I have been a bit down on Arsenal’s performances this season, especially when it came to Arsenal getting wins in the matches where they didn’t play well.It was really good to get those points, but it was not a positive sign that this pace of collecting points was sustainable.
Before this match I was very worried that Liverpool could really outclass Arsenal (I might have a few tweets to go back and delete). I worried that this match had the potential to be an ugly encounter like so many big games against Arsenal’s top of the table rivals from seasons past.
At the end of the match (and with a few days reflection) I was very happy with the way that Arsenal played and I ultimately feel like a draw was a fair result to both teams. I think that Arsenal certainly played well enough that if they had won it would have been deserved.
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
Shot Placement xG Map
Simulated Match Result from shots created
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool: By the numbers
501 to 276 – Passes completed overall by Arsenal and Liverpool
159 to 93 – Passes completed in the final third by Arsenal and Liverpool
27 to 26 – Touches in the box by Arsenal and Liverpool
12 to 13 – Shots by Arsenal and Liverpool
4 to 4 – Shots on target by Arsenal and Liverpool
2 to 2 – Big Chances by Arsenal and Liverpool
1.49 to 2.03 – Expected Goals by Arsenal and Liverpool
2.9 to 0.9 – Offensive Value Added by Arsenal and Liverpool
Overall this was a very even match. Liverpool created slightly more dangerous shots but Arsenal had more dangerous possession and created some good opportunities that didn’t materialize into shots.
Arsenal dominate midfield
I know the below isn’t a “number” but I think that it really illustrates how much work Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira put in as a double pivot against the midfield 3 of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho. Below is the heat map for the touches for each of the main midfielders for both teams, with Arsenal on the left and Liverpool on the right.
The following stats compare the 2 Arsenal midfielders vs the 3 Liverpool midfielders:
144 vs 76 – Passes completed for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
11 vs 3 – Long Passes completed for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
13 vs 5 – Final 3rd entry passes completed for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
0.42 vs 0.25 – Passing Value Added for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
0.13 vs -0.25 – Ball Progression Value Added for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
7 vs 6 – Tackles for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
2 vs 2 – Interceptions for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
25 vs 9 – Ball recoveries for Arsenal midfielders compared to Liverpool midfielders
Going into the match, the midfield match up was something that I really worried about. It turns out that, that worry was unwarranted. Even with being out numbered 3 to 2, Xhaka and Torreira more than held their own in this match.
Getting this partnership back after Xhaka was temporarily shifted out to left back was huge for Arsenal to be able to build attacks, while also providing great balance in skill sets between the two players. As the season goes on, the transfer of Torreira looks more and more like a very good and important signing for Arsenal.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, statszone and my own database