ByTheNumbers: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

Football

ByTheMinEPL

The Premier League kicked off the 2017/18 season in the only way it knows how last night. Arsenal eventually overcame counter-attacking Leicester CIty 4-3 in a pulsating affair at The Emirates. Here at ByTheMinute we're going to have a little look at the stats behind the game in a new feature we're calling ByTheNumbers. If you enjoy this, do let us know. Might make us do some more. You ready? Let's begin.

70% possession Arsenal always dominate the ball possession when they play at home. Well, they do when the opposition isn't Barcelona or Bayern Munich knocking them out of the Champions League on a cold, late February evening... Last night was no different. 70% possession against Leicester's minuscule 30% is no real surprise. It's what Wenger does. And probably always will do. Arsenal were actually more dominant on the ball in the first half with over 71% of the ball. It was only really the frantic final 15 minutes when Leicester were able to grab the ball for longer spells. In the final 15 minutes, they had their highest share of the ball with 38%. Just a shame for them that this also led them to concede the crucial 2 goals that meant they left The Emirates pointless.

4/4 tackles A lot of eyes were on summer recruit Sead Kolasinac following his impressive debut against Chelsea at Wembley last weekend. He didn't do an awful lot wrong, if anything, last night in his first home start. He was the top tackler on the pitch with a 100% success rate, with 4 tackles attempted and all 4 completed. He also managed to win 6/7 duels for possession and made every one of his attempted clearances. One of the best deals of the transfer window? The signs look very positive.

6 saves Kasper Schmeichel was a busy boy last night. Arsenal managed a total of 27 shots during the 90 minutes. 10 of these were on target. Kasper was able to save 6 of these. This compares to 0 saves from Cech by the way. Although he did concede 4 goals, it's hard to say that he had a poor game. Every goal was from inside the box. Perhaps he could have done better with Lacazette and Giroud's header, but that would be quite harsh on him. He's clearly going to be a busy keeper this season if Leicester continue with their "good in attack, open in defence" policy. If you're a Fantasy Football player, I'd maybe keep him off your team. But Leicester will pick up points because of his saving ability.

2 goals from 2 shots Although he still managed 13 goals in a season when his side was not firing on all cylinders, Jamie Vardy's 2016/17 season was certainly nowhere near the heights of the championship winning 2015/16 year. He seemed to be back to his lethal best last night. 2 chances. 2 goals. You can't really do better than that. His predatory nature will be a threat against any side. If he can forge a good partnership with Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester could quite easily find themselves comfortably in the top half of the table. Also check out his heat map below. Vardy put in a shift last night. He could be the key to Leicester's success over the next few months.

90% passes Alexandre Lacazette was the player most Arsenal fans were eager to see make a successful home debut last night. It took less than 2 minutes for him to net his first goal. After that, he only managed one more shot all night. However, looking into his passing stats, you'll see a player who is happy to give the ball to others and play a large part in the team ethics. 90% of his passes were successful. 3 of these 19 were key passes which lead to chances for Arsenal. Perhaps he is more than just a goal scorer. If he continues to hit the ground running, he'll be more than capable of leading the line for the Gunners. His heat map is interesting too. For a lone striker, you might have expected to find him in and around the penalty spot. To find him most prominent in the interchange between the middle of the pitch and the start of the final third show that he is happy to drop back when needed.

4 duels won in 23 minutes The match winner for Arsenal last night was Olivier Giroud. He is quite a frustrating figure for Arsenal. Clearly, he's a classy footballer, but he so often flatters to deceive. I wonder if Wenger will now use him as the super sub on a regular basis this year. In the 23 minutes he was on the field, he won 4/5 duels, including the header which won the game. He was drifting from wide positions into the centre throughout his cameo appearance. Wenger has maybe found his best role now. Stick him on in the 67th minute and let him do his stuff. Defences beware!

81 passes To finish with let's take a look at the man in the middle of the pitch who ran the show last night. Granit Xhaka stepped up to the plate and produced the goods consistently last night. Making 81 successful passes on the night (a full 11 ahead of 2nd best Ozil), Xhaka was influential in everything good that Arsenal did. 5 of these were key chance-setting-up passes, with 2 of them leading directly to goals. Arsene Wenger, build your team around Xhaka and you'll be in for a successful season. Well, 4th places and the FA Cup. We know what you like! His heat map does look like Great Britain is sexually molesting a dinosaur though...