Sunday, April 21, 2024

Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal – By The Numbers



Chelsea had endured an indifferent start to the season (P8, W3, D2, L3) as their prolonged period of transition continues. Nevertheless, they had won two straight league games heading into Saturday’s fixture, and their underlying metrics since Mauricio Pochettino took charge suggested they were better than their league position of 9th – Understat’s xPTS (points based on xG and xGA) had them in 4th.

5 – Arsenal had won five and lost just one of their last seven Premier League matches against Chelsea.

However, with only one win in their last 11 Premier League home games and a poor recent record against an Arsenal side fresh from defeating Manchester City, it appeared that the hosts were in for a difficult evening.

Bukayo Saka made his return, with Gabriel Jesus returning to a central role. Gabriel Martinelli started his first league game since recovering from an injury sustained against Everton, and, perhaps most surprisingly, Jorginho retained his place.

Yet, despite the favoured front three, Arsenal were far from their free-flowing best.

1 – Goal from inside the 6-yard box.

1 – Goal from outside the box.

1 – Big chance created and scored.

13 – Attempts in total, with 9 from inside the box.

0.99 – Expected goals (xG) for Arsenal, 0.55 from open-play and 0.45 from set pieces.

6 – Shots from set plays, with 5 of those coming from corners. Arsenal had 7 corners in total.

7.5 – Minutes per shot for Arsenal compared to 8.9 minutes per shot for Chelsea.

3 – Shots on target (23%).

1 – Error from the opposition that resulted in a goal.

* The graph on the right only considers passes (not carries). Forward passes are rated highly, while passes backward, away from goal, are rated negatively.

46 – Only three Chelsea players – Levi Colwill (63), Enzo Fernandez (51), and Thiago Silva (49) – completed more passes than David Raya. The Arsenal keeper attempted 17 long balls, completing 7 (41%), and 100% of his 26 medium-range passes. However, the short pass he misplaced (8 out of 9 were successful) was a terrible ball straight to Cole Palmer, and it probably should have cost us the match. That said, on a positive note, he doesn’t let the mistakes affect him too much. There was a save from Nicolas Jackson’s feet that could easily have resulted in a penalty if he had faltered.

2 – Switches of play from Declan Rice (1st overall). The pendulum swung when Robert Sanchez made a careless pass, which found Rice 14 minutes from time. His drive and influence have been crucial in many of our performances, especially considering that we haven’t quite found our attacking rhythm this season.

3 – Key passes for Bukayo Saka (1st overall). He was relatively quiet by his own standards but provided an assist to secure us a point. He possesses the ability to create opportunities at any moment in a game, even when he’s not at his best.

12 – Passes into the final third for Jorginho (no Chelsea player made more than 3), 2 passes into the penalty area (joint 1st overall), 10 progressive passes (1st overall), and 29 completed passes in the opposition half (joint 1st overall with Martinelli).

1 – Identical action by Mudryk, mirroring Saliba’s attempt to head the ball, with the only difference being that he gets there first and heads the ball onto the hand of the Arsenal defender.

5 – Arsenal’s substitutes have provided five goals and three assists in their nine Premier League matches this season.

When it seemed like Arsenal were heading for our first defeat this season, we managed to turn it around, despite not being at the races for most of the game. While we didn’t control the match as usual and were drawn into a physical battle by Chelsea, many of the starting eleven were not at their usual standard; however, most of the substitutes made a positive impact, and credit must go to Mikel Arteta for the changes.

With a quick turnaround before Tuesday’s match at Sevilla, hopefully, we just needed to shake off a poor performance.

Follow me on Twitter @jonollington

SourcesOpta, fbref, @Orbinho twitter feed

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RE: Handball. IMO this is EXACTLY how the rule should be. If your arm is hanging out there for the wolves and the ball hits it, it’s a handball. If it’s tucked in alongside the body and hits it, not a handball. All grey area is removed. The whole “hand-to-ball” vs “ball-to-hand” is completely subjective and leaves things up to bias and interpretation – the less of that the better. Defenders just have to get used to keeping their arms in (Koscienly used to do this always). We benefitted from the same call against Spurs and it was the correct… Read more »


I don’t think the handball vs Sp*rs going our way and the decision that went against us on Saturday are comparable. Against Spuds, if the ball doesn’t hit his hand, that’s almost a certain goal; against Chelsea, that ball goes out if it doesn’t hit Saliba’s hand. I realize that according to the rule, that’s perhaps of less importance, but if so, that’s an issue with the rule, which shouldn’t be subjective.


So you’re saying it’s only a handball if it’s going in the goal? So we now need to wait for hawkeye to draw some more bogus lines whether or not the ball was going in?Sorry, but that makes no sense. The issue with handball is no one ever really knows wtf a handball is and what it’s not. Any contact with arms away from the body vs arms beside the body clears ALL that up. The only reason there is any push back is because the “old skool” punditry crowd can’t handle that things need to be different from back… Read more »

SLC Gooner

Well, I guess count me in the old school crowd. I’m OK with there being some level of judgement involved. Two issues with your fairly absolutist declaration: 1. It looks ridiculous for defenders to be running and jumping with their arms effectively strapped to their sides. 2. The award of a PK for a ball hitting a hand slightly out from the body from 2 yards away over in the corner of the box is not really proportionate to the likelihood of a goal or the severity of the infraction.


So then let’s say instead of 2 yards it is not 3 yards. Is that ok too? What about 4 yards, 5 yards? How much is this distance dependent on the speed of the ball? See how it’s all down to interpretation of at what point the defender is “in control” of his actions vs not. The new handball rule removes that for the better IMO. I’m glad you trust the PGMOL with judgement calls. I however would not trust them to go to the shops with 5 quid for a pie – for sure those fat bastards would eat… Read more »

A Different George

Of course you’re right. And the reason you are right is that the handball rule has a purpose–to prevent a player from gaining an unfair advantage by using his hand or arm. It’s not meant to be like some game show on television where you earn points for completing stunts (can you cross this ditch without spilling the water?). It’s supposed to make football a better game to play and to watch, not just easier to referee,

SLC Gooner

Exactly. Rules and rule changes accomplish 2 things. 1. Make the game more enjoyable to watch. 2. Make it more fair.
Having defenders running around in the box like unnaturally stuck up penguins doesn’t make it more enjoyable.
Awarding a PK (0.75 xG) for an inadvertant handball way over by the corner flag on a cross isn’t a proportionate/fair outcome. Probably those should be changed to indirect free kicks.


No, that’s not at all what I’m saying.
The two situations are not comparable because one is almost a certain goal, the other is absolutely not. You don’t need hawkeye to see that. See point 2 from SLC Gooner.

Man Manny

4 – the number of points Trossard’s two goals have given Arsenal this season. That is the very definition of impact substitution!


The Jorginho stats are interesting because I thought he was one of our worst players on the day, particularly off the ball. It may be because I’ve gotten used to seeing Rice or Partey in that position, but I felt Jorginho struggled against the physicality of Chelsea’s midfield. Would be interested in see his defensive stats from the game.


Looking at the xG graph, most of Chelsea’s came from the pelanty. It puts a different light on what was perceived as their dominance of the game before we scored.

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