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Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: The Debrief
Arsenal are back to winning ways
It was a nice little Saturday.
It started with Tottenham, collapsing in the most Tottenham way. I am sure we will still get some spin how this second loss in a row is actually a good thing and that Ange Posticoglu will use this to win manager of the month again.
Then Arsenal went out and took care of business again. That’s two wins on the bounce after the calamity at Newcastle.
On the opposite of that, it is now two losses in a row with things really spiraling for Newcastle. They got deservedly beaten by Bournemouth and looked quite poor.
Let’s dig into the Arsenal stats and performance.
Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: The Graphics
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Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: The Debrief
8 - Shots allowed by Arsenal, the 8th time this season that Arsenal have held their opponent under 10 shots in the League
100 - Shots allowed by Arsenal this season, 2nd fewest in the Premier League
0.3 - Expected goals allowed in this match, this is the 7th time this season Arsenal have held their opponent under 1.0 xG in the League
9.2 - Expected goals allowed total this season, 2nd fewest in the Premier League
0.04 - The average chance quality for Burnley in this match.
8 - Times this season that Arsenal has held their opponent to under 0.11 xG per shot, that is the League average total this season
19.1 - The average distance in yards for Burnley’s shots in this match
18.0 - Arsenal’s season average distance for shots faced against, the longest average in the Premier League this season
There has been a lot of discussion about Arsenal’s attack struggling and it has been a fair concern but there has not been equal praise for Arsenal’s defense. This unit this season has been ELITE.
Arsenal do not allow shots, they are currently allowing the second-fewest shots per match of any team in the top 5 league of Europe. The shots that Arsenal does allow are not high-quality shots, with the shots having an average quality of just 0.086 per shot below the average of 0.11. They are doing this by minimizing fast break chances and forcing teams to shoot from distance.
This is a bit against type given that Arsenal are a high possession (7th in possession), high-pressing team (7th in top 5 leagues in PPDA, 2nd in the Premier League) and it is a very positive base for Arsenal to build off of.
0 - Times this season that Arsenal have taken more than 20 shots in a match, Arsenal eclipsed that barrier 9 times last season.
33% - The percentage of matches that Arsenal have scored 3 or more goals in this season (4 of 12).
47% - The percentage of matches last season that Arsenal have scored 3 or more goals in this season (18 of 38).
25 - Goals scored in the Premier League tied with high-flying Liverpool with 4th most and ahead of “we always have a go, mate” Tottenham.
1.15 - Arsenal’s open play xG per match, 11th in the Premier League
0.88 - Arsenal’s set play xG per match, 1st in the Premier League
The worry about the open play xG is still valid but Arsenal but like the defense not getting the love, the set play production has also not gotten the same treatment.
5 - Shots from set play situations against Burnley
0.88 - Expected goals from set play situations against Burnley
2 - Goals from set play situations
Corner kick excellence
106 - Corner kicks this season, the most in the Premier League (next highest is 84)
5.6 - Expected goals from corner kicks this season, the most in the Premier League
7 - Goals from corner kicks this season, the most in the Premier League
42.5% - Arsenal’s percentage of corner kicks this season that have resulted in a shot. This is actually a touch below the League average of 43.2%.
0.053 - Arsenal’s xG per total corner this season, 6th in the Premier League. The Premier League average is 0.044
0.066 - Arsenal’s xG per total corner this season, 2nd in the Premier League. The Premier League average is 0.029
We all want to see more from Arsenal’s attack but it does seem like things are not quite as bad as it seems. Compared to last season things are still a bit behind schedule, Arsenal have scored 4 fewer goals from these same fixtures (and allowed 1 less) from 3.9 fewer expected goals, which has translated to 3 fewer points.
Given the injuries that Arsenal have had to contend with that’s not too shabby.
Oleksandr Zinchenko pulling strings
99 - Pass Attempts, leading all players
84.8% - Pass% with 108.8% Pass Efficiency (completed more passes than expected)
17 - Final 3rd Entry Passes completed, leading all players
15 - Progressive Passes, leading all players
9 - Deep Completions (not Cross), leading all players
1 - Key Pass for 0.10 xA
1 - Shot, worth 0.08 xG, beautifully put into the top corner
1 - Karate style finish
1 - Dribble Completed
5 - Progressive Carries
4 - Touches in the box
5 - Tackles, leading all players
0 - Dribbled Past he won 88% of his ground duels in this match (7/8)
2 - Blocked Passes
4 - Ball Recoveries
7 - Aerial Duel Won
88% - Aerial Win% (7/8)
0.85 - Goal Probability Added, second to Leandro Trossard
8.08 - Fields Gained with his ball progression, second only to William Saliba
It has been a bit of a rough season for Zinchenko, he started the season with an injury that kept him out of pre-season and made his introduction into the team slow. He has seen his place as a guaranteed starter when fit drop, due to his performance and the very good play from Takehiro Tomiyasu. It has been a pretty big departure from what we saw last year from him.
Here, he looked back to his best.
He was the hub that everything flowed through and responded with one of the best days you will ever see of progression from midfield. It was really good to say that from him, and if the attack is going to come back to life this year, it will probably take the players in these spots to have these kind of days. This is a positive step to rebuild the confidence that it can happen.
Trossard helps unclog the attack
36 - Passes attempted, Nketiah has averaged 16.7 per 90 and has only broken 20 passes attempted once in the Premier League (23 against Manchester United)
2 - Key passes, Nketiah has averaged 0.7 per 90 and had 2 or more twice this season
3 - Shots, Nketiah has averaged 2.9 per 90
7 - Progressive passes (from FBRef, he had 4 on my definition), Nketiah has averaged 1.3 per 90 and has not had more than 3 in a match this season
13 - Touches in the box, Nketiah has averaged 6.0 per 90 and has not had more than 7 in a match this season
38 - Touches in the final third, Nketiah has averaged 16.8 per 90 and has not had more than 20 in a match this season. The 38 touches in the final third is more than Nketiah has had in a match all season.
On Friday I wrote that I hoped that Mikel Arteta would stick with Trossard again at striker because he can help ask different questions than what Eddie Nketiah has done this year. He did and it went even more splendidly than I could have hoped.
This match did illustrate some of the things that I wanted to see from Trossard that I don’t think Nketiah has in his game. He was much more involved as a threat in the buildup for attacks. He wasn’t dropping deep just to drop and play a ball back where it came from but also looking to play something threatening.
8.5% - Nketiah’s percentage of passes that go forward this season
33% - Trossard’s percentage of passes in this match that went forward
What I didn’t expect was that Trossard would also match the area that Nketiah excels at, getting shots. That hadn’t been Trossard’s strength for his career but in this match, he showed some really nice attacking instincts and a desire to get on the end of attacking moves.
I don’t want any of this to diminish Nketiah, he is an important part of the squad and he has done admirably as a backup filling in for a key player. It does appear that with this Arsenal do have another option now to ask different questions of defenses.