The stat that proves how much Arsenal missed Flamini against Liverpool

Arsenal lost 5-1 to Liverpool on Saturday, but how much did they miss a certain Frenchman?

Almost 48 hours have gone by since Arsenal lost 5-1 to Liverpool in a match that cast doubts over the Gunners' title aspirations just as it plumped up those of their opponents.

In the first half Liverpool were nothing short of amazing, putting Arsene Wenger's side to the sword in impressive fashion.

But what went wrong for the then-league leaders?  Was it simply a case of one side playing considerably better than the other, were they just well below their best, or did they miss one particular component?

In truth it was a bit of all three, and I have already written a piece highlighting the drop in performance from Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud et al.  But Mathieu Flamini's absence due to suspension should not be understated.  

Since returning to the Emirates Stadium the midfielder has slotted back like he has never been away. Except on Saturday, he was away.  So how did Arsenal cope as a result?

As you can see from the table below, Mikel Arteta stood out when it came to tackles won, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - as you would expect given his position and his play - was dispossessed more than any other Arsenal midfielder.  But it is when you consider the amount of times Arsenal's midfield lost possession that Flamini's absence is highlighted.

PlayerWon TackleInterception WonDuel WonDispossessedPossession LostAppsMins
Mikel Arteta 3 1 7 0 12 1 90
Santiago Cazorla 2 0 6 1 12 1 90
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 1 2 7 3 19 1 90
Mesut Özil 1 0 4 0 10 1 61
Tomas Rosicky 0 0 1 0 4 1 29
Jack Wilshere 0 1 11 1 18 1 90

The French player loses possession on average 4.61 times per match.  Only Tomas Rosicky bettered that stat on Saturday and he played for less than half an hour.

Every other Arsenal midfielder gave possession away more than double the amount of times Flamini does on average.  And in a match when Liverpool needed no excuse to attack, giving them the ball was not the best idea.

PlayerWon Tackle / appsInterception Won / appsDuel Won / appsDispossessed / appsPossession Lost / appsAppsMins
Mathieu Flamini 1.17 1.56 3.67 0.44 4.61 18 1,134

Flamini will soon be back for Arsenal - a stable presence that allows their more attack-minded players to do what they are best at.  But how they could have done with him at Anfield.

image: © wonker

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