The two metrics I’m using this season show Arsenal in a spot of bother ahead of their clashes with Red Star and Everton.
For the first time since I began collecting statistics, Arsenal don’t have an attacking player in the top 10 of the Premier League. In fact, Arsenal’s highest ranked attacking player is Aaron Ramsey and he is 41st in the Premier League and he has just 1 goal and 1 assist. Mustafi is Arsenal’s best player this season and below him are Koscielny and Monreal. I use Whoscored.com’s metric for this and in general, team which are weaker in attack and have to do a lot of defending have high ranking defenders.
On away days, Arsenal are ranked a paltry 15th in the Premier League and this is because they allow the opposition to take more shots than them. Arsenal also don’t press, don’t tackle, and don’t win possession back on away days in the Premier League.
In the Europa League, Arsenal are slightly better though still quite ropey on away days. Arsenal allow 18 shots per game on away days in the Europa League. Sure that was just one game, but it was also BATE Borisov which got 18 shots at Arsenal – the 3rd placed team in the Belarusian Premier League.
Still, despite all the shenanigans against BATE, my predictron has picked an easy win for Arsenal against Red Star Belgrade. That prediction is dependent on Wenger starting Theo Walcott, Giroud, Wilshere, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
So, that’s pretty positive, really. Especially if you think that adding a fully committed Ozil and Alexis to that mix will only make Arsenal better.
In fact, my week 8 expected goals data shows an Arsenal team that are actually still a great attacking team. With a 7xG of 17.18 Arsenal are a solid 4th place attacking team. And that’s with Alexis and Ozil notching just a single assist and zero goals between the two of them. Last season, those two combined for 32 goals and 19 assists. There is room for Arsenal’s attack to get better – if Wenger can convince these two to give their all.
I’m still casting a jaundiced eye on both of these players. Last season, Alexis Sanchez missed 196 total minutes of Premier League play. He’s already missed 445 minutes this season. Last season, Ozil missed 572 minutes, this season he’s already missed 324. Far from obviously downing tools and refusing to play, I think these two players are just cooling their jets a bit and will push for a move in January.
I know I have gone back and forth on this prediction (about when Ozil and Alexis are leaving Arsenal) but I would be very surprised to see both of them in an Arsenal shirt come the end of the season. Ozil has a fantastic PR team and they have been doing great work throwing shade on his departure but today’s comments from Robert Pires (that Ozil is unhappy because Arsenal don’t sign players) have the ring of truth to them. Alexis I can see making an angry departure, Ozil will probably make it look like he didn’t want to get sold, but I think both of them have made it clear to Arsenal that they aren’t re-signing and aren’t going to give the same level of effort we saw last season. Watching Ozil duck out of challenges this weekend against Watford confirmed it for me: he’s no longer here for us.
Anyway, here are my power rankings for week 8:
This is my 7amxGD and Man City have opened a considerable lead on the Premier League and everyone is waiting for their collapse. Bournemouth are the very worst team in the League in terms of shot creation and defending.
But here are the actual goal differences:
Chelsea, as usual, overperform. But so have Burnley and Newcastle. Newcastle are interesting because they defend very well – third best 7xGA in the League with just 9.41 – where they struggle is in offense.
Anyway, enjoy the Champions League games today. I’ll be back tomorrow.