Getting a draw away from home is almost never a bad result. Getting a draw away from home against a “top 6” rival is not a bad result but for some reason this doesn’t feel like it was an all that great of a performance and result from Arsenal.
Maybe because Manchester United are worse than they typically are. Maybe it was the injury ravaged team they fielded. Maybe it was the compounding of the last few results not living up to what was expected from Arsenal. Regardless the Gunners got a point but the result didn’t do much to change the feeling that things are still not going in quite the right direction at the moment.
Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
Shot Placement xG
Simulated Match Results
Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: By the numbers
2 – Shots by Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka against Manchester United, the leaders for Arsenal.
4 – Shots by Andreas Pereira, led all players
37 – Passes completed by Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi, leading Arsenal
58 – Passes completed by Harry Maguire, led all players
2 – Chances created by a lot of players, more specifically Peirre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock to tie for the lead among all players.
11 – Final third passes completed by Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos, leading Arsenal.
12 – Final third passes completed by Ashley Young, led all players.
7 – Ball recoveries by Matteo Guendouzi, led Arsenal
9 – Ball recoveries by Paul Pogba, led all players
4 – Tackles by Matteo Guendouzi and Bukayo Saka tied for the lead among all players
3 – Interceptions by Sead Kolasinac, tied for the lead among all players
Overall this was not a very impressive match for any of the players on the pitch. It has been a major narrative how far this rivalry match has fallen and the stats back up that this wasn’t exactly a masterclass of teams going at each other. I think it pretty well backed up what we all watched with two teams that were playing in less than ideal (but not out of the ordinary for England) weather and the talent level didn’t quite match up to what you would expect from the badges and colors on the kits.
For Arsenal the most impressive player really seems to be Matteo Guendouzi who did another stint of trying to be the everything midfielder that Arsenal need.
Guendouzi is steadily moving from a player that is good for his age, to simply a player that is just very good. It is interesting how long until he is given even more free reign to be the main player in Arsenal’s midfield. In this match, especially in the first half he was given the task of being the extra cover to protect Sead Kolasinac on the left wing, with Lucas Torreira given a similar job on the right (with the added bonus of marking Paul Pogba).
He did this while also having the energy to always seeming like he was available for a pass as the deepest midfielder more often than not.
Arsenal’s shots allowed in context
16 – Shots allowed by Arsenal, the 4th time this season Arsenal have allowed at least 15 shots.
1.3 – xG allowed against Manchester United by Arsenal, the second lowest expected goals total that Arsenal have allowed this season.
0.099 – xG per shot allowed this season by Arsenal, 7th best in the Premier League.
0.079 – xG per shot allowed against Manchester United by Arsenal.
9.7 – The average distance in meters from goal the opponents have taken shots against Arsenal, the furthest average in the Premier League.
9.4 – The average distance in meters from goal by Manchester United for the shots taken shots against Arsenal.
Arsenal have allowed a lot of shots. If they want to be a good defensive team they should probably allow less.
That being said, Arsenal are actually doing a good job of keeping teams from taking shots from distance compared to close to their goal. They certainly aren’t a good defensive team right now but as much as taking a bad looking statistic to beat Unai Emery up with is fun, he does at least have the team forcing shots from distance over them working for shots in even closer.
As bad as seems things have seemed at times (and how bad the felt during this match) Arsenal are hopefully not that far away from looking like a competent team. With the competition this season, that might be enough to achieve a top four finish.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone and my own database