Arsenal 1-0 Norwich: By the numbers

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Arsenal won!

Arsenal scored a goal! The goal took hitting both posts and an inadvertent touch but on the score sheet, it counts the same as any other goalazo.

You can say it was “only” Norwich, which is true but that didn’t turn down the heat on the performances that much when Arsenal was facing Manchester City and Chelsea. It was also nice to see the “handbrake” come off in the second half regardless of the opponent.

Arsenal 1-0 Norwich: By the graphs

Arsenal 1-0 Norwich: By the numbers

30  – Shots for Arsenal (32 according to FBRef, they had a couple extra shots for Nicolas Pepe, 12′ and 66′), the most shots Arsenal have taken under Mikel Arteta

2.7 – Expected goals for Arsenal, (3.0 according to FBRef), the most Arsenal have created in the Premier League since the 4-0 win over West Brom on January 2nd last season.

6 – Shots taken by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, and Nicolas Pepe. The last time Arsenal had a player take 6 or more shots in a match was Aubameyang against Brighton on June 20, 2021, who had 7.

71 – Deep touches for Arsenal (within 25 yards of goal), the most Arsenal have had since playing Cardiff City on January 29, 2019.

On the season now Arsenal have taken 61 shots, which is good for 6th most in the Premier League. Arsenal have created 5 expected goals, which is 8th highest for a non-penalty total and 9th highest for total expected goals.

Things aren’t “fixed” in attack for me but I really hope that the matches against Manchester City and Chelsea will be the exception rather than the rule for how the attack looks this season.

I think that this is also a very positive performance from Aubameyang. He worked his butt off for Arsenal, but also was in positions that you really want to see from him with 24 of his 26 touches in the final third, and 12 of those final third touches in the box. He had a down year by his standards last year and I don’t think that he will ever live up to the contract that he signed but when he plays as a forward he was still a good player.

Takehiro Tomiyasu makes his debut

28 – Passes completed, 73.7 completion rate, 101.6 efficiency rate (100 means completed as many passes as expected, higher means more, lower less)

4 – Progressive Passes completed, tied for second-most on Arsenal.

3 – Final third entries

1 – Cross attempted and completed

1 – Progressive carry

1 – Dribble

3 – Tackles, dribbled past 1 time

2 – Blocked passes

18 – Pressures (4th on Arsenal), with Arsenal regaining possession 3 times from these pressures within 5 seconds

7 – Aerial duels won, 87.5% win rate (7 of 8)

Overall I think that this was a very solid debut by Arsenal’s new right back. He looked to do a lot of what we have come to expect from right-backs under Mikel Arteta, playing a much more reserved role more like a third centerback/ support midfielder.

Overall this matches what I expected from him from the stats.

He looks like a very solid defensive player but one that was not asked to do a lot in the attacking phase of the game. This looks exactly like the profile that Arteta wants from this position, so hopefully that will help Arsenal to build a platform of a very solid defense, where more players can be committed to attack.

Nicolas Pepe puts up big numbers

8 – Shots (I am going to use the FBRef/Statsbomb numbers for this one) leading Arsenal, 2 on target

1.3 – Expected goals

5 – Key Passes, plus a touch that assisted the Aubameyang goal leading Arsenal

1.3 – Expected Goals assisted (0.4 from his key passes, 0.9 from his touch to assist the goal)

15 – Touches in the box, led Arsenal

49 – Touches in the final third, led Arsenal

9 – Progressive passes recieved, led Arsenal

11 – Progressive carries, led Arsenal

4 – Dribbles completed, led Arsenal

26 – Pressures, with 7 leading to Arsenal regaining the ball, 2nd on Arsenal

7 – Tackles (5), plus blocked passes (2), plus interceptions (2), 2nd on Arsenal

When I was watching the match, I was a big frustrated by Pepe but I think part of that is that he is a bit Alexis Sanchez in his style of play. He tries a lot of high risk, high reward things and those sorts of actions are not ones that come off all that much but when they do they are very valuable to the team. He can also be a bit sloppy in buildup but he does inject chaos into things which I think is very important inside of this highly structered attack from Mikel Arteta.

