Arsenal’s fight for the European spots starts Saturday against Brighton.
Arsenal are coming off a disappointing performance in their final tuneup friendly (come on that match REALLY didn’t count in grand scheme of things) against Manchester City and hope to be able to get right against the relegation threatened team from the south coast.
The biggest problem is that the stats suggest the Brighton and Arsenal are not that different according to the stats that they have put up this season.
|Big Chances A
|Penalty Area Completions
|Penalty Area Completions A
|F3rd Pressures A
It is pretty concerning that the two teams are pretty close to indistinguishable between each other. If you’re curious Arsenal are team A.
Another concerning thing that I have been looking up recently is how teams do for and against Arsenal this season compared to what they have done on average.
So for example Arsenal are allowing teams to take 119% of their season average in shots against them, meaning Brighton who average 13 shots per match would if the previous results hold would be expected to take 15.5 shots against Arsenal.
For Arsenal’s defense, teams take 119% of the shots that the normally average, 109% of the xG, 101% of the passes completed into the penalty area, 95% of the big chances, and 110% of the deep completions. It boils down to teams are much better on attack when facing Arsenal.
Arsenal’s attack, while not as bad as the defense, has not been good enough to make this team look better than their current mid table position.
When Arsenal face teams they take 85% of the shots that the teams normal face on average, 91% of the xG, 102% of the passes completed into the penalty area, 91% of the big chances, and 106% of the deep completions. All told, teams generally have some of their better defensive numbers when they face Arsenal.
Sorry to be bleak but there is still hope that Mikel Arteta can wash off the mediocrity that crept in under Unai Emery.
My simulation model still likes Arsenal more than me, mostly due to the stats from previous seasons helping them look like a better team than the current year’s statistics. Hopefully the model is right and my pessimism is wrong.