Seven ways Arsenal lead the rest of the Premier League (including Manchester City)

Martin Odegaard, Arsenal, May 2023

Arsenal are the second-best team in the Premier League. That’s impressive but it’s better to be first, isn’t it? We have found seven metrics where Arsenal lead over everybody.

Thanks to the brilliant FBRef for these.


Most shots (564)
Second: Liverpool (561)

Hmmm. First for shots and fifth for shots on target shows something has gone slightly awry here, largely Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka shooting merrily from distance. But at least they are having a pop; there’s no shortage of belief there; just a slight shortage of accuracy. Partey hits the target with one of seven attempts, which is only ever so slightly better than the less-than-fabulous Fabio Vieira.


Passes into penalty area (435)
Second: Manchester City (429)

Slightly surprised by this as you would expect Manchester City to rule on this metric (which does not include set-pieces), but Odegaard is third behind only Kevin de Bruyne and Kieran Trippier for pushing passes into the penalty area. He really is a lovely player and is the least bottley of all the bottle jobs.


Inswinging corner kicks (146)
Second: Everton (123)

Not a fan of an outswinging corner, Mikel Arteta. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and lately Leandro Trossard have taken the vast majority of corners and almost all have been inswinging. In case you were wondering, Liverpool bloody love an outswinger.


Shots that lead to another goal-scoring shot (13)
Second: Aston Villa, Fulham, Nottingham Forest (11)

So that’s misfired shots, blocked shots, saved shots, that lead to an actual goal for the next shot-taker. Martinelli is king of this (five of his shots have led to an Arsenal goal, which is matched across the Premier League only by Ollie Watkins). This is where taking all those shots – see above – can pay off. As long as somebody follows it in.


Mistakes leading to an opponent’s shot (20)
Second: Liverpool (18)

Not great, this. Nobody has made more errors leading to a shot in the whole Premier League than Aaron Ramsdale and no outfield player has made more errors leading to a shot in the whole Premier League than William Saliba. We will move on quickly…


Touches in attacking penalty area (1227)
Second: Manchester City (1195)

Guess it makes sense that if Arsenal are putting a load of passes into the box, there should be plenty of touches in there. Saka, Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus all rank in the top six in this metric, even though the latter has missed a chunk of the season. We are getting a picture of a team that spends a lot of time in the opposition penalty area, taking shots, touching the ball and generally being a brilliant attacking force. Shame about the mistakes at the other end.


Carries into penalty box (268)
Second: Manchester City (255)

More of the same attacking intent here, with Saka leading the Premier League ahead of Mo Salah and Kaoru Mitoma in a measure dominated by wingers. Bottom of the Premier League here are Brentford; why carry the ball into the penalty area when you can just aim at the head of Ivan Toney? They might have to develop new ideas next season.

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