Arsenal made it 5 wins from their last 6 Premier League games (5W 1D 0L) as they overcame an early deficit to beat Southampton 3-1 at St. Mary’s. It proved to be a good ‘revenge’ win for Arsenal after the Saints knocked them out of the FA Cup a few days earlier and it continues a very good run of form for the Gunners in 2021 so far.
Let’s delve into the data to see if we can learn any more.
Above are the Cumulative Possession Value Added for both sides. It was a relatively even game in terms of Possession Value as the game turned into a very ‘end-to-end’ affair as is quite common for Southampton games. Arsenal impressed and took advantages of their chances (Lacazette’s aside) to comfortably overcome a very tough to beat Southampton side.
Above are the pass Maps for each of the starting XI (excuse the weird Half boxes around each one – the program I use to make these was acting up!). Strangely the majority of Arsenal’s possession seemed to go through Cedric, with his 67 pass attempts being 24 attempts more than his nearest teammate. The Portugese international did a good job deputising for the injured Kieran Tierney and managed to consistently cause problems for his former side. Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka were effective in possession, with the duo combining for 8 Progressive Passes and 2 passes into the penalty area. Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe did very well on each wing as they took advantage of Southampton’s injury issues at both full-back positions, putting in impressive goal-scoring performances.
Above are the passes which increased Arsenal’s chances of scoring in that possession by at least 7.5%. It is encouraging to see variety in these passes, with a pass coming from each flank and central areas.
The above is a Tree Map showing the Possession Value Added by the Arsenal players as a proportion of the overall PVA. Bukayo Saka starred, as his passing increased Arsenal’s chances of scoring in each possession he was involved in by 100.9% (!!!). Granit Xhaka also played a much more creative role, as the Swiss international seems much more capable of effecting possessions in the final third when partnered with Thomas Partey.
The above shows the defensive actions Arsenal attempted in both halves and the average area on the pitch of their attempts. Arsenal’s press was very effective in the first half, as they looked to target Southampton’s right-hand side. This high press allowed Arsenal to get Southampton out of their flow in build-up and it led to some high quality chances early on. It is very impressive that Arsenal managed to press in a better and more effective way than Southampton (as shown below), who are on the league’s best pressing sides.
That’s all for this week. Arsenal play title chasing Manchester United at the Emirates this weekend with the Gunners looking to do the double over United for the first time since the 2006/07 season.