Yesterday was pretty fantastic.
Things started with Manchester City dropping points and ended with Arsenal extending their lead at the top of the table.
This will be the last by the numbers until after the World Cup, so a bit of a higher-level view of things as we prepare for a break from Premier League action.
Wolves 0-2 Arsenal: By the graphics
Wolves 0-2 Arsenal: By the numbers
2 – Goals for Arsenal in this match
33 – Goals for Arsenal this season
0 – The number of matches this season where Arsenal have failed to score
89.6 – Arsenal’s current pace for Goals scored this season.
87 – Arsenal’s record for goals scored in a 38 match League season (2004-05)
“To be with the top teams this season you need to score 90 to 100 goals at least,” said Mikel Arteta in March 2022. Well, the team is tracking that goal really well right now, and he certainly wasn’t wrong that this sort of goal tally would put Arsenal among the top teams.
0 – Goals allowed by Arsenal in this match
11 – Goals allowed by Arsenal, tied for the fewest (but behind Newcastle on a per-match basis)
29.9 – The number of goals allowed that Arsenal are on pace for. That would be the lowest since 2007-08 when Arsenal allowed just 31 goals.
7 – The number of clean sheets so far in the Premier League this season, including 3 in a row.
1 – The number of times that Arsenal have allowed more than 11 shots in a match (Leeds away).
10% – The percentage of the shots Arsenal have conceded this season that are the result of an error. (11 errors and 112 shots allowed).
The Title Challenge is Real
5 – Points lead in the table
December 30 – The date through which Arsenal are guaranteed to be top of the table through.
31% – The implied odds from the betting markets for Arsenal to win the Premier League
1.4 – Expected goals difference in this match (2.0 to 0.6).
9 – The number of times Arsenal have had an expected goals difference of 1 or greater this season. That is tied for the most with Manchester City.
I have been a bit unsure about Arsenal and the idea of a “title challenge,” but at this point it would be hard to say anything else.
Back in October I took a look at the schedule ahead for Arsenal and said if Arsenal can take 13 of 15 available points that is when I would start believing. This run of matches that Arsenal just came through were all winnable but they presented a tricky challenge of playing twice a week over a six-week stretch, and a number of tough away matches. One of the things that we have learned this season is that there are no easy matches in the Premier League, especially for a team away from home. Excluding Arsenal, teams are averaging just 0.95 points per match away from home, even amongst the big seven (excluding Arsenal) the points per match away from home is 1.42. Arsenal are currently winning 2.38 points per match away from home.
People (myself included to a certain extent) keep coming up with reasons to discount Arsenal and Arsenal keep overcoming the hurdles and tests that are put in front of them. Arsenal are just legit good now, full stop no need for qualifiers.
Gabriel Jesus against Wolverhampton Wanderers
32 – Pass Attempts
93.8% – Pass completion %
4 – Progressive Passes
5 – Shots
0.51 – xG
1 – Dribbles Completed
2 – Times Fouled
7 – Progressive Carries
6 – Progressive Passes Received
8 – Touches in the box
1 – Tackle
2 – Interceptions
2 – Blocked Passes
It is hard to put into words how important Jesus has been to Arsenal this season. There have been frustrations and worries about the finishing but that was a known issue when Arsenal signed him. What he adds to the all-around game is so good.
Would it be nice to start getting some more goals from him? Absolutely. I am also not overly worried about it… yet. So far this season Jesus has 7.7 expected goals and 5 actual goals. We are very much still in the small sample size area where a small swing can make this look better or worse.
I think at this stage it is best to look at what he is adding (and hope the goals will come).
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Sources: Opta via StatsZone, FBRef, my own database
The biggest concern for me is TP getting injured – last season we had 2.3 points per game when he played but 0.8 when he didn’t. I know we have improved since then but I’m sure we will have a drop-off if he isn’t playing (see the Man U game this season).
We have a crazily good first 11, some good subs but not enough if things go badly with injuries. Fingers crossed we are OK, there is a lot more physicality that for many years, our stats are incredible (Scott, thanks for doing them).
You regularly bring up that stat about TP but it’s not accurate.
He started 23 games, where we won 47 points (2.04ppg).
He didn’t start the other 15 games, where we won 22 points (1.46ppg).
You have the difference at a massive 1.5ppg when really it’s 0.58ppg in his favour. Which is still very good.
Arteta initially choosing Lokonga over Elneny cost us points in hindsight.
Other mitigating factors were Tomiyasu and Tierney (and Aubameyang) missing the final weeks – same time TP was absent.
TP is crazy important no doubt. But those stats ignore who else was also injured then. No Tierney, no Tomi, white missing some and Gabriel hurt. You can swap elneny in with the rest of the first 11 and we’re not totally screwed. Plenty of times last year – and this year – where that happened. We need him, but more importantly we need to keep the majority of the 11 fit.
