Analysis of Arsenal’s free-kick takers over last two years


I know you guys are just as excited as I am that the Premier League has started. However, I’ve noticed that there’s still something missing from Arsenal’s game since van Persie left. And that is scoring from dead balls.

When there was a free kick back in the day, I always thought, “no problem mon” – we have RVP to take it. Nowadays I just shudder. Since 2012, we have scored a meager 3 goals from dead balls including Santi’s crucial goal in the FA Cup Final. We know who to put for PKs – Arteta’s conversion rate from the spot is lethal. For the most part, crosses from a dead ball and corners are taken by Santi and Ozil. But when in scoring range, which Gunner should be over the ball?

I did some digging from the live texts to see which Gunners have been the most effective at scoring from free kicks. I researched ALL of our games (yes all of them) from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. I also did a tiny bit of math and calculated their accuracy (shots on target/shot attempts). Vermaelen’s stats have been removed due to his transfer circumstances. The stats may not be perfect to the core, but I tried to get the most information I could from these live texts. This is what I found…

Santi Cazorla
Shot attempts – 17
Shots on target – 5
Goals scored – 1
Accuracy – 29%

Olivier Giroud
Shot attempts – 3
Shots on target – 0
Goals scored – 0
Accuracy – 0%

Mesut Ozil
Shot attempts – 3
Shots on target – 2
Goals scored – 0
Accuracy – 67%

Aaron Ramsey
Shot attempts – 2
Shots on target – 0
Goals scored – 0
Accuracy – 0%

Theo Walcott
Shot attempts – 8
Shots on target – 2
Goals scored – 0
Accuracy – 25%

Lukas Podolski
Shot attempts – 7
Shots on target – 3
Goals scored – 2
Accuracy – 43%

Mikel Arteta
Shot attempts – 7
Shots on target – 3
Goals scored – 0
Accuracy – 43%

Tomas Rosicky
Shot attempts – 1
Shots on target – 1
Goals scored – 0
Accuracy – 100%

So according to their accuracy percentage, Rosicky should be taking the shot attempts from free kicks. But even this stat is suspicious seeing that Mozart has only had one shot attempt from a dead ball in the last 2 years. Either way you put it, these stats are horrifying. Goals can be scored from free kicks and yet we can barely put them on target. Maybe with Alexis on the squad things could change, but it is ever so evident that ALL of our Gunners need to practice their shot attempts from dead balls. What do you guys think? Who should be taking the kicks?

– KC

Tags Arteta Podolski Rosicky


    1. yup, there was a dead ball that went by the far right corner in our match against Crystal Palace. It was off target, but I saw some potential in that miss. Give him a few matches and I think that ball will be going in.

      1. sanchez should take it …. deadly at barca with dead balls….

        campbell is also quiet good at dead balls.

        arteta use to be dead ball specialist at everton , i wonder what happened

  1. I feel this should be one of our priorities. FK brings about so much in the game. We need a Gerrard type specialist in FK.

    I always feel, Ramsey can be that man, given the chance. But now since we have Sanchez I don’t think Wenger will be too much worried. But I would really like Wenger to walk up to Rambo and say him to practise a bit more on the dead ball because Ramsey has outstanding accuracy in his shot.

  2. True! Freekicks isn’t our strongest side… I remember Henry and Beckham used to bang in goals all of the time back in the day. We should definetly improve on that because it can be a game changer during a big match.

  3. Add corners to this, we get bagloads of them and should do better.

    While Alexis free kick was a good delivery all the credit has to go to Kos for losing the defenders and deflect the ball into the net in a very odd position.

  4. If MR AW don’t buy a CD a DM and a left back we won’t win shit. We all see it but he don’t. And tbh we could do with a fox in the box

  5. All the Previews and Predictions have put us for 3rd given the fact that we don’t have DM. The impact of Mesut Özil has faded from their mind since last year and the WC performance’s.

    The funny thing about this is since he joined us “The best No. 10” tag has been stopped associating with him.

    What happens once his silky rhythm and smooth delicate touch is back? Really football fans have short memories.

    I fully expect us to win the league with this squad. Yes as Giroud as our main striker. We have had our fair share of injuries over the years. Our one injury free season is long overdue. This hopefully is that year.

    Don’t know why but I am more optimistic of Mesut and Ramsey this year than any other players.

    1. The media has agenda has made ozil seem alot worse than he actually was last season. He was average for his standards but was still better than most no10s in the league last season.
      coutinhos and mata’s performances this weekend were awful but not a single person said a word, but if it was ozil twitter would go into meltdown and there would be million articles saying hes a flop etc etc.
      On the otherhand when he has a good performance not a word is said so the public believe that hes always playing poor. No idea why the guy gets so much hate.

