This was an interesting match to experience. I was able to watch the first 15 or so minutes live and then the last 15 minutes live, with the time in between with the game in the background and occasional glances at Twitter while trying to focus in meetings. Maybe because when I went back and watched things I knew what happened but my general opinion of this match did not match the consensus of things I saw on Twitter. I think it really shows how much the emotion of the moment can drive things.
Also, those last 15 minutes were incredible.
I almost felt like I was cheating to enjoy the pure ecstasy of that winner because I didn’t have the same amount of suffering from 70+ minutes that came before it.
Arsenal 2-1 Wolves: By the graphics
Arsenal 2-1 Wolves: By the numbers
26 – Shots from Arsenal in this match, the 2nd most they have had in a match this season.
8 – Shots by Alexandre Lacazette, leading all players. His 8 shots in one game was tied for fourth most in the Premier League this season. His 6 open play shots is tied for 14th most in a single match.
2.7 – Expected Goals (StatsBomb version), the third-highest total have had this season. This was also the second most Wolves have allowed a team to produce against them this season.
0.9 – xG by Alexandre Lacazette, leading all players
6 – Times this season that Arsenal have had 2.5 or more expected goals (xG) in a match this season, last year they only had 3.
51 – Touches in the box by Arsenal, the second most they have had in a match this season.
15 – Touches in the box by Bukayo Saka, leading all players. Both Saka and Lacazette (12) had more touches in the box than Wolves managed in this match (10).
20 – Open play passes completed into the penalty area by Arsenal, the most they have had in a match this season.
75% – Field tilt in this match. Field tilt is the share of the final third possession.
53 – Final third pressures by Arsenal in this match, the fifth most they have had in a match this season.
8 – Final third pressures each from Martinelli, Lacazette, and Odegaard
15 – Final third pressure by Wolves in this match. Wolves have provided the second and third fewest final third pressure that Arsenal have faced so far this season in the two matches that they have played against Arsenal.
55 – Regular Play Long passes from their own half by Wolves, of which only 19 were completed.
One of the big takeaways from this match is that Arsenal look pretty good at applying constant pressure against a deep defensive block. A lot of this was due to Wolves getting a goal in the opening 10 minutes but it was also the likely strategy of Wolves with the goal coming as a bonus. The average positions of the two teams really show the difference in where this match was played, this also probably undercounts things a bit with Wolves dropping even deeper (or being pushed back with Arsenal pressure depending on how you want to look at it) as the match went on.
The team did this both through their possession but also the ability to force Wolves into turnovers when they did gain possession. The defensive actions map from Arsenal (this doesn’t include pressure events) show how high Arsenal engaged against Wolves.
Martin Odegaard pulls the strings
7 – Open play passes completed in the box, led all players
3 – Shot creating actions (one of the two offensive actions that led to a shot)
1 – Key pass
30 – Final third touches
2 – Through balls attempted, 1 completed
2 – Shots, 0.2 xG
3 – Dribbles completed
7 – Progressive carries
5 – Progressive passes received
5 – Final third entry passes received
17 – Pressures, led Arsenal
7 – Successful pressures, led all players
1.3 – xG Chain, 2nd among all players
I was incredibly excited to have Martin Odegaard come back to Arsenal this summer. It took him a little while to get back into the swing of things but his influence on the team has grown. In this match he was a key part of Arsenal’s ability to apply pressure to Wolves.
Arsenal in pole position for top 4 race
58% – The average probability that Arsenal finish in the Champions League spots between the betting odds (50%), FiveThirtyEight (61%), and my own model (64%).
68 – Average points projected for Arsenal, ahead of Manchester United (64), Sp*rs (62), West Ham (57), and Wolves (56).
12% – The probability of finishing 3rd given to Arsenal by FiveThirtyEight
12% – The probability of Sp*rs finishing in the Champions League spots by FiveThirtyEight
76% – Chance of a St. Totterinham’s day this season
There is a lot to play for but Arsenal are in a very good spot with regards to the top four race. Things are still a bit weird with the number of games played but by points per match Arsenal are ahead of Manchester United with 1.88 points per match compared to 1.77.
One of the other things that is of relevance is that the games that Arsenal have in hand (or will have in hand after this weekend) are tough. Arsenal will have matches away to Sp*rs and Chelsea, and home to Liverpool. So yes, the games in hand for Arsenal are not easy (are there easy matches in the Premier League anymore tho?) but the schedule outside of that is actually not too bad. Arsenal have the 9th hardest remaining schedule (including the games to be played), our rivals for top 4 have the following: Manchester United 4th, Sp*rs 13th, West Ham 2nd, and Wolves 12th.
The head to head matches between the teams are still likely going to end up being the deciding factor but Arsenal are currently in the best spot.
Sources: Opta via StatsZone, WhoScored, my own database. StatsBomb via FBref. FiveThirtyEight. bettingodds.com for aggregate betting odds data.