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Sporting CP 2 (2.0)-(1.9) 2 Arsenal: The Debrief
Breaking down the first leg of Arsenal's round of 16 match
That could have gone better but it also could have gone worse.
Arsenal left Portugal still in a strong position to advance to the Europa League Quarter Finals.
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Sporting CP 2 (2.0)-(1.9) 2 Arsenal | The graphics
14 - Shots for Arsenal, their second-fewest that they have had in the Europa League this season.
1.9 - Expected goals for Arsenal, their fourth-highest total in the Europa League this season.
267 - Touches in the final third for Arsenal
32 - Touches in the penalty area for Arsenal
25 - Deep completions for Arsenal.
6 - Open play crosses completed (1 looks like it went all the way through and is a bit of a cheat completion)
When I watched the match I was worried that Arsenal struggled with the final ball, but overall this seems pretty good for Arsenal. They got the ball into the final third regularly and from there were able to get the ball close to the Sporting goal without too much trouble.
Arsenal’s attack looked solid if a little disjointed from all the changes but ultimately I wasn’t overly concerned with this in hindsight.
10 - Shots allowed by Arsenal, the most they have conceded in the Europa League this season.
2.0 - Expected goals allowed by Arsenal, the most they have conceded in the Europa League this season.
5 - Big Chances allowed by Arsenal. A continuation of a worrying trend of allowing some VERY high-quality chances even with overall good shot suppression.
THIS is the area where I am starting to develop some concerns. Too often and what seems like with too much ease opposing teams are cutting through Arsenal’s midfield. Sporting in this match were able to have 17% of their touches in the final third happen in Arsenal’s box, creating 5 big chances from 4 different opportunities. In the end they got 2 goals but on another day where Arsenal are a bit unlucky this is a 2-1, or 3-2 type scoreline and things are not looking nearly as good for them next week.
85% - Arsenal’s odds of advancing to the quarterfinals according to betting odds.
73% - Arsenal’s odds of advancing to the quarterfinals according to FiveThirtyEight
In the end Arsenal got a result that puts them in a strong position. If they can’t win a knockout match at home, they probably don’t deserve to advance period.
Fabio Vieira looks comfortable in Portugal
48 - Pass Attempts on 72.9% Pass completion percentage
101.8% - Pass Efficiency (actual passing compared to expected passing)
1 - Progressive Pass
4 - Box Entry Pass (3 from set plays)
2 - Key Passes (both from set plays)
0.49 - xA, including 1 assist
2 - Shots, he was also open for a tap in that Gabriel Martinelli decided to take as 1-on-1 vs squaring it to Vieira
0.14 - xG
1 - Dribble Completed
4 - Dribbled Attempted
3 - Fouled
4 - Progressive Carries
11 - Progressive Passes Received, led all players
6 - Touches in the box
9 - Deep Touches
3 - Dispossessed
2 - Miscontrol
21 - Times lost possession
1 - Tackle
Vieira looked at his most comfortable in this match, perhaps it was the familiar location and the crowd that was on him but he seemed to be really up for this match. I think he did a good job in this match overall, with basically the attack running through him.
He operated mostly in the right half-space really occupying the role that Martin Odegaard has taken up this season.
Later in the match he took up a more central false nine position and that was really interesting to see, given the Emile Smith Rowe was on the field and he had also done that in the past under Arteta.
His passing was decent in this match, he didn’t have too much come of in open play but had some very good delivery from open play. He is still a bit light weight compared to Odegaard in pressing and helping in midfield but in this he didn’t need to do that much with just 5 touches in the defensive third and the majority in the final third or on the periphery of it.
It is good to see him starting to look more comfortable in the Arsenal system.
Jakub Kiwior makes his debut
49 - Pass Attempts, on 95.9% Pass completion percentage
106.4% - Pass Efficiency
5 - Final 3rd Entry Passes completed, 4th on Arsenal
3 - Progressive Passes completed, 4th on Arsenal
4 - Progressive Carries
0.54 - xG Buildup
0 - Tackles
1 - Dribbled Past
0 - Fouls
0 - Interceptions
0 - Blocked Passes
2 - Ball Recoveries
0 - Clearances
0 - Aerial Duel Won
4 - Aerial Duels Challenged for
Not the greatest debut performance for Kiwior but also one that you can understand from a young center-back.
He showed some flashes of his passing ability even if he mostly deferred to William Saliba in this match.
His defense was a little suspect with blame on both goals for his contributions.
Overall, he looked raw and rusty. It is hard to be a centerback and just get thrown into a situation with a partner you’ve never had real match time with. I am glad that he got this out of the way. I hope he gets next Thursday as well to hopefully give him some more reps because after seeing this I really hope that he doesn’t get called on in the Premier League without some more seasoning.