Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sp*rs 2-0 Arsenal: By The Visuals

Arsenal fell to a 6th defeat from the opening 11 games of the season as Mikel Arteta’s Gunners succumbed to a 2-0 away defeat to their North London neighbours. It means Arsenal have gotten off to their worst start to a league campaign in 45 years.

Let’s delve into the data to see what went wrong.

Above are the PV Gameflow and Cumulative PVA for both teams. Arsenal had the ball in more threatening areas and completely dominated the second half, but only managed 2 shots on target as the Gunners creative woes continued. Tottenham’s goals, a wonder goal from Son and a 4v2 counter were Tottenham’s only real attacks of note as Jose Mourinho reverted to type and ‘parked the bus’ to good effect.

Above are the pass maps for each of the starting XI. Arsenal were successful in progressing the ball down the wings, however when they got into dangerous situations the only thing they seemed to do was to aim crosses towards Tottenham’s giant centre backs who were largely untroubled (bar one good cross from Tierney and Bellerin respectively) by Arsenal’s 44 crosses. Arsenal’s lack of a player who can capably play as a ‘number 10’ was apparent again as Arsenal struggled to create from centrally and ended up stuck going from sideline to sideline before lumping another cross in.

Above is the Passing Network for the Starting XI. Arsenal’s shape and average positions were actually quite promising (Saka and Willian swapped wings a lot hence their centrality) but very few chances were created as Arsenal’s creative void again reared it’s ugly head.

That creative void is ever so apparent when you look at the first-half passing, as the dreaded ‘U-shape’ forms and a hole appears when a ‘number 10’ (perhaps a certain Öutcast) would normally be. Sp*rs completely surrendered possession and territory to Arsenal in the second half but again Arsenal failed to create any big chances of note.

The last thing I want to highlight is the lack of efficiency with which we entered the penalty area. As is well documented Arsenal attempted 44 crosses, but when you look at the majority of our completions into the area, they come from central areas. Even though we seem intent on crossing for crossing’s sake, our most frequent way into the opposition penalty area is not coming from crosses. Perhaps something to think about.


Lastly I wish to leave you with a bit of positivity. The above tweet shows that at this point last season, 3 teams (Sp*rs, Wolves and United) had the same number of points as we have through 11 games, and those 3 teams all finished in the top 7, with United qualifying for the Champions League.


Anyway it’s Dundalk on Thursday in our final Europa League group game before we face Burnley at the Emirates in what is a must-win league game.




Data from Opta via WhoScored


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I feel part of the problem is that Mikel Arteta is trying to micro-manage the game shouting instructions to try to correct so many actions by the players that they become stifled and lose their spontaniety. He needs to prepare them well and then leave them to play with constructive occasional comments and not a running commentary of errors and issues.


players cant be creative if they are regularly being stifled


Arteta came into Arsenal with a very negative view of this squad (no doubt with good reason but also because he had been part of the Man City coaching staff that had stuffed us so regularly) and it is clear that he has no faith in the players taking responsibility for their own performance. Again maybe with good reason. But if he doesn’t let them get on with their job then he will soon be out of his.


The players are not that bad…….. Time to respect them as much as some want MA to be respected.


I agree but who amongst them is going to push back on Arteta and say “look boss you need to trust us to manage the game”. They don’t seem like that sort of squad. As has been said over and over again we don’t have those sort of leaders. Vieira, Henry and co. didn’t need telling.


The only consistency between the last 3 managers is that some of these players are, in fact, that bad


Agreed. There is a sense that it has become a bit dogmatic now. I don’t think Arteta does not realise the issue either bc he wants the proactiveness but somehow he can’t get the players to balance enterprise going forward with caution. Part of it is a lack of balance in the squad with left side over heavily weighted and right side requiring Bellerin to push up without sufficient cover (Holding did not do too much wrong but he lacks the pace to press) But the other half is our passing is so safe and we take way too many… Read more »


Pepe and Willian and Mhkitaryan and Xhaka


I think thats honestly just perception and something fans read too much in to. Let’s be honest, when fans come back in greater numbers they won’t even hear him and probably aren’t listening all that much anyway. It seems more like a symptom of him not trusting these players than an issue in and of itself.

Timorous Me

The “Passing Network” graphic caught my eye at first–until I saw the explanation that Saka and Willian had been swapping sides and that’s why it appeared that they played centrally (because it certainly didn’t feel that way watching the game). But what if that was more accurate to how we’d played–what if one of them had actually played as a No. 10? We may not have the perfect candidate for that role at the moment, but how can we not at least try someone in that position since just flinging in crosses haphazardly is clearly not working? If nothing else,… Read more »


The visuals are (obvious)…we are in serious trouble. Arteta is not the ‘revolutionary’ manager many preferred to fantasize he was… Not that we have much choices at moment. But continued blame on certain players where conveniently taking eye off others also muddle too many heads for too long now. One day its Xhaka the next day its Mustafi never mind the pair weren’t there for the Villa 3 goal fest. Then facile thinking prescribing single cell solutions like it has to be Auba up top or he isn;t scoring because he doesn;t have the service when Kane had equal few… Read more »

Naked Cygan

Has this Adam guy watched how we played this season? The highlight of this season will be winning the community shield and our Europa Leauge group.