This was a good performance from Pepe and hopefully just one of many for him this seoasn.

@oh_that_crab

Sources: Opta, StatsBomb via FBRef

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Jean Ralphio

Pepe has really looked good since pre-season

Johnny 4 Hats

I actually think Pepe is a player that can benefit greatly from Mikel’s tutelage. Some players could do with having the tactical restraints removed and just allowed to express themselves.

But I think Pepe needs coaching. He is already making way better decisions than he did a few seasons back. And it’s really showing in his numbers. Still feel there’s a lot of room for improvement though. Which in itself is encouraging.

Andy

he was good towards the end of last season too. confidence seems to be a big thing for him. high risk high reward is what we bought him for and he’s producing regularly now. i like saka/auba/pepe as a front three – they are very unpredictable for defences and seem to gel well together.

Johnny 4 Hats

I like it too. Apart from the fact it means we have to choose between Smith Rowe and Odegaard. It’s a horrible call to have to make. I couldn’t even say which I would choose.

Matthinc

I’d like to see Odegaard partner Partey. He’s such an intelligent player I reckon he could do it. Then we’d have a lot of attacking creativity on the field!

Daveo

So what about Lokonga? He’s arguably been our best player so far this season. He needs to play. Konga-Partey in midfield could be an absolute force.

SarcasmB0T

I would suggest easing Lokonga in a bit and lowering our expectations.

He’s been outstanding so far, but I’m really worried he’ll become another one of those players our fanbase will “kill” because he won’t be the answer to all our prayers.

It’d be better for him if we had another reliable midfield option, so I really like the idea of Odegaard playing some games alongside Partey and some as a 10 depending on the system we play (if any).

Azeez Is Good

Ah. Nice. Very dry sarcasm. Almost had me.

So we should play Lokonga in every game and you never want to see Odegaard play alongside Partey.

Got it.

Daveo

Totally disagree. This is the time to give opportunity to young players like him. It is time to back them and give them chances. If this team shifts to a youth focus and plays with a positive style then I’m totally have patience. Blocking him with someone “reliable” is the opposite of what we need? Neves? He’s a slight upgrade on Xhaka (maybe) at a huge fee and will have to play. By your theory we should be doing the same with White, Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, even Odegaard, ESR and Saka. They’re all in the same age profile and all have… Read more »

A Different George

I think Arteta wants to play a 4-3-3 (or a 4-1-4-1 which, whatever the nomenclature, is effectively almost the same thing). So, as the first choice, Partey with (or behind) Odegaard and Smith Rowe, and Saka, Pepe, with (or behind) Aubamayang. Of course, you change that sometimes, for fitness, for freshness, for different opponents. The key to being able to do that is if White and Gabriel are good enough to need only Partey, without Xhaka, to screen them.

SarcasmB0T

Look, I just don’t like the fact that we think he’s the future a few games in, before he’s even played with Partey. Look, I really, really like him, I hope he makes the position his own – I just don’t like the fact that if he hits a rough patch, we only have Xhaka and Elneny to compete with him. That’s why I suggested Odegaard – a very different, also quite exciting player who can play in certain games where Lokonga might not work too well. I feel we’ve been here before with people like Torreira and Guendouzi. I’ll… Read more »

Daveo

I don’t mind the idea of Odegaard there on occassions, but we don’t know if that will work. Lokonga is already proving he works there. Odegaard we know is a really good attacking option – not sure we really want to take that away. But something has to give. We cannot fit in Partey-Lokonga-Odegaard-ESR-Saka-Pepe-Auba. One has to make way. You say you’ll be where I am if he keeps playing well for half a season, but your also asking for him to basically be dropped the guy out of that group to be dropped and brought on slow. If that… Read more »

SarcasmB0T

Yup, talking about how to use which talented player is the kind of discussion I enjoy.

Matthinc

Yeah he’s been class, it’ll be about getting the balance right for different opposition maybe

UGooner

I agree. For teams that sit back and defend, and weaker teams, we can have Odegaard alongside Partey, then for the tougher and crowd-the-midfield types, we need our Lokonga. Then we swap and sub as needed in the situation.

