With a third loss in a row for Arsenal, things are really falling apart rather quickly. Arsenal have fallen from a realistic chance at finishing third and controlling their own destiny in the top four race to outsiders in 5th place 2 points back with two matches to play.
It is only by the flaws and floundering of the teams around them that they are still within touching distance of 4th place and a Champions League spot.
Even with the team mathematically not eliminated through League qualification, this run of matches culminating in an embarrassing result at Leicester, has brightly illustrated that Arsenal do not have the team depth to compete in two high stakes matches a week at this point in the season.
The run of matches against Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester is tough, all three are good teams but that is not a run of matches that should end in an aggregate scoreline of 9 to 3.
Hopefully the Europa League brings out a better performance.
Leicester 3-0 Arsenal: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
Shot Placement xG Map
Simulated Match Result
Leicester 3-0 Arsenal: By the numbers
1 – The number of Arsenal players to have a pass completion percentage greater than 90% (min 10 pass attempts). That player was Matteo Guendouzi with 11 of 12 passes completed. Alexandre Lacazette gets close with an 89% on 16 of 18 passing.
64% – Arsenal’s pass completion as a team. The lowlights include Bernd Leno 39%, Shkodran Mustafi 48%, Sokratis 54% and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 58%
27 – Final third passes completed by James Maddison, leading all players. Granit Xhaka completed the most passes total for Arsenal and 27 total.
7 – Big Chances conceded by Arsenal, the most they have given up in a single match this season.
7 – Shots for Jamie Vardy, equaling Arsenal as a team.
4 – Big Chances for Vardy.
2.44 – Expect Goals for Vardy on those 7 shots
9 – Saves from Bernd Leno
1.7 – Expected Goals value of the shots Leno saved. A return to form after a stinker against Wolves. If somehow Chelsea screw up their last two matches giving Arsenal a chance to sneak into the top 4, goal difference could well be the deciding factor.
Arsenal set up to counter attack, it doesn’t really work
4 – Shots for Arsenal before the Red Card
9 – Shots for Leicester before the Red Card
0.61 – xG for Arsenal before the Red Card
1.6 – xG for Leicester before the Red Card
26% – Possession for Arsenal before the Red Card
33 – Touches in the final third for Arsenal before the Red Card including 8 touches in the box
67 – Touches in the final third for Leicester before the Red Card including 14 touches in the box
The Red Card certainly changed the game but even before going down to 10 men Arsenal were by no means controlling the match. Unai Emery looked to sit deep and play on the counter attack in this match from the start. That in itself is a fine tactic and has seen Arsenal use it well this season at times.
The biggest deviation from this match and others where it has worked well is that here Arsenal seemed entirely too passive. There was no high press to speak of, with little to no pressure in the middle third of the field to back that up. Their 3 man midfield always seemed to be able to find openings against Arsenal’s double pivot and unsurprisingly were able to open up the Arsenal back line.
Arsenal had moments where they were able to counter attack effectively but the trade off of inviting Leicester to attack the back four over and over without pressure seemed like a doomed strategy.
Arsenal’s lack of defensive improvement
416 – Non penalty shots allowed by Arsenal in 2017/18
469 – Non penalty shots allowed by Arsenal in 2018/19
146 – Shots on Target allowed by Arsenal in 2017/18
174 – Shots on Target allowed by Arsenal in 2018/19
46 – Non-penalty Goals allowed by Arsenal in 2017/18
43 – Non-penalty Goals allowed by Arsenal in 2018/19
44.7 – Non-penalty expected goals conceded by Arsenal in 2017/18
50.7 – Non-penalty expected goals conceded by Arsenal in 2018/19
12 – The number of times this season Arsenal have conceded less than 1 xG in a match. Last season Arsenal did it 17 times.
3 – The number of times Arsenal have conceded more than 3 xG in a match this season. Last season Arsenal did it just 2 times.
9 – The number of times Arsenal have conceded more than 2 xG in a match this season. Last season Arsenal also did it 9 times.
9.8 – Open play shots allowed per match for Arsenal this season. Last season Arsenal allowed 7.9, an increase of nearly two extra shots per match from open play.
1.1 – xG allowed from open play per match this season. Last year Arsenal allowed 0.97 per match.
3.2 – Shots from set plays allowed per match for Arsenal this season. Last season Arsenal allowed 3.0 per match.
0.3 – xG allowed per match from set plays this season. Last year Arsenal allowed 0.2 per match.
7.6 – Shots in the penalty area allowed this season by Arsenal. Last year Arsenal allowed 7.2 per match.
For all of the focus on Arsenal’s defensive failings last year and the narrative that just about any manager would do a better job than Arsene Wenger, the numbers do not back that argument.
By every measure but goals allowed (thank you Bernd Leno) Arsenal have gotten worse this season. They are giving up more shots. They are giving up more shots in better areas. They are giving up higher quality chances. They are having fewer matches were they have held their opponents to under 1 expected goal and have maintained the same number of disaster performances.
Fixing the underlying issues with the Arsenal defense was never going to be an easy task, especially with the injuries that Arsenal suffered. Arsenal brought in a starting center back and a true defensive midfielder in the summer and that was not a miraculous fix, like the rest of the squad it looks like it will be a multi year process to rebuild to an acceptable level.
Sources: Opta via WhoScored, StatsZone, Understat and my own database.