Sunday, January 23, 2022

Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle: By the numbers

After the first 45 minutes where Arsenal dominated the match but only created the one Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang chance of note, I was worried that this match might turn into a repeat of the Crystal Palace match.

Thankfully Arsenal came out well in the second half and immediately continued to put Newcastle under pressure. That paid off with a goal, which was followed by another pair of deserved goals for Arsenal.

Newcastle is not a good team, but Arsenal put on a display of dominance against them which is very encouraging, especially with the run of matches coming up getting more difficult.

Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle: By the graphs

Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle: By the numbers

20 – Shots from Arsenal, the second-highest total they have produced in the Premier League. The first highest was against West Brom just a couple weeks ago.

2.7 – Expected goals, also the second-highest total they have produced in the Premier League.

4 – Shots allowed by Arsenal, the lowest an opponent has had against them in the Premier League (Newcastle also were able to produce 12 shots in the FA Cup matchup, all during regular time).

0.2 – Expected goals allowed by Arsenal, the lowest has had against them in the Premier League. The Fulham and Sheffield United matches also round to 0.2 but were slightly higher.

42 – Touches in the box for Arsenal, the highest total that they have produced in the Premier League. The previous two matches that were top, Wolves, and Everton were matches where the teams dropped off and Arsenal were chasing the game, this was not the case in this match.

10 – Touches in the box for Newcastle, the 4th fewest in the Premier League this season Arsenal have allowed. The lowest is Fulham in the first match of the season, then Sp*rs with 7, and Leicester with 9 where they turned their few touches into enough to beat Arsenal.

This match never really felt like it was in doubt, unlike the FA Cup match where Andy Carroll very well could have scored two goals. This was a match where Arsenal were the more talented team and played like it. They dominated the shot numbers, they dominated possession in dangerous areas, and what makes me very happy continued to do so even after they scored the first goal to make the last part of the match about stat-padding instead of defending against something flukey happening.

Newcastle take the pressure off Arsenal

113 – Pressures from Newcastle in this match, the 5th fewest Arsenal have faced this season.

49 – The number of passes that Arsenal made under pressure from Newcastle in this match. The second-fewest they have faced this season, top of the list was against Manchester United.

7.7% – The percentage of passes during regular play that were under pressure, the lowest percentage of pressure that they have faced this season.

When I watched this match it really didn’t seem like Newcastle were well set up to stop Arsenal. Typically Newcastle is about average for the activity that they do on defense, they don’t do a ton of tackles and interceptions but they do block a lot of passes and are very average in the number of pressure events they register, especially in the defensive third of the pitch.

In this match however, they looked much more passive than I have seen a team that has faced Arsenal play. The numbers from StatsBomb back this up with Arsenal facing almost no pressure when they looked to play passes. Typically this season slightly more than 13% of the passes Arsenal has played have been under pressure from an opponent, with Arsenal facing less than half of that in this match. I wouldn’t be surprised that this could be a good reason that Arsenal looked so effective at getting the ball forward in this match, even average players can look really good when you give them time and space to pick out passes.

I will have to go back and watch this again, but this didn’t seem like it was anything in particular that Arsenal was doing to evade the pressure. The ball seemed to move at a similar pace between players as it has for most matches. Maybe even at times, it might have been slower than normal with players taking several touches before making the next pass. I don’t know exactly what this means for Arsenal going forward, except to say that it is probably a bad defensive strategy to give Premier League players lots of time to pick passes against you and when given time Arsenal can cut open a defense.

A turning point for Aubameyang?

5 – Shots for Aubameyang in this match, led all players. In fact, he out produced Newcastle all by himself in this match. He managed to get 2 of those shots on target (both goals), hit the woodwork once, and had an expected goal tally of 1.5 in this match.

36 – Touches for Aubamyang, the fewest among outfield starters

24 – Touches in the final third for Aubameyang, with 10 of those coming in the box

3 – Passes completed into the penalty area, led all players

3 – Carries into the penalty area, led all players

I have actually seen some good things from Aubameyang’s last few matches. Over the last 4 league matches, he is averaging over 3.4 shots and 0.8 non-penalty expected goals. That is a big improvement over what he was doing earlier this season and to me wanting to find positives suggests that he is starting to come out of his funk.

This has also coincided with Arsenal starting to play a lineup of attacking players that seem to play together much better, with a good balance of skills that fit together much better than the lineups that Arsenal had earlier in the season.

In this match in particular I find it encouraging that he had so few touches. That may seem backward but I think that it matches much better with his skills that he is not involved much in the build-up for Arsenal moves. I believe that he is best as a mostly low touch threat that looks to only get involved once the ball is close to the opponents’ goal, in this match two-thirds of his touches came in the final third with almost a third of his touches coming in the box.

