It is really nice to see Arsenal get back to winning ways.
I don’t think that the results of the last few matches came close to matching the performances that Arsenal has put in and it is a nice change for the result to match how Arsenal has played.
Arsenal 4 – 2 Leeds: By the graphs
Arsenal 4 – 2 Leeds: By the numbers
12 – Shots for Arsenal, 8 in the first half
9 – Shots for Leeds, 3 in the first half
2.5 – Expected goals for Arsenal, 1.7 in the first half (0.9 excluding the penalty shot)
1.1 – Expected goals for Leeds, 0.2 in the first half
77% – Pass completion for Arsenal, 81.7% in the first half
79% – Pass completion for Leeds, 75.8% in the first half
32 – Touches in the box for Arsenal, 20 in the first half
18 – Touches in the box for Leeds, 6 in the first half
44 – Touches for Arsenal within 15 yards of the goal, 23 in the first half
25 – Touches for Leeds within 15 yards of the goal, 8 in the first half
18.5 – Average pass distance for Arsenal, 17.7 in the first half
14% – Percent of passes that were long (30+ yards) for Arsenal, 11% in the first half
This was a good match for Arsenal, who were very deserving of their victory. This match was a continuation of Arsenal looking competent or maybe even better than that in attack, while also continuing to play well in defense. In the second half things got a little closer statistically but this was still a match where Arsenal was far and away the better team.
An interesting note for me from this match was the change in strategy from Arsenal with regards to playing long. In the first half, Arsenal played short often (with the ball moving much faster between players from my watching) than they have typically this season. On average Arsenal have played long passes 18.5% this season, in the first half that number was just 11%.
This quick passing also left openings for Arsenal to carry the ball forward after breaking the man-oriented pressing of Leeds. With Arsenal averaging the 5th highest average total yardage per carry in this match.
Bukayo Saka and the things numbers miss
0 – Passes completed in the penalty area
0 – Final third entry passes completed
0 – Progressive passes completed
0 – Key passes
77.4% – Pass completion percentage
1 – Shot (0.03 xG)
Looking at these stats it is pretty easy to miss the importance to Arsenal that Saka brings. Saka didn’t do a lot with his passing or shooting but his gravity in this match was very high. In this match, he used his ability to carry the ball to great effect. He was fouled 5 times (6 if you count the time he was fouled in the box but had the penalty overturned by VAR) by Leeds. He led Arsenal in touches in the attacking third touches with 24, he led Arsenal in successful dribbles with 5, and also led Arsenal in shot-creating actions with 4.
I think that this match really highlights what he brings to the table for Arsenal. He didn’t do anything spectacular passing the ball, or get on the ends of a lot of actions to produce gaudy shot numbers. Instead, he was an effective outlet for Arsenal to bypass the Leeds press, who turned into a nightmare for the Leeds defenders every time he received the ball and ran at them.
Sources: Opta via WhoScored, my own database. StatsBomb via FBRef.