It’s clear from Arsenal’s odds for winning the league, which currently stand at 40/1, that they are having far from a vintage season. Indeed, in terms of Premiership aspirations, it seems like the Gunners’ campaign is virtually over already.
In order to find out where Arsenal’s problems might lie, I have compared their games so far this season with data for the corresponding games last season (ignoring the Man Utd game, as I cannot see any value in looking at a game that Arsenal lost 8-2).
We can compare this season to last, using a sample of seven corresponding fixtures.
- 1257 Final Third Passes (FTP) this season vs 999 last season
- 972 final third passes completed (FTPC) this season vs 677 last season
- 5 goals this season vs 8 goals last season
- 115 shots this season vs 113 last season
- 57 shots in the box this season vs 74 last season
- 176 crosses this season (including crosses from corners) vs 129 crosses last season
This term, then, Arsenal have notched 1 goal per 194 completed passes in the final third; Last season they averaged 1 goal per 84 final third passes.
The data speaks for itself: 77% final third passes completed this year, against just 67% last year in the same seven-game sample. Yet in spite of this, last year Arsenal scored 3 more goals. In short, Arsenal may be more accurate with final third passes than last season, but they appear to be less penetrating for all that.
The sale of Robin van Persie appears to be seriously hurting the team and, barring the goals against Southampton and West Ham, Arsenal are simply not scoring enough.
It is clear that Arsenal are having more shots from outside the box, suggesting one problem that might be addressed by Arsene Wenger. And while Arsenal may be making more crosses this campaign, fans should not get too excited. Last season in the corresponding sample, Arsenal played a more narrow game, it’s true, but were more direct as a result, and managed to score more goals.
Arsenal desperately need to sign a goal scorer to replace RVP’s 30 league goals in 38 games last season. This is not a controversial opinion, of course, but the data makes that need even more abundantly clear.
Here is a detailed statistical overview of Arsenal’s statistics for corresponding games during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons:
[table id=91 /]
In conclusion, Arsenal have clearly been poor this season in the final third and will have to sign a goalscorer in the January transfer window if they hope to improve in this area.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.