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?
|Expected Goals Against||19.7||23.7||4|
|Expected Goals Difference||-1.9||-5||-3.1|
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 +/-|
|West Ham United||3||6||4.2|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||-4||-8||-5.2|
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.
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.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone, my own database