I hate the Odegaard-Smith Rowe choice but they can and have played together so that works, and with injuries and our luck, we need all the help. Looking at the top teams, they just have so much depth with quality, at least we are trending towards that problem in that area. We need the versatility, keep opponents on their toes.

Andy

i think we will see more of the way we finished yesterday, especially against the weaker sides. esr and ode behind those three with partey behind them.

Daveo

Surely we’re going to evertually get that game though where it finally all clicks for him and he bangs in 3 and gets two assists or something. I mean he has game changing moments every game, but still many that your like “wow, that was not pretty”. He’s an enigma. But he’s been good overall in 2021, slowly getting better and better.

Once again I wouldn’t mind seeing him as striker with ESR and Saka on the wings, Marty #10 and the Konga-Partey behind them. That’s my dream lineup.

Joe Butler-Biggs

I’d try this on football manager and it would work. Has he played striker role much in his career do you know? There’s a lot of subtle stuff that comes with having experience in a role, it’s not just having good speed, dribbling and shooting stats.

I’d like to see it tried out as well but for now auba gets my shout. Laca brings so much too, but now we have ESR and Odegaard I think the positions he takes up so well are better taken care of.

Daveo

He is actually decent at holding the ball up (way better than auba, which gives me hope on it). He also offers more in build up.

A choice has to be made. One of auba, pepe, ESR, Odegaard and lokonga has to miss out. In terms of both age and overall team contribution it’s Auba in my books. I understand many will differ on this, but that’s my 2 Bob’s worth.

Futsboller

You think we should bench one of the most consistent and lethal goal-scorers around, who also happens to be our team captain?

We’ve played 5 matches this season. Auba has 4 goals.

I agree with the adoration of Pepe, but I think he flourishes best coming in off the wing when he’s got defenders on an angle and he can create plenty of chances for others from there as well.

Keep the faith with Auba up the middle this season and he’ll pay serious dividends.

Daveo

I’m not saying he isn’t good. He just is what he is and he doesn’t fit with the age profile of the team and where the team is going (nor produce much in build up play). So who then do you drop? Out of Pepe, Auba, Saka, ESR, Odegaard, lokonga and Partey. One can’t play. Which one?

Futsboller

I’d pretty much rotate depending on fitness and opponent, knowing full well that whoever is not starting is likely the first key sub off the bench.

We do need to have some elder statesmen out there each week, so guys like Auba and Laca are extra important as we try to resurrect project youth at the Arsenal.

Daveo

They obviously won’t play every game, but this year is going to be a pretty good chance to lock down a first XI. I hope Lokonga is a part of that. Come on man…off the fence and lock in your first XI. There’s no middle ground in hypothetical land.

UGooner

Pepe been good since the 2nd half of last season for me. When he started playing consistently, that is.

karl

I hope he gets a long run in the team instead of the stop/start previous seasons that broke his rhythm.

David

Needs to work on his touch.

Cobwebs

They can probably each play whenever they are fit. One or two will always be injured.

Giuseppe Hovno

Agreed on Pepe. His touch is sometimes just bad but he is also so dangerous for us

Bishop

111 days – between Arsenal’s last goal in the Premier league and Auba’s goal yesterday.
3 months 19 days – Between Arsenal’s last premier win and the win yesterday.

I’ll take my coat

Goonerrific

Do you work for sky sports by chance? Meaningless information 111 days = 3 matches

Bishop

Was a light hearted joke mate but in hindsight,
it was in bad taste.

bob

You realise that players can’t score for their club when the season isn’t running?

Bleeding gums murphy

Tough crowd today bishop. Cheek and tongue sprang to mind 🤓

Cliff Bastin

Where do you get stats now? All the good apps died.

Also I’m curious how many crosses did Tierney put in.

Scott Willis

I get them from lots of places. Some come straight from the event data. I also use fbref.com, sofascore, whoscored, statszone app.

In this match Tierney was 1/5 on crosses.

