Monday, February 26, 2024

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: By the numbers

In the buildup to this match, Mikel Arteta stressed that the team needed a reset. They had just been through a punishing schedule of 8 matches in 27 days, with 4 of the last five away from home. Looking at what teams that have had to do a similar schedule had done this weekend it would be pretty hard to say anything other than this is taxing and makes the a vulnerable.

Well, it sure looks like he got it as Arsenal came out and re-found their attacking mojo and put themselves back on top of the table.

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: By the graphics

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: By the numbers

24- Shots for Arsenal, a new high for the Premier League this season. This is the 4th time this season Arsenal have taken more than 20 shots, and is more shots than Arsenal took combined against Leeds and Southampton.

9 – Shots on target for Arsenal, tied for the most Arsenal have had this season, this is the second time after Tottenham where they have put this many shots on frame.

5 – Goals for Arsenal, their highest tally this season. This equals the total that they had produced over the 3 previous matches in the Premier League.

91.8 – Arsenal’s current pace for goals scored this season (excluding own goals), in line with Arteta’s target for what it takes to compete with the best teams.

5 – Shots allowed by Arsenal, this is tied for the second-fewest this season. This is the 7th time this season that Arsenal have allowed less than 10 shots.

3 – Shots from Nottingham Forrest that were the results of Arsenal Errors (Xhaka, Partey, Gabriel)

20.3 – The average distance in yards for the Nottingham Forrest shots, the longest average that Arsenal have allowed this season.

0.8 – Arsenal’s goals allowed this season (excluding own goals) per match.

This was pretty much as complete of a team performance as you can ask for. Arsenal were simply dominant in this one by just about any measure you can come up with. I was starting to get a little bit of worry in the first half that we might see an unfortunate repeat of other performances where Arsenal failed to add on to a 1 goal lead but the team came out strong in the second half and put that to bed early. The second goal looked to be a lubricant to getting everything else flowing as the team from that point forward played some really nice attacking soccer.

I would be a bit remiss if I didn’t also call out that in the second half the defense did an amazing job keeping Forest away. Forest managed just one shot in the second half and that was with the last kick of the match.

Reiss Nelson surprises and delights

38 – Pass Attempts

92.1% – Pass completion %, 3rd highest among all players

3 – Deep Completions (passes completed within 25 yards of goal)

2 – Open Play Key Passes

3 – Shots (all three big chances)

1.38 – Expected Goals

2 – Goals

9 – Progressive Carries, leading all players

9 – Progressive Passes Received, 2nd highest among all player

9 – Touches in the box, 3rd highest among all players

4 – Times Dispossessed

1 – Tackle

2 – Fouls

5 – Ball Recoveries

If you had Reiss Nelson comes on and score a brace and looks like a dominant player on your bingo card congratulations. I don’t believe you if didn’t have a bit of worry when it was his number that came up to replace Bukayo Saka.

All I can say is WOW and congratulations to Nelson. He was spectacular today. After so much time on the fringes and getting an unfortunate injury that limited him in the Europa League it is great to see a player that has always held so much promise and came through the Arsenal academy come on and perform well. It looked like it meant a lot to him as well.

Thomas Partey was the hub

103 – Passes completed, leading all players

90.4% – Pass completion percentage

10 – Progressive passes, leading all players

16 – Final third entry passes completed

830.5 – Yards of progressive passing, leading all players

0.5 – Goal probability added (a measure of how the change in scoring probability changes between actions) with his passing in this match, leading all players.

0 – Times Dispossessed.

1 – Miscontrol (this was deemed the error and led to a Forrest shot)

4 – Shots, 1 on target, 1 goal

2 – Tackles and dribbled past 0 times

6 – Ball recoveries

In this match Partey showed that he was one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League. After a few rocky matches where teams were able to quiet him down a bit, Partey looked back to his best. Nottingham Forest will probably have regretted giving him the time and space to pick out the passes because on this day he absolutely punished them. He played several passes in the left channel to Granit Xhaka (whose attacking instincts continue to impress) that made you want to applaud and did well to set the tempo.  In the second half I think that he was also much better at helping to shift the ball from the left to the right much quicker adding energy to an attack that at the end of the first half at times grew a bit static.


Sources: Opta via Whoscored, FBRef, and my own database.

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Olawale Olayemi

I’ve been waiting to make love to this post. So sexy

Left Testicle

I hope you have screen wipes!

Olawale Olayemi

Your moniker makes me scared to answer! 😂


Your name!!

Mayor McCheese

Nice! How many touches are you getting in the final third before hitting the xG spot?


