By the numbers: Arsenal 3-1 West Ham

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Arsenal got themselves three very important and desperately needed points. The match wasn’t always pretty but that really isn’t important. Let’s breakdown the stats:

Running xG

xG Map

SoT xG Map

Simulated Result from shots

The numbers

4 – The shot difference for Arsenal, who out shot an opponent for the first time this season.

32 – Tackles attempted by Arsenal, with 15 successful tackles.

3 – Tackles by Nacho Monreal and Granit Xhaka, tied for the most on Arsenal

17 – Times West Ham dribbled past an Arsenal defender

4 – Times Aaron Ramsey was dribbled past

6 – Interceptions for Arsenal, the increase in tackles and decline of interceptions is one of the biggest shifts in the defensive stats so far under Unai Emery.

1 – Missed foul to stop a counter attack. If Arsenal are going to press and play a high line, learning how to tactically foul higher up the pitch is going to be important. City are very good at it:

15 – Touches in the box for West Ham (Arsenal had 14), the hammers got into dangerous spots way to easily and with worrying frequency.

9 – Final third entry passes for Granit Xhaka (led all players)

8 – Long pass attempts for Petr Cech against West Ham, completing 5.

16.4 – Average number of long passes per 90 minutes under Arsene Wenger for Petr Cech.

16 – Short Passes for Petr Cech against West Ham, completing 16

8.1 – Average number of short passes per 90 minutes under Arsene Wenger for Petr Cech.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Goal Drought

Can you call three matches without a goal a drought?

8 – Shots

3 – Shots on target

3 – Shots from the “Danger Zone”

1.1 – xG (expected goals)

0 – Goals

After 10 goals in 13 appearances for Arsenal last season, Aybameyang has gone through a cold patch with his shooting. It is far too early to start worrying about him yet, and there are positive signs (4 shots against Chelsea, 3 shots in 75 minutes against West Ham) that suggest it is just a matter of time for the goals to start coming.

A Three Match Comparison of the Emery Era

vs Manchester city

2017-18: Arsenal, 1.4 xG from 9 shots and 1 big chance with 0 goals. Manchester City, 1.5 xG from 9 shots, and 3 big chances with 3 goals.

2018-19: Arsenal, 0.4 xG from 9 shots and 0 big chance with 0 goals. Manchester City, 1.6 xG from 16 shots, and 2 big chances with 2 goals.

at Chelsea

2017-18: Arsenal, 1.3 xG from 11 shots and 2 big chances with 0 goals. Chelsea, 1.1 xG from 12 shots, and 1 big chance with 0 goals.

2018-19: Arsenal, 2.3 xG from 15 shots and 5 big chances with 2 goals. Chelsea, 2.0 xG from 24 shots, and 1 big chance with 3 goals.

vs West Ham

2017-18: Arsenal, 1.8 xG from 21 shots and 2 big chances with 4 goals. West Ham, 0.7 xG from 11 shots and 0 big chances with 1 goal.

2018-19: Arsenal, 1.9 xG from 17 shots and 2 big chances with 3 goals. West Ham, 1.4 xG from 13 shots and 2 big chances with 1 goal.

Overall

2017-18: Arsenal, 4.5 xG from 41 shots and 5 big chances with 4 goals. Opponents, 3.3 xG from 32 shots and 4 big chances with 4 goals.

2018-19: Arsenal, 4.6 xG from 41 shots and 7 big chances with 5 goals. Opponents, 5.0 xG from 53 shots and 5 big chances with 6 goals.

It is still early days, but comparing the same fixtures this season to the fixtures last year shows that the Arsenal offense has stayed about the same while the defense has gotten worse. Part of this could be the big departure in the way that Chelsea attacked compared to last season under Antonio Conte but it is still worrying. This will be a trend to watch all season long.

Sources: StatsZone App, Whoscored, Opta and my own database

Stats Glossary

@oh_that_crab

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Raphael
Raphael

Ramsey was dribbled past four times. How many times did he lose the ball. Praying we don’t give him new contract. Most overrated player in premiership. Can’t believe how many have bought into the myth. Media, pundits, blogs.

Antony
Antony

I suppose it’s a myth that he scored winning goals in 2 FA cup finals as well?

COYG1001
COYG1001

There’s a good player there, just not sure where.

He’s not a 10 or a defensive midfielder. Not sure, with us, he works as box-to-box. If we play 4-3-3, or some variant, on the right seems right. That said, Welbeck can probably play either flank with yet greater athleticism, pressing, defending and possibly even goal scoring. Doubt Ramsey sees himself as a super-sub, no matter how well paid. In fairness, it’s probably a waste for him to really be used that way.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

The odd thing about Ramsey is that in some ways he reminds me of Theo; he’s such an un-arsenal player. All his strengths seem to come from his off-the-ball stuff; engine, channel running, getting into the box, etc.

