Sunday, April 21, 2024

Arsenal 2021/22: By the numbers

I know the season has been over for a couple of weeks now but transfer season hasn’t kicked into full gear yet so there is still time to go through Arsenal’s stats for the season to see how things worked out for the team.

All the data in this post will be for Premier League matches only and will be compared to other ‘big five’ league teams going back to the 2017/18 season.

Arsenal’s Attack: By the numbers

1.5 – Non-Penalty Goals per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 74.2

61 – The number of goals Arsenal scored, their highest total in the league since 2018/19

1.6 – Non-Pen xG per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 79.8

11.2 – Open Play Shots per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 88.6

1.2 – Direct Attacks/Fast Breaks per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 43.6

3.6 – Set Play Shots per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 66.9

13 – The number of matches this season where Arsenal took 20 or more shots in the Premier League

7 – The number of matches this season where Arsenal had 2.0 or more non-penalty expected goals in the Premier League

20.6 – Deep Completions (passes within 25 meters of goal) per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 79.4

3.7 – Deep Completions (From Cross) per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 38.0

17.9% – Deep Completions from Cross % for Arsenal, percentile rank 13.3

29.9 – Progressive Passes per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 58.8

10.6 – Passes into the penalty areas per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 63.8

52.7% – Possession share for Arsenal, percentile rank 69.3

57.9% – Field Tilt (share of final third possession) for Arsenal, percentile rank 79.6

Overall I think that this was a ‘solid’ season for Arsenal on the attacking side of the ball. It was a step forward compared to years past but still a ways off from the teams in the past. This was also I think an uneven year for Arsenal, the first four months of the season were pretty disappointing, the middle part of the season (from December to March) was very good, before slipping back to sort of disappointing again.

Arsenal’s Defense: By the numbers

1.1 – Non-Penalty Goals Allowed per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 65.9

48 – The number of goals Arsenal allowed, the same as in 2019/20 and 9 more than last season

1.2 – Non-Pen xG A per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 67.5

7.9 – Open Play Shots Allowed per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 66.9

1.0 – Direct Attacks/Fast Breaks Allowed per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 82.5

2.8 – Set Play Shots Allowed per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 81.4

22 – The number of matches this season where Arsenal allowed 10 or fewer shots in the Premier League

20 – The number of matches this season where Arsenal allowed less than 1.0 non-penalty expected goals in the Premier League

11.7 – Passes allowed per Defensive Action per 90 for Arsenal, percentile rank 48.1

Overall Arsenal’s defense was pretty solid this season. There were a few matches that really hurt the overall aggregate numbers but in general, Arsenal was good at limiting their opponents from entering dangerous locations.

The season didn’t end how we all would have liked it but it does look like this was a team that was moving in the right direction.

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Great work as always. Interesting to see how we rank with these stats. One stat that has been rumbling around in my brain has been Arsenal vs in form and out of form teams. My memory suggests that most of our wins came against teams that were out of form and rarely did we upset an in form team. Would be interested to know if this holds up.


We also had at least two losses (Everton and Southampton) that came during a run where the opposing team won 1 match (against us) out of about 12.


Also Brighton were on a poor run when we lost to them at the Emirates


It’s reassuring to see spelled out in the xG data the same overall trends you can instinctively see before you on the field over the course of the season: we have a team heading the right direction. It feels good to be going that way for the first time in what feels like forever and to also feel like the momentum we are building is sustainable, even if it requires patience with the hurdles we encounter along the way.

CJ Mc'cloud

I agree to some degree but then the defeats to an out of form Everton and Manchester United stand out to me as blots against this theory


Who cares about these stupid stats?

The only stat that’s important is us losing five games out of nine to blow top-four and hand it to Spuds. Last season is gone: let’s just forget about it.

Now: where are the six quality signings that we need to make us competitive next season?

Scott Willis

Good ol selective end points!

They still got 12 points from that stretch. Also in the 9 matches before they won 6, drew 1, lost 2 which put them in that place to blow it. The sequence of matches really can change a narrative.

The end was disappointing for sure but also it was still a general step forward that can be built on.

I too look forward to what moves may come to strengthen the team (although I’m not holding out for 6 unless we see quite a few first team departures)


Hello, Scott.

You sound like the kind of guy who back in 1912 said: “Hey, we lost the Titanic, but at least we managed to save a few people! Better luck next time!”

Stop putting a gloss on a disaster. We blew it big-time last season. Only top-four and a trophy this season will do. Last season was about as enjoyable as root-canal treatment.

Dr Zebra

Fats, maybe it’s time you stop “supporting” your sinking ship and root for that iceberg! You’re both cold, lonely and slowly fading away. Or maybe the spuds?

I agree that with one goal against Burnley in January we could have been in the champions league but get over it, it didn’t happen this year but it’s still ok to acknowledge that we are improving from the year before. Poor Scott didn’t know who he was dealing by thoughtfully replying to you!


comparing Arsenal failing to make the top four to a tragic loss of life is really crappy mate.

Charles Charlie Charles

At least you haven’t told him to get his head out of his arse. A slight improvement in your overall critical analysis. Three cheers.

