Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: By The Numbers

Unlike most of the matches in the last couple weeks before this one, I was feeling pretty comfortable.

It isn’t just that I thought Arsenal would lose, I did expect that but I was also excited to see how Arsenal matched up against what I think might be the best team in the world right now (the exact ranking is up for debate but at lowest 3rd). The thing I miss most about being in the Champions League is going up against the best teams in the world, yeah it sucked at times to get knocked out by Bayern and Barcelona but it was fun to go head to head with the best in the world playing the “Arsenal Way,” this match felt like a throwback to that.

The match did not go exactly as I predicted. I expected Arsenal to come out amped up but instead, they played a very controlled style, working to cut out what Liverpool wanted and then starting to gain a foothold. Ultimately this felt like teams that were close (with maybe an edge to Liverpool) and came down to the team that was able to capitalize on mistakes.

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: By The Graphics

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: By The Numbers

17 – Touches in the box for Liverpool, this is tied for the lowest total that Liverpool have had this season.

9 – Shots for Liverpool, this is the second-fewest that Liverpool have had this season.

22 – Touches within 25 yards of goal for Liverpool, this is the second-fewest that Liverpool have had this season.

1.3 – Expected goals (xG) for Liverpool, this is the third-fewest that Liverpool have had this season.

One of the things that I was impressed with in this match was Arsenal’s ability to limit the things that Liverpool wanted to do. It didn’t quite match what I expected but I was quite happy with the results, I think in this match Arsenal did a very good job of denying Liverpool access to the areas of the pitch where they can create danger from.

Arsenal’s attack wasn’t any spectacular in this match.

It was a bit better than the average performance against Liverpool but still well below what Arsenal have done over the last few months.

9 – Shots for Arsenal, the 6th fewest shots Arsenal have had this season.

0.7 – Expected goals for Arsenal, the fifth fewest for Arsenal this season

150 – Touches in the attacking third for Arsenal, the 18th most for Arsenal this season. That is more than double the 74 they managed in the reverse fixture of this match. This is also the second most Liverpool have allowed this season.

The attacking stats for Arsenal show the areas for improvement are still there to go the next level. Arsenal did well to get the ball into Liverpool’s final third.

Where they struggled was finding the final ball to cut open Liverpool. Part of that is that Liverpool have very good defenders and they may be known for more front footed defending but they are still a team that will play a very tough mid block. In this match they did a lot more defending in the middle third of the pitch than is typical for them, they had 85 middle third pressure in this match.

I think they needed every single one of those and that is a big part of why the pass map of trying to get the ball into high value zones is filled with red for Arsenal.

Thomas Partey excels in a 3 v 1

46 – Pass Completed, 4th among Arsenal players

5 – F3rd Entry Passes, 3rd among Arsenal player

3 – Progressive Passes, 3rd among Arsenal players

5 – Long Passes – Comp, 3rd among Arsenal players

2 – Shots, 1st among Arsenal players

0.05 – xG, 3rd among Arsenal players

2 – Fouled, 1st among Arsenal players

3 – Tackles, 3rd among Arsenal players

0 – Dribbled Past, 4th among Arsenal players

2 – Interceptions, 1st among Arsenal players

2 – Blocked Passes, 1st among Arsenal players

10 – Ball Recoveries, 1st among Arsenal players

Saying this was 3 on 1 is maybe a little hard on Granit Xhaka but at times it really did seem like it was Thomas Partey vs all of Liverpool in this match. I think that this is really just a continuation of the performances that have corresponded with Partey becoming the hub of Arsenal’s midfield. He has certainly not been 4 out of 10.

It is a fast turnaround for Arsenal, with another cup final against Aston Villa (this one will have major implications on the top 4 race, unlike this match). Hopefully Arsenal can continue with performances like this one, because it feels like if they do this against any of the other teams in the League outside City and Liverpool they come away with three points.


Sources: Opta via WhoScored, StatsZone, My own database. StatsBomb via FBRef.

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It was a game of small margins. If we had a goal poacher like Firminho or Jota, we’d have certainly edged Liverpool.