Yeh lets hope they all have a good WC and return uninjured, we have seemed to address our injury problems we have had for so many seasons (touch wood) lets hope our players get the protection and care from their national teams
I thought Fabio viera gave his best performance yesterday in a position he’s more comfortable in…he’s not there physically yet but you can see what he’s all about….not sure he does anything better than Emile Smith Rowe yet….
I share that assessment.
I will also share that I was texting a friend during the game re ESR coming back into the team and adding enough depth, and hit send on this observation–“Vieira isn’t the answer right now”–and looked up just as Jesus slipped a pass to him in the box leading to his assist. Delicious irony! 🙂
So, you know… he has something. Maybe with a few more weeks of training sessions Vieira will start to really click within the team.
Nice stats…Fabio Vieria had a good game…he really contributed a lot more than I expected from him after some poor performances….more of the same from him hopefully…he should be pushing Odegaard for that first 11 spot as he is the better finisher.
Said as Odegaard just scored a brace… he’s wearing his shooting boots this season, Vieira currently should just be providing backup to xhaka and pushing for that position on the left side of midfield.
Yes he scored a brace doesn’t mean suddenly he is a top finisher…his finishing needs a lot of improving…when he has had to run a distance before facing the keeper to score, his finishing has been poor…most of his goals have been close range efforts…Vieria on the other hand scores all kinda goals…you need to have been following him from his Porto days to understand where I’m coming from. Vieria can compete for any of Odegaard/Xhaka positions. I’ve got a lot of belief in that guy to be a monster with time…just needs to bulk up now
In the past, it would have been ridiculous to argue that Arsenal are not genuine title contenders–indeed favourites. But the combination of financial doping plus astute management at Man City has changed everything. An absolutely extraordinary Liverpool team won one title when their performance would have won them four in a “normal” league. So, I think we actually have a chance to win but, despite our five point advantage, it is still significantly more likely that we will not. I enjoy watching this team more than I have enjoyed any Arsenal team in a long time. I can’t decide, from… Read more »
It is 100 percent the most enjoyable Arsenal team in a long time.
A great mix of players, fun attacking play and so far really great results.
Plus a really infectious manager
The most expensive team ever assembled, and current champions, signed one of the best players in the world over the summer – and Arsenal are expected to be challengers?
I’m not looking forward to the “Arsenal bottled it” headlines if we eventually fall back, but finishing 2nd/3rd would be an immense achievement and should be acknowledged.
That heat map just proved it. Jesus is everywhere ;D
We see what you did there.
He needs to dial it down a bit. I’d like a little private time now and again.
Could someone help out an old gooner and explain what all the abbreviations are in the stats.
I’d love to know what it all means 🤝
PPDA is the one I’m stuck on! Scott?
PPDA is passes per defensive action – I think it’s a measure of how many passes a team allows the opposition to make before getting a tackle, interception, ball recovery or clearance in – not sure exactly what counts.
What I’m unsure about is what “expected threat” means and how it’s calculated. I know that Chelsea got 0 against us last weekend.
Passes per defensive action.
Which I believe means the amount of passes you allow as a team before you block, intercept or tackle.
@Scott, by way of comparison, in how many games last year did we allow more than 11 shots?
13 times last season Arsenal allowed more than 11 shots.
We won’t win the title, but only because of squad depth and injuries this season. I don’t think we can get enough points if Partey or one or two others weren’t available.
I think we have just enough in defence with a bit of luck but not quite enough further forward.
May I be wrong!
It’s so good to see us playing with style again. Not only that though, we also have a huge amount of resilience. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this level.
In other news I noticed Emery’s English has massively improved since he was with us. I’m intrigued to see how he does at Villa now he’s able to get his message across more clearly.
Hi, Scott, Thanks for the great analysis.
Looking at Jesus’ heat map, it’s pretty obvious he operated in the wide forwards’ areas in this game quite a bit. I wonder who filled the middle attacking role when he was on the wings. I’d love to see some analysis of Martinelli and Saka’s actions in this game. Could one of them be our central striker?
I would say it’s a fairly fluid front four or even five. Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Jesus and even Xhaka/Vieira all pop up in the box throughout games depending on who is out wide.
I think the heat map is like this because he jumps for Ramsdales goal kicks and many throw ins.
Arsenal have done amazingly well so far, but it is a little premature to think about the title. The stats show dominance in matches but even Wolves had 11 shots on goal and another day some of those could have gone in, or Saliba could have been sent off. Against Leeds they were very fortunate to come away with a win and they clung on at the end against Southampton. As good as Arsenal are they have ridden their luck too. The real test will be the games against City and Newcastle. These are our closest and most dangerous rivals,… Read more »
Scott, just one gripe. Arsenal will be top of the table on January 1st, not December 30th. I know a pedantic note but is an important one, not only another month we can say we are still top but another year obvs…
I’m not sure this is correct as we and Man City both have two matches each before the New Year, the second for each of us being on 31st December….
Lol of course. I’m an idiot.
You should move to Australia, we will still be top after midnight New Year’s Day here….