If you are looking for a silver lining from this loss, Troy Deeney is THIS much closer to relegation.
Everything else is mostly pointless after Arsenal lost to Tottenham and drew with Leicester. Basically qualifying for Europe through the League was a long shot and now that is gone. It all feels very 2019 (minus everything else going on in the world) where the chances of finishing in the European spots were up for grabs but things fell apart at the end and the season will end with Arsenal facing Chelsea in a cup final to save the season.
Hopefully this season ends better than last year.
Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: By the graphs
xG Shot Map
xG Shot Table
Simulated Match Result
Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: By the numbers
633 – Passes attempted for Arsenal, 69% (nice) of the total attempted in the match.
186 – Passes attempted for Arsenal in the final third, 63% of the total attempted in the match.
75% – The percentage of the passes attempted into the box that were classified as crosses (33 crosses of 44 total attempted in the box)
19 – Zone 14 touches, Zone 14 is the area right behind the 18 yard box, aka as the area that Arsenal dominated under Arsene Wenger.
It isn’t surprising that Arsenal didn’t manage many touches deep in the Aston Villa box because one of the things that is needed is touches in the intermediate deep area known as Zone 14. This is the area that Arsenal for years dominated (maybe to a detriment) for years and have now dropped to the middle of the league in touches in this area.
This match was almost the opposite of what Arsenal did Manchester City on Saturday. Aston Villa defended really well and Arsenal did not have the creative players to be able to find the cutting pass that would open up the Villa defense. Arsenal’s first choice in this match was to try a cross versus trying to move the ball to open up passing lanes into the box.
This match also to me really highlights that Arsenal are missing a creative player in midfield. Dani Ceballos has been good at times, but for Arsenal that went from Patrick Vierea, to Cesc Febragas to Mikel Arteta to Santi Carzola the current Arsenal midfield doesn’t have the same technical ability to advance the ball and to create from there.
Arsenal ranked 1st in Zone 14 shots between 2013-14 and 2017-18, but then dropped to 8th in 2018-19 and currently rank 9th in the league. Arsenal have gone from about 45-55 touches under Wenger which led the league per match in Zone 14 to about 25 since Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta took over.
It is hard to say what will happen going forward with Arsenal, but (hopefully) the majority of points (and the points most often won by Wenger) will be against teams below Arsenal on the table, where the ability to control the match and turn that into big chances will be key going forward.
I am willing to give Mikel Arteta some time, but while it looks like the Arsenal counter attack strategy works well, the sustained possession strategy needs work.
Sources: Opta via whoscred and my own database