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Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal: The Debrief
Some revenge for Arsenal and a win to keep the faint title hopes alive.
That match and the win felt good for so many reasons.
The trip to Newcastle felt like a looming sword hanging over the season since the season schedule was announced. The home match was frustrating because Newcastle resorted to some of the worst timewasting we have seen in the Premier League this season, and it was nice to give them a little bit of payback. It brought back memories from last year when the Top-4 chances really died and where it felt like a team that is up and coming with the new owners are gunning for Arsenal.
They may still catch of surpass Arsenal but it felt good to put together this type of performance in a big away match.
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Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal: The Graphics
Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal: The Debrief
4 - Shots from Newcastle in the opening 8 minutes.
0.24 - Expected goals from Newcastle in the opening 8 minutes
2 - Pass attempts in the Newcastle half by Arsenal in the opening 8 minutes.
6 - Touches in the box for Newcastle in the opening 8 minutes.
44.8 - The average starting distance for Newcastle’s possessions in the opening 8 minutes.
Newcastle came to blitz Arsenal in this match and it almost worked for them, hitting the post and forcing Arsenal into some last-ditch defending. The crowd was hyped up and loud and it propelled Newcastle to swarm Arsenal. There aren’t too many times this season where it has felt like Arsenal was unable to deal with a press but this opening period felt like one of them. Thankfully Arsenal was able to withstand it and regroup after the VAR review for what would have been a very harsh handball even if it had not first come off Jakub Kiwior’s thigh first.
After the opening barrage, Newcastle really didn’t have another period of the same dominance. They added a couple of good chances right after the start of the second half that could have equalized the match but were held quite by a good Arsenal performance.
5 - Times Arsenal have allowed 13 or more shots in a match this season. Holding Newcastle to just 12 shots, especially when they spent most of the match behind is really impressive and really helps illustrate how much better the defense has gotten even if the goals-allowed number doesn’t quite match up. Last season, Arsenal allowed 13 or more shots 13 times (34% of matches) while this year it is just 5 (14% of matches).
40 - The average event distance in yards from the Arsenal defending end-line for the actions done by Granit Xhaka in this match. The closest his average actions have been to the goal Arsenal have been defending all season.
3 - Touches in the attacking third for Xhaka, that is the fewest he has had in a match this season where he played more than 15 minutes.
One of the things that really jumps out for me in this match, was that Arsenal really looked like they switched to much more double-pivot type shape to have an extra man in midfield rather than attack. I think this extra security provided extra control that Arsenal needed.
2 - Yellow cards for Newcastle in this match. One wasn’t even for a foul that happened on the field but rather for a pushing incident at the end of the match. Bruno Guimarães had 4 fouls, Joelinton and Dan Burn with 3 each.
Newcastle played this match on the edge and I think that they got a pretty friendly home whistle with some borderline fouls getting overlooked and some challenges that deserved a card not being cautioned. This really upped my dislike for this team because they really seem to lean into the physicality and try to bully and intimidate teams, when the referee allows this level of contact it makes them even harder to deal with.
Martin Ødegaard Shines
4 - Progressive Passes completed
3 - Deep Completions (not Cross)
2 - Key Passes
0.51 - xA
3 - Shots
0.46 - xG
1 - Dribbles Completed
2 - Fouled
4 - Progressive Carries
6 - Deep Touches
1.05 - xG Buildup contributed to
4 - Ball Recoveries
0.72 - Goal Probability Added, led all players
The captain has gotten a bit of stick for not showing up in big matches, well in this match he quieted a lot of the talk about that with an excellent performance. That brings his season goal contribution to 22 with 15 non-penalty goals. That is more than either Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard had in a season (both never got more than 12) and puts Ødegaard up there for one of the best goal-scoring midfield seasons in Premier League history.
Arsenal closing in on some records
81 - Points for Arsenal, this is the first time Arsenal have surpassed 80 points since 2007-08 when they got 83 points. If Arsenal win out, they can still hit 90 points tieing the Invincibles for most points for an Arsenal team.
83 - Goals scored for Arsenal. This is the highest Arsenal have had 2009-10 when they also scored 83 goals. The record for goals scored in a 38-match season is 87 goals by the 2004-05 team and that is possible for this team to match or surpass.
+44 - Arsenal’s goal difference, this is the best since 2004-05 (+51) and could become the best in the Premier League (+56 from 1990-91 might be hard to catch with just 3 matches to go).