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xGunners: Arsenal vs Tottenham Stats Preview

Putting Tottenham under the stats microscope

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

This Sunday, Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur in the first North London Derby* of the season, let’s see what the stats say about Spurs.

Team Ranking

My team ranking system puts Spurs as the fourth best team, pretty close to Chelsea and Liverpool. Arsenal are the spot below them, but several points in my ranking system behind.

Where they shoot from

Tottenham take a total of 13.1 shots per match (7thd). With 6.5 of those shots coming from the danger zone area per match (4th) and that makes up 51% of their total shots. They take 2.7 shots per match from the wide box areas (3rd, 21% of total) and 3.8 from outside the box (18th, 29% of total).

How they create shots

71% of their shots are assisted

72% of their shots come from open play

14% of their shots are assisted by a cross

12% of their shots come from a fast/direct attack

5% of their shots are classified as counter attacks by Opta

5% of their shots follow corner kicks

1.8% of their shots are assisted by through balls

11.8% of their shots are from direct free kicks

Who creates their offense

Unsurprisingly, Harry Kane leads Tottenham in xG this season. I am a little surprised how much lower Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen are on this list then I expected.

Spurs have a conversion rate of 12.5% with an xG per shot of 0.13, for an efficiency rating of 106% which is the seventh highest in the league.

They are putting an above average amount of their shots on target (39.9%) and converting about an average rate 31.3% conversion compared to 29% for the league as a whole. Spurs are also creating “big chances” at a high rate this season, with 31 on the season which is good for 5th best. They have a big chance conversion rate of 38.7% which is ninth best in the league and just about even with the league average of 36%.

Overall Tottenham have a very balanced distribution for their attack, with 37% coming down the right side, 36% down the left side and 27% central.

Where they give up shots from

Spurs are allowing 12.5 shots per match (9th fewest) with 5.5 per match coming from the danger zone (13th fewest), 2.2 shots per match from the wide box areas (13th fewest) and 4.6 shots per match from outside the box (10th fewest). They block 22.7% of the shots they face (5th lowest block rate).

Overall this season, they have generally been fortunate in the number of goals conceded from the shots that they have given up. They have over performed their xG allowed by the third highest margin in the league so far (behind Brighton and Liverpool).

The overall conversion rate for the teams that they have faced is above what the expected goals would suggest. They have given up a 10% conversion vs xG per shot of 0. 09 but a good portion of that can be explained with the shot placement of the shots they have allowed, 12.5 SP xG vs 12 goals allowed.

How they defend

On defense, Spurs are an active team in racking up defensive counting statistics. They average 43.2 defensive actions per match (tackles, interceptions, dribbled past, fouls) which is the 6th highest mark in the league.

The stats show that Spurs do live up to their high pressing reputation with 8 passes allowed per defensive action with only Chelsea and Manchester City higher on this pressing measure. Their press seems to show up most highly in the middle of the field with just an average amount of their pressing coming in the final third.

Effects on the Top 4 Race

This match has huge implications for the top four chances of both teams and Chelsea. Before the match my projection model gives Spurs the edge in the odds to make the top four at 85.6% followed by Chelsea at 78.4% and Arsenal at 34.5%.

If Arsenal were to win, that would be great for their chances (surprising isn’t it) with their chances moving up to 47%, with Spurs and Chelsea at 77.6% 75.6% respectively. That would really make for an interesting three team race for the last two spots.

If Arsenal only draw, well that is not ideal and it leaves them in the same spot of 34.5%. With Spurs and Chelsea at 84.6% 79.1% respectively. A loss for Arsenal would really hurt the odds, dropping them six points behind Spurs (and most likely three points behind Chelsea). Arsenal would be at 26.7%, with Spurs and Chelsea at 91.6% 80.1% respectively.

There is a lot on the line for Unai Emery’s men.

*Is it still a North London Derby, when the other team plays their matches on the other side of London?