Arsenal 0-1 Burnley: By the numbers

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This loss was frustrating for Arsenal but not in the same way that the last few have been.

The losses against Wolves and Sp*rs were Arsenal being outplayed while also playing into the tactics that the other teams wanted. Those losses were deserved.

In this match, Arsenal for the most part were playing well (grading on a curve still) and my hunch is that if Granit Xhaka doesn’t lose his head Arsenal more often than not go on to win this match.

Arsenal 0-1 Burnley: By the graphs

Arsenal 0-1 Burnley: By the numbers

18 – Shots for Arsenal, a new high for the Premier League.

6 – Shots on target for Arsenal, a new high for the Premier League.

1.7 – Expected Goals, the second-highest total in the Premier League and the highest since the first match of the season.

13 – Passes completed into the Penalty Area, tied for third-most in the Premier League.

34 – Touches in the penalty area, third-most in the Premier League.

29 – Open play cross attempts in this match, of which 3 were completed.

It is pretty obvious and part of why it is a punishment to deter bad actions but before the Red Card, Arsenal were on their way to what would have easily been their best attacking day of the season. Even with the momentum hauling red card, this was probably pretty close to the best that Arsenal have performed this season.

Arsenal generated some pretty good shots in this match and that most weeks would have resulted in at least one goal. When you simulate the xG values of the shots Arsenal took, not scoring only happens about 15% of the time.

The end of Granit Xhaka?

44 – Passes completed, 7th most on Arsenal

7 – Long passes completed, 4th most on Arsenal

9 – Final third entry passes, led Arsenal

8 – Progressive passes completed, led Arsenal

0 – Passes into the penalty area completed

0 – Key passes

0 – Shots

8 – Touches in the attacking third, 9th most on Arsenal

0 – Dribbles completed, with 0 attempted

0 – Times lost possession

0 – Tackles

0 – Blocks

1 – Interception

4 – Pressures, tied for 10th on Arsenal

Let’s go into Xhaka’s stupidity for just a second, that was a situation where he made a cynical foul to break up a counter-attack chance. That’s not a dumb thing to do and it is his job. It also looked like he was about to escape that situation without getting the yellow card he deserved. Instead, he gets takes offense to the Burnley players not liking his unsporting (but totally okay within the rules and a smart play) foul and choke pushes an opponent. In the span of a couple seconds, this went from a smart but cynical tactical foul that helped Arsenal to Arsenal earning a red card that killed all momentum

From his stats, you can see what he brings to Arsenal and that is passing. In this match, his role was to play deep (looking at his average position he looks almost like a hybrid between a midfielder and a centerback) and distribute from deep and connect things to get the attacking players. He led Arsenal in progressive passing and final third entry passes. Those are needed actions for a team that wants to hold possession but with how little else he brings in the way of generating attack or shielding the defense it is hard to see why he is in the eleven.

He adds minimal goal threat (his shots are almost always 3-4% chance speculative efforts) and more often than not looks to recycle possession in the final third instead of setting up a teammate. As a defensive midfielder, his lack of elite mobility means that often his attempts to win the ball back lead to fouls or simply being bypassed.

I will be candid and say upfront that I have always thought that Xhaka was a player who as long as he got minutes in Arsenal midfield limited the ceiling to how good the team could be. His elite skill (ball progressing) isn’t good enough to make up for the areas where he isn’t.

I have a hard time seeing him finding his way back into the Arsenal team for a while, even after his 3 match suspension is over.

Bukayo Saka the silver lining in the grey cloud that is Arsenal

6 – Shot creating actions, led Arsenal

4 – Shots (1 on target, 0.6 xG), tied for most on Arsenal

1 – Key pass (0.03 xA)

2 – Passes completed into the penalty area, tied for third on Arsenal

33 – Touches in the final third, second on Arsenal

4 – Touches in the penalty box, tied for second on Arsenal

3 – Successful dribbles, led Arsenal

209 – Progressive distance carried, led Arsenal

11 – Pressures, tied for fourth on Arsenal

It is almost becoming expected but the performances of Bukayo Saka are very good for a player his age, especially considering how dysfunctional the Arsenal attack is currently. I have to remind myself that he is just 19 years old because so often he becomes the main creative threat for this Arsenal team and that is a really big burden to place on a teenager.

He is one of the few players on this Arsenal team who looks comfortable and technically secure enough to hold possession close to the opponent’s box. With Pepe still serving his suspension, he is also Arsenal’s only true threat to beat a defender with a dribble.

With things going so poorly for Arsenal, it is important to look to things that are still positive and could be something that would allow for Arsenal to build into a somewhat good team again.

@oh_that_crab

Sources: Opta via WhoScored, StatsZone and my own database. StatsBomb via FBRef.

