Friday, December 2, 2022

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

After a disappointing loss to Manchester United, Arsenal backed it up with a disappointing loss to the team on the worst form. The refereeing was abysmal as usual with several fouls that could have seen Everton players shown red (not to mention blown offside calls that needed to be corrected by VAR) but Arsenal’s performance didn’t merit to have those missed calls be valid excuses for the loss.

Unfortunately Arsenal will now have to have the crisis magnifying glass squarely on them for the next week with the results for the teams around them going the wrong way for Arsenal.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: By the graphics

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

10 – Shots for Arsenal, the 6th time this season that Arsenal have had 10 or fewer shots in a Premier League match

4 – Shots in the first 79 minutes for Arsenal

28 – Progressive passes for Arsenal, 7th most this season

20 – Progressive passes in the first 79 minutes for Arsenal

12 – Passes into the box completed, 8th most this season

5 – Passes into the box completed in the first 79 minutes for Arsenal

44% – Percentage of Arsenal’s possessions that included a final third entry, 5th highest this season

24% – Percentage of Arsenal’s possessions that included a pass into the box, 10th highest this season

The opening 79 minutes of this match for Arsenal were pretty dreadful. Arsenal didn’t press well, they didn’t control the match, and they didn’t create much in the way of threat. They made Everton look like a decent team rather than one that was at the bottom of the form table. Before this match over the last 7 matches, Everton were allowing 1.8 expected goals and allowed Arsenal to create just 0.9.

This was another match were the team was unable to gain any control, or add any significant threat after going ahead in a match. This is a concerning trend and one that doesn’t seem to be changing.

Change of striker doesn’t fix everything

0 – Box Entry Pass

0 – Key Passes

0 – Shots

4 – Progressive Passes Received

1 – Touches in the box

3 – Tackles

3 – Fouls

1 – Blocked Passes

0 – Aerial Duel Won of 5 attempted

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not been playing well and the change of striker was certainly warranted on form. However, there were signs that this would not fix things for the Arsenal attack. Alexandre Lacazette has taken just 5 shots this year and scored one goal, he does a lot of good things to link attack and play as an almost number 10 but he has really struggled to help in the attack.

If you combine Lacazette and Aubameyang you would get a very good striker. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things work, and playing both of them comes at the expense of another player that is needed to make this Arsenal team look functional.

Are Arsenal improving?

2020/2021 2021/2022 Difference
Goals 15 18 3
Goals Against 19 22 3
Goal Difference -4 -4 0
Expected Goals 17.8 18.7 0.9
Expected Goals Against 19.7 23.7 4
Expected Goals Difference -1.9 -5 -3.1
Points 17 23 6

I have tried to find reasons to say that Arsenal are improving and maybe they are it is just that for every couple of steps forward Arsenal are falling backward and injuring themselves.

I like to look at a couple different measures as a measuring stick of how well the team is doing on the quest to improve on the 61 points the team got last season. The first is looking at the “same” fixtures, this takes the teams that Arsenal have played this year and if it was home/away and compares to how they did against that same team at the same venue last year.

This is how every team looks for this year’s fixtures compared to last season.

Team Points +/- Goals +/- xG +/-
Brentford 13 19 13.7
Southampton 9 8 5.6
Liverpool 7 24 15
Chelsea 5 18 -0.2
Watford 5 11 0.5
Wolverhampton Wanderers 5 5 -1.3
Tottenham Hotspur 5 -7 2.8
West Ham United 3 6 4.2
Crystal Palace -1 7 8.6
Aston Villa -2 -7 -4
Manchester United -2 -7 -9.3
Manchester City -2 -8 7
Brighton & Hove Albion -4 -8 -5.2
Arsenal -4 -12 -13.1
Norwich City -4 -19 -5.5
Everton -5 -5 0.1
Leeds United -6 -5 -0.1
Burnley -8 2 -4.6
Newcastle United -9 -7 -6.7
Leicester City -11 -15 -7.5

It is obviously not perfect because teams change with the transfer window and teams literally change as you replace relegated teams with the promoted teams but it is sort of close to an apples-to-apples comparison and helps deal with differences in schedule strength.

The fixtures are matches home or away for the same ones last season, promoted teams replace relegated teams.

