Saturday, December 3, 2022

Arsenal 1-3 Man U: de Gea saves Man U (By the Numbers)

7amxG first half – Arsenal 1.64 – 0.43 Man U
7amxG full time – Arsenal 4.07 – 1.78 Man U*
7.33 – Manchester United’s expected goals for over the last four matches
12 – Goals Manchester United have scored over the last four matches
4 – Goals United scored from outside the 18 yard box against Watford (total xG for in that match just 1.12 for United)
7.69 – Man United’s expected goals against over the last four matches
4 – Actual goals Man United have allowed over the last four matches
7 – Big Chances saved by de Gea in the previous 14 Premier League matches
4 – Big chances saved by de Gea against Arsenal tonight
45 – Percent rate that all Big Chances are scored in the Premier League
11 – Big Chances Arsenal have created in the last two matches
5 – Big Chances Arsenal scored in the last two matches
1 – Coincidence that the scoring rate exactly matches the season average over the last two matches but it’s funny because Arsenal scored 4 (of 6) big chances in the match against Huddersfield and just 1 (of 5) against United

7 – Shots by Lacazette
4 – Big Chance shots by Lacazette
1 – Big chance goals by Lacazette
3 – Big Chances taken by Lacazette, saved by de Gea
19 – Minute Lacazette got his first big chance (Xhaka header)
31 – Minute Lacazette got a second big chance (Alexis cross blocked)
48 – Minute Lacazette scored a goal (assist Ramsey)
55 – Minute Lacazette got his last big chance (Iwobi)
55 – Minute Alexis got Arsenal’s last big chance (rebound off Lacazette’s shot)
63 – Minute Lingard scored United’s third goal (assist Pogba)
11 – Shots Arsenal took after United’s third goal
3 – Shots on goal by Arsenal after United’s third goal
2 – Number of those shots that were headers
1 – Shot in the 91st minute, on target, with a foot, from near the penalty spot, by Aaron Ramsey
0 – Big Chances for Arsenal after the 63rd minute

18 – Missed passes by Arsenal in the first 11 minutes
3 – Bad passes by Mustafi in the first 11 minutes (of 6)
4 – Bad passes by Kolasinac in the first 11 minutes (of 8)
3 – Bad passes by Lacazette in the first 11 minutes (of 7)
2 – Bad passes by Alexis in the first 11 minutes (of 7)
1 – Bad passes by each of Ozil, Ramsey, Xhaka, and Bellerin in the first 11 minutes
1 – Bad pass by Koscielny (he went 6/7) in the first 11 minutes (led to a goal)
0 – Bad passes by Monreal in the first 11 minutes
2 – Interceptions by United in the first 11 minutes
3 – Interceptions by Arsenal in the first 11 minutes
1 – Tackles by United in the first 11 minutes (led to a goal)
3 – Tackles by Arsenal in the first 11 minutes

Like I said in my preview this was always going to be one of those games where the stats didn’t matter. They do tell a story – Arsenal dominated passing 655 – 222, matched United in tackling with 24 each, forced United to make 65 clearances (they average just 25.5), took 33 shots to their 8, got 15 shots on target, and cut them open with 5 big chances. And it was literally just two poor actions from Koscielny and Mustafi which put Arsenal behind. Arsenal fought back and should have won the match but for the heroics of de Gea.

One last thing: Arsenal are now -8 in expected goals difference to actual goal difference which makes us one of the most “unlucky” teams in the League. Arsenal are creating chances, tons of them, and great ones at that, but they aren’t finishing them. Meanwhile Man U continue their run of “lucky” performances and they are +17 in expected goals difference versus actual goal difference. With Arsenal the problem is finishing (-6.4), United is leaning on de Gea and their defensive difference is +12.9.

*Orbinho is putting the xG for Arsenal at 5 and 1.82 for United. I know that Opta (where he works!) have much more detailed shots data than I do and I can think of at least 4 reasons why their xG is a whole goal higher than mine: Arsenal had four shots inside the 6 yard box against Man U, three of which were big chances. My (simple) xG model counts all the big chances the same (0.45) and at least two of those shots (Alexis and Lacazette) were point blank and almost certainly added more than 0.45. Think about Lingard’s third: what odds would you assign for that shot? 90%? I don’t have the data but it has to be pretty huge. Same with Alexis’ rebound shot that de Gea made a kick save on. Unbelievable stop from the United man.

