9 Aerial duels lost! How Arsenal restricted Andy Carroll's headed success

Andy Carroll Warms Up

West Ham ace Andy Carroll had a disappointing game against Arsenal last night.

Arsenal were not so long ago dismissed as a light touch in the Premier League, with Sam Allardyce's physical Bolton and Blackburn sides finding ways to out-muscle the Gunners.

They still have their weaknesses in this department, as the away loss to Stoke City this year illustrated, but they are a stronger side in the air than they are often given credit for.

So their performance against Andy Carroll on Tuesday night deserves credit.

Ahead of Arsenal's 3-1 win with West Ham, Arsene Wenger talked up the England international hopeful, telling the club website:

"Once the ball is up there, you do not find many people who can compete with him and win the challenge. So what is important is that we stop the balls going to him. Of that quality, in the air, there are not many [players of that quality]."

So despite Wenger's worry that 'not many' can compete with Carroll in the air, Arsenal's defenders performed well. 

West Ham predictably made a point of targeting the front man, who won 12 aerial duels.

Yet this was only 57 per cent of his attempts, and against the Gunners he lost nine duels, showing just how well the centre-back marshalled him.

These nine failed headed attempts were the second highest number he has lost in any game this season, only losing more to, you guessed it, Stoke City.

  MatchMatchdayAerial LostAerial Won
Andy Carroll Stoke vs West Ham 30 11 10
Andy Carroll Arsenal vs West Ham 34 9 12
Andy Carroll West Ham vs Hull 29 9 11
Andy Carroll West Ham vs Liverpool 33 7 11
Andy Carroll West Ham vs Man Utd 31 6 16

While illustrating that last night was far from a vintage game for Andy Carroll, the game showed how Arsenal's defenders came together too as they sought to hold off the dangerous striker.

  MatchMatchdayTeamPosAerial LostAerial WonMins
Per Mertesacker Arsenal vs West Ham 34 Arsenal DF 8 5 90
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal vs West Ham 34 Arsenal DF 3 3 90
Bacary Sagna Arsenal vs West Ham 34 Arsenal DF 1 4 90
Thomas Vermaelen Arsenal vs West Ham 34 Arsenal DF 1 5 90

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