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Classic Match xG: Liverpool 0, Arsenal 2 from 26 May 1989
I just finished watching the movie ‘89 on Netflix and it was a great look back at that amazing season.
Watching the movie really made me want to go back and have a chance to see the match and thankfully the full match is on YouTube.
While I was watching I decided that it would be fun to try to basically string my own data and take a look at the xG like a would for a regular match today.
Here are the results of that work:
To that end they really accomplished their goal. Liverpool passed through midfield well but really couldn’t get a final ball through Arsenal’s back three. Almost all of the Liverpool shots came from outside the box and a big portion of those were from set plays and free kicks.
Arsenal had a one half chance in the first half before they were able to score from a set play in the 52nd minute, with Alan Smith getting a free header to glance into the back of the net.
Arsenal had another great chance in the 73rd minute from a great through ball between the Liverpool center backs that was saved before they scored the famous 91st minute winner from some great passing and some amazingly cool finishing from Michael Thomas.
After watching this game I was a bit surprised by the quality and the style of the play. I was expecting a lot more long ball play but honestly it was a fun entertaining game and I thought that Liverpool’s passing game would fit into today’s game pretty well.
It was a bit jarring to see all the back passes that the keeper picks up and there wasn’t quite as much of a battle over midfield but that could have partly been Arsenal’s tactics to sit deeper.
Overall this was a fun exercise and if people like it I’ll see about making it a regular thing. Let me know in the comments if there are any matches you’d like to see get this treatment, if they are pre 2010-11 season there needs to be a full video (or at least all of the shots) on youtube.