Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Brighton 1-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

I hope everyone had a great Christmas if they celebrated, if not I hope they enjoyed their time away from football. I did my best to enjoy the time off with my family but suffered through a horrible chest cold that made things hard.

I was feeling a lot better today but I did sleep through a good portion of the early matches and didn’t get out of bed until after 8am. I thought I would do my best to pick up some of the slack that I had let down after being sick for a few days but after about 15 minutes of semi vigorous picking up of a house blown up with kids toys. I ran out of energy and sat on the coach.

If I didn’t know better I would have thought that Arsenal were feeling about the same as I was today by their performance on the pitch against Brighton. We were two peas in a pod, expect for me not being close to a professional athlete with a large support staff to keep me in peak shape.

Running xG

xG Shot Map

Shot Placement xG Map

Simulated Match Result

Brighton 1-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

24 – Total defensive actions (Tackles, fouls, interceptions, blocked pass) for Arsenal in this match. Arsenal’s lowest total of the season.

0 – Tackles from Arsenal’s Attacking midfielders and forwards in this match

7 – Total tackles Arsenal had as a team, fewest in a match this season for Arsenal.

Arsenal came out of the gate of this match on top but after 10 minutes they seemed to run out of gas. For all of the praise that has gone Unai Emery’s way his men really lacked the defensive effort in this match. They had the majority of the ball but that shouldn’t be an excuse for how little Arsenal did to make Brighton uncomfortable when they took over possession. Mesut Özil was yanked after 45 minutes for his play when the whole team could have and probably should have suffered the same humiliation.

Where’s the chances?

1 – Shot from a player other than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette.

1 – Shot in the second half for Arsenal

3 – Shots after the first goal for Arsenal in the 7th minute.

369 – Passes that were sideways or backwards for Arsenal after the 7th minute for Arsenal. (Brighton had just 323 passes in this time)

0 – Shots + Chances created by the subs that Emery used

I am not sure if this was an Emery instruction after taking the lead, a tactic that Brighton employed to perfection, random chance or a combination of the three or more. But this was a really poor attacking performance from Arsenal.

Going into this match Brighton weren’t exactly a defensive fortress that teams struggled to create against with teams averaging almost 16 shots against them. Yet Arsenal with all of our high priced offensive talent managed just 7 total shots and could barley do anything with the game level for the final 55 minutes where a win was very important in keeping pace with our rivals.

Arsenal at the half way mark

38 – Points in the league, 2 points per match

5 – Position in the league

41 – Goals scored, 4th highest in the league

25 – Goals allowed, tied for 7th fewest in the league

+16 – Goal Difference, 5th best in the league

243 – Shots taken, 9th most in the league

234 – Shots Allowed, 10th fewest in the league

30.8 – xG for Arsenal, 6 most in the league according to my xG model.

24.5 – xG allowed by Arsenal, 7 fewest in the league according to my xG model

34 – Big Chances created, 9th most in the league

33 – Big Chances allowed, 7 fewest in the league.

Arsenal at the halfway point are in a decent position. Ideally they’d be in the top four but they are just two points back of Chelsea. They have scored at a high rate and allowed goals at not too bad a pace. But the underlying numbers behind these results show a team that isn’t nearly in as good a spot as the actual results.

Arsenal are almost even on the shots they create versus allow, they have created just one more big chance than they have given up this season. While they have been enjoying statistically hot finishing for the total chances they have created, beating their expected goals by 10 on the season.

Compared to the same number of matches last year Arsenal are shooting less (243 vs 336), creating less scoring chances (30.8 vs 37.8) and less clear cut chances (34 vs 50 big chances). On defense things have gotten worse as well. They have given up more shots (234 vs 176), more expected goals (24.5 vs 22.3) and more big chances (33 vs 29).

It is still a work in progress for Emery but people will only have patience for so long.


Sources: Opta, via StatsZone, WhoScored and my own database



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Nah, I’ve got patience for Unai and the team. This first year under him is going well and we have had some difficult injuries to deal with. The primary goal is top 4, but an FA Cup or Europa League win would be fantastic as well. If we finish 5th I would not be happy but our opposition is strong, Unai is new, and we need to give him at least 2 years before we start griping too loudly.