It’s his on-the-ball abilities that fails him; requires too many touches, his passing is average, not the most creative in terms of types of passing, can’t dribble for sh*t).

Tbh, I suspect he’s maybe just not best in a team that has so much possession. He’s best ever performance was for Wales as a no.10 and they were a counter-attacking team through and through.

Ironically he’d be perfect for Emery’s old Sevilla team as a no.10 there.

A Different George
A Different George

“He’s complete shit and we should sell him to another top club for a big transfer fee, which they will pay because not knowing as much about football as me, the management at other top clubs think he is a very good player.”

midgunner
midgunner

Ramsey is quality but he’s not a number ten. He needs to be playing deeper where his work rate is more effective defensively. For me Xhaka is the weak link in the middle, I know he has his qualities but with our defensive problms, to be playing with a cm who just can’t tackle is suicidal.

We’ve done well to find a manager who has made us worse defensively. Let’s hope it’s just teething problems and Emery has better plans for the midfield which is a bit of a shambles at the moment.

Not worried about Auba or our attack, tho I would like to see him paired with Laca more, or maybe Welbeck, who is made for the pressing game.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

It’s not Emery’s midfield yet. Two years to get his choice of players in there.

Antony
Antony

I really appreciate the return to showing some “by the numbers” info after the quite dry graphs etc that we’ve seen for the last couple of games!

Devlin
Devlin

Thanks for the detailed report. I really appreciate the numbers part and your observations on last season vs this season.

I always thought Wenger was not that bad but his loyalty in these players was misguided. He should have allowed someone else to help him with the purchases. I wonder what he could have achieved with players of Aubameyang’s ability instead of Welbeck. I really rated Wenger highly when it comes to tactics, being able to play Wengerball with such limited players is amazing. I blame his arrogance for his departure though, he tried to do it all himself against managers that come as teams and teams with incredible scouting.

I trust in Emery. He was my first choice and I hope he gets it right.

Devlin
Devlin

On the Ramsey thing….. I definitely know that he is not good enough as an attacking midfielder for a top football team. Can you do an analysis on the players at top clubs who do what he does? I am only judging Ramsey based on what I see, but could there be similarities with other top central/box-to-box midfielders that I am ignoring.

I have always thought that we would see the best of Ozil and Xhaka if Ramsey was replaced by someone more interested in passing and protecting possession like Torreira. Guendouzi is one player I just can’t pin down as to what role he is being instructed to perform but he looks good doing it.

Mootilated
Mootilated

I think he does what Xhaka did in the second half. Play higher up the pitch and be the link between midfield and attack.

If I’m honest, Xhaka looked like a completely different player when Guendouzi came off and was replaced by Torreira. Allowing Xhaka to move higher up and distribute the ball well.

Bob
Bob

Think Xhaka and Guendouzi should compete for the same spot or, maybe, together in a 3? I reckon Ainsley has the athleticism and discipline to deputise for Torreira at the base of midfield

Geoff
Geoff

I just watched the city documentary, v. interesting if you can stand the cityness of it all, has a scene in it where he instructs gudguan to do just that, foul if there is a break away

Stephen
Stephen

I’m in two minds. On the one hand the changing and training room should be a personal space between managers and players – not another stage for these young lads to perform on. On the other hand it’s impossible not to watch because I REALLY want to know what happens there in what is honestly a very snoopy, prying type of way.

Bob
Bob

I’m honestly not that concerned about the defence right now. The way we’re playing is obviously different and players have been engrained in one style for a long time. There will be teething problems, surely?

Bob
Bob

Yeah, I imagine that just that split second of having to think about something vs doing what has become natural and instinctive makes a huge difference at this level as well

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

“comparing the same fixtures this season to the fixtures last year shows that the Arsenal offense has stayed about the same while the defense has gotten worse. ”

I really don’t like such conclusions, as they lack so much context.

For one, comparing the same games and making conclusive statements on “progress” is misleading. Has Arsenal’s attack “stayed the same”? Or is it because they’ve faced a still rampant City but a Chelsea squad definitely better than last year (last year we faced their midfield consisting of Bakayako, this time at one point it had Joginho, Kante and Kovacic)?
Has our defence “gotten worse”? Or did we play a much improved West Ham with a new manager (don’t be fooled by their first 2 games, this West Ham team will do well), a Felipe Anderson who would’ve never imagined being in their squad last year, with a much better and improved tactical set up (they even had a DM for one)?

