If Arsenal measure themselves against the best in England this match really showed how far they have to go. This Liverpool team is really good, if we hadn’t just seen a 100 point Manchester City team last season they would be almost locks to win the league at this point, instead of just title favorites.
It has taken a few years, but Liverpool have trusted the manager that they hired and the recruitment system that they put in place to build a team and it has born fruit. Looking at Arsenal’s squad, especially after the last two performances, there is still a long road to go in rebuilding this team to try to match this level.
xG Shot Map
Shot Placement xG Map
Simulated Match Result
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: By the numbers
3 – The number of drinks I have had between half time and writing this. My wife was bugging me to take her and the family out for a Saturday brunch this morning but I said that I really needed to watch this match. After the fourth first half goal went in, I decided that going out to get a drink was probably a better idea for my sanity.
2, maybe 3 – The number of beers I will need to have to be able to write this column. If my grammar and/or spelling is worse than normal you’ll know why.
16 – Points back from Liverpool Arsenal are after this result. Last season after 20 matches, Arsenal were just 1 point back of Liverpool (38 points vs 37 points) and 21 points back of the leaders Manchester City.
0.83 – Points per match Arsenal have against the “Big 6” this season. 1 win, 2 draws, 3 losses. Arsenal still travel to Tottenham (who may or may not have a home) and Manchester City and host Chelsea and Manchester United. Arsenal drew just one of those matches and lost the rest last season so it is possible Arsenal can beat the six total points they had from the same fixtures last year.
Liverpool dominate the space, vs possession
52% – Arsenal’s possession in the match. Also their share of the total touches 606 vs 554.
53% – Liverpool’s share of the touches in the final third. 152 for Liverpool vs 135 for Arsenal.
65% – Liverpool’s share of the touches in the box. 31 for Liverpool vs 17 for Arsenal.
46% – Arsenal final third entry pass completion percentage. Liverpool completed their final third entries at 54%.
14 – Times that Arsenal players were dribbled past in this match.
5 – Times that Lucas Torreira was dribbled past in this match. Lead all players (Liverpool as a team were only dribbled past 8 times)
2 – The number of players that Roberto Firmino dribbled past on his way to Liverpool’s second goal.
12 – Misplayed passes by Granit Xhaka (7) and Torreira (5) in the defensive and middle third of the pitch.
One of the key philosophies of Jurgen Klopp’s system is to dominate the space and not necessarily the ball like a Pep Guardiola. In this match, and like many matches against the top teams his teams used lightening quick, direct attacks to exploit space instead of methodically breaking down a team with possession. In this match against Arsenal, Liverpool also used the dribble very effectively to beat the first line of Arsenal’s defense and send everything into shambles.
With a makeshift back line, the Arsenal midfield was tasked with keeping control of things in this match but were unable to meet the challenge.
Liverpool find their main threat, Arsenal can’t
17 – Touches in the box for Arsenal as a team.
1 – Touch in the box for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
13 – Touches in the box by Mo Salah.
8 – Passes into the box received by Arsenal as a team.
1 – Pass into the box received by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
5 – Passes into the box received by Mo Salah
Both attacking players are not super high volume touch contributors as their nature.For the season Aubameyang was averaging 22 touches per 90 minutes and Salah 27 touches
Both players really find themselves on the end of plays rather than helping to start attacking moves. In this match it was very obvious that Liverpool were able to get their star scorer involved a lot better.
As a striker, if you are starved of service it is really hard to make an impact on the match and Liverpool did an excellent job of cutting off Aubameyang from the rest of the Arsenal attack. He ended the match with just one shot, and one chance created. By comparison, Salah had two non-penalty shots, created two chances for teammates and created a penalty for himself as the Arsenal defense had no answer for his movement in this match.
Top 4 chances on life support?
27% – Chance that Arsenal make the four from FiveThirtyEight
29.4% to 26.7% -Implied Probability of Arsenal making the top four by the betting markets which have Arsenal at between 12/5 and 11/4 currently as the odds for Arsenal to make the top four.
25.5% – What my simulation model gives Arsenal to finish in the top four
With just 8 points from their last 5 matches Arsenal have fallen off the pace of the other top teams and now find themselves staring at progressively longer odds to get back into the top four. With this as the minimum requirement for the season to be a success it is looking more and more likely that the goal will be missed. If Arsenal want back into the Champions League, the “easiest” path may end up being through the Europa League, but with strong teams still in the competition the betting markets give Arsenal just an implied odds of 14.3% to end up lifting the trophy.
Sources: Opta via whoscored, StatsZone and my own database. Betting odds from oddschecker.com and FiveThirthyEight.
The final answer on beers consumed while writing this was two. In case you were wondering.