Cardiff City 2-3 Arsenal: By the numbers


#Project24 rolls along with an important three points away to Cardiff City. There were times that things didn’t go exactly to plan, but as the kinks are worked out in the new Unai Emery attacking system getting results and points are key. Thankfully having two world class strikers can paper over a lot of cracks in a system.

The pictures:

Running xG

xG Map

Shot on Target xG Map

Simulated Match Results from Shots

Now the numbers.

The Lacazette, Aubameyang Partnership

7 – Shots, 2 for Aubameyang and 5 for Lacazette (led all players)
4 – Shots on target, 1 for Aubameyang and 3 for Lacazette (led all players)
2 – Goals, 1 each
15 – Touches in the box, 3 for Aubameyang and 12 for Lacazette (led all players)
6 – Defensive Actions, 4 for Aubameyang and 2 for Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got their first start together this season. It wasn’t always perfect but the two players look like they are starting to form a good relationship on the pitch. Overall they were very dangerous combining together as seen for the second goal. Lacazette also did an excellent job linking up with the rest of the team as a focal point in the middle of the attack.

The one worry that I have with the pairing is that this might not be maximizing Aubameyang, getting just three touches in the box and two shots isn’t amazing for player of his caliber. However if Lacazette is going to perform at this level, Aubameyang’s lack of involvement can be overlooked.

Granit Xhaka pulls the strings

17 – Final 3rd entries for Granit Xhaka (led all players). 13 passing the ball, 4 carrying the ball.
85 – Passes Completed (led all players)
6 – Long passes completed of 7 attempted
5 – Passes into the box completed (led all players)
110 – Touches (led all players) which was 15.6% of all of Arsenal’s touches in the match.
3 – Key Passes
1 – Assist
0.5 – xA created (led all players)
0.48 – Offense Value Added passing (led all players), 0.73 from completed passes (led all players) and -0.25 for missed passes (3rd worst on Arsenal)

Granit Xhaka is a divisive player (putting it mildly). He does so many really good things for Arsenal’s attack but can be so frustrating at times. This is well illustrated in the passing stats from this match, (more information in this in the By the numbers: Glossary) he was far and away Arsenal’s most impressive passer on the day by positive passing value added but also had a number of frustrating passes that put Cardiff in dangerous positions to attack Arsenal. This is reflected in the high value of his negative passing statistic. Overall he was a Arsenal’s best passer on the day (due in part to his high usage) and was again the key in connecting the defense and the attack.

Petr Cech era coming to an end?

14 – Shots for Cardiff City, 2 more than their average for the season.
3 – Shots on target for Cardiff City, 1 more than their average for the season
27 – Shots on target allowed by Arsenal
71.4% – Cech’s save rate vs 70.4% league average
8 – goals conceded vs 8.3 SoT xG faced
2 – Errors by Petr Cech (both from bad passes)
-0.09 – Offensive Value lost from the two errors.
0.49 – xG for Cardiff City from the two errors

Cech has never quite living up to the supposed ’12 to 15 points’ he was going to save Arsenal when he signed from Chelsea but he has played well most of the time. Yet, as the team adjusts to the new way of playing under Emery, Cech is looking out of place more and more. Against Cardiff City he made two errors that led to shots with his attempts to build out of the back. With Arsenal’s new signing of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen the Cech’s time in goal might be over.

With all of the above noted, the defense in front of him has not been doing him any favors with the shots allowed. Arsenal have given up 27 shots on target this season, which is the most among the top six teams. Cech has done a better than average job of keeping the shots he has faced out of the goal, but it is concerning that Arsenal have been put into this situation.

Lucas Torreira makes a case to start

0 – Times lost possession (missed passes, bad touches and dispossessed, offside)
26 – Passes Completed
1 – Assist
3 – Tackles (Tied for most)
1 – Interception

Torreira has now made four substitute appearances this season and has looked impressive in the short number of minutes played. Against Cardiff City, he was especially impressive in his 20 minute stint. He brought balance to the midfield and was very tidy on the ball losing possession zero times. He was also everywhere on defense with three tackles and an interception. The more I see of him, the more impressed I am with what he can bring to the Arsenal midfield.


Sources: Whoscored, Opta, my own personal database

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It has to be Xhaka and Torreira going forward. Would like to see Mhki back in the team in place of Lacazette, who was obviously great but I think Auba can do better up top and we missed Mhki’s partnership with Bellerin on the right. Our play was too narrow most of the game.


I’d rather drop özil for micki than lacca but that just my opinion!

Nameless gunner

Da hell.. if anything Ozil should make way for Mhki..

Scott Willis

I have always been of the opinion that picking the attackers is very difficult and any choice comes with trade offs.

I’d like a 433 with Ramsey, Xhaka and Torreira behind Özil Auba and Myki. But ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ anyway you slice it your missing two really good players.


Xhaka was really good on Saturday I must commend. I so love the Lacazette goal that I can’t stop watching and asking the last arsenal striker that could score that and that’s RVP. Lacazette is a fox in the box he is quite different from Auba but I d pick him over Auba all day. He’s every defender’s nightmare. Auba is better when you stretch defenses and we are not doing that now. And mhiki I think should have started as a right midfielder or in Ramseys 10 with Ramsey dropping dip for Matteo. Ramseys best games have come when… Read more »


I love Xhaka, think we have a real player on our hands.
Give Emery a few months with him? And he’ll iron out his deficiencies


Torreira must start, if only for us to see just what he is capable of. He seems capable of being the rear fulcrum we need; his positioning seems good, his passing excellent and his desire to drop back to cover exemplary. He probably needs to be with Xhaka at first then Guen could take over as he develops. Xhaka stats look good but his defensive cover is poor and he just let’s runners go past him. The 6/7 successful long passes is misleading when you consider what came from the poor one (and it was very poor!) Sokratis is so… Read more »

Olivije Žirod

From what I have seen Xhaka was our best player together with Lacazette. They always rate him based on one mistake which is harsh. Missplacing a pass there doesn’t mean we should concede. Vultures are just waiting that he will do something wrong that they can attack him. It is not like Ramsey and Guendouzi never lost it in a dangerous area. They all make mistakes but some players are criticized much more just because fans are not capable of objective thinking.


>3 – Key Passes (led all players).

Ramsey had 4 though. But of course it won’t suit your agenda.


You may be correct, but that was a very churlish way of putting it.

Whocter Do

Starting Guendouzi is the puzzling thing for me. Surely “World Cup tiredness” cannot be an reason for the last two games. It has to be that Torreira’s contract would give his former club certain amount of money if he starts a certain number of games. To be clear, I have nothing against Guendouzi, he’s a great signing for the future.


How much money are you thinking will actually make Arsenal fc refuse to play him, that’s a ridiculous assumption.

A Different George

Here’s an alternative explanation: Torreira arrived late, he did not seem match fit to Emery, he was coming to a new league and a significantly different style. He did not impress Emery in training and in his first appearances made several important mistakes, though fewer each time and with moments of real quality visible. Against Cardiff City, he looked great and, if he trains well and appears to be fit for a full 90, he will get more time after the international break.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it could be true.


How did Guendozi do? Good/bad/ugly?