Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on the Champions League, Arsenal’s defence, and the most shots in a Premier League game.

Is that the sound of football fans jumping up and down with excitement? That must mean we’ve reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

The last eight of Europe’s biggest club competition is here, and in this week’s SVQ we take a particular look at defending champions Manchester City coming up against 14-time winners Real Madrid, and two players who could decide the tie.

Another of the eight Champions League participants, Arsenal, kept another clean sheet at the weekend, further improving their outstanding defensive stats in 2024. We also take a closer look at just how watertight that Gunners backline has been.

Our Ask Opta question this week relates to shot volume (the football kind, not the alcoholic kind), while we once again have a quiz designed to tickle those brain muscles.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe below and receive Stat, Viz, Quiz direct to your inbox every Tuesday.

STAT Kroos vs Rodri: Midfield Maestros

As you’ll no doubt remember, Manchester City and Real Madrid also met in last year’s Champions League. After playing out a 1-1 draw in Madrid, the Premier League side ran away with it in the second leg back in Manchester. Pep Guardiola’s men thrashed their La Liga opponents 4-0 to advance to the final, where they beat Inter in Istanbul to become European champions for the first time.

It feels like a new era, with Man City heading into this year’s quarter-final as strong favourites despite the fact Real Madrid have 14 European Cup/Champions League trophies to their one.

One of the key battles from last year’s tie was in midfield, and two figures in particular are set to go again to potentially define the direction of the contest.

Toni Kroos is enjoying something of a renaissance season for Los Blancos. He has been given a new lease of life – arguably helped by the young legs of Jude Bellingham in midfield – and has been pulling the strings as Carlo Ancelotti’s side run away with the title in Spain.

On the other side to him will be Rodri, who, as we have written about this week, is continuing to develop into a monster of a midfielder under Guardiola.

Rodri (137) and Kroos (128) are the two players who have made the most line-breaking passes in the Champions League this season, so when either are on the ball across their quarter-final, the opposition defence will need to be fully focused.

Rodri line breaking passes UCL
Toni Kroos line breaking passes UCL

On top of that, putting them under pressure when they’re on the ball is unlikely to work. Kroos is the midfielder with the best pass completion rate under pressure in the competition this term (94.9%) while Rodri is fourth (91.4%). The rest of the top five for this metric are also all still in this season’s Champions League (2nd: Luka Modric – 92.8%, 3rd: Leon Goretzka – 91.6%, 5th: Ilkay Gündogan – 91.4%).

There will be players all over the pitch at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday and the Etihad Stadium next week who can decide matters, but it feels as though Rodri and Kroos might just be the key ingredients in the base of any victory.

Even if not, what a pleasure it will be to watch them in action.

VIZ Arsenal the Impenetrable

Viz by Jonathan Manuel

Arsenal’s form in 2024 has been spectacular, which is ideal given they are in the hunt for a first Premier League title since 2004. Their 11 league games so far this year have produced 10 wins and a draw, with no team averaging as many points as the Gunners’ 2.82 per game in this period.

Mikel Arteta’s side are the highest scoring team (38 goals) this year in the Premier League, but as you can see from this week’s viz, it’s their defensive strength that has stood out.

With just four goals conceded in their 11 league games in 2024, they have by far the best defensive record in the competition. They even kept out reigning champions Manchester City at the end of March. That clean sheet in Manchester saw City fail to score in a Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium for the first time since October 2021 after scoring in 47 successive league matches there.

Arsenal’s ability to stop opponents from creating good quality chances means that their recent defensive masterclasses are no fluke.

Since 1 January, they have allowed opponents just 0.45 expected goals (xG) per game on average, which is half the tally of the next best side – Man City’s 0.96 – and better than Liverpool’s average (1.19), too.

Stopping opponents from finding good positions to score from has helped. On average, opponents have been able to fire off shots worth just 0.06 xG against Arsenal from non-penalty situations in 2024 – by far the best record in the competition.

Somewhat surprisingly, Chelsea, Sheffield United and Manchester United (0.09) follow Arsenal in these rankings, while it’s much stronger than Man City’s 0.11 and Liverpool’s 0.13 – the joint second-worst this calendar year, behind only Aston Villa (0.15).

Arsenal arguably face the toughest run-in of the three Premier League title contenders, but on this form, all seven opponents will struggle to breach their watertight defence.

QUIZ Delightful De Bruyne, Wonderful Watkins and Magnificent Mainoo

Once again, our quiz dips into some of the finest Opta facts from the weekend’s Premier League action. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Who is the only player to have been involved in more goals in all competitions among Premier League players in 2024 than Kevin De Bruyne’s 16 (4 goals, 12 assists)?

2. Who is the only player to have scored more goals for Aston Villa in a Premier League campaign than Ollie Watkins (18) has managed this season?

3. Everton’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday ended a run of 13 Premier League games without a win (D6 L7). Who was the last team they beat in the competition?

4. Kobbie Mainoo was the first 18-year-old to score a Premier League goal against Liverpool since who for Arsenal in May 2005?

5. Thiago Silva (39y 198d) became the third-oldest player to score away from home in the Premier League, after which two players? Clue: They’re both English, but only one played for England.

Ask Opta

This week’s question comes to us from Vladimir Stishenok, who asks: “There were 47 attempted shots in Chelsea vs Man Utd on Thursday. It seems like a big number to me, so I wonder what was the game with the highest total number of shots and how many shots were there?”

Do you have a stat-based question you’d like Opta to answer in a future edition of SVQ? Email us at or message us on X @OptaAnalyst with #AskOpta and we’ll pick the best one.


Forty-seven shots is indeed a high tally for a single match, but it wasn’t the highest in a Premier League game this season. One other game has seen more in 2023-24, and that came just five days earlier in the same stadium.

Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Burnley at Stamford Bridge on 30 March featured 51 shots overall, which was the most in a Premier League game since November 2014 when QPR vs Leicester City produced 52. That tally is the most seen in a Premier League match on record (since 2003-04).

Overall, the two meetings between Chelsea and Manchester United this season produced 88 shots. That was a record for any fixture in a single season since the start of 2015-16, with Leicester vs QPR in that 2014-15 campaign the last to produce more (92).

Man united vs chelsea collective xG

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

Here’s some of the latest data-driven offerings you can find on our website:

🔵 Rodri: Much, Much More Than a Defensive Midfielder

🏆 Champions League Predictions: Man City Favourites to Win Trophy Once Again

📈 Who Will Win the Premier League in 2023-24?

😬 Why Are Chelsea So Bad After Half-Time?

🦊 Championship Predictions: Leicester Return to the Top Across Perfect Weekend for the Foxes

Opta Player Ratings & Games

Opta Games logo

If you haven’t done so yet, check out and play Opta’s FREE weekly football challenges, Opta Max and Opta Five.

Both games are powered by the Opta Player Ratings, a measure that takes into account over 100 different metrics to provide an accurate performance score (out of 100) for every player in a single match.

The top scorer at the weekend was Kevin De Bruyne, whose two goals in Manchester City’s 4-2 win at Crystal Palace gave him an overall score of 99.2.

In Opta Max and Opta Five you can compare players’ latest players ratings and stats. Then put your player ratings knowledge to the test for a chance to win big prizes each week of the football season.

Head to the website to find out more and start playing Opta Games.

Quiz Answers

1. Cole Palmer (18)

2. Christian Benteke (19 goals in 2012-13)

3. Burnley in the reverse fixture on 16 December 2023

4. Cesc Fàbregas

5. Teddy Sheringham (39y 343d) and Dean Windass (39y 235d)

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