|We’ll update the possession time per game for Arsenal throughout the year. This is for the English Premier league season from 2010-2011.|
The only other team in the world that might come close to averaging as much possession time as Barcelona is Arsenal. The English Premier side is top of the EPL table right now as we edge closer to the half way point of the season. Surely the other big clubs, Manchester United, Chelsea, and maybe even Tottenham Hotspurs, will chase Arsenal for the Premier League title, but Arsenal will most likely go out as the possession time kings at the end of the year.
With the likes of Cesc Fabregas and the surging Samir Nasri, it’s no wonder they are kings of possession. But it’s not the stars that give Arsenal the ability to hold on to the ball while they dissect opponents: it’s the collective team that give them the ability to keep possession throughout the game.
Every player on the team wants the ball and has exceptional control and touch on the ball, from the last defender to the forward. Players move off the ball for one another and check back for the ball to offer support – there’s a constant flow of players away from and back to the ball. What’s the mantra at Arsenal: Pass and move.
Moreover, Arsenal are the kings of possession in the EPL because every player on the team wants the ball. And that’s how it is on every good team. Yes, the ball more often than not runs through Cesc Fabregas, since he’s the playmaker, but what makes Barcelona and Arsenal unique, is that from the front to the back the players are all like playmakers in a way. At time, the right or left fullback can create an attack nearly as good as Fabregas.
And while they’re passing and possession frustrates and tires out other teams, it also frustrates their fans at times too, as they wish Arsenal would shoot the ball more or go right at goal instead of playing the ball around the top of the box looking for the perfect pass.
What’s interesting to look at in the stats below is how sometimes Arsenal will have a much higher possession time, say 61% versus Tottenham Hotspurs time of 39%, but lose the game 3-2. This might come down to Arsenal’s inability to score off their chances or the way opposing teams setup to play Arsenal tactically. Some teams just pack it in and sit back behind their own half and make it hard for Arsenal to break them down.
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