Arsenal continued their unbeaten run with a well earned victory over a very good Bournemouth team.
This very well could have been a classic “trap game” with big rivalry matches coming up in the League but Arsenal were able to weather a trying opening 20 minutes (a maddening habit) to collect all three points.
Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal: By the graphs
Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal: By the numbers
Arsenal sloppy with the ball
9 – The number of times that Henrikh Mkhitaryan lost the ball, 4 times dispossessed and 5 bad touches.
25 – The number of times that Arsenal lost the ball, 10 times dispossessed and 15 bad touches.
43 – The number of short passes miss played by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac, and Alex Iwobi
17.3% – The percentage of short passes misplayed by those four players, typically short passes are completed 90% of the time (205 of 248)
81% – Overall pass completion percentage for Arsenal, including the low lights of 76.2% from Alex Iwobi, 74.7% for Rob Holding, 61.9% from Pierre-Emerick Aubeyang and 42.9% from Bernd Leno
Arsenal were known under Arsene Wenger as a smooth passing, highly technical team that could pass their opponents off of the park. That reputation became less true during the last few seasons and that trend has continued under Unai Emery.
Arsenal are still capable of putting together impressive passing moves but over the last few years the statistics suggest either that the tactics have changed significantly when it comes to holding on to the ball or the technical level of the players is not the same.
Today was a great example of the team struggling to be able to hold on to the ball and control the match.
Hector Bellerin is a good right back
93.7% – Percentage of passes completed (45 of 48)
80% – Percentage of passes completed into the penalty box (4 of 5)
90.5% – Percentage of passes completed in the final third (19 of 21)
0.52 – Offensive Value added through passing, led all players (next best was Sead Kolasinac at 0.24)
4 – Ball Recoveries
1 – Tackle of 1 attempted
I have seen too many people for my liking, trying to right off Bellerin as not good enough for Arsenal. For me he is one of the best right backs in the Premier League, especially with his ability going forward in attack. His numbers today really show this.
On a day where Arsenal really struggled for technical security, Bellerin posted a phenomenal pass completion percentage. His passes completed were also not the easy passes between center backs, with 40% of his passes against Bournemouth coming within the final third.
— Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) November 25, 2018
With Arsenal going with three at the back in this match, his defensive duties were lightened and he was really able to show his skills in attack in this match.
Aubameyang shines as lone striker
4 – Shots
1 – Shot on target
1 – Goal
1 – Big Chance
2 – Key Passes
0.94 – xG for the match
0.16 – xA for the match
Pierre-Emerick Aubeyang is not an all around type of forward who will spend a lot of time on the ball. In fact, I have often compared him to Theo Walcott but with his skills taken to the next level and without the injuries. In this match he had just 26 touches, that is just 4% of Arsenal’s 651 on the day and the lowest of any player who started the match. Even with minimal involvement through directly touching the ball, he was able to be a key player for Arsenal.
There is some debate among Arsenal fans about what to do with the striker position. Both Aubeyang and Alexandre Lacazette prefer the position, to playing out on the wing. It is a tough question and one that there really isn’t an easy answer to as both add something unique to the team.
Lacazette is the more “complete” player with more ability to get involved in the build up and a build hold up player. Aubeyang has unrivaled movement and speed over short (and long) distances as well as the ability to get onto incredible scoring chances.
This match really illustrates for me the benefits of a world class poacher in the center of the attack, and it is really nice to be able to call on that skill set when needed.
… And one great tweet
4 – Wins by Arsenal in 19 away matches 2017/18
4 – Wins by Arsenal in 6 away matches 2018/19
16 – Arsenal points in away matches 2017/18
13 – Arsenal points in away matches 2018/19 (so far)#UnaiEffect
— 7amkickoff (@7amkickoff) November 25, 2018
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone and my own data base