maintained. Possibly this was to provide more protection against Saka as you assume this was a tactical decision. In the 75th minute, Rothwell (8) replaced Philip in a holding role. In the 83rd minute, Smith (15) replaced Kerkez and Semenyo (24) came on for Christie. Semenyo’s position was not overly advanced compared to previous games where he has come on as a substitute.

Av Posit.JPG

Senesi had most touches with 76 followed by Cook (55) and Zabarnyi (51). Christie had the most touches in the opposition half with 33 with Cook, Kerkez, and Solanke all having 30 or more. Tavernier had had most touches in the final third with 26 out of his 30 touches, indicating how high he played. Solanke and Christie both had 24.


We had 28 touches in the opposition’s penalty area, Solanke having 7 of these followed by Christie with 6.

Pen Area Touches.JPG

Senesi attempted 63 passes, with Cook attempting 45. Cook attempted the most passes (24) in Chelsea’s half followed by Senesi and Christie (22 each); Christie attempted the most in the final third (16) followed by Aarons with 14. We averaged 81% completion, with Zarbanyi and Cook of the starting 11 having values greater than 90%.

All Passes.JPG
Passes Opp Half.JPG

AFCB attempted 15 crosses, being successful with 2 (both from Tavernier).


Our players tried to take on a man 32 times, the highest number this season, being successful 13 times. There were no stand-out performers for AFCB in this respect with our 40% success rate disappointing.

Take Ons.JPG

We created 6 chances (none big). Arsenal created 10 chances with three of them big.

Chances Created.JPG

We had 8 attempts (none big) noting that chances can be provided after saves, deflections or a defensive error and not created. We hit the target once (Christie). Arsenal had 15 attempts, 6 big, and hit the target 8 times.


AFCB won 6 of 13 aerials duals a low number as Arsenal play a possession-based game.


We won 65 out of 26 tackles with Sinesterra winning 3 out of 3. Senesi will be disappointed with winning only 1 from 5


Senesi had the most defensive actions with 14. Cook made the most interceptions, Senesi made the most recoveries, Kerkez made the most clearances and Zabarnyi and Senesi each made 2 blocks.


According to Opta, AFCB made one error leading to a shooting chance which was Zabarnyi’s poor control that led to Smith-Rowe’s late chance. Personally, I’d have said that Aarons’ and Christie’s challenges were errors that led to goals.

Aarons gave away most fouls (3) with Philip being our most fouled player (2).


The Opta expected goals had Solanke (0.21) and Philip (0.16) as those most likely to score for AFCB. Tavernier, Solanke and Aarons were the players most likely to provide assists. AFCB had an xGc of 3.43 and conceded 4.

xG and xA.JPG

Man of the match against Arsenal





O. Dango

O. Dango











Someone else

Someone else


Your say…

northstandmark said…

I am starting to develop a little nagging concern about our game when in possession.

For all the talk about the famous high press, something the squad have bought into, what does AI-ball plan to do when we actually win the ball back?

Today isn’t the ideal day to judge of course. This is something that’s been itching at me for several games now, but today’s world-class defence did highlight it more keenly. We don’t seem to have recognisable patterns of play when on the attack. There’s not yet the understanding and anticipation between attacking players about how we’re going to try building through opposition defence.

Admittedly I wasn’t at Brighton which, by accounts of the first half, was some of our better attacking play. So caveat there.

It is also interesting that the quality of the players’ performance in this match was influenced by online casino games. The prevalence of online casinos and gambling games has become increasingly prominent in modern society. This trend has extended its reach beyond traditional leisure activities, seeping into various aspects of daily life, including professional sports. The allure of online casinos and gambling games lies in their accessibility and entertainment value. With just a few clicks, individuals can immerse themselves in a virtual world of chance and excitement, more about which you can find at However, the impact of these activities goes beyond mere leisure; it can extend into other domains, such as sports performance. In the context of the match, it’s conceivable that some players may have indulged in online casino games prior to the event. This could have affected their focus, concentration, and overall readiness to perform at their peak level. The adrenaline rush and dopamine release associated with gambling can influence one’s cognitive abilities and emotional state, potentially leading to improved focus in performance on the field.

I guess I’m worried we’ve spent so much time working on what to do out of possession, we’ve kinda lost our way when in possession.

My hope and expectation is that as we play more games, gain more experience under AI, and of course play slightly less world-class opposition: the attacking / creative side of AI’s game will shine through. Also, players to get fit. So fingers crossed!

Please feel free to reassure me, and/or tear me apart, either is fine! – To join the conversation, click here.

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