It’s way too arbitrary to claim we’ve “gotten better/worse” based on comparing to the same teams as last year. We’re not the same and they’re definitely the same either.

Charvakan

We miss Kos.

Tim
Tim

Yeah I agree. I was also considering the context of the fixtures. The 3 games as comparison are positioned differently in the fixture list. How would the 2017-18 results been affected if we’d played Chelsea straight after City? And then West Ham straight after those two high-intensity fixtures? Highly variable.

However, the author said it’s a long term comparison so he has to start somewhere, albeit with a tiny sample size for now. But will be interesting to see in the next 6 months whether those numbers continue.

ClockEndRider
ClockEndRider

“No manager has his players foul to snuff out counters more than Pep Guardiola. In 2017/18, 7.6% of Man City’s opponents’ possessions from open play turnovers ended in a foul, the highest rate in the last five EPL seasons.”
I would like to see the stats showing how many times City, or others, are carded for these professional, cynical fouls in comparison to us. It seems to me that some players – Fernandinho, for example – are given a free pass yet some of ours – Xhaka for example- is booked for lesser fouls.

President Eckener
President Eckener

It’s my impression that if you foul before the opponent gets really into their stride, it seems like the refs are more lenient, even though it achieves the same result of stopping the attack and letting your players get back into position.

If Pep’s coaching them to be aggressive about fouling in such situations, it might actually be letting them get away with more of it! Conversely, Xhaka et al. (most players on most teams, really) are always fouling players blowing by them in really obvious breakaways that you can’t help but notice. My opinion, anyway.

ClockEndRider
ClockEndRider

Fernandinho is always fouling too. But he plays for one of the media darlings so that’s alright.
Of course what the stats can’t show is how many times a foul isnt given for one of these sneaky trips. You can’t record being favoured and allowed to get away with it by referees….

A Different George
A Different George

I think you are exactly right–it doesn’t “look” like a tactical foul, deserving of a yellow card, if it’s done high up the pitch and stops the first pass on the breakout, not the last. So, a Fernandinho (or a Kante) tries to regain the ball immediately after it is lost, but will foul if he can’t. I think Guardiola himself was pretty good at this as a player, and certainly Busquets is brilliant as his successor.

ThaatArsenalGuy
ThaatArsenalGuy

Not sure on the formatting requirements , but I think a table after the year by year comparisons would really help .

Love the posts and insight into the data

Mpls
Mpls

2017-18 – Boss
2018-19 – No Boss
It’s worth a thought anyway.

Also, thank you for the Man City stat on professional fouling, that was very interesting and great as a point of reference!

The next one I’d love to see sometime is how many times the top teams dove or ‘enhanced’ their reactions to fouls vs Arsenal and how that plays out in the card and Pens counts, but realize that would be near impossible to really stat out. From my biased eyes we suffer for being honest- but I like the integrity.

Charvakan

Eduardo dives once and it was the crime of the century.

Mpls
Mpls

*Clarification: Boss = Bosscielny
Just realized that could be interpreted very differently!

Dino
Dino

Good job on the stat comparison with last season. I thought we could not go any lower defensively than last season. Certainly a worry! How did Guendozi and Torriera fare in this match and thus far? Interested to know…

VAgooner
VAgooner

can we have some sort of stat that shows the average length of passes? i’d bet our team average is about 10 meters, whereas xhaka’s average is like 50. seems like all he does is ping long balls around the field

Gooners & Roses
Gooners & Roses

I’m not sure if you can get anything conclusive from comparing these three fixtures against the same fixtures last season…

Mother
Mother

Wow, those xG comparisons with last season’s games make uncomfortable reading. Our collective defending really needs to improve – fast.

Xhaka with the joint most tackles and most passes into the final third is amusing because armchair experts will tell you he’s rubbish because he can’t tackle and only passes sideways.

henry
henry

What did you say?

santori
santori

Its what he wants you to see.

Good of Arseblog and James to mention the number of clearances Mustafi made. 10 alone with the head and one critical one off a rebound from Cech.

Easy to nitpick all the issues and blame Mustafi but never mention the other side of thing. He was also very effective picking passes going forward and assured in possession stats.

Might also want to check out the number of well timed tackles made by Granit (some to bail out Guendouzi who lost the ball a number of times.

Statistics is in the eye of the beholder.

Guendozit!
Guendozit!

10 Bonus points for this picture of Iwobi bullying his fellow academy graduate off the ball and another 10 for what seems like Ramsey applauding it. COYG