Arsenal's 57 clearances: Bettered by Manchester United and Crystal Palace

Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City are the only other clubs to make more clearances in a single game this season.

Arsenal's defensive effort against Aston Villa late on last night was a sight to behold. While Christian Benteke's 75th minute goal gave the home side a chance, Arsenal stood resolute.

During the contest, Arsenal came up with a huge 57 clearances - of which Laurent Koscielny (17) and Per Mertesacker (14) were largely responsible.

There have been only four games this season where clubs have made more - the highest being Crystal Palace's 1-0 away victory at Hull City back in November, the day Tony Pulis' was appointed as manager in charge.

ClubMatchTotal ClearanceAppsMins
Crystal Palace Hull vs Crystal Palace 69 1 90
Manchester United Norwich vs Man Utd 66 1 90
Crystal Palace Crystal Palace vs West Ham 61 1 90
Cardiff City Crystal Palace vs Cardiff 58 1 90
Arsenal Aston Villa vs Arsenal 57 1 90

Manchester United's 2-0 win at Norwich City in December also saw more than 60 clearances in one game, with Patrice Evra racking up 15 on his own.

Another 1-0 win for Crystal Palace saw them rack up 60+ clearances in early December, another illustration of Pulis' defensive effect.

Effective Clearances per game pre-Pulis

ClubEffective Clearance GameAppsMins
Crystal Palace 29.73 11 990

Clearances per game since Pulis arrived.

ClubEffective Clearance GameAppsMins
Crystal Palace 41.50 10 900

The Eagles may still be bottom of the league on 17 points, but they are in with a fighting chance, with West Ham just one point above them in 17th.

Cardiff City's 58 clearances against Palace, a 2-0 loss in December, was the only other game to top the Gunners' 57 last night.

There may be a lot of difference between the games of Arsenal and Crystal Palace, but the way when the pressure builds, both sides rely on their backlines to see them through - is a testament to the art of defending.

image: © Tom Brogan

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