On this measure, Arsenal are behind the pace that they were on last season. The big difference is that they have seen wins at Manchester United and against Chelsea turn into losses while the other matches have seen Arsenal pick up two points.

Looking instead at how things look on a per-round basis Arsenal look better but the gap between this year and last year is closing as we approach the post boxing day period.

Arsenal are currently 6 points better but picked up 13 points in the next 5 matches (the matches that finish through December this year) if you look at the results that Arsenal got against those teams Arsenal picked up just 8 points. It is possible that by the end of December Arsenal will be behind the points pace that they posted last season.

When I look at things I see such mixed signals where some things look positive but others are decidedly negative. Arsenal have been atrocious against the best Premier League teams and fine to good against the rest. They are smack dab in the middle of the mediocre teams without much-separating 4th just 4 points behind and 11th just 4 points ahead.

@oh_that_crab

Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone, my own database

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gooner

This team is so blunt going forwards. We lack a winger who can take on defenders and dribble at high pace. ESR is the closest but his thing is running direct with the ball. Imagine what we would look like with a Saint-Maximin with this current team. We wouldn’t even need to sit back every time we score. Too many passes to the wingers, they turn and give it back to the full backs and it’s back to recycling. Where would we be with a Kingsley Koman or Gnabry type on the wing! Even poor as he was with end… Read more »

PeteyB

Emery vindicated in his desire to by Zaha rather than Pepe?

PeteyB

ASM might be a good shout but I doubt Newcastle will let him go now. Martinelli can do it to some extent

Daveo

And arteta would not use him anyway… Not rigid enough

UzesGooner

We have one…..he’s called Pepe! I thought he was what we needed last night, couldn’t understand Nketiah coming on instead.

Arteta’s substitutions hardly ever seem to make much sense

gooner

No Pepe doesn’t do it. He is the king of cutting back on his stronger foot and recycling possession. Also seems weak physically he gets easily bullied off the ball but fair play to him once in a while he gets past his man

UzesGooner

I agree, he is unreliable, but surely would have been a better option than Nketiah last night? At least he’s strong, and some unpredictability would have been a good thing.

Back to square one. Gotta win the next 6 games, including West Ham

Nainsley Aitland Miles

To be fair, Nketiah was running at Everton defenders and created two great chances for Odegaard and Aubameyang in the last 10 minutes.

6 wins in the next 6 is very optimistic but they are all winnable games and 4 of them are at The Emirates so I’m fairly positive about the rest of the month.

CarlosLA

Weak? Hardly. For instance, Pepe is in the 94th percentile for aerial duals won — he’s the one guy who wins the first ball when we play long.

Meanwhile, he’s also in the 90th percentile for non penalty goals / 90, and 88th percentile for npxG/90.

I don’t love him as a player, and he’s not worth what we paid… but for a team that cannot create chances and hence cannot score, he seems an odd man to have completely buried.

He should be regularly be our 60th minute sub, and first man off the bench.

Bleeding gums murphy

Can only imagine the insult that Pepe felt seeing a very average at best nketia who refused a contract coming on instead of him. The evidence in the numbers say it all yet many believe we are improving. I could agree if we were not in 15th place for big chances created. I think we are stuck with him though. Like a few on here who rose tinted glasses I think those above Arteta have also been blinkered. Just imagine another season and half of this shit. Trust the process 😩😩

Mpls

Only thing I can imagine is Pepe’s terrible last performance must have been followed by some poor training ground performance.

Pair that with the ridiculous notion of taking Saka off when you need attack.

CarlosLA

I don’t know if anyone is reading this page any longer, but I have to say I disagree that we lack wingers who can take defenders on. We have Saka, who fits that bill among many others. We have (but don’t play) Pepe, who can do a passable job. What I saw clearly yesterday is that we have almost no movement in attack. We pass from a wide position forward to either Tierney (L) or Saka (R… occasionally this is Tomiyasu) and then… nothing. The passer stays planted where he is. The player in the channel stays where he is.… Read more »

mrugunner

it’s all clear that this is arteta’s ceiling

Man Manny

I don’t really care what the numbers are; all I know is that we have seen all Arteta has to offer. He’s been here for two years now! In that time, managers have fully stamped their authority and got their team playing the way he wants them to. It took Thomas Tuchel about a month at Chelsea. Same with Vieira at Crystal Palace. In two years, Klopp’s Liverpool was up and running. Arteta has shown us all he is about. Anyone expect anything significantly different from what we’ve seen so far is living in fantasy land. United kept expecting something… Read more »

CarlosLA

All the thumbs up in the world to this one.