This doesn’t resolve all the worry I have seen from Aubameyang this season but like a lot narratives that are built off a handful of performances, I think that this one might have gotten a bit exaggerated based on it coming at the start of a season with a fresh starting point resetting things in people’s mind.

@oh_that_crab

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

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K9ine

I like it when Arsenal wins. Nothing else matters

Johnny 4 Hats

P45 – The next signing Steve Bruce makes

Torterrier

Not your best work.

Johnny 4 Hats

I know. And I actually quite like Steve Bruce. He’s got sad eyes. Like he thought he was getting a tax rebate from the inland revenue but it turned out to be a spam email. That kind of sadness.

Double98

They strike me more like the eyes of a man who comes down in the morning to the fridge to eat the last slab of cake only to remember that he ate it the previous evening and so drowns his sorrows with a can of spray whipped cream

onenil

He certainly looks like a man with a lot on his plate.

C.B.

Newcastle are poor atm, but let’s hope we get some confidence from this match, and the other recent ones, and do well for the rest of the season.

A Different George

The lack of pressure from Newcastle is confirmation, I think, that Bruce has lost the dressing room. There seemed little attempt to interfere with passes to Smith Rowe, which against Crystal Palace was the key to preventing us from creating chances.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I would be interested to see the stats regarding Aubas off the ball movement. Goals by the rest of the team are because of one twos and good movement down the wing. I thought the captain was particularly stagnant in this game, including when getting back to defense when compared to Saka. He scored a solo goal and a tap in. Salad goal was much more creative and was scored in a style that represents how the team is trying to play. It’s an unpopular opinion but I think there is more to this drop. He shows the least amount… Read more »

Duno

Did you even bother to digest the analysis? 🤦🏾‍♂️

Giuseppe Hovno

Salad

Johnny 4 Hats

This.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

AMN was poor in the previous game and was removed from the team but Willian (quality player, you may disagree) but poor in successive games is never removed. Arteta treats the young players harshly and condone the underperformance of the senior players even though the young guys pulled the P45 from his hands.

naked cygan

I am not a fan of Xhaka, and I can’t wait till he is upgraded out of the first team, but he had an outstanding game. His passing and defensive work were amazing. Yes, this was against a very poor Newcastle team, but can he put in this kind of performance on a regular basis? I hope so.

Diaminedave

I thought he had a great game against Palace, but I suspect I am in a minority of 1 🙂

bored

He made like 3 suicidal tackles against Palace, where he managed to tackle the ball, only to put it closer to our goal, while taking himself totally out of further contention. We would have been punished, but luckily for us, there were just Eze, Benteke, and Zaha.

Cklcrio

I’d like to see how he does against a high pressing side like Southampton, that is usually his biggest weak point. But yes, fair play he’s been good the past couple of games, although I’m not entirely convinced he’s Partey’s ideal partner.

SB Still

“Thankfully Arsenal came out well in the second half and immediately continued to put Newcastle under pressure.” – My one grumble on yesterday’s match is, we seem to do that quite often and seem to need a half-time intervention to start playing better.

Scott Willis

Yeah that can be frustrating but I thought that this was a good first half from Arsenal.

Daveo

Yeah, I agree. The only disappointment with the 1st half was the scoreline and that was mostly on Auba who blew three big chances and the one that hit the post in particular. He made amends. Just wanted to relive ESR’s play in the build up to that chance. Phenomenal. He run down the wing, dink inside to collect the ball that beats the defender, a run that also draws the CB into the middle and then the no-look pass along his shoulder to Saka, who he just instinctively knows is there. Wow. That was brilliant.

A sad arsenal fan

1 – The amount of answers Arteta finally gave regarding Ozil’s future.

CarlosLA

Great write up as ever. Dumb question: is the PPDA stat for the club’s defense? Meaning, Arsenal had a defensive action for every 11.6 passes completed by Newcastle, correct? Cheers.

Scott Willis

yep that is what it means, so a lower PPDA means that there was more defensive actions happening. This is also for passes in the defensive third, and defensive actions in the attacking third. So basically looking at high pressure.

Pastor Simon

Auba got his mojo back, let the Partey begin……

Leno my man of the match…….

Giuseppe Hovno

Such a good photo

bored

> The numbers from StatsBomb back this up with Arsenal facing almost no pressure when they looked to play passes.

I watched Partey closely and was wondering along the same line — why was he allowed to make most of his passes without getting any pressure? Was it Newcastle being passive, or was it Partey’s smart positioning?

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