It was another good weekend for the Arsenal Football Club.
Arsenal convincingly beat a decent (but really bad at defending) Leicester team ensuring them that they would spend another week in the top 4. We also got to laugh at Spurs, who lost a (pretty much) must-win match against Manchester United, even if it came at the great cost of seeing Ronaldo happy.
Really tho, the best part was watching Arsenal. This team is playing some excellent stuff right now and I am sort of excited to see how they measure up against arguably the best team in the world (maybe second) in Liverpool on Wednesday.
Arsenal 2-0 Leicester: By the numbers
Arsenal 2-0 Leicester: By the numbers
21 – Shots for Arsenal, the 10th time this season so far that Arsenal have equaled or surpassed 20 shots.
2 – Times last season that arsenal equaled or surpassed 20 shots.
I feel like I post something like this every week but the improvement in the attack from last season is still something that I love to bring up.
5 – Shots by Bukayo Saka in this match.
39 – Shots by Saka going back to the Southampton match (when Arsenal roughly switched to the more 4-3-3 shape). That is 3.8 shots per 90 minutes.
4 – Players on Arsenal that took 3 or more shots in this match (Saka 5, Lacazette 3, Xhaka 3, Partey 3)
24 – Final third entry passes by Arsenal in this match
5 – Players on Arsenal that had at least 3 final third entry passes (Odegaard led the team with 7). Another thing that has become more evident with the change in shape is that the responsibility for getting the ball up the field has become more shared, rather than dependent on Granit Xhaka. I think this has helped with balance and made the team harder to stifle at getting the ball up the field.
15% – Field tilt (share of final third possession) from the 12th minute to halftime for Arsenal
28% – Arsenal’s possession from the 30th minute to halftime.
3 – Defensive actions by Arsenal in the Leicester half from the 30th minute to halftime.
100% – Leciester’s passing percentage for passes that started in their own half from the 30th minute to halftime.
After the goal, Arsenal conceded possession, especially in the last 15 minutes of the first half. At times it reminded me a bit of the times when the team would get a lead and then drop way too deep. Thankfully Arsenal were able to survive the pressure that Leicester put them under and then came out in the second half to re-assert control on the match.
We even got see Arsenal do some of the “300,000 passes” type possession to close the match out with Arsenal having 9 sequences of 7 or more passes completed in the final 23 minutes of the match.
Ødegaard Passes the Obvious Maddison Comparrasion
46 – Completed passes for Ødegaard, Maddison had 49.
20 – Final third completion for Ødegaard, Maddison had 15.
256 – Yards of progressive distance passing for Ødegaard, Maddison had 203
7 – Progressive passes for Ødegaard, Maddison had 5
5 – Key passes for Ødegaard, Maddison had 2
8 – Shot creating actions for Ødegaard, Maddison had 3
7 – Final third entry passes for Ødegaard, Maddison had 3
21 – Final third plus middle third pressures for Ødegaard, Maddison had 20
1 – Dribble for Ødegaard, Maddison had 0
171 – Progressive distance carried for Ødegaard, Maddison had 113
Some of this might be a bit unfair, but this was a match that it is easy to make comparisons because in the summer there was a lot of debate on which player Arsenal should chase. I don’t think Maddison would have been a bad choice for Arsenal but seeing what Ødegaard has been able to do (and with a transfer fee that is reportedly about half of what Leicester were asking) I think Arsenal made the right choice.
Ødegaard has become a pivotal part of this Arsenal team and I can’t imagine what this time would look without him in it.
Arsenal’s Corner Dominance
127 – Corner kicks taken by Arsenal this season, 8th most in the Premier League
66 – Shots from corner kicks for Arsenal this season, tied for 6th most in the Premier League.
8 – Goals from corner kicks by Arsenal this season, tied for 4th most in the Premier League.
6.7 – Expected goals from corner kicks by Arsenal this season, 7th most in the Premier League.
92 – Corner kicks conceded by Arsenal this season, 3rd fewest in the Premier League.
43 – Shots from corner kicks allowed by Arsenal this season, 4th fewest in the Premier League.
0 – Goals allowed from corner kicks by Arsenal this season, the fewest in the Premier League.
2.8 – Expected goals allowed from corner kicks by Arsenal this season, 3rd fewest in the Premier League.
+8 – Arsenal’s goal difference from corner kicks this season, 2nd best in the Premier League.
It might seem like a long time ago now, but one of the worries in Pre-season was how Arsenal would do defending corner kicks. In those early matches, the team did not do well, they added Ben White who isn’t known for his aerial ability and the questions only got louder. Well, I think we can say that they have now been answered.
Arsenal’s defending of corner kicks has been exceptional this season. They might be a little fortunate to have not conceded a goal, but their rank among the best at defending is well earned. The team has done well to limit the opportunities to take corners allowing just 3.4 corners per match (3rd fewest) and have been roughly average at limiting shots from corners with just under 5 shots allowed for every 10 corners (0.47 shots per corner). Where they have done really well is limiting the quality of the shots that they have allowed, they have the 4th lowest average xG per corner in the Premier League at just 3%.
On the attacking front things are almost the complete opposite. Arsenal generates a shot on 52% of the corners that they create (6th most) while creating slightly more opportunities than most with 4.7 corners per match (9th). Interestingly Arsenal haven’t really created especially good chances ranking 9th in xG per corner (5.7%) but have finished the chances that they have created.
Overall this is an area that has really improved for Arsenal and has had a direct impact on the points Arsenal have earned this season.