Daveo

Surprised you didn’t mention Lokonga. I thought he was brilliant (again) yesterday. He has adapted so fast. One of the most impressive things has been his passing accuracy on his more difficult passes. He looks like an absolute stud in midfield. We’d be mad to drop him IMO.

Daveo

Totally, it’s just a breath of fresh air seeing what he can and has done in the middle. Looks like a superb signing. Quickly becoming a huge fan of his. I just hope he is given chances and isn’t blocked by a huge immobile slab of mineral that marble is derived from. Interesting take on Auba yesterday. I thought he was still pretty average. I mean we know what we’re going to get. No build up. No aerial threat. Playing off the last man and finding space in channels. A number of chances and he’ll eventually take a couple. He’s… Read more »

Cliff Bastin

Awesome, thanks Scott.

T.A.

Man it is good to win. Suddenly, I was more than happy to agree to whatever nonsense the wife demanded and I didn’t even yell at my son for not studying. I’m not that worried about global warming or the rise of right wing proto fascism. Even my seriously annoying neighbour with the screeching voice seems pleasant. I slept well and feel good all over. It really is magical.

RoweRoweRowetheBoat

😂😂😂

Matthinc

Shit what are you like when we lose?

Hank Scorpio

The move from left wingback to playing centrally seems to be paying dividends for Auba. He’s looking great.

MojoWillneny

Promising! But still a long way to go for this very young new core. The cumulative age of the starting 11 yesterday was 23.5 years. Even swapping out AMN for Partey doesn’t raise the average age above 24 years. Our first team is now made up of a promising group but they lack experience and guile. It will take time for those qualities to match their talent which, by the way, is still growing and maturing also. No way this group will get their overnight. There will be patches in games where tactical vagueness will set in, vagueness of intent… Read more »

Nostalgic Gooner

If you don’t rate Pepe you don’t know football.

The Arse End

I have been reading a bit on Conte this last week, I know he isn’t likely to even want the job should it become available. However his 3-5-2 addiction would excite me with our squad, it is pretty much tailor made for us at the moment. The idea of Auba and Pepe playing together in a forward two, with all our fantastic kids running amok behind them, and Partey keeping it all together in the middle I think would suit us well. I hear so much hate for Pepe, and I never understand it. He is clearly our most dangerous… Read more »

A Different George

I disagree about Conte and the 3-5-2. I rate Pepe very highly, but pairing him up front with Aubameyang doesn’t play to the strengths of either one.

Steinn

How do you count XG for rebound goals? For example when Auba scored, Pepe might have something like XG 0.3 and then Auba chance might be 0.9 (just my uneducated guesses). Would that attack then count as XG 1.2?

ParteyPants

Just scrolled through to check if anyone had already asked this but I’m interested too Scott if you see this!

0.9 sounds a little low even for Auba’s chance, right? Got to be as close to a 1.0 xG as you could ever see!

Scott Willis

I use conditional probability. So (1-xg(1))*xg(2). For a sequence the xG cannot be more than 1

chaks

@Scott How are the chances defined? I would assume by time but let’s say we have a continued pressure for 60 seconds and have 3 shots on the goal during that time, will all of those be calculated based on the formula you state above or is there some other way to define continuity of a chance.

Takeshi Castle

Ramsdale was impeccable, you could see him commanding the box, Tomiyasu is no nonsense player , love him already. I’d change Auba for Laca though. He was wasteful and is useless in the build up.

Daveo

Tomiyasu might be a blessing in disguise for White. He is so big and strong that there may even be some switchability there if White has some trouble with bigger meatier attackers. Tomi was so dominant in the air. It’s refreshing after seeing Bellerin struggle aerially for so long.

Tropical gooner

The team that started with our new signings are the foundation of a new beginning. There’s still work to be done but there were many positives to take from that. Next phase/ season should be about adding depth. COYG!

Kiran

Off topic but how did Tarkowski’s challenge on Richarlison not even be called as a foul and red card when Xhaka’s much cleaner challenge ended as a red. Can anyone have a rational explanation for this? The inconsistencies of the refs are astounding at times especially when Arsenal are involved.