I hope with this win Arsenal are able to put the bad performances of the past behind them. This was another chance to move up the table and gain points on a direct rival (or create space) and this time Arsenal were able to take advantage, playing one of their best all around matches of the season.
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham: By the graphics
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham: By the numbers
20 – Shots for Arsenal, this is the fifth time this season that Arsenal have taken 20 or more shots in a match this season. Last year, Arsenal managed just two matches of 20 or more shots.
4 – Shots from Gabriel Martinelli, including a great goal and 0.8 expected goals (xG). Over his last four starts he has taken 11 shots, a big improvement over the start of the season where he took just 3 starts from 6 appearances and 187 minutes.
41 – Touches in the box for Arsenal, the third most that Arsnal have had this season.
9 – Touches in the box by Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka, and Martinelli
7 – Shots from West Ham, this is just the third time this season that they have been held to 7 shots or fewer (the other times were Liverpool and Manchester City). Their 0.3 xG (statsbomb version) or 0.5 (my xG model) is the 2nd lowest of the season.
0 – Shots by Michail Antonio, this is only the second time this season that he has been held without a shot (Manchester City the other). He also managed just two touches in the penalty area which is tied for the fewest that he has had in a match this season.
100% – Of duels won by Gabriel and Ben White. 7 total, 2 on ball (1 dribble and 1 foul), 3 in air, 2 defensive
2 – Shots from corner kicks against West ham, Arsenal have now taken 42 shots (tied for 3rd most) from corner kicks (either directly or in the sequences before play is re-set), in all of last year Arsenal managed just 67 shots from corner kicks. This has been an area where Arsenal have vastly improved over recent seasons (I wrote about this on my person blog($) in more detail, looking at what has changed and how Arsenal are lining up to generate more chances).
I thought that this was one of the more impressive overall performances for Arsenal this season. There have been times Arsenal’s stats have been better but considering where West Ham were in the table this match gets pushed to the top for me. Arsenal pressed well, forcing West Ham out their fullbacks before closing them down with multiple players forcing long balls that Arsenal were well positioned to win. Arsenal were able to put a ton of pressure on West Ham’s goal, Arsenal put 7 shots on target and only a good performance from Łukasz Fabiański this could have been 3 or 4. I think that the Arsenal defense handled the threat of Antonio very well. After the issues that Arsenal had against Romelu Lukaku and Ivan Toney (against a different backline) it was a relief to see Gabriel and White shut him down.
Another very good sign form Arsenal is that this is the fifth time this season Arsenal had more touches in the final third than they did in their own defensive third. I think that there are a couple potential reasons for this but first is that West Ham had a red card, the second being that they did not press Arsenal high at all, with just 9 high pressure events in this match. This led to the vast majority of this match to be played in West Ham’s part of the field.
Home Field Advantage is Back
22 – Points for Arsenal at home this season, last year Arsenal had just 28. Over the 10 years prior, they averaged 41 points. Overall Arsena have picked up 4 points compared to the same fixtures.
17 – Goals for Arsenal at home this season, last year Arsenal had just 24. Over the 6 years prior, they averaged 40 goals.
6 – Goals allowed by Arsenal at home this season, last year Arsenal allowed 21. Over the 6 years prior, they averaged 17 goals against.
Last year was very weird across the Premier League in terms of home field advantage. Only 9 teams had more points at home than they did on the road, before that over the 10 previous seasons that number had never been higher than 16, with an average of just 2 teams who won more points away from home than they did at their home stadium. In the 10 seasons prior to last year, home teams averaged 1.6 points per match with away teams averaging 1.1, last year that number was 1.35 to 1.4.
Overall at this season things are trending towards a “normal” year (who knows how that plays out with the current situation) with 12 teams earning more points at home and 1.55 points at home against 1.18 points away.
Lacazette Steps Up
1 – Progressive Pass
1 – Box Entry Pass
3 – Deep Completions (not Cross)
2 – Key Passes, including 1 assist
3 – Shots, 2 from open play and 0.5 non penalty expected goals.
2 – Dribbles Completed, of 2 attempted
3 – Fouled
6 – Progressive Carries
4 – Progressive Passes Received
13 – Deep Touches
3 – Tackles won
19 – Pressures
I have been incredibly hard on Lacazette, because up to this match he was a step below the level required for the team. In this match however he put up one of his best performances in years for Arsenal and calmed some of the doubts that I had about him playing striker. He did good holding up the ball and acting as an outlet, he provided a sublime assist for Martinelli and even managed to get a few shots off (even if he did miss a penalty).
In this match, the understanding between him and Martinelli and Odegaard was much better. With Martinelli he had a better understanding of one of them always staying high up the pitch to give Arsenal a focal point and with Odegaard they seemed to do much better of not taking up positions in the same pockets of space.
He also took the arm band in this match and played as if he were unaffected by the chaos around the team. A very good performance that was very important from one of the senior players in the team.
Sources: Opta via StatsZone, Whoscored, my own data base. StatsBomb via FBRef.