Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: By the numbers

Woo wee.

That was an intense reintroduction back to the Premier League after some relatively mild and dominant performances from Arsenal in the preseason. A trip to Selhurst Park is never easy and I came away very impressed with this Crystal Palace team. There will be a lot of teams that make that trip that do not leave with three points and Arsenal should count themselves a bit fortunate.

All that being said, I think that this was a solid (if far from perfect) performance in a hostile environment where Arsenal showed the ability to grind out a win. They will end the day at the top of the table and guarantee that no one will have more points than them starting the next.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: By the graphs

Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: By the numbers

All stats below for the first 42 minutes

5 – Shots for Arsenal

0 – Shots for Crystal Palace

1 – Goal for Arsenal, from 0.9 expected goals (xG) and 2 big chances.

0 – Goals for Crystal Palace

20 – Touches in the box for Arsenal

3 – Touches in the box for Crystal Palace

69% – Arsenal’s share of touches in the final third

80% – The percentage of Crystal Palace’s passes that were completed that started in their own half of the field.

One of the things that was really positive about this match was that Arsenal came out the blocks firing. The only quarter of the match was a master class in control and pressure. Arsenal pushed Crystal Palace back and looked dangerous several times. This is what we saw often with this team in the preseason and it was back to start the season.

The second part of the first half wasn’t quite as dominant, with Crystal Palace able to assert themselves but Arsenal still managed to control space without the ball. Crystal Palace had the ball but Arsenal funneled them into the dreaded horseshoe of death, where their own mistakes looked like the likeliest ways that they would be threatened.

Stats from the second half

5 – Shots for Arsenal

7 – Shots for Crystal Palace

1 – Goal for Arsenal, own goal, from 0.3 expected goals and 0 big chances

0 – Goals for Crystal Palace, from 0.8 expected goals and 1 big chance

11 – Touches in the box for Arsenal

23 – Touches in the box for Crystal Palace

27% – Arsenal’s share of final third possession

40% – The percentage of Crystal Palace’s passes that were completed that started in their own half

The second half was not a repeat of the control of space without the ball that we so in the latter half of the first half (and even then things got a little sketchy at the very end and this was a continuation of that).

Crystal Palace finished the first half strong and continued that to start the second. They did quite have the same level of threat that Arsenal did in the opening period but they were certainly close and if they had scored it most certainly would not have been against the run of play.

Arsenal’s passing maps are a very good illustration of this issue. Arsenal are significantly further back with almost every player from the first half to the second half with a similarly large decrease in passes for each player.

Arteta mentioned that “to win here, you have to suffer.” I am sure that is true but I bet that he will hope that his team has longer stretches like the opening 30 minutes and fewer like the middle 30.

Gabriel Jesus makes his official debut

26 – Pass Attempts, 21st among all players. Overall 73% pass completion rate with a 0.97 expected pass completion efficiency ratio (1 means completed as many as expected).

4 – Progressive Passes, 8th among all players

2 – Box Entry Pass, 3rd among all players

5 – Deep Completions (not Cross), 2nd among all players

1 – Shot, tied for 6th among all players

0.15 – xG, 6th among all players

6 – Dribbles Completed, 1st among all players

7 – Dribbled Attempted, 2nd among all players

4 – Progressive Carries, 5th among all players

8 – Progressive Passes Received, 2nd among all players

9 – Final Third Entry Pass Received, 1st among all players

10 – Touches in the box, 1st among all players

0.19 – xG Buildup, 9th among all players

4 – Dispossed, 2nd among all players

4 – Miscontrol, 3rd among all players

1 – Tackles, 11th among all players

33.3% – Tackle %, 14th among all players

2 – Fouls, 2nd among all players

1 – Interceptions, 5th among all players

2 – Aerial Duel Won, 3rd among all players

28.6% – Aerial Win%, 10th among all players

After a preseason that was breathtaking, Jesus wasn’t quite at that level in this match. He still looked very good and added things in this match that Arsenal did not have in the team last season with his moment of chasing down a “lost” ball, recovering it, and turning it into a beautiful cutback that Martin Odegaard refused to shoot from with his right foot.

He showed great ability to drop deep and link (being a major target for Arsenal getting the ball up the field) while also still being a threat in the box (he led the team in touches in the box!). I was impressed with his skill on the ball, he has very tidy touches and showed that with his 6 dribbles but he also can be a bit loose and that shows with the 8 times that he lost the ball.

Not the greatest debut but I think this showed that even if he isn’t on the scoresheet he will still have the ability to influence a match and be important to the team. I am excited to see more of him.

