Arsenal are playing in the League Cup. Patino might start. But who can see it? Just the season ticket holders at the ground. Weird move to not show the game this evening.
Checkout my Patino song:
(to the tune of the Vieira song)
PATINOOOOOO OOHHHHH OHHH PATINOOOOOO OHHH OHHHH HE COMES FROM WATFORD TOWN, HE PUT PHIL JONES ON THE GROUND, PATIINNOOOOOOO OH OH OHHHHH
So sad that I can’t sing this at the computer screen tonight.
Onto other news. There’s been a lot of ‘NOTHING HAS IMPROVED’ with the football, but there are some swanky new stats from Crab Stats that point to green shoots here (full read is great).
Overall Arsenal have moved the ball into the box on 23% of their possessions this season. That ranks 3rd in the Premier League this season, with only Manchester City and Liverpool doing more.
Arsenal have 209 final third entries this season, averaging 41.8 per match, ranking 7th in the Premier League at getting the ball into the final third, overall Arsenal have touched the ball 816 times in the final third which is 8th most. For Arsenal this is a bit of feast or famine, against Brentford (58), Norwich (60), and Burnley (50), Arsenal are averaging 56 final third entires per match and against Manchester City (21) and Chelsea (20), Arsenal are averaging 20.5 final third entries.
The thing to consider with the numbers:
1) These stats would be far more impressive if we didn’t have a COVID/injury nightmare at the start of the season
2) They’ll get better because we won’t play the Champions League finalists every week.
Onto the actual data, it’s encouraging. The purpose of the summer was to bring in players that could move the ball vertically at speed because last season we couldn’t get the ball into the box. Well, the new signings are doing the job we brought them in to do.
The concern? We’re shite at turning the better possession into shots on target at goals. What positives can we draw from that?
1) The players we have are all very new to each other. As they learn what the system is about, spend more time with each other, and adapt to the cognitive style of football we’re trying to play… those final third passes will get better and so will the runs to find them.
2) We have good players that aren’t firing right now. Nicolas Pepe will find the target at some point. Odegaard, ESR, and Saka will find their shooting boots. Auba, our most potent striker, will work out some chemistry and the hard work will eventually bang. Good players find the net in the end.
So in short, when people say nothing has changed, they are talking nonsense. The eye test told you that, the individual comps that fly out after every game evidence it, now you have the stats… we’re missing the final pass and shot. When that drops, we’ll start doing more damage to teams.
Hopefully, that’s soon and it starts tonight. See you in the comments, but the only way you get into the comments is consuming the podcast with your ears or eyes.