      1. The anoying thing with that is you end up getting some fans falling into the bandwagan and start calling ozil rubbish we had a few on this website last season .

        1. Exactly, now you’ve got people saying Coutinho is better than ozil, its truly ridiculous.
          Anyway lets hope managers are that stupid and dont base there gameplan around stopping ozil like they did last season.

  6. Great article! I’ve been shaking my head at our free kick and corners for a number of years now. The delivery from our corners has been aweful, especially when I see Theo step up to take them. Santi as well. The only player I’m ever confident of taking free kicks is Podolski but that’s only if the ball is spot on the right side so he can use that cannon of a left foot of his.

    One thing is for sure that we miss out on a lot of goals due to the lack of “specialist” we have in these areas. I had hoped Ox or Sanchez would be working them this season.

    1. Damn, thats alota moola but i think they’d play their hearts out anyway just to play in the champions league… Is it just me or are we the most hated club in europe. People only have negative things to say about arsenal. Even if we won the treble this year i bet Owen’s mouth will still smell like sh*t.

      1. Don’t confuse envy with hate. People across Europe envy Arsenal for our quality of play and our integrity off the pitch.

  7. We should have a specialist in every category now that we have money to spend.

    Another reason why Chelsea will improve so much by having Fabregas and Costa.

    Our team should have top players in all positions, excellent finisher, excellent free kick taker, player great at crosses, quality central defense midfielder, etc.

    You know, Wenger could achieve that with two more top signings.

    We are sooo freakin close to having a world class Champions League winning team.


  8. Free kicks. our old enemy.
    Mikel Arteta, coming to Arsenal, came with the reputation as a free kick specialist and he actually is but, he came into a team that had RVP who is a pretty decent free kick taker himself. Arteta IMO is the best for the job but, he does not take enough free kicks. And this brings me to another point which is – the guy is too selfless. He’s okay to do or not do anything as long as it’s the best for the team. In RVP’s last season, after the FK he scored against sunderland, I’ve seen him(RVP) stand over about a dozen more dead balls which he aimed at space ships crashing into earth. Also, there’s Santi, who is pretty lethal.
    I’ve heard a word or two on Alexis’s FK prowess so, there’s him too. AW shoul take this seriously. Two seasons ago, i couldn’t find any justification whatever for walcott taking our deadballs but, i guess it’s not without the boss’s concent.
    For me, it’s arteta everyday of the week and a day more, then Cazorla and then the rest.

    1. We do NOT have a Beckham/Ronaldo type FK taker you mean.
      Not sure we do not practice them at any time, but, agree it would be nice to have a great dead ball taker. BUT, you wouldn,t buy a poor player JUST to take them. This is not American Football after all.

  9. I want to see Alexis taking free kicks and playing through the middle. Then I think we’ll see the best of him.

  10. Greek media claiming Arsenal & Olympiakos have reached agreement for defender Kostas Manolas. Fee £8.8m. Personal terms also agreed

  11. Sorry guys, but I have to disagree with the author’s opinion that our players are really bad at taking free kicks. Just look at the accuracy and conversion rates of other players. Pirlo is seen as one of the best current free kick takers. According to whoscored, his conversion rate was lower than 15%. Podolski for example has both a higher conversion rate and accuracy than Pirlo.
    Nice analysis anyways. Good work!
    I can’t wait for the Besiktas game. I’m confident we’ll totally destroy them. COYGs!

  12. @SteveNicol…you can suck my 2 fat bxll, you no “never was, never was going to be”…you could never hope to be in Alexis league….he’s already forgotten more than you ever learned in your life.

    What you are qualified to talk about…Cockroach racing in Kamchatka. a couple of tips:
    1. Identify what a cockroach is
    2. Get a passport
    3. Find out where Kamchatka is
    4. Just buy a 1 way ticlet

    See ya f’wit!

    1. Always feel very confident when Pod is about to take a free kick. The goalies always have a very nervous expression when the they see Pod about to step up.

  13. Podolski can take a free kick, but how often is he on the pitch to actually take them? Sanchez is probably the best man for the job right now.

    Another thing is that our set pieces are pathetic. How often is it that when we get a free kick we feel confident enough to turn it into a goal? Hardly ever. We did score one over the weekend but it rarely happens. Perhaps now that Sanchez is taking them, we will be more of a threat in that sense.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors