Sunday, May 26, 2024

Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: By the numbers

This is a bit delayed because I found myself taking a mini vacation to San Francisco.

I got to enjoy this match with the wonderful Bay Area Gooners at their wonderful home pub of Maggie Magherys. It was very cool to talk with the people that recognized me and a great atmosphere to watch the match.

Let’s dig in and enjoy this very impressive Arsenal performance again.

Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: By the graphics

Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: By the numbers

6 – Shots on target for Arsenal, this is the seventh match this season where they have put 6 or more shots on target.

13.8 – Arsenal’s average shot distance in yards (excluding the penalty) in this match, this is the second lowest average shot distance for Arsenal this season.

8 – Shots total for Liverpool, this is the fewest they have taken in a match this season and the fewest they have had since October 3, 2021 against Manchester City where they only managed 6.

1 – Shot from Mo Salah, the fewest shots he has had in a match going back to February 13th last season against Burnley

5 – The number of times this season this season that Arsenal have scored 3 or more goals, Arsenal did it 9 times total last season.

2.56 – Arsenal’s current goals per match, their record for a Premier League campaign is 2.28 per match in 2004-05

44% – Arsenal’s share of total possession in this match

57% – Arsenal’s share of the final third possession in this match.

41 – Touches in the box for Arsenal, this is the most Liverpool have allowed since November 10, 2019 against Manchester City. This is tied for the 5th highest for Arsenal this season.

21 – Touches in the box for Liverpool, this is the fewest that they have had this season. This is also the fewest they have going back to April 10th last season where they managed just 19 against Manchester City. Arsenal also managed to hold them to 21 last season at the Emirates Stadium.

This was an interesting statistical match by the different periods of the game. Arsenal obviously got a goal in the first minute and after that sort of played a bit more passive. Arsenal looked to keep Liverpool out of dangerous areas, limiting them to just 12 final final third entry passes completed and 11touches in the box in the first half.

Arsenal ened the half with a great goal and carried that into the second half applying additional pressure. In the first 22 minutes of the first hlaf, Arsenal started their possessions on average 57 yards from goal compared to 85 for Liverpool Arsenal had 4 shots to 1, 14 touches in the box to 1 and 61 final third toucehs to 17. Unfortunatley that one Liverpool shot ended up in the back of the net.

Thankfully Arsenal were able to carry that over into the final period, winnin that 4 shots to 2, with 15 touches in the box to 7. It was really interesting that Liverpool could not significant sustainted pressure on the Arsenal box in the closing minutes.

Arsenal came away looking very much like deserved winners having passed a very big test in back to back weeks.

Martinelli and Saka have a big game perfomance

6 – Shots total, 4 for Saka and 2 from Martinelli

3 – Goals, including 2.6 expected goals. 2.0 for Saka and 0.6 for Martinelli

14 – Progressive carries, 5 for Saka and 9 for Martinelli

18 – Touches in the box, 8 for Saka and 10 for Martinelli

16 – Progressive receptions, 6 for Saka and 10 Martinelli

5 – Dribbles completed, 3 for Saka and 2 for Martinelli

33 – Pressures, 15 for Saka and 18 for Martinelli

1 – Key pass for Martinelli

3 – Progressive passes for Martinelli

These guys terrorized Tottenham and then just had the audacity to go and repeat it again against Liverpool. It is hard to remember two back to back performances in bigger games where Arsenal’s two wide players played at this level.

I don’t think that there is a pair of wide attackers that I would trade these two for right now. Martinelli feels like the league is walking up that he is an emerging super star with Bukayo Saka off to a “slow start” where he has produced 3 goals and 4 assists for a not bad 0.8 goals and assists per 90 this season.

I don’t think that you can discount the coolness with which he converted that penalty. I love watching these guys play right now.

Arsenal end another week at the top of the table and while Manchester City are freakily good, there has been nothing flukey about this Arsenal performance to start the season.


Sources: Opta via WhoScored, my own database. StatsBomb via FBref.

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Nice one again, Scott. Really enjoyed this, like I’ve been lapping up every post analysis since the game tbh. Absolutely buzzing. Quick question, what is the xg of penalty kicks according to you?


0,95 so I’ve heard.

Nwobodo Fortune

I know the penalty Kane took against us was exactly 0.8
I don’t know if that applies to all penalty kicks or if it is individualized.


It is 0.8


At time of writing (January 6, 2021), 1,894 out of 2,278 penalties awarded in Premier League history have been scored, equating to a success rate of 83.14 per cent (per SQAF). 15% are saved.


In simple terms, for every 6 penalty kicks, 5 go in.


Loved that the DJ played Saka aah Emile Smith Rowe song at the end. The stadium was rocking. Crazy to think last season that Martinelli was our second choice RW. ESR is probably the most underrated youngster in Europe.


I think it’s all down to consistency in terms of starting games. Martinelli has greatly profited from the unfortunate injury issues affecting ESR. If they were sharing 70, 60, 20, 15 minutes here and there he wouldn’t be the beast he looks presently. You can see the confidence in him that only a regular player can have. Anyone who has ever played football even at the lowest level and wasn’t guaranteed 90 minutes knows the feeling when it clocks 50 minutes and you are constantly looking across the touchline to see if your sub is ready. Even when the coach… Read more »


Great as always, well worth the waiting. What a performance! You know they’re playing great football when it’s this hard packning PotM. And despite City looking awesome they’ve dropped points in two games! COYG!



Boy Bastin

The analysis shows how well Arsenal are doing. Long may it continue.

I don’t think we should read too much into City dropping points though. No team is going to win every game, not even City. And the possibility exists that we may drop points as well of course. Hopefully, Liverpool can slow them down at the weekend and we may be able to benefit from that.


Agree with your second paragraph which is what I meant but didn’t write. Was a bit too early in the morning for me to be coherent apparently.
Such an amazing start to the season. And have all the stats confirm what we see with our eyes! Absolutely love this team and the run they are giving us this far!


Great stats. The numbers show that, in all but possession, Arsenal dominated Liverpool. That to me is an amazing demonstration of progress and an announcement that we are “back”.
I hope the team can keep it going and we get a winger and CM in Jan to safeguard against the usual end of season injury hiatus and league melt down. I wonder if the early renewal of the Adidas deal with up front cash was done to enable this to happen. Excited about the future!


Great stats. The numbers show that, in all but possession, Arsenal dominated Liverpool. That to me is an amazing demonstration of progress and an announcement that we are “back”.
I hope the team can keep it going and we get a winger and CM in Jan to safeguard against the usual end of season injury hiatus and league melt down. I wonder if the early renewal of the Adidas deal with up front cash was done to enable this to happen. Excited about the future.


Hi Scott. Loved the analysis. Great stuff. I’m a bit confused by your final chart. The heading is G and xG but the axis says xG for and xG against. Is it comparing goals vs expected goals or the difference between expected goals scored vs expected goals conceded?


Agreed, it looks like it must be xG on the Y axis given the way that the number is falling as you go down the axis. Hence it can’t be G on that axis as it wouldn’t make sense, (City aren’t scoring less than a goal a game…) so the title of the graph looks to be the problem. The Arsenal position on the graph is consistent with the XGs for and against in the Liverpool game.


Hey C.B. you are reading the graph wrong, but I can see why. The vertical axis’s value gets smaller as you go up. So, the fact that Man City are so far removed from all the other teams shows that they have the highest XG for and the lowest XG against. We are second on both those stats. Make sense?

Sir 'Chips' Keswick

That’s what I thought, but I think the axes are a mixture of Goals and xG, weighted 70% to xG and 30% actual goals. So Sunday’s game would be plotted as 1.23 goals conceded by Arsenal (0.9 at 70% and 2 at 30%)

Scott Willis

They are combined and I just called it xG because it’s 70%


Hi Scott – was going to ask about the usefulness of this chart over the long term but I think you addressed that in your comment above when you say “especially at this stage of the season.” We know that over the course of a few matches, or weeks, or even months, a team can under or over perform its xG. We heard on the Arsecast that Everton, going into the weekend, had conceded a total of seven goals this season but had an xG against of 14. Clearly not sustainable over time; they will converge at some point. So… Read more »

Another Paul

Thanks Scott. At some stage I’d like to see Saliba progressive pass stats. Many of our good attacks seem to stem from Saliba 15-20 yard well weighted forward passes to midfield or pockets between the lines. From what I have seen he is a really good passer of the ball from the back. Wonder if stats confirm that.
Thanks, Paul


Love the analysis! (Partly, it just keeps the buzz of them game going for me.) Was a little surprised at how historically strong the 2.56 goals/game is for us. Have epl goals/game been creeping up over time?

Finally, watched back the 1st half yesterday and was just amazed at how Jesus seemed to be eveywhere. What a dynamo!

Bukake Saka

Hey can you tell me where I can watch the games back?



Also, at least inthe US, Peacock.


I like how there were three or four stats that said it was Liverpools worst whatever since such and such date against city. The numbers are similar. Shows the level we were at on Sunday.


1 amazing dummy by Big Gabi to free Saka for the 2 goal !


Yes! He raced up, drew the CB to him, and had the awareness to let the ball run to Saka. He’d checked where his winger was a second earlier and knew he’d continue the run and stay onside. A lot has been written about Gabriel’s defensive errors, but every time he makes one we win, and he’s usually part of the fightback.


Mentality Monster!

Naked Cygan

If I had to pick an area to improve on it would be with Gabriel at CB. He gives 200% but there seems to be a pattern of minor errors leading to goals for our opponents. The mentality the team showed to take lead against Liverpool 3 times was amazing. Next 3 premier league games are also very winnable, so if we can keep our first team fresh we should be good for 9 points.


I’m all in on Gabriel but I agree with the above. It’s just that we now have a team of five or six very good players and a similar number of great players. That means that our biggest area of improvement is with a very good player. Nice to see that the quality bar has been raised so high.


By the Numbers is my favorite column on my favorite blog. Brilliant job again; thanks.

I have to admit that at the end of the game I realized we deserved the win but did not realize how thoroughly we outplayed ‘pool. They had the quality players to make the most of their few opportunities.


I was impressed with them for that. They always looked dangerous the few times they beat our press. That shows how far this boys have come, they can now laugh about the music thing.


Are Adidas going to make the next kit with pockets in the shorts for our defenders?

A Different George

Hi Scott,

I know you said you had decided not to show the passing chain diagram (I assume it’s a question of space), but I hope you put it back. I thought it was one of the most useful diagrams because you could see so much.

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