We put in many crosses, Cedric in particular launched quite a few, and such crosses are meat and drink for the likes of van Dijk. Ideally we should have more target men in the box for competing with the ball, and at the same time we should also be able to open up Liverpool through the middle. That hopefully will come with more training and new signings. They congested the space very well in the middle and we were forced out wide, and even though we made good progress down the wings (I particularly enjoyed Gabi roasting TAA) we were… Read more »


We put in many crosses
the article says 8. three less than liverpool. 2/8 completed, which is a healthy percentage for crosses.


A bit unrelated but has anyone else been impressed by Emery’s work at Villareal? I’m so glad for him.

Once a gunner

He is good coaching mid-table team’s where pressure and style is less. But give him big team he will fluff his chances again. But well-done to him their

DB's first touch

I think Emery’s biggest challenge at the Arsenal was communication. I never understood what he was saying, and quickly stopped reading pre- and post-match interviews because it was just a frustrating onslaught of word soup. I imagine the players would have had an equally hard time understanding tactical instructions and likely ended up tuning him out (as I did). You really can’t expect a team to succeed if the players don’t understand the game plan, regardless of how good (or poor) the tactics are. You could also argue that dealing with big personalities/egos is not one of Emery’s strengths and… Read more »


He did as well as anyone else before or after him at PSG. He also did reasonably well in his first season. i’m ever so glad he beat Manure and kicked the shit out of Juventus.


He’s good manager, but it was too much to ask of him to rebuild Arsenal on a shoestring. In his first reached a final of Europa League and 5, he asked for reinforcement in January, but got Dennis Suarez.


i have a big soft spot for the yellow submarine, so am very happy at how well they’re doing in europe. le coq even gets some shine for them.

Once a gunner

Well-done to Arsenal’s performance yesterday it is showing the gap is been close we just need results to back these claims good job MA and your crew. Go and batter via and let’s get the three points.coyg


Thanks Scott, always looking forward to your”by the numbers”.
I just feel that we need to be more precize here…
“if they do this against any of the other teams in the League outside City and Liverpool they come away with three points”… well. This will only will work provided we score a few goals 😉
With the current team and even against Liverpool, we need to do better than 0,7 xG


Interesting read that really shows how competitive this game was. Allison saved them with a double “save”, Laca would have got a shot away against almost any keeper but the way Allison stood his ground was just exceptional, then saving from Ödegaard. It’s annoying that all we are left with are tired legs ahead of the Villa match but they can be proud of their performance against a team that’s simply outstanding.


Partey in a 3 Vs 1?
When Granit was more tucked in alongside him than previous games?


Given they average 3 goals a match against us in Klopp’s reign and we haven’t scored against them in 9 hours and 40 minutes (!!!) we put on a good show and could have done a lot better if Ramsdale had saved and Tomi was playing.

We are progressing forward…


Partey was outstanding yesterday. He’s been playing at the Atletico level for several matches now. Long May it continue.

A Different George

“150 – Touches in the attacking third for Arsenal, the 18th most for Arsenal this season. That is more than double the 74 they managed in the reverse fixture of this match. This is also the second most Liverpool have allowed this season.” I think this statistic shows how good a team Liverpool are and, yes, how we have closed the still-exiting gap. Our attacking threat and control, as mediocre as they were by our standards, were still about as hard a match as they ever get. Did we deserve to win this match, based on performance? No. But if… Read more »


Scott, I have noticed in all the passing network tables you have listed that Xhaka and Odergaard collaborations are very few. While there are many combinations of players on the right or left side, the combinations on both sides of the axis are missing. Should this make Arteta work harder?

DB's first touch

Hi Scott, great piece! I’m sure you must be getting tired of getting questions along the lines of “how can the xG for this chance be this value?”, so I apologize in advance…but I am seeing this correctly that the Firimino chance has an xG of ~1? I’ve never seen a xG value this high for a single shot, or does this xG sequence also include the preceding Sala and Robertson blocked shots? Either way, I’m still surprised that it adds to such a high xG value because while the Firmino shot was from close range and with only the… Read more »

Scott Willis

It was 0.88, it is near post so inside the frame of the goal. Some of the other things that boost this, the cut back/ low pass across the face is a big boost on these. It is about 2 yards out and that is the big boost. Plus it gets the big chance qualifier. I am fairly certain the StatsBomb version is lower because they know where the keeper is in their model while mine is blind to that.

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