It is the first year, but that last paragraph is quite damming. Emery apparently extracting less from this group than Wenger was.
Time deffo required, and probably a new set of players too… and a bit of luck from the injury gods would be nice too…

Faisal Narrage

What do you mean extracting less? Football isn’t in some vacuum. Make no mistake that under Wenger this season we would be worse. It’s not like the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool haven’t improved. Also the biggest danger as to why we need to get into the CL is the simple fact that it’s not going to get easier. If United were playing to their potential, we would be REALLY struggling. We’re just fortunate they had the venom, but even they’ve got rid of him now. I think too many fans are assuming that top 4 isn’t that difficult.… Read more »


we all agreed that 20 yrs of regular CL, top 4 finishes, FA cups and finishing above Spurs were not cutting it for us Arsenal fans anymore. We decided that we were one of the richest clubs and we needed to see title challenges and CL knockout wins…. thats the reason we changed Wenger after the 2-3 yrs of planes, abuses, cacophony and posturing on forums, social media and aftv. We wanted to be COMPETITIVE again and we turned the air toxic with our demands…and made the owners sit up and try a new way. 2 50M+ strikers have been… Read more »


I fear people feeling like this way of playing will change when he gets his players. As a Coach, and you have players of the highest ability in world football, you have to have a short term plan that will bring the best out of those players while the young players are learning about his football. This thing of forcing your way is not wrong, but to throw the talent that is at his disposal for his style of play is killing us in the short term and might leave him with too mich to do when he finally gets… Read more »


Emery needs to kick on too. At Sevilla he won the secondary EL three in a row but not the league. Not sure what happened at PSG who have enough money to buy in whoever they want to win French league but couldn’t get CL. The comparison in shots versus last year is worrying (as I don’t think we were near the top shooters last year either). I love the effort coming from players but now needs to focus on the end product plus defensive coordination. Wing backs are not just full backs who go forward, they are wingers who… Read more »


Criticising Emery for not winning the league with Sevilla seems somewhat harsh…


We shouldn’t deceive ourselves as arsenal fans.. We all know that if Kroenke doesn’t invest big or mislintat doesn’t get us absolute gems then we are going nowhere….look at Tottenham…they didn’t invest a single penny this summer.. But made the right transfer decisions which they are benefiting now….the competition is too much for us….. I would advise Emery to quit arsenal if he doesn’t get support from kroenke because without that it is going to be a long painful ride…i like him alot and I don’t want him to get embarrassed by arsenal fans because it would be just a… Read more »


Our defense would take us nowhere….we need quality signings..we need Jonathan tah,calero,bailey,alberto moreno(free) and Dennis Suarez and bring back Nelson….we badly need depth in squad


So, you — and many others on this site, as well as other sites — seem to have overlooked the club’s business model: self-sustaining. Not only is there this absurdly false narrative that Kroenke is the source of all the club’s evils – he’s not – but that by him suddenly writing large checks all will be well – which he’s never done, and it wouldn’t be. Why do people think that it going to change now? What’s happened – a legacy manager moved on last summer, new manager with a new style and new ethos has taken over along… Read more »


This is where a very popular blog like Arseblog becomes very dangerous. Andrew tries to keep his opinion usually level headed, but recently he doesn’t mind to be a bit more controversial.

1. Holding is a good defender (he is not)
2. Kroenke needs to open the cheque book (he won’t)
3. I hate Sokratis.. ohh I actually like him
4. Mustafi..

and a few others. I know it’s impossible to do this job without controversial opinions, but they quickly then become popular opinions and therefore he needs to be sure, before voicing them publicly.


I said after last match how we looked like a steely Wenger side than anything different and I still think we haven’t improved much technically at all. Unai has definitely brought some luck along with him that Arsenal had run out of last season and he definitely has instilled some steel into this group. The front line – particularly Auba has been the difference between last season and this one. Defensively, despite all the signings (inc Torreira) we are still the same. Unai needs to learn to handle big players fin he wants to manage bigger clubs – you can’t… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

“you can’t expect a Ronaldo or Neymar or Ozil to just run around like a Matteo & throw tackles as thats just not their game” First off, Ozil is not in the same bracket as those two. Sorry. And why exactly should he not expect that? You look at City and De Bruyne is a better CAM than Ozil, yet he works just as much off the ball as he does on it (as Pepe demands). Pep is even will to bench Aguero if he doesn’t put in the work (and now Aguero does). Same Pep that punted Toure, Deco,… Read more »


are you ganduzi in disguise?


