This is bleak.
Defensively, Arsenal have already allowed almost as many Big Chances* this season (27) as they did in all 38 games last season (35). Arsenal are also saving those Big Chances at a lower rate and the opposition have already scored 13 goals from Big Chance opportunities, which was the same number Arsenal conceded all of last season.
Shots in Prime** is a similar story: Arsenal are allowing the opposition to take 3.3 shots in prime per game, where last season the defense limited that number to just 2.5.
Arsenal are allowing fewer overall shots, 10.7 versus last year’s 11.8 but the opposition is converting at a higher rate than last season sinking 9% of their shots where they got just 7% last season. The reason for this is simple: they are getting better shots against Arsenal than ever before. Last season, Arsenal forced the opposition to take 50% of their shots from outside the box, this season, it’s just 37%. And worse, the opponents are taking 31% of their overall shots in Arsenal’s Prime Area, where last year that number was a stingy 21%.
I understand that Arsenal want to play counter attacking football but if you try to do that you have to prevent the opposition from getting so deep into the 18 yard box and getting off great shots. Either that, or you have to have a blood and thunder defensive attitude. Leicester were one of the top shot blocking teams in the League last season with 4.4 per game and Arsenal were a decent 3.4. Arsenal don’t even come close to that this season with a pathetic 2.5 blocked shots per game.
I don’t think it’s a surprise for me to tell you that Arsenal have now dropped points after taking the lead four times this season: Liverpool (4-3 loss), Spurs (1-1 draw), Everton (2-1 loss), Man City (2-1 loss). In those matches Arsenal have been outshot 54-39, out Big Chanced 8-4, and outscored 9-5 (the own goal at Spurs doesn’t count).
There are other stats points that make this run look worse as well: Arsenal have only had five clean sheets this season, we haven’t had a clean sheet since Boro (a run of 8 League games or 12 games in all competitions) which is one of the longest runs without a clean I have ever seen from Arsenal.
If we are trying to be a defense-first team, we aren’t doing a very good job of it.
Charts and stuff..
No chart. Do you really need a visual representation of how much City dominated Arsenal? Arsenal only took two shots in the second half, after Guardiola brought on Sagna. Both of those shots were off target. Both of those shots were from outside the 18 yard box.
In terms of possession, Arsenal only had 47 passes in the City final third and 20 of those were in the second half. Arsenal created just one key pass (a pass that ended with a shot) in the second half and two in the first. Kevin de Bruyne (while not diving around looking for penalties) created SEVEN key passes in this game.
Walcott and Bellerin were the only two Arsenal players to take a shot.
Özil led Arsenal with 41/48 passes and created just one shot for a teammate. Xhaka was 35/44, Coquelin 15/26, and Alexis was 19/26 – though Alexis led all players with 5/7 dribbles and did have the assist for Walcott’s goal (Arsenal’s only shot on goal in the game). Özil also went 0/1 tackles and 0/1 dribbles.
Just fucking dominated. City did to Arsenal exactly what Everton did but with much better players and the result was a level of domination across all sections of the pitch. Wenger can complain about the offsides decisions and he’d be right, but the real story here is that after Arsenal scored, they were never in this game.
Sources: my personal database, 442 stats zone app
*One-on-one with the keeper, shots from close range, etc.
**Shots taken in the area from the penalty spot to the goal mouth, the “prime” area to take shots