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Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal: The Debrief
Breaking down the stats for a thrilling match that moved Arsenal back to the top of the table
As you may have seen and if not well here is the news, I am not doing the By The Numbers column on Arseblog News. I wasn’t able to dedicate the time to commit to getting that post out with my priority working on content here. This will take the place of that (name might be a work in progress so let me know if you have any suggestions) with generally the same type of content and a bit more cold and rational than the post-match instant reactions. I want to thank Andrew for the opportunity to write the column on his website, it was a great run.
Okay, let’s get into what was a pretty interesting match.
Aston Villa 2 (0.3)-(3.5) 4 | Arsenal The Graphics
To say that this was a game of two halves is a bit cliche but cliches exist because they are true.
2 - The number of shots by Arsenal in the first half. Aston Villa didn’t create too much more with 4 but that was enough to score 2 goals.
0 - Big chances for Arsenal in the first half. Aston Villa had 0.
17 - Touches in the box for Arsenal in the first half. Aston Villa had 5.
106 - Pass attempted that started in the final third in the first half for Arsenal. Aston Villa had 7.
18 - The number of shots by Arsenal second half. Aston Villa also had 4 shots in the second half.
5 - Big chances for Arsenal in the second half. Aston Villa had 0.
31 - Touches in the box for Arsenal in the second half. Aston Villa had 6.
99 - Pass attempted that started in the final third in the second half for Arsenal. Aston Villa had 28.
Arsenal had a ton of possession in the first half, they ended up with 68% of the total passes. They had all the territory as well with 90% of the field tilt. What they did not have was much threat. They had 145 touches in the final third, with just 17 of them coming in the box, and only 21 within 25 yards of goal. This translated into them just having 2 shots and neither were all that great of chances.
Arsenal’s right side in the first half seemed broken, Bukayo Saka really struggled to have any of his attempts come off with just the one progressive pass, he did do better with the ball at his feet adding 4 progressive carries (1 into the box), overall his 37.5% pass completion and 22 times lost possession was pretty ugly. Martin Odegaard was no better and maybe even worse because he lost a lot of the aggressiveness that was so good for him previously. He had just 1 progressive pass and had most of his passes going backwards. Ben White was the same story, he led the team in touches but really didn’t do too much to get things going, with 4 final third entries but just one progressive pass.
On the right, Leandro Trossard had the best stats with 5 progressive passes and 4 deep completions but it came to nothing with 0 shot contributions.
The stats for the second half possession-wise are essentially the same, 70% possession and 75% field tilt. The big difference was they turned their 144 touches in the final third into 31 touches in the box and 45 touches within 25 yards of goal. That’s a change from 12% in the box to 22% and it made a huge difference with Arsenal’s ability to create threat.
Arsenal really piled pressure on early and then late and it ultimately ended up yielding a very important goal for the team.
With Manchester City blowing their own lead the title race feels like it has creaked back open for Arsenal and having the ability to go up a gear after a very disappointing first half (in reality that was two halves in a row where things felt broken) is a positive sign for the team.
21 - Shot total for Arsenal in this match, this is the 7th time this season that Arsenal have taken more than 20 shots.
6 - Shots taken by Bukayo Saka, leading all players, Eddie Nketiah had an impressive 5.
3.5 - Expected goals for Arsenal in this match, this is the highest expected goals tally for Arsenal this season.
1.4 - Expected goals for Nketiah in this match, leading all players. Eddie is going through a bit of a slump but it is still at least good to see him continue to get shots off even if them not turning into goals is a bit worrying.
Adam wrote about him last week putting his performance in context of other ‘top’ strikers.
5 - Shots on target for Arsenal, with a post-shot xG of 2.0
5 - Shots on target for Aston Villa, with a post-shot xG of 1.2
Jorginho fills in and steps up
79 - Pass Attempts, led all players
88.6% - Pass completion percentage
106.8% - Pass Efficiency (how his pass completion compared to expected pass completion, over 100 means he completed more passes than expected)
7 - Final 3rd Entry Passes, second among all players
8 - Progressive Passes, led all players
6 - Long Passes completed, led Arsenal
75.0% - Long Pass completion percentage
8 - Deep Completions (not from Cross), led all players
475 - Progressive Pass Distance, 3rd on Arsenal
2 - Key Passes
1 - Shot, leading to an own goal
244 - Progressive Carry Distance in yards, 6th on Arsenal
6 - Progressive Carries, 4th on Arsenal
3 - Tackles, 2nd among all players
2 - Dribbled Past
2 - Fouls
3 - Ball Recoveries
1 - Aerial Duel Won
Jorginho had tough shoes to fill stepping into the middle of the Arsenal midfield and I think he did admirably here. I was already a pretty big proponent of him still being an above-average Premier League player so maybe my stock for him was already pretty high but this plus what he did against Manchester City being thrown straight into the fire has been on the more rosy side even for what I expected.
He was probably a bit unlucky to not get a goal straight away from his shot because he caught it pure and put it towards the top corner, I really enjoyed his reaction as went from agony and ecstasy in a matter of a second as it hits the post and then bounces off Martinez.
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Title hopes back from the brink
35% - Arsenal title odds after the loss to Manchester City
49% - Arsenal’s title odds on FiveThirtyEight after the results Saturday.
The crazy win probability of this match.
This was a roller coaster of emotion and that continued with the rest fo the results Saturday, with Manchester City getting ahead and pretty effectively battering Nottingham Forest to only concede a late equalizer that puts Arsenal back in the title driver’s seat.
I wrote about the importance of this run of matches ahead for having any shot of getting back into the race and it felt for 90 minutes it was slipping away only to be recovered.
Then improved on later in the day. This soccer thing is a funny little game and I enjoy the hell out of it. Enjoy the long weekend everyone!