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Normally the frustrations over losing a game varies of with time after the game but strangely more than forgetting about defeat the frustration grows. I was actually pleased the way we played after the first two goals and when you get beaten after trying the way we did you can still feel a bit better about the defeat. But that was until all the old memories of similar defeats flashes in front of your eyes. The atmosphere yesterday was brilliant and i was thinking when was the last time i had seen this participation from the fans and that took… Read more »


Let’s just do then at Old Trafford


“Lucky”? It’s not luck, it’s better goal keeping and better finishing. You can’t just write certain parts of the game off as luck..


and better defending


better defending does not allow 33 shots on goal and giving away a definite penalty


Yes you can. United underperformed their xg last season and are overperforming it this season. You can call it luck or you can call it variance, but you can’t say De Gea has gone from a below average keeper to an above average keeper. If it was better goalkeeping and finishing then it wouldn’t iron itself out over the course of 60 or 70 matches which it nearly always tends to do. Don’t get me wrong, de Gea was brilliant and certainly played a huge part in them overperforming their xg in this game, but so did Lady Luck.


I’d like to see these stats. Last year did they outperform them offensively or defensively. As a gut feeling (based on no numbers whatsoever) I’d say offensively. I remember games they were battering opponents and just couldn’t score. I remember a 0-0 at home to Burnley


You’re confusing xG with something that it isn’t. If a top 4 team came up against a non-league team in the cup you would expect them to win. If they didn’t you wouldn’t call it “lucky”. You would say they played better, too their chances etc.. Just because something is expected doesn’t mean it only varies with luck.


That’s why the word is in quotation marks.


Why thumbs down???
Ben is saying as it is!

G. Gunner

The xG, I supposed, is calculated on a large sample (goals, players). So it is the xG of the average scorer. But the xG for individual players must vary widely (say between Aguero and Gervinho). That might mean that it’s not all good luck for Manu. They possibly have more efficient goal scores than the average and Arsenal less efficient goal scores than the average.

Ivan Parasite

Just cant imagine the back 3 that we hailed for the past weeks were able to allow goals like that.really, that hurts..


Make that back 6.

Watch Monreal running towards ball centrally (already covered by other defenders) rather than the free man. Nacho’s only real mistake though.

Xhaka rightly criticised for lack of awareness on 3rd goal but also look at Bellerin – where was he running to instead of heading back to the line as cover on Lingard?

We seem to have created a defence of ball-watchers!


I think Xhaka wanted to shout to Bellerin to cover the incoming run (I think it was Lukaku). He was unlucky because as soon as he turned to do it, Pogba passed the ball and he couldn’t react on time. Should’ve done better though, that’s for sure.


Yeah, Xhaka deserves his share of the blame but the lion’s share goes to Kos: Xhaka wasn’t to know that his captain was going to inexplicably dive in and try to nick the ball when if he had just held his ground he would’ve been able to block any attempted cross.


It’s amazing the fact that how easy other teams find it to put crosses in our box, when we cannot seem to find it easy at all to cross without being blocked


the whole defence was absolute shit, absolute shocking defending, we was lucky it was only three, we need four proper defenders


Lots of clamour for a pure finisher in the summer. Now we have Lacazette and still can’t score more than one goal from 33 shots. Very bad day at the office , why did it have to be against United?


It doesn’t matter who we buy, the net result will always be the same. We bought Ozil and Alexis yet our goal output remained virtually the same. It helps in big games, though. We were seriously unlucky yesterday.


im afraid its not just united


Something tells me the de Gea won’t be so heroic in the Manchester Derbyshire next week.


I hope he will, cuz I don’t want City to go the whole season unbeaten


We could say they were lucky if this was just one game…. But this is not just an isolated performance, we’ve been having this for several years under Wenger already, it’s always the same, a good run followed by meltdowns against the real title contenders. And our centre backs are not as good as we think they are. We can’t play Huddersfield every week, can we?


