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xGunners Mailbag: Turnovers, With/Without Alexis and Bellerin

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Having twitter help with topics to write about

Arsenal v Ostersunds FK - UEFA Europa League

I’ve been busy in the middle of moving houses and I haven’t had my normal time to dig deep into the pressing Arsenal questions. To help get back on track on what was on the minds of Arsenal fans I took to twitter to solicit some questions that people had and I could do some research to try to help answer those questions.

My followers did quite well giving me some good things to look up, I might even look at making this a kind of regular thing.

First up:

Arsenal Turnovers with Alexis and without

Breakdown Turnover Per Touch Touches Per Game Turnover per Game xG Per Game Shots Per Game Passing % PPVA 475P
Breakdown Turnover Per Touch Touches Per Game Turnover per Game xG Per Game Shots Per Game Passing % PPVA 475P
With Alexis 19.60% 698.3 137 1.9 17.27 83.50% 1.87
Witout Alexis 15.50% 746.6 115.4 1.9 11.6 84.70% 1.36
Arsenal Total 18.80% 707.3 133 1.9 16.22 83.70% 1.77

A few things jump out looking at these stats, the first and goes with the question is that Arsenal have turned the ball over quite a bit less now that Alexis Sanchez plays for Manchester United.

The second thing is that Arsenal’s shots per game is way down (a big portion of that is the Tottenham match pulling down the average) but the xG per game is exactly the same.

Overall the passing percentage has gone up slightly but the passing value added has gone down. The sample is really small but I think a lot of this really helps to illustrate the point that I tried to stress when everyone was so mad about Alexis’ turnovers; he will be wasteful but the things he tries are very valuable and he completes enough to make it worth while.

There was a lot wrong with the performance against Östersunds but keeping the ball was not the worst issue. Comparing this match to the others that Arsenal have played this season (league only) it would rank as the 9th worst performance for turnover per touch.

Turnover Per Touch by Match

Against Game Week Turnover Per Touch
Against Game Week Turnover Per Touch
Tottenham Hotspur 12 32.6%
Bournemouth 23 32.2%
Liverpool 19 30.4%
Watford 8 25.3%
Chelsea 5 25.0%
Liverpool 3 24.8%
Bournemouth 4 23.9%
Manchester City 11 23.0%
Östersunds Europa 20.9%
Crystal Palace 20 20.1%
Everton 9 19.4%
Everton 26 19.4%
Burnley 13 19.2%
Leicester City 1 19.0%
Chelsea 22 18.8%
Tottenham Hotspur 27 18.4%
West Bromwich Albion 21 18.3%
West Bromwich Albion 6 17.5%
Manchester United 15 17.2%
Newcastle United 18 16.5%
West Ham United 17 16.4%
Southampton 16 16.0%
Brighton and Hove Albion 7 16.0%
Swansea City 10 16.0%
Crystal Palace 24 15.8%
Stoke City 2 15.1%
Huddersfield Town 14 14.5%
Swansea City 25 11.2%

Considering the level of competition this should probably be graded even worse than some of the Premier League matches.

To a certain extent I can see where people get some frustration with Hector Bellerin, he does seem to do a very good job getting himself into dangerous positions for either a shot or a cross, and on his skill set these things both are things that he could use improvement on.

What always seems to get people is the end product and getting your name on the scoresheet. This season he has 2 league goals on 2.6 xg and 1 assist on 2.1 xA. Those numbers won’t get people excited.

Where Bellerin’s production really shines for Arsenal seems to be in a more subtle way. He is pivotal earlier in the buildup to moves and he passing is outstanding and not just for a defensive player. In xG Buildup he ranks 8th overall and 3rd among defenders, in Passing Value Added he ranks 8th and 2nd among defenders. On a Passing Value Added per 50 passes (to correct for total passes attempted) he ranks 50th but is 10th among defenders.

