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).
Sources: Opta via StatsZone, FBRef, my own database