Alan Sunderland

Hopefully none of the families of the victims follow the fat gooners work on arseblog. They would be distraught at his lack of sensitivity.

Crash Fistfight

Not sure if that was subtle or not.

Scott Willis

If we want to go metaphor root I think you’re pretty off. A titanic level disaster season would be relegation. It would fit with things going down and all that too. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy last season, it wasn’t perfect but there were long stretches for me where the team played at level not seen since Wenger left and I did enjoy that. My preferred metaphor for this season would be something like a decent day at the park with your kids, half way through they find some money on the ground so you buy some ice cream to… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

You paint quite the picture, Sir. Are you not going on the regular ArsenalVision podcast any more? Seems like forever since you were on.


Crash Fistfight

Why have you decided to revert to type after the season has ended? You were quite reasonable all the way through until 4th place was gone.

No need to be this negative, even if the season wasn’t as good as we’d hoped.

Charles Charlie Charles

If only I could get you a place at the annual AGM and secure a lucrative transmission deal with the club. I could sell the tv rights to Sky and retire to my newly purchased yacht in the med.


Which, if Fats has got anything to do with it, will probably sink….

Cliff Bastin

Tielemans and a fitter Partey will improve the interceptions hopefully.


Partey has never started over 30 games in a season in his career before. I think we need to seriously consider his replacement.

This Must Be The Place

Wikipedia disagrees


Wikipedia puts down appearances. I said starts.

Scott Willis

He had 35 starts for Mallorca. (I get what you’re saying on the minutes played and availability, it’s a growing concern)


Oh dear Graham.

Wrong again, eh?

Before you start telling others to remove their heads from up their backsides, look a little closer to home, pal. 😉


What is this? When did I tell people to do that?
must’ve been a different Graham bud


See what Scott is saying is next year we’ll win the league.

Charles Charlie Charles

If you’re as premature in other walks of life, then you definitely must be a ‘Darling, here’s the best three seconds of your life’ merchant.

Scott Willis

I’m not saying it’s impossible…


It’s impossible.

Crash Fistfight

So you’re saying there’s a chance?


This is great, thanks! Particularly love the rolling non-pen xG difference (probably cos it makes us look good 😉 )


The chart showing XG against really drops off half way through the season, wonder if that coincides with some specific injuries?

Charles Charlie Charles

You’ve got the Auba sale without replacing him properly to factor in as well. That, as much as anything, cost us top four. Laca’s goal return was appalling and whilst Eddie’s late rally gave us hope, it was ultimately too little too late. One can only hope the manager has finally learnt his lesson about putting continued blind faith in over-the-hill crap players of the Willian and Laca variety.

Scott Willis

Dropping xG against is good!

Alan Sunderland

To be fair Scott, expected goals don’t count, and expected assists definitely don’t count. You can’t quantify statistically how we looked in the tunnel before the Newcastle game.

DB’s first touch

Actually if we want to play the game of what single player’s presence or absence caused the drop in xG (always a flawed approach in a team game), the start of the decline in the xG trend corresponds exactly with Xhaka’s return injury. As I said that’s a pretty reductive approach and could be a coincidence but the fact remains that our defence improved at the same time as Xhaka came back into the starting XI.


Always a pleasure to read your work Scott, thanks for the effort and qualitative insights. We missed a little something last season, a few points, more engagement, a replacement for whoever was out or not fit, an additional win, a bit more luck, better ref,…. At the end of the day what those stats are telling me is mainly 3 things: we are progressing as a team, we missed some accuracy in our crosses plus somebody at the receiving end to slot the ball home. Let’s see what transfers are going to look like in a few weeks and in… Read more »


Not bad, above average, slight improvement in some areas, expect more of the same next season… if you like that sort of thing!!

Hank Scorpio

A solid season sounds about right. I’m curious though. How is it that we spent a fortune on the defence but conceded a good few more goals than a team heavily featuring Mari, Holding and no discernible first choice right back in the previous season? That was partially offset by scoring more and looking a bit more likely to score. Perhaps a shift in emphasis between defending and attacking? Looking forward to seeing what a couple of top quality signings will do (plus a couple more for depth).

Guns Up

I think the shift in emphasis played a part, but I also think it’s even simpler than that. Zero goals scored and nine conceded in the first three games, when Gabriel and Tomiyasu were absent. Five conceded against City alone were with Kolasinac, Mari, Holding and Cedric (and Tierney) all in the defense. The big picture raw data is useful, but it becomes even more so with a little context applied. I said all season long that my assessment of the team started with match day 4 against Norwich. Sadly PL officials see things differently. To your point though, I… Read more »

Mark Hazelwood

Thanks for the analysis Scott. When you lose out by a point everyone can point to a different thing or moment which is the definitive thing which cost top 4 and it is hard to argue. So it is good to put it all in the context of some facts and trends.
Personally I think a youngish team exceeded reasonable expectations. But they didn’t get their XL (expected luck) but got excess SRDs (shit refereeing decisions). Looking forward to next season and some reversion to the mean.

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