How can you call this game a meltdown. We made some mistakes but overall over the 90 minutes we played incredibly well


yes, we played kind of well, but we lost, at home to united, and our defence was shit and our attack wasn,t much better, that’s how


The first 11 minutes are accurately called a defensive meltdown, and they lost us the game.


They were two (bad) defensive mistakes. After that I think everyone rallied and performed very well. It’s easy restrospectively try to look for a scapegoat for that defeat but they really did recover well after that start and still kept going and didn’t hide. The Arsenal from the last few seasons would have shipped 6


How many points did we get for “playing incredibly well “???


are points what makes the game worth watching for you? maybe check out basketball, the nba has ~200 per game. or how about gin rummy?

me, i like football. i like to play it and watch it. i’d like arsenal to win, but what i really want is for the games to be good to watch. of couse watching ugly ish like those first two goala hurts my head, but the rest of the game was amazing.


I think a game like this actually completely validates this type of statistical analysis – even though it got the actual result completely wrong. All the clichés that you will hear in punditry “good value for the win” “rub of the green” “didn’t deserve to lose” etc recognise the role of probability (luck) in determining key events. It’s no different to weather forecasts- if there was a 40% chance of rain, and it rained, that doesn’t mean the forecast was wrong. If you flick 10 coins you would expect 5 heads. Occasionally (once per thousand attempts?) someone will get 10… Read more »

Olivije Žirod

My view on Xhaka… I think we should look the whole picture. He is not the problem. The problem is we have two very slow central midfielders + Ramsey rarely helps him. Going forward Xhaka is one of ours most important players. That’s why Wenger doesn’t drop him. Watched game again today and still don’t get why he is so criticised. He did made a mistake for third goal but also Alexis, Monreal, Koscielny and maybe Bellerin too did it. Going forward Xhaka was very good. It is not a coincidence that we were not that dangerous after he went… Read more »


Then they should get some help in midfield, but three men there would mess with our current shape. For some time now (well this season & last) there is so much room in midfield for players like Pogba to take advantage of.


“Going Forward” is kinda the problem, no?
The fact our “defensive” midfielder’ does primary strength is a concern.

I mean think about it, our entire core is based on no. 10.
Xhaka = no.10
Ramsey = better as a 10
Ozil = arguably second best 10 in the world right now.
Sanchez = no.10.


There should be xG and there should be ArsenalXG. I can’t believe it all comes down to coincidence that we see the same missed chances year after year. Even adding strikers like Lacazette and Sanchez didn’t solve the problem. It might be a mentality thing. Maybe we are not composed enough in front of goal against a big team? I really would like to read some analysis on our finishing problem.


The PROBLEM is very simple. Given the way we play football we can defend well only if we play COMPACT. I’ll give you the example of Burnley game. We defended well in the first half against Burnley because the wingbacks were mostly in our half but this also resulted in us not dominating the possession in the first half. After the match Wenger hinted that in the second half a slight tactical shift i.e moving the full backs high up the pitch resulted in us getting control of possession which naturally led to more chance creation. Now in the Man… Read more »

La Cassette

It’s difficult. We’ve finally got our “finisher” but our creative players are so poor in front of goal it’s a lot of pressure on him. He’s scored against both Manchester teams and, yes, de Gea played a blinder but it says a lot Lacazette is our only real goal threat in these games.


Another instance where stats are ultimately limiting.

On paper we look so dominant which we were.

But it doesn’t reflect in anyway the quality of those shots (or accuracy) or decision making at the back.

Stats is an American pass time sometimes useful but when obsessed by obfuscates more than anything-else.

Crash Fistfight

I think the idea is that xG is supposed to reflect the quality of a chance, which means you should have a higher or lower percentage chance of scoring, regardless of your quality as a player. However, the problem I have with this (and the big chance metric) is something I haven’t had an answer on: is the data purely based on where a shot is taken from? I assume it is, as it would be impossible to record all the variables involved in a shot. The reason I ask this, is because the position from which a shot is… Read more »

Mike Dunne

Arsenal were a little unlucky with all the chances that we created.
But it comes down to basics if you make schoolboy errors in defence you will be punished by the good teams. We must strengthen the defence but learn not to take any unnecessary risks in our own half.


I remember TV5 clearance , went directly to RVP and one goal to his name. Our defenders are just funny against United

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