Tony Perkis

Agreed, I know James on the Arsecast Extra is constantly saying oh the manager is going to improve, he’s young and he’ll grow. It has been two years and while we have gotten a little better playing out the back and can show defensive solidity (in stretches) the attack has not improved in the slightest and we still don’t create chances or score nearly enough goals. We’ll keep soldiering on with him hoping that it might suddenly click when it should have already done so by now

Henkamp

We make every team that play against us look decent, even when they are shit playing against others.

Graeb

MA got a lot of praise for that unbeaten run but we either scraped past teams at the foot of the table, got lucky with poor finishing by others and beat teams who went on to change managers because of bad form. I said at the time that we were going to be found out by any team who could be more clinical in their finishing because we were allowing too many chances. The illusion of an improved defence is what has kept MA in position, his attacking schemes have been pitiful. The team is now so geared to horseshoe… Read more »

Han Kolo

I really don’t understand the substitutions from Arteta, sometimes it feels like self sabotage from him. Lokonga was MotM against Newcastle, creating chances and running the midfield, not seen since. Pepe is clearly our biggest goal threat and defenders would hate seeing him come on. I would try Pepe up front. He can create chances himself, chase the ball, and at least score 1:1s. No idea why Xhaka plays the full game, ridiculous. Our defensive solidity has evaporated as well. It looked good for a few weeks but without Ramsdale this could be far worse. Can’t rely on him making… Read more »

Pst. Simon

Points dropped at Man Utd and Everton are too bad for a team aiming for Europe. Both teams are too poor to take a point off Arsenal and that says a lot about our team.

Arteta is a decent coach but he is like Lampard and Ole and until we do what the other teams did we cant have the result we want.

This team is loaded with talents and should be competing at the very top. we need a top level lad that his pedigree commands respect.

Rogerbij

Just say it: We are going nowhere fast. 

In the Wenger days, it was exceedingly rare that we didn’t have 15 shots in a PL match. This is the 6th time this season that Arsenal has had 10 or fewer shots in a PL match! Our XG and XGA are bang average, and that is reflected in table position and what we see with our eyes during the Arteta rein. It’s time for a change, or expect more of the same.

Petit's Handbag

How can Arsenals xg be only 0.9 when Nketiah had a chance any normal human would score

Noni

XG seems to be he best metric to measure likeliness of scoring a goal, but I definitely agree that it has flaws. If I’m not mistaken, it takes into account historically how often players score from taking a shot/header from the exact same position. However, there must be so many more variables which effect the likelihood of it actually going in. Maybe someone with more knowledge can clarify, but I doubt it factors in things like the velocity and trajectory of the cross, the proximity of other players, whether the ball is slightly behind the attacker’s path. Nketiah’s chance was… Read more »

CarlosLA

Scott posted details yesterday. No one scores 9/10 from there. More like 28%, with error bars taking you from 21-35%.

Scott Willis

People underestimate how hard headers are in my opinion. I went back and looked at all the headers this season from similar locations (4-6 yards out near the left post) with similar characteristics in the build-up (regular play, established possession, cross). There were 26 that matched and 8 turned into goals which is 30.7% and that matches pretty well to the 28% that my model rated it (especially considering that you should say +/- 25% on any one chance). It was a great chance and yeah he should have put that in but using your head to direct a ball… Read more »

Mentalista

Eye opening. Thanks for the excellent analysis Scott!

Cannon

Wonder if there is data available for average pass length (excluding passes between CBs or GK to CBs to remove the mean bias) to compare against a team like mancity? In this artetas version of jdp – I feel like distances between players are huge which means it’s tougher to find team mates, have to execute more difficult passes, lack of combination play, and in general more ball carries than you want to. I think this is the reason for our lack of chances or control of the game because we are always trying to do riskier things – which… Read more »

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