Arsenal vs Cardiff City

Arsenal vs Cardiff Preview: Can Gunners break down a compact defense?

On paper Arsenal vs Cardiff City should be close to a foregone conclusion. This is the team in fifth place hosting the team in 18th, with a gap of 25 points separating the two. However, the tactics that Cardiff are likely to employ are the exact kind that Arsenal have struggled with this season.

Against the teams in the bottom half of the table the Gunners have averaged 2.5 goals per match, good for the fourth best total in the league. That number, however, is a bit on the flattering side as they have managed just 1.6 xG in those matches which is seventh best.

One of the more worrying things in this is the pure number of shots created. Arsenal are creating fewer shots this season than they had in the Arsene Wenger era and that has continued against the weaker teams. Against the bottom half teams this season they are averaging just 12.2 shots per match. That ranks 17th in the league against these clubs Read More

West Ham vs Arsenal

West Ham vs Arsenal Preview: The Felipe Anderson Show

The post-FA Cup third round action kicks off with West Ham vs Arsenal, a London derby at the Olympic Stadium. One man looks likely to be key for the home side.

Here are the stats Felipe Anderson leads West Ham in: Twelve points, goals, key passes, xG chain, xG assisted, tackles, fouls suffered, passes blocked and successful dribbles.

Basically if there is an important statistic, you would have a good chance of being correct saying that Anderson is leader in that stat for West Ham. One of the more surprising statistics is that the difference between Anderson and the next highest player in the Twelve Rankings, Declan Rice, is larger than the difference between Rice and all other players in West Ham’s top 11 this season. Read More

Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town Preview: 21 gun salute?

Arsenal head into the busy Christmas period in good shape in the top four race. They are currently tied on points for the last Champions League spot with Chelsea and behind their north London rivals in third by two points.

This weekend they face a tough task, hosting Huddersfield Town. Huddersfield themselves are in a tough situation currently sitting in 17th place just outside of the relegation spots.

Have Arsenal sorted out their defensive issues?

One of the reoccurring issues for Arsenal over the years has been a leaky defense. That trend has continued under Unai Emery, at least until the last few matches. Over the last three games Arsenal have switched to a back three and that has coincided with much better defensive numbers.

The only problem for Arsenal is that even with better defensive performances recently, one of their three primary center backs is now feared to be out with a potential major knee injury. Read More

Bournemouth vs Arsenal Premier League Preview

Bournemouth vs Arsenal: Cherries’ European hopes tested by Arsenal

Before digging into the two teams specifically I am going to do a little exercise that I always find fun. I will put the two teams stats in a table but not label the teams. I enjoy doing this because far too often we unconsciously let the club names with the narratives, history and prestige affect the way we look at teams.

All stats are league matches only and are per match.

Team xG Shots Penalty Box Shots xG Against Shots Against Penalty Box Shots Against
Team A 1.9 12.7 8 1.4 13.4 6.6
Team B 1.4 12.1 6.5 1.4 13.9 7.1

The first impression from this exercise is that these two teams are very close on the statistics they have produced through a third of the season. Team A looks like they are a slightly better team with a better expected goals created and a superior shot ratio (even if it is negative overall) and a much better penalty box shot ratio. Read More

Arsenal vs Wolves Premier League Preview

Arsenal vs Wolves Preview: Gunners face test to continue unbeaten run

Arsenal are on a 15 match unbeaten run that they look to continue against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday. During this run Arsenal have scored 36 goals and conceded just 13, averaging 2.6 points per match. The last three matches have resulted in draws but Arsenal have still played relatively well in those games, even if they didn’t get the three points.

The main driver of being able to turn okay performances into wins for Arsenal this season are their two main strikers getting them goals when sometimes the performances didn’t quite merit the final result.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is tied for the most goals in the league at seven and while he isn’t the best option on the wing, it doesn’t look to have hurt his ability to score goals. Read More

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal: Eagles look to stop their slide

This London derby has a lot riding on it. Crystal Palace are a talented team but they haven’t turned that into points at nearly a high enough pace and sit in 16th place, just a pair of points above the relegation zone. Arsenal are on an eleven match win streak (seven in the league) that has propelled them into the top four and just a pair of points off the top of the table.

