If there was ever a time to beat Chelsea, this was it.
It felt like Arsenal’s season was on the brink of collapse. The last month or so had been mostly sotries of how things had turned for Arsenal. Sure their had been some bad luck in the losses, but the performances also weren’t good enough to overcome what can happen in this low scoring high variance sport.
Coming back from the international break, Arsenal were in a great position with some margin for error in the top four race. Well Arsenal used every bit of it and then some with the three straight losses, making this match huge in the race for top four.
Thankfully Arsenal were up for the challenge and are now even on points with Sp*rs with both teams having six games to decide everything.
Chelsea 2-4 Arsenal: By the graphics
Chelsea 2-4 Arsenal: By the numbers
4 – Goals for Arsenal, tied for the most goals allowed this season in the Premier League by Chelsea this season.
2.0 – Expected Goals (xG) for Arsenal, 3rd most xG allowed this season in the Premier League by Chelsea this season.
14 – Shots for Arsenal, 7th most shots allowed this season in the Premier League by Chelsea this season.
30 – Touches in the box by Arsenal, 7th most touches in the box allowed this season in the Premier League by Chelsea this season.
Arsenal’s four goals might have been a bit fortunate. They had 2 big chances (the first Eddie Nketiah goal and the Bukayo Saka penalty) but still created some solid medium quality chances in this match. Overall, this was up there as one of Chelsea’s worst defensive performances and I think should be viewed as a solid Arsenal win.
6 – Possessions for Arsenal in the opening quarter (23 minutes) where they were able to string together 3 or more passes.
23 – Possession for Arsenal and Chelsea in the opening quarter (23 minutes) where they were able to string together 3 or more passes.
46% – The percentage of possession for both teams that had 3 or more passes completed.
The opening period of this match was pure chaos. The game didn’t start great for Arsenal but they did get a goal against the run of play and then were able to get a foothold in the match (even if they did concede not long after).
92 – Final third touches for Arsenal from the 23rd to 60th minutes.
75 – Final third touches for Chelsea from the 23rd to 60th minutes. Chelsea had 72 in the first 23 minutes and 78 in the last 23 minutes.
9 – Shots for Arsenal from the 23rd to 60th minutes, for a toal of 0.6 expected goals.
4 – Shots for Chelsea from the 23rd to 60th minutes, for a total of 0.2 expected goals.
Arsenal controlled the middle of this match. It was a chaos to start the match but Arsenal were able to get a foothold controlling the middle period where they were able to get a lead that they would never relinquish.
Eddie Nketiah’s Very Good Day
15 – Pass Attempts, 22nd among all players
5 – Shots, 1st among all players
0.77 – non-penalty xG, 1st among all players
1 – Pass in the box Received
8 – Touches in the box, 2nd among all players
3 – Progressive Passes Received
0.38 – xG Buildup, 1st among all players
2 – Tackles
0 – Dribbled Past
Nketiah had a different type of match than what was typical from Alexandre Lacazette. He played much more like a poacher but also showed the benefit of a striker that can press and run against centerbacks. He also was still able to do things to help Arsenal’s attack, acting as a key player in the build up to goals while also doing fairly well to get on the end end of Arsenal’s targets for progression (especially given his total involvement).
Overall it was a solid match for Eddie and one where it really felt important to have a player like him in the lineup.
The Final Six Matches
Manchester Utd (H) – 6: 1.7 expected points
West Ham (A) – 8: 1.5 expected points
Leeds United (H) – 15: 2.0 expected points
Tottenham (A) – 4: 1.1 expected points
Newcastle Utd (A) – 14: 1.7 expected points
Everton (H) – 16: 1.9 expected points
13th hardest overall score
The stretch run for Arsenal looks manageable but will still be full of potential drama. Now that the Chelsea match is in the books, the hardest remaining match for Arsenal is the North London Derby. This weekend will be another big match for Arsenal on a quick turn around.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone, my own database.
PS: Fuck Chelsea