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Everton 0-1 Arsenal: The Debrief
A win at Goodison park is worth savoring, even if it was on the ugly side
Arsenal ended the hoodoo of not winning away in Liverpool. I have complaints and worries about the match and the team but those are absolutely secondary for just taking a moment and savoring that the end to this very bad run of performances.
Everton 0-1 Arsenal: The Graphics
Everton 0-1 Arsenal: The Debrief
74% - Arseanl’s possession in this match
223 - Touches in the final third, Everton had had just 64 in this match
28 - Arsenal possession sequences with at least 7 or more passes completed
1.8 - Arsenal’s progressive yards per second toward goal pace in this match, the average in the Premier League this season is 2.2 progressive yards per second
0 - Fast break or direct shots allowed
This was a match of control from Arsenal.
It is not too dissimilar to what we have seen Manchester City do to teams. Slow the game down, constrict the space, not allow the opposition to get a foothold, nor let them break. I think that Mikel Arteta is focused on looking at using possession as a tool to defend more this season than he had in the past and make the game happen in places where he wants to see it happen.
4 - This is the 4th time this season that Arsenal have held their opponent to 10 or fewer shots.
3 - This is the 3rd time (all in a row) that Arsenal have held their opponent to 1.0 xG or fewer.
0.04 - The average shot quality for Everton’s shots in this match. Everton had 0 shots that had an expected goals estimate above 10% in this match.
One of the divergences from what we have come to expect from City (although not always) is that they will find ways to create a few clear-cut chances, even with this type of setup. For Arsenal this season it hasn’t quite clicked yet.
0 - Big Chances for Arsenal in this match
7 - Shots from open play
0.7 - Expected goals
I will go into depth on this a little further but it is the start of some worry about how well this team has executed in the final third. This match didn’t do anything to help calm that worry.
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Ben White, an unsung hero
96 - Pass Attempts with an 87.5 completion percentage and 114.4% - Pass Efficiency (that’s a remarkable number)
6 - Progressive Passes
8 - Long Passes Completed
72.7% - Long Pass pass completion percentage
3 - Deep Completions with 25 yards of the attacking goal
1 - Key Pass
1 - Shot
1 - Dribble Completed
6 - Progressive Carries
5 - Touches in the box
1 - Tackle
0 - Times Dribbled Past
5 - Ball Recoveries
Ben White is a funny player. He does so much good stuff but he often ends up being overlooked for praise. He doesn’t do flashy things but basically plays at a consistently high level being asked to do a ton of work moving up and down the wing. I feel like I could have done a section like this after every match but there wasn’t really an event that felt worthy of call out because he is just always that 7 or 8 out of 10 for me with what he brings towards the game.
Here we got to see him do a lot more overlap than we have this season. I think this was due to the change from Fabio Vieira for Kai Havertz as Arsenal had one less player with the natural inclination to get into the final line and he was called upon to help provide that extra player in the attacking phase. He was still outstanding doing this.
It is still a bit crazy to me how under the radar White seems to sail.
Goalkeeper Rotation? Areta is willing to try
40 - Passes Attempted by David Raya, completing 38
80% - Long pass completion percentage (8 of 10)
2 - Crosses claimed of 4 launched into the box by Everton
3 - Sweeping actions
Arteta made the big call pre-game to make a change at goalkeeper with David Raya getting the start over Aaron Ramsdale. Here is what he had to say about this post-match:
David has tremendous qualities like Aaron [Ramsdale] has, like Karl [Hein] has, but we have to use them, you know. And it’s like this. I’m a really young manager. I’ve only been three and a half years in the job, and I have a few regrets for what I’ve done. One of them, it was that in two occasions, I felt after 60 minutes and after 85 minutes in two games in this period, [i wanted] to change the keeper in that moment. And I didn’t do it. I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to take a winger or a striker and put a central defender on and go to a back five to hold that result. And we draw those games and I was so unhappy. And someone is going to do it. And maybe it’s, ah, that’s strange. Why? Why not? Tell me why not.
You have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something, something has happened, you want to change momentum, do it. You know? It’s a regret that I had, and now my feeling is to get everybody engaged in the team, that they have to play, regardless of competition, and do it. And it’s my message.
I am excited to see how he will use his keepers. I know I have a bit of a reputation as a Ramsdale “hater” but I really do like him and think he is good, perhaps not to the same level as others and I will point out where I think he has weaknesses but certainly I do not hate him or think he is “shit”. I am also very excited to have Raya in this team and the quote above is a very interesting one that hints at what might be in store.
I have always found the treatment of goalkeepers interesting. They are treated like special flowers that are sheltered from competition, especially compared to other positions on the field. I get that it isn’t the same level of physically demanding as other positions but it is still one where the same logic can and perhaps should apply with the usage. I feel very good about the level of keeper Arsenal have and if both are pushing each other, like we expect from other positions this is a fine situation for a team.
I am not sure that the keepers that Arsenal have are so different that it will make a massive difference in most matches but it could be very interesting to see if Arteta is bold enough to make an in-match change at some point.
Execution still lacking and starting to worry
72% - Arsenal’s overall field tilt this season, leading the Premier League in total final third possession, the highest in the Premier League
1242 - Touches in the attacking third for Arsenal, the most in the Premier League
187 - Touches in the box for Arsenal, fourth most in the Premier League
15% - The percentage of final third touches that come inside the penalty area, that is 14th highest in the Premier League
41.8 - Passes per shot for Arsenal this season, 18th most in the Premier League
1.89 - Arsenal’s progressive yards per second towards goal, that is 4th slowest in the Premier League
1.16 - Arsenal’s xG from open play per match this season, is only 10th best in the Premier League
8 - Big chances for Arsenal (not including penalties), tied for 5th fewest in the Premier League
It is just 5 matches and Arsenal are still earning 2.6 points per match so worrying is probably a little overblown but I am starting to have some creep into the back of my mind with Arsenal’s attacking numbers.
Arsenal have two matches this season where they have created more than 2 non-penalty expected goals. One of those was where they spent the game chasing and the other where the shots that pushed them over the total happened deep into stoppage time.
The final ball is not quite perfect, the movement is just off what is expected, the timing between players is just off, for Arsenal a little too often right now. There is some understandable reasons for this with Arsenal bringing in a new player in Kai Havertz to the team and playing with the backup striker to start the season.
It’s still too early for a freakout but this is something to keep an eye on over the next month to see if the trend changes at all.