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CarlosLA

Thanks for the numbers. Would be interesting to put the supposed positive stats into context that takes into account the opposition. This Burnley are a borderline Championship club with but a single win prior to yesterday. Re Xhaka, what more of an indictment of this club is there? He brings 4-6 really nice passes on a good day, and that is literally his only “plus” skill. He’s poor at everything else. Yet this club through 3 managers has persisted with him. He wouldn’t start at any of the other Top 6. I wish I shared your confidence that he won’t… Read more »

Dan M

I have to imagine Xhaka says and does all the right stuff in training, off the pitch he’s probably an example to younger players, trains hard, listens, and that’s why he gets picked, he nails the non-negotiables. It’s not enough, Mikel should be added performance on the pitch to his list.

Tanned arse

Performance on the pitch should be top of the bloody list

Futsboller

But in context, Championship clubs like Burnley really know how to defend — they are the masters of the Dycheblocken, which has stifled many a good team in the past.

I know no one wants to accept it, but there were real signs of progress until we gave the game away.

I don’t think he’s going to start again unless we have injury issues — if Partey is back healthy and Elneny is healthy, I think we’ll see those two lockdown the midfield. I hope so, at least …

GraeB

Let us not forget Scott that Burnley had already missed the best chance of scoring in this game. We would have been 1 down but with plenty of time left (to get players sent off?) to get back into it.

Futsboller

Indeed, if we played under the auspices of “Missed Chances Mean More Than They Do,” we’d have won the league a few times in the last decade …

Henrik

3 games and he will be back, ruining us again.

I am sure Arteta will not change much, he put ceballos in for xhaka and cedric for bellerin and consider it jobs done. We all have to understand that arteta is convinced he always picked the right players and has the proper tactics, if that were the case, why would you change it?….

Giuseppe Hovno

Burnley are bad but they are in the premier league so they’re still opposition worth considering

Johnny 4 Hats

What’s really scary is that our rivals in the champions league have to play actual teams midweek. We are able to completely rotate every Thursday.

Shows just how wrong we were to believe that this squad is anywhere near coping with CL football.

Tanned arse

The plus side to that might’ve been that he’d have rotated his ‘best’ players out of the team for the premier league so we’d probably have picked up more points

Jean Ralphio

And the tactics they employ is the type we struggle with

1800Nketiah

Even top 6 is stretch. Honestly speaking, how teams in the PL would have Xhaka as a starter? 5 at most.

Tanned arse

He’s the most ill fitting central midfield player in this league due to his lack of speed and mobility (which is probably why he spends most of his time in the center back or left back position)

Rich

Saka is magic, he could play for any team.

Cesc + Cole signing for Chelsea hurt, seeing Saka lining up for another team would be gut wrenching

Since Alexis + Cazorla left, we’ve not had any other players who are worth the entrance fee

Saka is by far our best player, and the only current player who can consistently get me sitting on the edge of my seat.

He’s an absolute joy to watch, we need to ensure we find a way to match his ambitions over the coming years.

BelgianGunner

I would like to see return on investment. Points, goals or chances by wage bill. Guess we would be the most underachieving team in the league by a mile.

And people keep saying he’s a good coach, based on the FA cup. Because that’s all there is.

Futsboller

He won a trophy in his first season, and not even a full season at that. Why does everyone, and Arsenal fans to boot, like to crap on that? Give the guy a bloody chance, everyone …

BelgianGunner

I don’t like people getting fired, but he is stubborn as hell with his team selection and tactics. The stats speak for themselves, no sign of progress, bad results and boring to watch. We all want him to do better but it feels like he is stuck on the wrong path and he refuses to admit it.

Futsboller

12 Premier League games ago he won us a trophy, beating City and Chelsea in the process. He beat Liverpool, twice. 6 PL games ago, we beat United at OT. Yesterday, we produced our best attacking game in the PL this season — aren’t there signs of progress in there? Aren’t the signings of Gabriel and Partey indications that we’re addressing weaknesses in the team and strengthening them? Gabriel is first name on the team sheet after Leno and Auba. He’s a colossal player, and when Partey regains his health, he’s going to be a force for us. We can’t… Read more »

BelgianGunner

“Our best attacking game in the PL this season” , it was against Burnley and we didn’t score, this says it all really. How low the bar has fallen. This is not good enough for Arsenal.

Futsboller

But that is it, isn’t it: the hope was that people recognized that Arsenal we entering a rebuild with Arteta, but nobody, now that the going has gotten tough, wants to stick it out.

I’m looking forward to us playing out of this funk, scoring goals, and getting back on track. It will be soon.

catbiscuits

“Instead, he gets takes offense to the Burnley players not liking his unsporting (but totally okay within the rules and a smart play) foul”

Hmm what does it mean for a foul to be within the rules?