What is a pity is that after the 4-2 win over Sp*rs, I really hoped we would go on and push further up the table. However, the only team after that game who have really shone are the ones who came out as losers.


Compared to the same number of matches last year Arsenal are shooting less (243 vs 336), creating less scoring chances (30.8 vs 37.8) and less clear cut chances (34 vs 50 big chances). On defense things have gotten worse as well. They have given up more shots (234 vs 176), more expected goals (24.5 vs 22.3) and more big chances (33 vs 29).


Pointless stats out of context prove nothing.

Shooting less and creating fewer chances are we? More goals scored though. Is there a stat for that…?

New defensive set up, new keeper, new defenders – yeah, the rest is easily explainable. What’s also explainable with one’s own eyes is a flat, lethargic Arsenal performance where the players were standing around calling for the ball from Guenduzi with little or no movement, noone making runs, and noone tackling. One needs not a computer to see that Arsenal played poorly yesterday.


If you consider, that Wenger rotated the squad much more, played in a much more energy efficient way (less running, closing down etc) and didn’t have someone like Torreira, then these are really worrying stats.

Looking at some of the players, including the treatment of Özil, I have a feeling that Emery will need to improve quickly to keep the confidence of this group or he will be put by the end of the year.

We won’t finish Top 4 and we won’t win the Europa League.

SB Still

We only have to look at the struggles of ManU in terms of the managerial turnover and the related instability of the club.

Not only must Arsenal give Emery time but also a budget to work with. CB and wide areas both need investment this window. Looks like the creative department will also need investment in the summer, along with the GK position if we don’t intend to extend Cech.

jim wall

His subs were strange, he is not going to get ozil to run around making tackles, and his treatment of lacca is worring, its not good for a strikers coffindince being withdrawn at halftime
Wish he stopped playing leich at fb hes too slow and past his best, would like to see a midfield 3 of torre.. Xakai.. Ramsey….


The United comparison is partially true, though when SAF left they didn’t have Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil and Mkhitaryan in (what should be) their prime years as attacking force, and Torreira, Xhaka and Ramsey as players who offer you a very solid midfield base (the latter has been now declared disposable), and Sokratis, Bellerin, Chambers, Holding and Kolašinac in defence (Monreal and Koscielny not mentioned due to their age).


Damn, that got me thinking – we could and should be doing so much better with such names. One proper winger and central defender and we could be real force.

Instead it feels as if we’re constantly trying to ill-fit certain players who’re just not good enough (or not good enough yet) in a non-existent system, since we’re playing differently literally every match now. Yes, we’re struggling with injuries but there is still so much quality in this team.

Faisal Narrage

“But the underlying numbers behind these results show a team that isn’t nearly in as good a spot as the actual results” I remember when I said this earlier into the season and I got chewed out by the fans here for being too negative. Our squad really isn’t that good. We’ve been too reliant on the goals of our strikers to save us. And now the team is fatigued and running out of steam, we don’t have any ideas, but we already had an average defence, now coupled with fatigue and injuries mean’s we’re even weaker defensively. We now… Read more »


I agree our squad is horribly imbalanced, but this isn’t Emery’s Squad.

People complained that we had too many players in the comfort zone under Wenger, then when Emery won’t tolerate players not pulling their weight, they also complain that he’s dropping our biggest talent when their not being consistent, some ppl just like to complain I guess?

Huge January coming up, where moving players out will likely be as important as getting them in.
Getting permanently shot of Ozil+Rambo would solve two issues, and allow us to move forward

Faisal Narrage

Oh I’m completely in agreement. It’s not Emery’s squad.


Getting shot of Ozil and Ramsey … are you people for real?

May I suggest less listening to dolts like piers morgan.


