On the chalkboard: Arsenal embarrass themselves with possession

Arsenal were handed yet another embarrassing defeat in midweek.

Travelling to Molineux to face a Wolves side that has taken a number of scalps this season, the Gunners were soundly beaten 3-1.

On the chalkboard

Per the BBC, Arsenal had 71% possession during the game.

Yet they entered the dressing room at half-time 3-0 down.

It was a remarkable display of counter-attacking by Wolves, who used their limited possession effectively and ran riot against a beleaguered Gunners defence.

WhoScored paints a rather more damning picture. Arsenal attempted 690 passes to Wolves’ 285, yet they both had 11 shots. Wolves made more tackles, blocks, interceptions and clearances and also touched the ball 442 times in total, compared to Arsenal’s 837.

Wolves lost the ball half as much as Arsenal and they also made just one error to the Gunners’ two.

Sometimes having the ball does not guarantee winning the game.

Wasteful

Arsenal simply did not do enough with the ball at Molineux.

Wolves drew the Gunners into a trap and took a risk in doing so; in letting Unai Emery’s men dominate possession, they could have been picked apart by clever movement, incisive passing and clinical finishing.

Instead, they were able to counter swiftly and fire past Bernd Leno three times. It is to their immense credit that the second half was nothing more than a procession.

For Emery, however, this should sting. It is reminiscent of the days when Arsene Wenger would watch from the sidelines as his Gunners teams attempted to score the perfect goal.

It is wonderful when it works, of course, and it can lead to some big scorelines, particularly if the opposition defence crumbles in the face of such sustained pressure.

But it can also look mighty foolish when it doesn’t. We have a classic case of that here.