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.
This was the Premier League table after 11 games last season. Notice how Spurs, United and Wolves are all on the same points total as we are now yet all finished in the top 7. The season is long and unpredictable and making reactive decisions now won’t help pic.twitter.com/QxUA1njkU9
— Adam (@ArsenaIAC) December 7, 2020
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