Trust the process.
This was the motto that fans of the NBA basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers used as they rebuilt their team. The process was the plan that would see them go from one of the worst teams in the NBA into a true contender for challenging for a title.
I think that Arsenal fans can learn a lot from this mindset as the team plays out the rest of this season. There really isn’t a ton to play for in the league (theoretically finishing in the Europa League spots isn’t a crazy goal but I don’t think you sacrifice long term development for that goal) with the goals that the team had at the start of the season all but out of reach.
What I want to see is Mikel Arteta starting to instill a philosophy, get buy in from the players and see improvement among the Arsenal players. This is the process and I think that we must trust this to create long term results even if in the short term it doesn’t.
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: By the graphs
Shot Placement xG map
Simulated match result
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: By the numbers
4 – Shots for Arsenal in the opening 34 minutes (before Jorginho was substituted on)
1 – Shot for Chelsea in the opening 34 minutes
0.8 – Expected goals for Arsenal in the opening 34 minutes
0.07 – Expected goals for Chelsea in the opening 34 minutes
23 – Passes completed in the final third for Arsenal in the opening 34 minutes
7 – Passes completed in the final third for Chelsea in the opening 34 minutes
7 – Passes completed in the box for Arsenal in the opening 34 minutes
1 – Passes completed in the final third for Chelsea in the opening 34 minutes
10 – Fouls committed by Chelsea in the opening 34 minutes
The opening period for Arsenal was easily among the best 30 minutes that Arsenal have played this season, especially considering who Arsenal were facing. Arsenal came out with intensity and nullified what Chelsea set out to try to do tactically. Arsenal were good in possession and created some dangerous moves (even if the goal did come from a set piece) while also maintaining excellent spacing to give options while passing and setting up to press when the ball was lost.
Ideally in these situations Arsenal would build a bigger lead than just 1 goal and hopefully as fitness improves, Arsenal can play at this intensity for a longer period of time. If this is what Arteta envisions for Arsenal, I think that we can all get on board with that.
Is Mesut Özil good again?
2 – Shots assisted, led Arsenal (both from set plays)
8 – Passes completed in the final third, led Arsenal
2 – Crosses completed, led Arsenal
1 – Successful dribble
2 – Ball recoveries
1 – Aerial duel won
1 – Tackle won
2 – Fouls committed
46 – Total touches
There have been a number of false dawns with Mesut Özil over the last two seasons, but the last 151 minutes under Arteta, he looks like a vastly different version of himself. He has been given the free attacking midfielder role that he prefers but he has also been asked to up his intensity and he looks like he had responded.
He is still an incredibly polarizing player but I think that we can all agree that if Arteta can get our highest paid player playing at something approaching his previous levels it is a good thing, especially in a team that is missing creative passing when he isn’t in the team. Hopefully two better than expected matches is the start of something new and not a blip of good form before he fades back into his old performances.
Sources: Opta via whoscored, statszone and my own database