We have long been known for our possession football, but we showed on Sunday that we don’t require the lion’s share of the ball to win a game.

These alarming stats suggest in fact, that we actually perform better without the ball. The figures show that we are unbeaten away from home since 2003 when our possession drops below 44%, suggesting perhaps that when we concede the ball and focus on defence we are extremely difficult to break down.

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Incredible Arsenal statistic – Unbeaten since 2003 every time possession drops below 45%. Worth changing philosophy? pic.twitter.com/viS50VKd90

— Gary Curneen (@GaryCurneen) January 20, 2015

Our disciplined and defensive performance against the Premier League champions on Sunday was somewhat out of the norm, but showed exactly what we are capable of when our tactics are adapted to suit the opposition.

We sat far deeper against Manchester City, crowding out their flair players in the final third of the pitch; happy to concede possession to their centre-backs and less creative stars.

It was obvious that Manchester City posed far less of a threat when the likes of David Silva were kept off the ball. Our willingness to pack the midfield and keep men behind the ball ensured that the Spaniard was starved of possession, despite his side seeing plenty of it.

Those stats don’t show we perform better away when we have less possession because we will certainly have won many, many more games away from home since 2003 when we have dominated possession. As stats the only thing alarming about them is the inability of some to see that they aren’t really telling you anything!

Yes we may have won many, many more games away from home since 2003 when we have dominated possession, but we have also lost a lot. What these stats show is that we haven’t lost a single game away from home when we have conceded possession.

Just some imaginary numbers…

If you win 50 games and lose 50 games when you have 70% possession.

And win 10 games and lose 0 when you have 30% possession.

That shows you have a 50% win rate with high possession, and a 100% win rate with low possession.

You may have won 40 more games with high possession, but your win-rate is still far better with low possession.

That’s what these stats suggest. Even if they don’t totally prove the fact.

It shows nothing of the sort. In the 11 full seasons and one half season since 2003 we would have played 221 away games. We’ve won 116 and drawn 57. The list of those we’ve won with 43% possession or less is 7 wins and 1 draw which leaves 109 games won and 56 drawn with higher possession. The stats suggest nothing other than basing conclusions on 3.6% of the games played and ignoring what the 96.4% might tell you is pretty dumb analysis.

Do you understand what win rate is?

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve played 10 games or 1000 games, you can still work out the win rate.

Our away game win rate has been better with lower possession (7 wins out of 8) than it has been with higher possession (109 out of 213 according to you); that is a fact, not up for debate.

Having played such few games with low possession obviously you can’t tell too much from the stats, but the win rate is not debatable.

And according to the win rate we have been better with lower possession.

What is up for debate is your reliance on a such a small sample over such a long period of time to prove nothing. To conclude we won those games as a consequence of low possession is quite silly. We had 44% possession in the game at WHL this month and lost. Are you claiming if we had 1% less possession we would have won the game? It’s all just bogus analysis really isn’t it.

You’re arguing like it’s black and white, when it definitely isn’t.

X amount of possession doesn’t mean you will automatically win or automatically lose. But whether it’s 10 games or 100 games, stats suggest things (even if they don’t definitively prove anything).

You keep using the word “prove”, but why does it have to be proof?

If you play 100 games in 4-4-2 and lose 75% of them, then you switch to 3-5-2 and win your next ten games in a row, then that SUGGESTS that 3-5-2 works better for you.

It doesn’t prove anything definitively, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to win the next 90 games, but it SUGGESTS that 3-5-2 is a more effective formation for you than 4-4-2 was.

I have only used the word ‘prove’ in one post and then only to point out that nothing is proven so claiming I keep using the word prove is much like the claim that we keep winning away with low possession. The only black and white argument here is yours. I’ve pointed out that a list of 8 games, which unlike your example, aren’t in sequence but spread over a period of almost 12 years during which period we have won 109 games with higher possession doesn’t really show anything at all let alone suggest there’s any merit in having less possession. You seem to be suggesting it does but any rational analysis must surely see it as a bogus stat. We had 53.2% possession in the first half against Palace at the weekend and won the half 2-0. We had 37.6% possession in the second half and lost that half 1-0. In any event why only list games with less than 44% possession? Why not include any game in which we had less than 50% possession if there’s any real interest in proper analysis? Because games like Spurs away recently which we lost with 44% possession makes a nonsense of it all probably.

one should also take into account the results vs those same teams away when we dominate possession and see if there is a correlation.