Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup.
It is a disappointment not to go further but it would be hard to say that Arsenal deserved much more. The team that played in this match did a great job showing why for the most part they are the second or lower choice players in Mikel Arteta’s squad, with few if any of these performances changing the manager’s mind about the pecking order of the team.
Hopefully, Arsenal can come back from this bad performance (not unlike they did against Newcastle) to get back to winning ways on Tuesday.
Southampton 1-0 Arsenal: By the graphs
Southampton 1-0 Arsenal: By the numbers
11 – Shots for both teams. It was 8 shots to 3 for Southampton in the first half and then 8 shots to 3 for Arsenal in the second half.
1.2 – Expected goals for Arsenal in this match. A third of that came from a wide-open (and well designed) set play chance for Garbiel Martinelli that with the angle and height was certainly much harder to make good contact with than would be assumed from just the shot location.
0.6 – Expected goals for Southampton, with two-thirds of that coming in the first half, as Southampton looked to protect their lead.
2 – Big Chances (an Opta observational qualifier: A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score, usually in a one on one scenario or from very close range when the ball has a clear path to goal and there is low to moderate pressure on the shooter.) for Arsenal in this match. One in the first half (Martinelli) and one in the second half (Eddie Nketiah). Typically big chances turn into goals about 40% of the time so perhaps Arsenal was slightly unlucky not to convert one of their two but not massively so.
0 – Big Chances for Southampton in this match. There was a couple of dodgy defining situations and one unlucky deflection but for the most part, Arsenal did well at keeping Southampton from threatening.
12 – Passes completed in the box for Arsenal. Only 3 of those came in the first half, with the majority coming while Arsenal was chasing the game and with the introduction of the more first-choice players.
7 – Passes completed in the box for Southampton. These were split pretty even for them between the first and second halves at 3 and 4 respectively.
26 – Touches within 25 yards of goal for Arsenal. 10 in the first half and 16 in the second half.
23 – Touches within 25 yards of goal for Southampton. 12 in the first half and 11 in the second half.
Like so many of Arsenal’s matches recently, this one was certainly dictated by the scoreline and in the end, probably made things look much better for Arsenal from a statistical perspective than the actual match.
This is a good match where looking at things beyond shots help to tell a fuller story of the match. Looking at the non-shot xG, which is something along the lines of progression value where the furthest forward a team gets in each of their possessions is assigned a probability of turning into a goal, you can see how this played out.
In the first half, Southampton was the more dangerous team and deserving of their lead, even if it was a bit fortunate. Arsenal came back into the match, but the pressure that they were able to apply was far from overwhelming, with just 0.8 goals expected from how far they were able to progress the ball.
The rotated squad show why they are the rotation options
10 – Final third entry passes for Thomas Partey. In his 35 minutes, he did more to move the ball to the attackers than Mohamed Elneny (1) and Granit Xhaka (4) did combined in their 153 minutes.
1 – Key pass from Cédric Soares, with an xG assisted of 0.03. Overall this match from him was quite a decline from what he showed against Newcastle. 0.03 xA vs 0.6, 1 key pass vs 2, 2 progressive passes vs 6, 2 progressive carries vs 6, 0 passes in the penalty area vs 2. He did spend the majority of the time on the left vs his favored right so there is some mitigating circumstances but it wasn’t a great performance to force more playing time for him.
0 – Dribbles for Willian. This was another match where Willian really disappointed and looked old. Far too often he will get the ball one on one with a defender and instead of trying something, either to beat the man or pass upfield he simply turns around and passes backward. He ended this match with just 1 shot and 1 key pass in this match, 2 passes completed in the box and 51% of his passes going backward.
I feel like I could do something like this for most of the players but I will end it at that. This was a poor performance by players who have been mostly disappointing this season. Hopefully, Arsenal’s preferred players will play better on Tuesday.
Sources: Opta via WhoScored, my own database.