William Saliba makes his Arsenal debut

49 – Pass Attempts, 7th among all players

93.9% – Pass%, 5th among all players

4 – Final 3rd Entry Passes, 8th among all players

3 – Progressive Passes, 12th among all players

1 – Deep Completions (not Cross)

1 – Tackle (he did have a second one that was negated by an earlier foul)

0 – Fouls

0 – Interceptions

1 – Blocked Passes

7 – Ball Recoveries, 4th among all players

1 – Blocked Shots / Saves, 4th among all players

7 – Clearances, 2nd among all players

1 – Aerial Duel Won, 7th among all players

50.0% – Aerial Win%, 1st among all players

I was seeing people say that this was a man-of-the-match type performance and while I thought it was good, especially for a debut in a tough environment that might be a little much. That being said I think that he showed a lot of his strengths; his passing is the real deal and his calmness when under pressure while picking his spots to carry are very good, I think he also showed some of the things that he got better at while on loan, specifically using his size to see out threats without needing to commit to challenges (very VvD).

I am very glad to see Saliba back with Arsenal and it is a great headache to have options among the back line.


Sources: Opta via Whoscored, StatsZone and my own database

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How is it possible for 50% aerial wins to be the highest among all players?


Everyone else was below 50 %😀

Bleeding gums murphy

Doh 🤓


Perhaps there was a lot of folk on 50%?


I think he means that someone must be beating him in the duels so why aren’t they higher but overlooked that he could be on 50% with other players.


I am puzzled as well. Unless we say that most headers were not duels but involved 3+ players…

would love to have the explanation.

DB’s first touch

Possibly because not all aerial duels result in someone winning the ball/duel (i.e., you can win or lose a duel or have the duel have an inconclusive outcome maybe where the ball comes off both players like we often see during corner kicks or with both players missing the ball)??


Saliba <3


Thanks Scott I loved his performance but had another man in our midfield as our Motm.
It’s still a spectacular performance by. A 21 Y/O in his debut on opening day as well .


Xhaka? I’m not sure anyone else was really that good.


Also should not come as a surprise that Saliba also has Gabriel as his fourth forename – change your name to Gabriel to play for Arsenal, 😜


Odeegard needs to work on his tendency to disappear in tough physical matches and extreme one footedness. Otherwise he will lose a starting place soon.


Maybe he wasn’t super influential but he didn’t disappear vs CP. Also, I cannot see him losing his starting spot any time soon. He’s a maestro.


Infinite – the number of times Steve Nicol failed to disguise his disgust that Arsenal won.


1 – position in the Premier League.


3 – way points against our bogey team.



Teryima Adi

Great job, Scot. We appreciate you.


We’ve created a 3-point gap between us and last season’s league winners. 😀

37 finals to go.

Jean Ralphio

Closer than I would have liked after the first 20 minutes. Zinchenko and White were targeted and were beaten too easily. Hopefully we iron this out. Still feel we need Tielemans but am interested to know how Viera does in that Xhaka role.


Solid start. Impressive first half for sure that we really could have used a second goal from, bit managed to kill it off against the run of play. Exceptional debut from Saliba. Absolute beast. Will be interesting to see the selection when Tomi is fit.

A Different George

I want to make it clear that I think stats often help a lot, including to correct an exaggerated first impression (a player makes an early poor pass, and we think he had a poor game, when the statistics make it clear he had a good game). But sometimes, the impression you get is so clear that if you understand the game, it is extremely unlikely that contrary statistics are meaningful. I think this is one of those cases: I (and everyone I know of) thinks that Saliba had a fantastic match, that he was indeed MOTM (both Gabriel and… Read more »


These stats align with how I felt from about 30 minutes onward and especially in the second half. I was so excited to watch Arsenal again, then I felt so uncomfortable. Why was Ramsey booting the ball upfield every time? It just kept coming straight back at us. Where is the guile? Where is the control? Don’t get me wrong I am so pleased with the result, but this was not a dominant performance and these numbers show that.


Yeah definitely and with you on Ramsdale. Still, when it came to it we had the edge of quality for those big saves to be made, and clearances. Zaha was well managed by White.


Great result for Arsenal. Arteta needs to to do something for when we start loosing control of the game like in the lengthy middle part of the game. Other positive is that Vierra is doing so much better with what he has available at Crystal palace than most of the other managers. Looks like someone we go after if Arteta does not work out. Just to be clear Arteta has done things which Vierra could not probably, has my full support, but we need to be in top 4 minimum this season for that to continue. Otherwise Vierra feels like… Read more »


“No. 5”.
Well done Scott!


What’s that about?


In my player ratings I immediately awarded Saliba motm but I immediately took it back because 1) I thought my Saliba bias was shining through and 2) it couldn’t have been possible, in his first match in an Arsenal shirt that our debutant at RCB would earn such honours. But when the motm laurels started to be thrown at him left and right I felt vindicated. We gutted out a scrappy win. Great, we will need more of them to get back to top 4. 24-12 Zone 14 touches however is worrying. We should not be allowing such vulnerability, and… Read more »

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