Arsenal didn’t have a ton to play for Sunday, but that actually made for a relatively relaxed viewing experience. Realistically an 8 goal difference swing was never likely (my simulation model had it at 0.02% or 2 out of 10,000 times) and the difference between finishing 5th and 6th in the grand scheme of things is pretty small.
In the end Arsenal got their win, that other team got a draw to take 4th place by a point and Manchester United fell on their face, at home, against a relegated Cardiff City.
It was a a nice ending to an up and down Premier League season with the Europa League still left to look forward to in a couple of weeks time.
Burnley 1-3 Arsenal: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
Shot Placement xG
Simulated Match based on shots
Burnley 1-3 Arsenal: By the numbers
75 – Passes completed by Mohamed Elneny, led all players.
96% – Completion percentage overall for Elneny, with 63% of his passes aimed forward.
It was a classic Elneny game where he is good but you aren’t sure he is quite at the level required for Arsenal.
9 – Ball recoveries by Nacho Monreal and Matteo Guenouzi, joint leaders for Arsenal. Jack Cork led all players with 10.
8 – Aerial duels won Shkodran Mustafi, led all players.
5 – Clearances by Mustafi including one off of the line. His 5 was good enough for joint 2nd on Arsenal behind Laurent Koscielny with 7.
2 – Tackles by Mustafi, second most on Arsenal. He even added an interception and two blocks.
This is the good side of Mustafi. He can be a frustrating player where he has very good games, mixed with some absolute garbage fire games. Over the course of the season his performances probably average to a 6.5-7 kind of player but you would really like a more consistent player that gives you a 7 out of 10 every week vs one that will give you an 8 one week followed by a 4 the next next.
5 – Chances created by Alex Iwobi, led all players. He also created two assists in the match from 1.00 xG assisted.
29 – Final third passes completed by Iwobi at a 87.8% completion percentage, led all players.
2 – Big chances created by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, led all players. He created the best chance of the match but couldn’t end up on the score sheet with an assist.
8 – Inaccurate crosses by Mkhitaryan, led all players. Created some two great chances but also had quite a few not create anything.
3 – Tackles by Iwobi, led Arsenal. James Tarkowski led all players with 6.
3 – Interceptions by, Mkhitaryan led Arsenal. Ben Mee led all players with 5.
12 – Defensive actions by Iwobi and Mkhitaryan overall in this match.
It doesn’t maximize the personnel that Arsenal have but playing with one striker, flanked by two wide forwards does always seem to lead to a more balanced team for Arsenal. If Arsenal’s two strikers didn’t play as well as they do together you could see this front three as the first choice. Improving the options for wide players to make this a viable option next year will be an important task for Arsenal in the summer.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wins the golden boot
7 – Shots for Aubameyang in this match. This was the highest total that he has had with Arsenal in the League this season.
4 – Big Chances for Aubameyang in this match.
50% – Aubameyang’s big chance conversion in this match. League average is about 40% for these types of chances.
2 – Goals in this match for Aubameyang in this match to tie Mo Salah for the most in the League and to keep pace with Sadio Mane.
18 – Non-Penalty goals for Aubameyang this season, 4th among all players in the Premier League.
19.7 – Non-Penalty xG for Aubameyang this season, led all players in the Premier League.
22 – Goals for Aubameyang this season.
23.6 – xG for Aubameyang this season, led all players in the Premier League.
You could tell that Aubameyang badly wanted to win the Golden Boot and he got the two goals that he needed against Burnley to get him a share of the goal scoring lead. It was a deserved title for him as he was for the leader in getting on the end of chances for most of the season. If he hadn’t gone through a cold finishing run in the middle of the season he very well could have ran away with this title.
People can be frustrated with him for missing some “easy” chances but that will always be par for the course with Aubameyang. At this age and with his track record he isn’t likely to become a clinical finisher but his ability to find space and get on the end of chances looks likely to have him continue to get a high volume of these chances where a few more misses than expected don’t hurt nearly as much.
As we saw with the tie against Valencia having an elite striker (plus another very good one in Alexandre Lacazette) can cover up for a lot of other flaws in a team. Arsenal are not a balanced, well constructed team but having Aubameyang this season did a lot to give Arsenal a chance at finishing in the top four and a match away from lifting a trophy.
Sources: Opta via WhoScored, Understat, StatsZone and my own database.