One of the stats that really illustrates Bellerin’s importance is how much of Arsenal’s total xG he is involved in the buildup to (does not include the assisted shot or the shot).

Bellerin is third on Arsenal, involved in the buildup to 23.3% of Arsenal’s xG this season.

More on Bellerin:

Right Back Stats

Player Minutes xG Buildup Pass Ability+ xG Chain Passing Progression Value Added PPVA Per 90 PPVA 50P PPVA+ Passing % F3rd Entry P% F3rd P% Mid 3rdP% Def 3rdP% Long Ball% Throughball
Player Minutes xG Buildup Pass Ability+ xG Chain Passing Progression Value Added PPVA Per 90 PPVA 50P PPVA+ Passing % F3rd Entry P% F3rd P% Mid 3rdP% Def 3rdP% Long Ball% Throughball
Kyle Walker 2204 15.75 124.45 17.64 8.66 0.35 0.2 184.85 82.40% 78.60% 74.40% 85.60% 87.80% 49.20% 0
Héctor Bellerín 2430 12.13 114.53 15.69 8.08 0.3 0.24 156.47 79.30% 64.90% 69.30% 84.30% 86.10% 42.10% 6
Kieran Trippier 1462 4.44 119.95 7.64 6.58 0.41 0.28 211.78 72.40% 50.00% 57.10% 79.50% 89.40% 47.70% 3
Antonio Valencia 2046 6.09 122.65 6.86 7.46 0.33 0.26 171.44 78.90% 57.10% 70.20% 83.90% 85.30% 42.20% 1
Cédric Soares 1807 4.98 99.36 6.14 3.33 0.17 0.14 86.78 70.10% 55.30% 59.70% 73.20% 85.60% 31.40% 2
Pablo Zabaleta 2301 5.08 89.91 5.66 1.15 0.04 0.05 23.52 71.20% 56.30% 59.50% 77.00% 82.50% 36.60% 0
DeAndre Yedlin 1919 2.59 87.56 4.16 1.49 0.07 0.09 36.51 69.90% 51.90% 60.40% 71.70% 83.60% 25.00% 1
Kiko Femenía 1210 3.37 118.9 4.15 3.84 0.29 0.24 149.46 80.80% 70.20% 73.20% 83.60% 89.40% 41.00% 0
Daryl Janmaat 1117 2.67 96.53 4.14 1.13 0.09 0.09 47.75 72.70% 59.70% 68.10% 69.30% 88.80% 42.40% 0
Michail Antonio 1182 2.01 85.84 3.9 0.64 0.05 0.08 25.4 62.80% 37.50% 48.20% 74.70% 86.20% 47.60% 1
Bruno 1548 3.44 101.71 3.64 1.73 0.1 0.1 52.47 76.90% 51.40% 63.20% 78.70% 90.60% 45.20% 0
Danny Simpson 1696 2.88 90.4 3.21 0.28 0.01 0.02 7.67 74.70% 41.40% 59.40% 77.00% 90.00% 29.70% 1
Jonjoe Kenny 1409 2.05 98.35 2.76 1.69 0.11 0.11 56.37 68.10% 41.80% 59.90% 72.80% 81.20% 36.20% 0

Bellerin has been good, maybe not quite at the level that he showed last season but still quite good. He has been one of the best right backs in the league, he has also been asked to play a ton of minutes because Arsenal really don’t have a back up player.

Looking at the squad, Bellerin is one of the few young players in the squad that has already proven himself as a top player and is just entering his prime years. A good way to look at things is what players other teams fans would create crazy transfer scenarios to aquire, I think Bellerin is on that short list of Arsenal players that is coveted by other teams.

Here is the context if you missed this tweet from new Swansea Manager Carlos Carvalhal:

I think I might work on improving my woodworking skills. Being able to work with my hands might be nice seeing as using my analytic skills have just been debunked.

Thanks to all who tweeted out questions, this was fun and would make for a cool reoccurring post.