UEFA Champions League: How Stats Prove Barcelona Were the Right Team to Progress

James WillisAnalyst IMarch 9, 2011

UEFA Champions League: How Stats Prove Barcelona Were the Right Team to Progress

0 of 7

    Following their team's dismissal from the UEFA Champions League, there were many Arsenal fans who put the result down to the referee's performance.

    While the match officials may have had a poor game, as occasionally happens to anyone, the statistics from the match prove that Barcelona were the better team.

    In fact, the stats were enough for the club to be the overall deserved winners over the course of the two legs, as this slideshow demonstrates.

First Leg

1 of 7

    Possession: Arsenal 47 percent Barcelona 53 percent

    Attempts On Target: Arsenal 8 Barcelona 7

    Attempts Off Target: Arsenal 3 Barcelona 3

    Corners: Arsenal 4 Barcelona 1

    Fouls: Arsenal 16 Barcelona 12

    The statistics in the first leg are largely even, with the possession only slightly in Barcelona's favour.

    The corner count may have been in Arsenal's favour, but the rest of the stats largely show the match as even.

    It was a close game, and as the stats show, difficult to pick a winner. In the end, Arsenal edged the close tie.

Second Leg: Possession

2 of 7

    Barcelona 67 percent Arsenal 33 percent

    While Barcelona's style of play is all about possession, it is clear that you cannot expect to win a game if you give the opposition as much possession as Arsenal gave the Catalan giants.

    In the first leg, when Arsenal were successful, the major difference was that they had earned 47 percent of possession, as opposed to the poor 33 percent this time around.

    Barcelona were in control of the match, and the possession stats clearly reflect their superiority on the night.

Second Leg: Attempts on Target

3 of 7

    Barcelona 13 Arsenal 0

    If Barcelona's possession wasn't enough to prove them deserving victors, then the Attempts on Target should be.

    In the second leg at the Camp Nou, Barcelona managed to get 13 attempts on target as opposed to Arsenal's zero.

    The only Arsenal goal came from a Barcelona own goal, proving that if anything was to be the downfall of Barcelona that night, it would be their own mistakes, rather than Arsenal's performance.

Second Leg: Attempts off Target

4 of 7

    Barcelona 6 Arsenal 0

    So having shots go off target isn't a good thing, but when you've had so many shots on target, some of them are bound to fly wide of the mark.

    Considering Arsenal failed to even manage one shot on target, their failure to amass even one shot off target is very poor.

    Barcelona won't be pleased that six of their shots were off target, but at least they will be content in knowing they had more shots on target.

    In fact, considering Arsenal's failure to amass a single attempt on or off target in the game, Barcelona can be pleased that even their shots off target eclipsed that.

Second Leg: Corners

5 of 7

    Barcelona 5 Arsenal 2

    So the number of corners aren't the be-all and end-all of stats. They're not the most important numbers from the game, but they can show which side forced the most opportunities.

    For Arsenal, their two corners were arguably the closest they got to an attempt on goal, while Barcelona managed to force three more corners than their opponents.

    As mentioned, while this is not the most important stat, it does still show that Barcelona were the side to create far more attacking opportunities throughout the game.

    In the first leg, the numbers were a bit closer on this stat.

Second Leg: Fouls

6 of 7

    Barcelona 6 Arsenal 16

    It just goes to show the style of the Catalan club when you see the stats for fouls.

    With such accurate passing and such a high possession percentage, it is clear that Arsenal, as so often is claimed as the case against them, decided that they would need to take a more physical approach.

    The North London club may well have been frustrated with not being able to win the ball and stay in possession as much as they would have liked, causing more fouls to be committed by Arsenal.

    While Barcelona did commit six fouls of their own, the amount that Arsenal committed proves which team were on the up.


7 of 7

    *Stats over both legs*

    Possession: Barcelona 60 percent Arsenal 40 percent

    Attempts on Target: Barcelona 20 Arsenal 8

    Attempts off Target: Barcelona 9 Arsenal 3

    Corners: Barcelona 6 Arsenal 6

    Fouls: Barcelona 18 Arsenal 32

    After putting together the stats from both legs, with possession averaged out, it is clear that Barcelona were the better side statistically.

    They may have struggled to find their top form in the first leg, but overall almost every single one of the stats over the course of the two legs are in their favour.

    The only one that Arsenal have come close to is the corner count.

    So did the best team win? Of course they did.