It wasn’t convincing but Arsenal were able to get three points with a come from behind victory down a man. Whatever you felt about Unai Emery probably didn’t change after this match and there is still a lot of questions about the way that Arsenal have played, especially looking at the last 45 minutes of Watford and the first 45 minutes of this match.
In the end Arsenal got the points, and with rivals dropping points this weekend Arsenal are tied on points for 3rd place. Even better they have a 3 point lead on their other top six rivals after this weekend.
Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
Shot Placement xG
Simulated Match Results
Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa: By the numbers
6 – Shots for Arsenal with the match 11 vs. 11
7 – Shots for Aston Villa with the match 11 vs. 11
0.6 – xG for Arsenal with the match 11 vs. 11
1.1 – xG for Aston Villa with the match 11 vs. 11
9 – Shots for Arsenal after the 72nd minute (when Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos were substituted)
2 – Shots for Aston Villa after the 72nd minute (when Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos were substituted)
1.03 – xG for Arsenal after the 72nd minute (when Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos were substituted)
0.19 – xG for Aston Villa after the 72nd minute (when Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos were substituted)
There are a few points in this match that really jump out as turning points. The first 40 minutes where the match was 11 vs 11, the next 30 minutes or so and then the final 20 minutes when Unai Emery changed things with a double substitution.
During the first 40 minutes of the match Arsenal played pretty poorly, and failed to put Aston Villa under much pressure. Arsenal had more of the ball, but had less shots and the worst of the overall chances. The second distinct phase of the match was where Arsenal were a mess after going down to 10 men and were by the far the second best team on the field. Lastly there was the last 20 minutes of the match where Arsenal put sustained pressure on Aston Villa and led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring a winner.
Guendouzi is ready to take over
73 – Completed Passes, led all players
3 – Chances created, 2nd on Arsenal (0.15 xG assisted)
1 – Shot (0.03 xG)
28 – Final third passes completed, led all players
7 – Final third entry passes, 2nd on Arsenal
11 – Ball recoveries, led all players
1 – Interception
1 – Dribble completed
3 – Foul suffered, 2nd on Arsenal
1 – Penalty drawn
1 – Failure to track a runner leading to the first Aston Villa Goal.
Matteo Guendouzi always seems to find him self in the middle of things. Often times it is good, where he always makes himself available to teammates as a passing option, his knack for looking to move to ball forward and his ability to drive forward with the ball (like on his drawn penalty today). This can also be bad, he can dwell on the ball too long and ends up being dispossessed, he doesn’t always have full awareness on defense (like the first Aston Villa goal) and when there is a controversy after a play he is either the cause or one of the first players on the scene. Overall his contributions ends up with a positive net outcome for Arsenal more often than they are negative but he never shies away or changes the way that he plays. Early in this match he looked like he might be on the way to a negative game, but in the second half where Arsenal looked lifeless he along with Aubameyang added the needed spark to drag Arsenal into a very needed three points. As he matures, hopefully some of the negative aspects of his game will mellow allowing him to fully blossom into a superstar that his talent suggest is there.
Nicolas Pépé opens his Arsenal Account
1 – Goal for Nicolas Pépé, his first with Arsenal.
18 – Shots for Nicolas Pépé this season, 2nd on Arsenal
5 – Shots for Nicolas Pépé against Aston Villa, led Arsenal
1.3 – Non-Penalty xG for Nicolas Pépé this season, 2nd on Arsenal
22 – Dribbles completed for Nicolas Pépé, leads Arsenal and 2nd in the Premier League
3 – Dribbles for Nicolas Pépé against Aston Villa, led Arsenal
11 – Key Passes for Nicolas Pépé, leads Arsenal
4 – Key passes for Nicolas Pépé against Aston Villa, led Arsenal
1.2 – xG assisted for Nicolas Pépé, 2nd on Arsenal
0.6 – xG assisted for Nicolas Pépé against Aston Villa, led Arsenal
It hasn’t been the most amazing start statistically for for Nicolas Pépé but he is starting to show flashes of why Arsenal went out and broke their transfer record to sign him. He has added needed dynamism on the wing with his speed and dribbling ability. He isn’t a creative player in the mold of a Mesut Özil but has been Arsenal’s leader in creating shots for others in this early season. With Alexandre Lacazette injured he has stepped up to take on a bigger burden for taking shots for Arsenal. And today, he dispatched his penalty with confidence and hopefully that will help him to continue to take shots from open play and start converting some of those chances.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone, Understat and my own database