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.
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