I’d like us to keep Ramsey, but if the decisions been made? Then I’d rather draw a line under the situation ASAP

And yes I’d go as far as giving Ozil away on a free

Faisal Narrage

Man things change quickly. A few weeks ago people were talking about the changes Emery had made; a 22 unbeaten run, steel, workrate, work ethic etc. We were winning away and were matching our top 4 rivals when playing against them (excluding City. We even matched Chelsea), and after turning Spurs over with a display that we’ve been asking for for years, everyone was full of hope. Few weeks later and Emery isn’t the messiah at all, but just a naughty boy. The same folks that ignored the stats underyling our performance are now waving it all over the place… Read more »


I understand your point, thumbed you up and agree with you mostly. This anti-Emery stuff is clearly a bit mad. Also the injuries are a major factor when it comes to our sub-par performances recently. The only problem I have is that the players don’t seem to work as much as Emery wants. There was great pressing which resulted in our opening goal but after that everyone gave Brighton players to much time on the ball – not just Özil. Where is the aggressive defending and “hard work”? We see it in some games but in far too few if… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I think it’s a combination of things; 1. He adjusted in the season to only really super-press against the big boys, and not against the smaller teams whom we tend to have more possession against (probably learnt that from PSG). 2. We are clearly suffering from fatigue. Case n point Torreira, someone we all know is relentless in his running, is clearly running less. So we know it’s not instructions, but likely just fatigue. The latter is even more valid as City, Liverpool and Spurs all suffered the same around this time in the early periods of their new coach.… Read more »


I fully agree with all your points as well, but maybe then the communication of the club should be better? They’ve made it clear, that anything less than Top 4 is a failure, instead of treating it like a rebuilding job it actually is. Our squad is just not good enough compared to the other teams and to ask a coach in his first year in the league to outperform the potential is a huge task. If all his decisions would be based on a long-term strategy, I think more fans would get behind him, although at the moment it… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

“They’ve made it clear, that anything less than Top 4 is a failure” Sorry to be obtuse, but when exactly have they said that? In fact I recall Raul himself saying they can survive a bit longer outside of the CL, but ultimately they need it. And Emery just last week pointed out and keeps talking about the project and how Spurs and Liverpool are ahead of us in the project compared to us. I think they’ve made that clear, but fans in general don’t want to hear it. We’re talking about fans demanding Kroenke to put money in, when… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I also saw it in the first season of Pep at City. Remember all the talk that he’s just a chequebook manager and his methods won’t hack it in the league? That he’s a bit of a fraud? That was all in City’s first season.

If these things happened to the top 3 best teams, why do people think it won’t happen to us?

Wukong 80

We have disruptive injuries. But look a The table, only 6 points behind man city which some people described as the best team in the world not so long ago.


mostly its the Ganduzi love-fest which has made people doubt his sanity / competence.

its tough to sell even the blind followers the story that Ganduzi deserves more minutes than Ramsey / Ozil

Olivije Žirod

Everybody is talking about how this team is in a transition and that is a process but all forget who went through the hardest phase of that – Wenger. In the last season we sold Sanchez, Giroud, Walcott, Gibbs, Debuchy, Chamberlain, Coquelin and Gabriel. We all agree that most of this players were not good enough for Arsenal but still changing so many players in a short period will effect the team. He changed them with Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubameyang who are all much better players and they were still adapting last year. My point is that Wenger left… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I noticed you made little to no reference to our defence under Wenger. What did he leave us with there?

Also, I imagine Ox is exactly the type of CM Emery would’ve loved to have.


Rubbish. The Ox, was always the player who might be, may be, give him some time he will be. But never was. Ox was the great gamble that never really paid off. He’s had a few good games for liverpool, like he had for Arsenal, but he’s still uneven, prone to running down blind corners (despite stat-boys calling those “successful dribbles”), and acts the same headless chicken/brainless player on Arsenal’s books for all those years. You write as if he’s suddenly world class … absurd notion. Hope Ox heals quickly and gets his career back on track. Seems like a… Read more »


so basically its Aubameyang and Lacazette who have managed to make Emery’s debut half-season look tolerable, by converting chances at a higher strike rate.

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