Having been there I’m surprised that Forest even got to 0.5XGs, most of their shots were directly at Ramsdale. And there weren’t many of those (2 on target).

TP was great, if he stays fit we have a far better chance of staying up the top of the table.

The field tilt tells the story of how dominant we were, their most usual tactic was long balls hit and hope, which Saliba was all over.

Great to win well, though we won’t get many weaker opponents this season.

Scott Willis

The reason the xG for Forrest is high is that 3 of the 5 shots came as a result of errors and that is a pretty big signal of a decent opportunity to attack a team out of shape.


Thanks, interesting.

Boy Bastin

Clearly, any pressing of the reset button didn’t occur until the half time break against Forest. Prior to that Arsenal looked much as they did in their previous four or five games – good football, good build up, but ultimately little by way of cutting edge to transform all that effort into more goals. Indeed, Forest had a mini revival just prior to the break. However, after the button was pressed it was, literally, a whole new ball game of course. Let’s hope we can maintain yesterday’s second half performance level for the PL games coming up with Chelsea and… Read more »


Thomas Partey is unbelievably good at what he does. For me he remains the closest thing to prime Busquets in the game today, with the precision with which he can read and manipulate passing lanes in midfield. It’s such a beautiful and underrated skill. I almost want to say it’s like rather than seeing a static picture of a midfield as it is, as some midfielders do, he instead sees it as a living, moving thing that has behaviours and patterns, and moves within it. A player like Partey at his best knows both how to recognise and predict those… Read more »


Keeping Partey fit all season would be our biggest challenge.


I think he’s the best footballer at our club.


Cheers mate. You made a living post.


Great bro, you have explained everything


Great win – even with a few squeaky moments before halftime. Can’t help but feel we are a little suspect to the counter without Zinchenko in the team. Feels like we’re still missing him. The dynamism of him slotting in as the extra CM add some much complexity to our possession game. Without him everything channels through Partey, which makes any error he commits seem like a potential catastrophe. And while he’s been amazing this season, it’s impossible for him to play completely mistake free. Come on Zinny. Related to that, what do we do with Tierney? He’s too good… Read more »


I wondered if something had gone on behind the scenes. Was a ten minute or so period yesterday when Cedric was playing left back, having come on for Tomi. I guess just getting some minutes in his legs, but you’d have thought it’d be more useful for Tierney to get minutes. I’d still be interested to see a 4-3-3 with KT at lb and Zinny at defensive midfielder, but slotting in to make 5 at the back when needed. I think it could be really slick away at the big boys- City in particular where I think Partey alone will… Read more »


He’s mad injury prone though. We need both just because of that. I really rate Tierney but I do think he isn’t quite in Arteta’s mold so completely get your point.

Edus Steak Handbag

No Arsenal player who’s played under Mikels system is going for a cut price I promise you that


Could anyone please help me understand this xG, how credible is that as a figure understanding our performance?

When I watched the game I thought that we had a lot of chances that we should been able to put away and an xG of 3.4 just seems so low for me.


It would be useful to know what an xG is. Forest hit two shots on target, from outside the area, but they were straight at the keeper so v easy to deal with. Yet they have 0.5 xGs when I’d say it was closer to zero!

Can anyone throw any light on this?


Thanks, makes sense, maybe a better model to use as the Forest xG makes more sense in my opinion at 0.13.

Thanks for the great work you do.


Plus Nelson had three big chances, scoring two, so I reckon he should have lots of xG.


Thank you, I appreciate your post as well as your explanation here. Very helpful!

Key takeaway – Arsenal absolutely dominated.



Hi Scott – many thanks for this as usual. The stats certainly support the eye test – that it was a complete performance. One question about how the stats reflect a sequence of play like the one that resulted in Nelson’s second goal. He took the initial shot, which was saved, then took a second, which scored. From an xG perspective, is that treated as two separate shots or is it handled differently because it came from the same sequence of play? Also, in that sequence, he shot the first with his left and then scored with his right (a… Read more »

It Is What It Is

Would xG for Nelsons second factor in the sprawled keeper’s position?


Field tilt looks like tour de France stage profile 🙂


Ha ha. Good one. That’s an especially tough climb at the end there


Credit to Elliott for naming the ArsenalVision pod “reisset”
Took me much longer than I’d like to admit to get it. I kept trying to say it in French lol

Mathew Lionnet

Hi Scott, do you use R or Python to run your models?? Asking for a data scientist…


Is it Forrest or Forest?


It is Marseille (Arsenal Team 2) vs Spuds tonight. Nice to hear Sanchez had fond memories of Arsenal.

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