Tanned arse

On top of that, I wouldn’t credit him with smart play. He wasnt up to the task AGAIN of stop the guy goinf past him without blatantly fouling. If he was either smart or good that wouldnt happen

Auba auba Laca Partey

I thought Laca was a positive again. Disagree with Blog on his ability to be an elite 10, he has improved and continues to improve. He is an intelligent player and technically superior to Ozil who never been able to turn in between 3 players. I really like our team during this game but I am lost for words about Xhaka’s stupidity, unprofessionalism, selfishness, curtness,… I was still okay with him until now. You let your team down you fuck!

Fred Garvin

I see why you’re getting downvoted. Ozil has no technical peer in this team. Absurd to say Laca has anything near him. Agree with you about Xhaka letting us down though.

Auba auba Laca Partey

Saka>0Zil, Ceballos>0Zil, Partey>0Zil and Laca>0zil. He is a TikTok superstar for sure. His communication made him what is not, a football star. Desire is another trait where the above players are superior.

Homer

Yeah, Laca did okay and was positive. Its de riguer to crap on Laca. Blogs does it all the time, even when unwarranted. Laca is under performing for sure, but he’s not the problem. If one wants to talk about not performing to one’s potential, Auba is criminally under performing and should sit a couple games out. But yer not allowed to say that…. Though, no way Laca technically superior to He Who Must Not Be Named. The problem is we’ve donkeys like xhaka, ceballos and el neny in the midfield (and I like el neny for what things he… Read more »

Dombo

Blogs is as fair as you can be on our players. Even for Mustafi, and especially for Laca when he puts in a shift.

Tanned arse

‘Turn in between 3 players’? Laca, are you sure?

A P

Probably 3 Arsenal players.

Twatsloch

I agree. In the last couple of games Laca has actually put in a shift. Unlike others who look like they’ve lost the will to live he’s trying and that is worth a lot right now. Credit where it’s due.

Dombo

Last straw for Xhaka from me too. He was club captain and country captain, and does stupid shit like that. Always hoped that he would make it, but enough is enough

loose_cannon

Laca works his socks off and has some of the qualities you’d want in that position. But as a 10 he’s nowhere near Ozil, and that’s coming from someone who thinks Ozil has been rubbish for years.

If we’re going to play a No.10, I’d still rather have the Wotsits-eating, Fortnite-playing, Beefing-Piers-Morgan-On-Twittering version of Ozil over Lacazette.

Eduardo Fleck

I would like to have this great photo without the text, some blessed soul please could share with me? I just found with no good quality, in Sky Sports transmission. This DAZN one is better, I can feel the pain in this fellow gooner in HD.

SLC Gooner

Laca was OK. But he doesn’t have the touch and passing to be what we need as a 10. As stated, we looked better in this match. But that’s an extremely curved grade. We still didn’t score in the first half. At home, against a team in the relegation spots. I’ve historically been somewhat of a defender of Xhaka. I don’t think he’s awful. Just being played out of position, and perhaps out of league. He’d probably be OK in central mid in a slower league. He does OK for Switzerland. But it’s hard to see any way back now.… Read more »

Jules

Spot on about Xhaka blogs. The only way he could ever be truly useful at Arsenal is if he was a capital p Phenomenal passer. He is clearly not. It’s also not just about making those inch perfect end to end long defense splitting long balls (which he manages once a blue moon), it’s about making the right pass every time. Making progressive passes. Helping the team move forward. I think when we first signed him we thought he could grow into one of the best passers in the world (or we hoped at least). Truth be told, bar the… Read more »

Fred Garvin

He used to be much more positive for us with his passes. He’s too ‘safe’ now with them, and hence the major attribute that we are all noticing now is his slowness and his lack of athleticism. Okay, and his absolutely woeful judgment, but that’s about it.

Kentish Gooner

If Willian starts the next match, Arteta needs to go. Whether we win, lose or draw, there’s some dodgy shit going down and I don’t like it.

Twatsloch

The best we can hope for with Willian from here on is that he stays at home. It’s a waste of money but I’d rather he never sets foot on a pitch in our colours again than have to watch him sleepwalk through another game. Out of sight and hopefully out of mind.

RedandWhite

Get Xhaka out of this club. Useless cunt. I don’t even care if they have to pay off the remainder of his contract if no one wants to buy the cunt, just get him out in January

Naked Cygan

Thank god Xhaka is banned for 3 games. Now we need Ceballos to kick Willian in the nuts REALLY HARD before kick-off. then, then, we might have a chance to put the ball in the net (Opponents net)!!