Some positives on the day is we did not get outplayed even if Moarinho outfoxed the naive Arteta. But we kept decent possession. How to translate that from sterile to efficacy is the issue. Laca I felt worked his socks off linking and competing for the ball throughout as examplified late on when he tracked all the way back to our box to win a critical tackle. We need that sort of commitment frm the rest of the team, they need to keep their heads up now otherwise we may dissolve all too quickly. They were going on about how… Read more »


Arteta wasnt outfoxed , More the opposite. Scoring from 30 yards is not down to tactics, it is confidence, form and lady luck that typically comes along with those. yes he probably preferred crosses believing his defense would win those, but I doubt he felt comfortable on the sideline until last few minutes.


Should we lose to Burnley, is that it for Arteta? Thumbs up for Yes, down for No.


After barely a year definitely no. Only 11 games and our history is not making knee jerk decisions

Naked cygan

The famous troll is back!!!


The negative moron dares to call a true supporter of over 65 years a troll for speaking the truth. When has Arsenal ever sacked a manager after less than a year and he has even won a trophy.

Naked Cygan

Says the man who thought Emery was a great manager HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Our worst start to a season in 40 years, 1 point from last 12, humiliated by sp*r, and I am the negative moron? I don’t see you trolling any other negative comments you twat.

The last manager sacked after 1 season was Bruce Rioch. He was the Arsenal manager for 1 year 1995-96. Watch some Arsenal games or highlights before trolling. You might learn something Martin.


My maths isn’t all that it was but I think if he’s been a fan for sixty-five years he probably remembers 1995. Also if Rioch is appointed in June 1995 and sacked the following August 1996 that’s not less than a year, as Martin said. It’s more than a year. Not much more than a year, but that’s just how it works, as a wise man once observed. Now you’ve learned something!

Naked Cygan

Arteta was hired on December 20th 2019. You really want to argue over 12 days? Really???? You are some wise man. Lets have this conversation in 12 day then? I love to see what you think after we play Burnley, Everton, and Southampton in the League. see u then beefy 😉

BTW we play Man City and Chelsea after.


Emery was a disaster and I never rated him from the start so you are wrong as usual. At least you agree that we have never sacked a manager after a year and all I said was that it was unlikely to happen despite the terrible season we are having. Where was I remotely trolling you.


I think we should sub on Auba for the final 15-20 mins on Thursday to try to get him a goal so he can hopefully get back into a groove


I honestly think he should play for the first 60 minutes — he needs to get the feel again and surrounding him Pepe and some young guns could bring some joy back into his game. Take him off at 60 with a goal or two under his belt.

Naked cygan

Hahaha good one. But what if he doesn’t score?


Listen Negative Nancy, he’ll score, and he’ll score buckets before this campaign is over. He’s our captain, twit.


Funny nobody talks about Auba’s wages. I know a player of this club (well, “player”) whose wages are always a topic even when he gets married.


Last game was a major step forward, compared to all post manu prem games. Above stats tell 2 tvings clearly, when our game Plan Works, we are brilliant at finding ways and combinations taking us into the final 3rd, but then we leave it to chance, or to “pure maths” believing enough crosses will end up in a goal. To be fair 40+ crosses definitely should, still we hardly looked very close on more than one or two of them. If we don’t have the players to convert crosses vs compact defences, we need to find other ways. Personally I… Read more »


My trust in arteta is still there after the sp*rs game, mainly cause our players worked their socks off, won duels, combined well. In prior PL games our players looked drained from that spirit, desire. If he has not lost the players belief he can still turn this around, but he sure need’s to step on it!


It’s fortunate the keeper picking up balls from team mates is penalised. Else, we will be seeing more V-passes than U-passes.


Get vieria as a no 2


Someone with a worse record?


If I were Vieira, no matter my record, I would not want to be No. 2 to Arteta. …at least not yet.


How many times. How many times … former players make crap managers back at their clubs, bar one or two exceptions (Zidane, Guardiola).

Nostalgia for the old days is part of what’s keeping the fan base in this funk. Think about pool hiring Dalglish. Only when pool moved on, when city stopped hiring shit managers (and both got HUGE funds injections/new owners) did they turn it around.

With all due respect to the former player, keep Vieira the hell away from managing Arsenal.

A Different George

You know, don’t you, that Dalglish won the title three times and the FA Cup twice with Liverpool soon after his retirement as a player. Add to your “one or two exceptions” similar examples like Cruyff, Ancelotti, Conte, and Simeone, and I think you’ll find that your point is just wrong.

Kentish Gooner

I think our aim this season is to just get to the end of the season without being in a relegation battle. Don’t bother playing any of the players who are going on a free at the end of the campaign, bench the players who are underperforming and give the kids a go. What’s the worst that can happen? Because it can’t get much worse than this… can it?!

Charles Ernest

At least we no longer need to loan Saliba to a bottom half club

Merson’s grin

While not wanting to increase the despondency, at this stage last season Bournemouth had three more points than we currently do and were relegated.

Naked Cygan

Wow! And we used to complain about finishing 4th. How the times have changed.

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