#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.
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