Brighton 1-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

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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.

@oh_that_crab

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

 

 

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BigArse
BigArse

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.

PeteyB
PeteyB

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
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. It’s bloody hard, and the truth is Stan needs to put money in on the grounds that it was his fault we’re in this mess for not pushing Wenger out earlier. The warning signs were there, and now they’ve waited until it’s incredibly difficult for us now.

shaka
shaka

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 bought (something that Wenger never got, not suarez, not vardy) ….and Ramsey / Ozil / Iwobi / Mkhi are there in the midfield.

Elneny, Xhaka, Torriera, AMN, Ganduzi, Willock in the defensive midfield.

The defense as we all agreed, just needed some PROPER COACHING and DRILLING. We also have Leno who can pass the ball and Cech who can punch the ball.

The new Video Coach and his brainy assistants are here.

Now, lets see the title challenges and CL knockout wins….

whats all this nervous hand-wringing and hoping for a draw against ‘Pool?

Devlin
Devlin

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 “his” players.

This season should have been used to build a foundation for next season. I wouldn’t mind if he prioritised our defending and said these three players will not be here beyond 3 seasons because I need my type of player, but they are talented enough to win me games while Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Iwobi, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Holding, Willock, Saka and etc, all learn the basics of how I would like my team to play.

He is sacrificing our short-term performances by trying to enforce a style that his 3 world class players just can’t play. We can blame the players for not adapting to the coach all we want, but if a player is 30,29 or 28, they are supposed to be the best player they have ever been, it is a travesty to try and get something they have never given from them.

People always use Aguero as an example, but that is one player in the midst of world class players who were performing at an elite level while playing the manager’s football. Aguero had to change for his own good, not really for the team. Mesut and Lacazette are far too important because this team has no decernible style of play, no creativity, no defensive solidity and these two take a huge burden off of their teammates.

People might like this old school way of managing players by taking them on, trying to get a reaction through dropping or subbing them and most crucially, asking players to either adapt or leave. This is not a style that has succeeded at the top level in the last 10 years of football. Football has changed and footballers have changed. The ability to motivate and to have players trust your methods is more vital than scaring or embarassing them into action. A manager has to put his vision of football above everything for him to succeed, but they also can’t have tunnel vision. People often think Pep has his way and that he never changes, but Robben and Ribery showed him what proper wide players could add to his system because he didn’t really use those at Barcelona, now he has 3 and is reportedly looking for another. A manager should also allow his players to show him how they can benefit his system i stead of taking the confrontational route.

GraeB
GraeB

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 can get past defenders and play crosses of all sorts.

Glenn
Glenn

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

Chiza
Chiza

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 matter of time

Chiza
Chiza

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

Homer
Homer

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 with a raft of new players with him. Its gonna take time.

All this hand wringing after the last match is silly. Arsenal are in a full-on defensive injury crisis. More bad luck. And one must wonder why this continues to happen. However, there is a ton of football to play yet. Lets not all panic now.

Oliphaunt
Oliphaunt

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.

Cechmate
Cechmate

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 expect a Ronaldo or Neymar or Ozil to just run around like a Matteo & throw tackles as thats just not their game. You didn’t pay big money for that – why penalise Ozil for a defensive lapse? He isn’t known for it, wasn’t signed for it and he isn’t suddenly going to change at the age of 30. It is akin to subbing Kos for not scoring off a clear chance or for not creating enough – if Ozil is your biggest defensive worry then you know you are not good at defending.

I fear for Laca too, he is a very good player but current subs are killing his confidence off, unlike Auba who is an instinctive striker Laca is a technical player and needs confidence to play his way. I hope Unai gets it right and I hope he gets the much needed reinforcement in Jan Andy should definitely recall chambers if we can.

Faisal Narrage
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, Ronaldinho, etc. when he came in, when everyone else was up in arms and telling him he couldn’t do so.

Spurs are currently second based largely on exactly what you say Ozil shouldn’t be doing in. Their main creative outlet, Erikson, does as much work of the ball as he does on it. They work as a unit to press and harass teams and blow them away.

If Unai is trying to build a squad like spurs but with better players, I’m all for it.

shaka
shaka

are you ganduzi in disguise?

Mootilated
Mootilated

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.

Red-Wing
Red-Wing

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).

Homer
Homer

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.

Oliphaunt
Oliphaunt

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
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
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….

Red-Wing
Red-Wing

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).

Red-Wing
Red-Wing

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
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 can’t create enough, don’t have enough goal scorers, and are susceptible to giving even more goal scoring chances now.

This team is horribly imbalanced and completely out of ideas.

Rich
Rich

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
Faisal Narrage

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

Homer
Homer

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

May I suggest less listening to dolts like piers morgan.

Rich
Rich

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
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 as a stick to beat him with. We were all apparently crying for a hard working team and even saying “we just want to see a team work hard”, and now that’s the stick we use to beat him with, claiming Wenger was right all along to not have the squad work hard so much.
I wonder what everyone will be saying come Feb or so.

PS: I’ve seen all these exact complaints and management support flip-flopping before. These were in the first year of Poch and Klopp (I remember even some Liverpool fans saying Klopp should go and doesn’t suit the league).

Timsh
Timsh

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 you ask me…
Everyone needs to do more and Emery has to be careful not to destroy the confidence of the few quality players we have.

Faisal Narrage
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. We have to remember Emery has never had to deal with such a crazy winter fixture before. It’s new to him also.

oliphaunt
oliphaunt

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 feels like he destroys more than he builds. Fingers crossed I am wrong.

Faisal Narrage
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 that was never promised.

Top 4 is the objective, but it’s been made clear Emery won’t get sacked if he doesn’t make it.

Faisal Narrage
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
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.

shaka
shaka

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
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 a very good team to a new manager and who should use now that potential and not changing the whole setup.

Faisal Narrage
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.

Homer
Homer

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 genuinely good guy — excepting the rope-a-dope he did to us vs. liverpool wright before he left for liverpool — and wish the player good luck.

shaka
shaka

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.