After three matches where Arsenal dominated the first half, the first half of this match was bad. Luckily for Arsenal, Emiliano Martínez was up to the task and saved all 5 shots that Leeds got on target in the first half to get Arsenal to the half time break even at 0-0. From the start of the second half Arsenal looked like a different team and blew away Leeds and came away deserved winners (even if they probably didn’t deserve to keep the clean sheet).
Arsenal have two wins and two clean sheets on the bounce. Things are looking good and the players look like they are buying into what Arteta is trying to sell.
Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United: By the graphs
Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United: By the numbers
-12 – The shot difference from the first half, Leeds had 15 shots to 3 for Arsenal
-0.6 – The xG difference from the first half, Leeds had 1.13 to 0.49 for Arsenal
-16 – The difference in touches in the box in the first half, Leeds had 22 to 6 for Arsenal
-75 – The difference in final third touches in the first half, Leeds had 111 to 36 for Arsenal
10 – The shot difference from the second half, Leeds had 3 shots to 13 for Arsenal
2.1 – The xG difference from the second half, Leeds had 0.11 to 2.23 for Arsenal
18 – The difference in touches in the box in the second half, Leeds had 5 to 23 for Arsenal
113 – The difference in final third touches in the second half, Leeds had 42 to 155 for Arsenal
It’s pretty cliche to say a match is a tale of two halves, but cliches are cliches for a reason because sometimes they describe what you see perfectly.
Arsenal looked like they expected something completely different from Leeds then what they ended up getting. Leeds were not overawed by coming to a Premier League ground and didn’t set up like an underdog bunkering down. Instead they pressed high, man marked Arsenal’s midfield and forced a number of errors that led to dangerous shots. Mikel Arteta was visibly upset with his team and according to Alexandre Lacazette let the players know it at half time.
In the second half, Arsenal looked a lot more like the teams that we have seen over the frist three matches of the Arteta era and came away with the winning goal in the end.
Matteo Guendouzi shines in the second half
18 – Completed passes, led all players
94.7% – Pass completion percentage, 2nd among all players (compared to 78.9 expected pass completion!)
2 – Passes in the box completed, tied for 3rd among all players
1 – Tackle
0 – Dribbled Past
2 – Interceptions, 2nd among all players
2 – Aerial duels won, 2nd among all players
7 – Ball recoveries, led all players
3 – Successful dribbled, tied for most among all players
1 – Dispossessed
The less said about the first half the better, with the response from the team I am willing to write it off as a blip. With the change in performance, no one else better personified the extra intensity that the team showed than Matteo Guendouzi. He showed good discipline in the positions that he took up in midfield, while also seeming to be just about everywhere that Arsenal needed a player. It had been a rough couple outings as he doesn’t seem to be an automatic starter under Arteta but in the second half he showed he has the talent and the ability to provide what Arteta wants in his system.
Sokratis does a job at right back
3 – Aerial Duels won
4 – Ball recoveries
1 – Interception
1 – Blocked Pass
2 – Tackles
4 – Clearances
2 – Successful dribbles (who knew he had it in him!)
3 – Dispossessed (not a right back red flag)
1 – Deep completion (passes within 25 yards of goal)
8 – Throw in’s completed (of 12 attempts)
1 – Show of strength to hold on to the ball deep in Leeds corner
Sokratis isn’t a right back. When the lineups were announced, everyone assumed that Arsenal would be in a back three, but nope it was a back three and Sokratis was asked to play out of position. The first half was a disaster and I thought that for sure that Arteta would have to make a change but Sokratis surprised me (I am probably not the only one) and ended up doing a job out of position. It wasn’t pretty but he ended up with doing a job that wasn’t a disaster and after the first half that was an accomplishment. I hope we never have to see this happen again.
Sources: Opta via whoscored and my own database