Arsenal continued their tribute to Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong), as Mikel Arteta’s men lost 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park. It marks Arsenal’s 8th loss of the season after only 14 games which more games than we lost in the entire 2015/16, 2014/15, 2013/14 and 2012/13 league campaigns respectively (all 7 losses in 38 games). Arsenal sit 15th in the table and are as close to Sheffield United in 20th as we are to Everton in 4th, despite Sheffield United having failed to win a single game so far this season.
Let’s look at the data to see if we can gain any more insight into another disappointing performance.
Above is the Cumulative PVA (Possession Value Added) and PV (Possession Value) Gameflow from Saturday’s game at Goodison Park. Arsenal again had the better Possession Value, but the majority of it came after Everton went 2-1 up, and pretty much decided to just allow Arsenal to have the ball, with the Toffees sitting in deep and daring Arsenal to score in a performance reminiscent of how Wolves and Spurs played when winning against Arsenal. Our lack of creativity (outside of the occasional piece of brilliance from Kieran Tierney or Bukayo Saka) means that we are an easy team to defend against with no clear strategy or method of getting the ball into dangerous areas. Teams will continue to sit back and soak up pressure after knicking a lead until we find a solution to our quite frankly woeful attacking play.
Above are the pass maps from each of the Starting XI from Saturday’s game. I feel like there’s not much else to say other than it’s clear to see why we lack creativity when 2 of our front 3 barely touch the ball in dangerous positions and our midfield seem willing to just pass the ball from side-to-side with no attempt to create danger.
The pass map looks a little better, but it’s shocking how we can play a team who have such a bad pass map, and yet not many people would argue we deserved a better result than we got. Arsenal’s passing again lacked any central threat, with the dreaded U-Shape forming in the final 3rd as we struggled to put the Everton defence under any duress.
The above show our crossing by side and passes into the penalty area by half. We seem to have gone back on our devotion to crossing as we attempted a lot less hit and hope crosses, seemingly having learned from the last 100 unsuccessful crossing attempts. The second visual really shows how terrible we were in the first half, with only 1 completed pass into the penalty area. The second half was far more promising however it again shows that we are most effective at getting the ball into the box when we aren’t launching 20 crosses into the box each half.
That’s all from me today. It’s a midweek game against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup before a big game against Chelsea at the Emirates. With Mikel Arteta’s finest moment as Arsenal manager coming against the Blues he’ll be hoping a win next season could prove to kickstart Arsenal’s so far relegation-threatened season.
Data from Opta via WhoScored