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The Shirt Fuse: Diving into the numbers

Let’s look at some really important stuff, shall we?

Swansea City v Arsenal - Premier League
These are...not good
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Here at the Short Fuse, we pride ourselves on going that extra step, taking that extra-deep dive into the numbers. We try to tease out what matters and what doesn’t, and we try to explain what we do so that we demystify the process of statistical analysis of the game. Clarity around this sort of thing helps us all - it helps us analyze better, it helps you understand better, and overall, it helps advance the understanding of the game on several levels.

With that as background, then, I present the latest chapter in our groundbreaking statistical work. I must caveat this with the standard small sample size warning - this data only goes back to the start of this season. It is in no way a comprehensive look at decades of historical data, and as with all of these things, it is also not a guarantee of, nor is it a prediction about, future results.

With all that in mind, I present to you our latest findings:


Jersey Color Wins Draw Losses PPG xG For Goals For Goals Against Goals/match Goals A/Match xG Against xG/match xG Allowed/match
Jersey Color Wins Draw Losses PPG xG For Goals For Goals Against Goals/match Goals A/Match xG Against xG/match xG Allowed/match
Red 9 4 2 2.07 32.94 32 14 2.133333 0.933333 16.18 2.2 1.08
Black 3 1 2 1.67 10.74 10 8 1.666667 1.333333 6.04 1.79 1.01
Blue 0 1 4 0.2 4.54 4 12 0.8 2.4 9.49 0.91 1.9
Arsenal 2017/18 Statistics By Kit Color Scott Willis

Yep, this is the good stuff. This is the hard hitting analysis for which you pay the big bucks. And, by almost any measure you’d care to name, the blue kit is the worst performing Arsenal kit this season:

- Basic metrics? Arsenal have zero wins in this kit
- Goals? less than one per game in this kit
- Goals allowed? three times as many as they’ve scored in it
- More advanced metrics? These actually tell a more complex story. Arsenal are slightly underperforming their xG, but not to the extent that the zero-win stat would suggest. However, their xG allowed in the blue kits is a different story; they’ve allowed almost half a goal more than their xG allowed would have suggested.

The only scientifically valid conclusion to draw here is that the blue kits are horrifying and should never be worn again. Without the blue kits, Arsenal would, I assume, be comfortably in third place, would still be in the FA Cup, and would be a lock to win the Europa League, because that’s how these things work, right?