In the Mixer
Following a third successive Premier League home defeat, Arsenal’s tally of 13 points is their lowest after their opening 10 matches of a league campaign since the 1981/82 season (12).
The Gunners marked a year since the sacking of Unai Emery with a 1-2 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday evening. In the 35 games since his departure, they have picked up 51 points – the joint 8th most alongside Leicester City and Everton.
In what marked a move away from Arsenal’s usual tactical methods, they attempted 30 open play crosses during this defeat – with only three successfully finding an Arsenal shirt in the box and one of those being Willian’s assist for Gabriel’s 30th minute goal. That total of 30 was the highest by the Gunners in a Premier League game in over four and a half years, since firing in 36 against Leicester City in February 2016.
Prior to Sunday night at the Emirates, Arsenal had averaged 12 open play crosses per game under Mikel Arteta and had only attempted 20+ crosses in three of his 39 Premier League games in charge, so this was a clear departure from what we’ve come to expect from a side led the Spaniard.
The Usual Suspects
Manchester United came from behind to defeat Southampton for the 10th time in Premier League history, on Sunday afternoon – no side has ever defeated an opponent on more occasions in the competition from a losing position.
With the history in this fixture, added to the fact that this was the fourth game in a row that the Red Devils have won an away game despite trailing and that Southampton have dropped more points from winning positions since the start of last season than any other team (25), it felt like this result was a foregone conclusion.
Looking at the xG race chart from the game, Manchester United could definitely have considered themselves unlucky to be behind before Bruno Fernandes’ goal brought them back in to the game on the hour mark.
At this stage, United were leading Southampton on xG by 1.38 to 0.31 but found themselves 2-0 down thanks mainly to the set-piece prowess of James Ward-Prowse.
Manchester United’s three goals in the final 30 minutes of the match all came from six shots that had a cumulative total of 0.75 as they discovered that clinical edge in the final third of the 90.
Defying the Expectations
Two matches played after one another on Saturday saw just two goals scored in total, but the score line certainly doesn’t tell the story of either game.
The early evening fixture between Everton and Leeds United witnessed a 1-0 away win for Marcelo Bielsa’s outfit, but based on the quality of chances in the match, we should have seen more goals than the Raphinha strike that sealed the win.
Two and a half hours later, West Brom picked up their first victory of the season with a single goal win over bottom side Sheffield United. However, as in the game at Goodison Park earlier that day, you would have expected a goal fest based on the chances that were crafted.
Both matches saw 38 shots – a tally that has only been exceeded in one Premier League game so far this season (Aston Villa v Leeds in October: 39 shots) but only two goals were produced from those 76 shots.
The xG total in Everton vs Leeds United was 3.43, just above that of WBA vs Sheffield United (3.41), meaning these two games were the first this season to see a difference of more than three between the xG and the real goal tally.
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