Crystal Palace midfield issues

One of the biggest issues for Crystal Palace is that they lost two very important pieces of their midfield in Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Cabaye is now in the UAE but last season he was the second best midfielder in the Twelve rankings overall and the best in what he added through attack. Loftus-Cheek is back at Chelsea (but has played just 33 minutes) while last year he was the third best midfielder and second best midfielder in their attacking rankings.

This season Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur have been tasked with leading the midfield. They haven’t been horrible, ranking among the top half of Crystal Palace players but in the overall rankings among other midfielder in the Premier League they are well down the list (16th and 17th respectively), especially on a points per minute basis where they fall to 35th and 34th. Read More

Fulham vs Arsenal Premier League Preview

Fulham vs Arsenal Preview: Arsenal look for their ninth straight win

A London derby! A return to Craven Cottage! A chance for nine wins on the spin and six league victories in a row! A chance to get above Spurs with a big win!

There is a lot at stake for Arsenal as they visit London neighbours Fulham on Sunday in the lunchtime match. Arsenal are the heavy favourite in this tie but after a punishing travel schedule to Azerbaijan on Thursday in the Europa League with a surprisingly strong squad this could still end up a tricky match for the Gunners.

Fulham, a pretty good attacking team, a bad defensive team

Fulham in the league have continued their attractive attacking style that got them promoted from the Championship. They are averaging nearly 13 shots per match, which is good for seventh best in the league. They are taking most of those shots from outside of the box, with over seven per match coming from long range which makes their expected goals (xG) per match in the bottom half of the league. Read More

Arsenal vs Watford Premier League Preview

Arsenal vs Watford Preview: Can the Hornets defence stop the Gunners?

This Saturday’s match-up is an unexpected top of the table clash. Arsenal have put together a run of four wins, moving from the bottom of the table up to a tie for fifth behind… their opponent this Saturday, Watford. Most people would have expected Arsenal to be near the top but Watford being among the top four is the big surprise from the early results.

Watford:

Watford have put together a legitimately good defence this season.

They are over performing their expected goals (‘xG’) this season but still have excellent statistics to suggest this could continue and isn’t just down to a hot goal keeper keeping out goals. They are allowing just 9.8 shots per match (fourth fewest in the league), 1.5 big chances per match (seventh fewest) and 4.7 shots from the danger zone per match (sixth fewest). Read More

Newcastle vs Arsenal Premier League Preview

Newcastle vs Arsenal Preview: Can Arsenal breakdown a low block?

Arsenal have won two in a row to climb up to the top half of the table. Newcastle have lost two in a row and fallen into the relegation zone. This match is an important one for both teams coming off the first international break of the season.

Newcastle

Here’s their rankings for different statistics this season:

20th – Possession

18th – Shots

19th – Danger Zone Shots

17th – Big Chances

19th – Expected Goals

13th – Dribbles Attempted

4th – Average Pass Length

Rafa Benítez is a really good coach, but one thing he is not is a coach who will sacrifice defensive solidity to create scoring chances. With a challenging schedule including matches at Chelsea and against Tottenham and Manchester City, it is not surprising to see Newcastle at the bottom of most offensive categories this season.

As a team they have been in control of the ball for just 96 minutes this season, which averages out to 24 minutes a match. For comparison the average team has been in control for 34 minutes per match (this measure takes out all of the time that the ball is not in play and on average there is about 60-70 minutes of ball control per match). Read More

Arsenal vs West Ham Preview Jack Wilshere

Arsenal vs West Ham Preview: The Jack Wilshere Derby

Arsenal vs West Ham is a massive game for both sides. The start to the season has not gone to plan for either of the new managers at these clubs. Both teams lost their two opening fixtures and come into this match looking to get their season back on track.

Arsenal were dominated by Manchester City and lost an exciting match to Chelsea. West Ham were blown away at Anfield against Liverpool and threw away a lead against Bournemouth.

West Ham

The most potent attacker for West Ham has been new signing Felipe Anderson. The 25 year old leads the Hammers in Attack rating and has been the main creative force for a team that has struggled to create offense. Read More