There is a myth doing the rounds that Stoke are one of Arsene Wenger’s biggest bogey teams. That the small and delicate play-makers that Arsene Wenger’s conveyor belt of talent churns out, are no match for the brutish oafs at Stoke City who will general bully the meeker Gooners into submission. It’s a theory that has been fuelled even more so by Stoke’s 45 minute demolition of Arsenal in December.
Here at the Paddy Power Blog we enjoy, not just dispelling these theories, but breaking down the stats to suggest such a myth is about as well founded as some of Gavin Peacock’s latest tweets. In fact Arsenal have won their last 12 home games against Stoke – a record dating all the way back to 1981 when Adam and the Ants were number one and velvet jackets were an acceptable fashion choice. And the stats suggest it might be worth backing the Gooners to tower over Stoke City…
[Handy hint: Click or tap on the image to enlarge it]
A big nod to Carol Farrell in Design for this top-notch infographic
It may be the festive booze still in our system, but we really do fancy Arsenal to score a header against the Potters this weekend. Despite Stoke having, on average, the tallest team in the top flight (pushing the tape to 6ft 1in) their stats this season suggest they’re not quite hitting the heights when it comes to defending crosses.
- Stoke have conceded 12 goals on the road this season, which is the fourth best away defence in the league. However 50 per cent of the goals they have conceded have been headers.
- If you fancy an early goal, Stoke have conceded 12 goals in the first half of games this season, and once again 50 per cent of them have come from headers.
- Combining the two, Stoke have conceded seven goals away from home in the first 45 minutes. A monster 71 per cent of these goals have been from headers, suggesting they’re particularly susceptible to crosses into the box early in the game.
As for Arsenal, despite an average height of 5ft 9in, which in the Premier League scale would make Tom Cruise look positively intimidating, they have been chipping in with more than their fair share of headed goals.
- The Gunners have bagged 12 goals inside the first 45 minutes of matches this season, and four of them have been headers
- Regulars at the Emirates have seen their side score just four league goals before the oranges this season – and three of these have been headers
Arsenal’s star man Alexis Sanchez has 10 goals to his name this season. Six of these have been scored at home, and two of the six have been headers, despite being just 5ft 6in. The number-crunchers in Power Tower have told us that if you were smart enough to stick £5 on Sanchez to score first every game this season, you’d currently have made £97.50 in pure profit – just shy of doubling your money.
That’s the kind of figure we like to hear, and after a quiet word in the ear of our football trader, he’s boosted the price of Alexis Sanchez to score first against Stoke to 9/2. Get it while it’s hot because this won’t last too long (Desktop link | Mobile link)
Now, let’s just hope he scores with his head so these stats don’t look completely mental…
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