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

Romelu Lukaku

Manchester United vs Arsenal: Gunners better in every department?

Manchester United put in yet another disappointing performance at the weekend, this time against Premier League strugglers Southampton, as their bid to finish in the top four looks less likely with every week.

Before the two recent draws, José Mourinho claimed that United would be in one of the Champions League places by the end of December, but having dropped four points in the last two games, they are now left needing a win against Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Mourinho oversaw two victories over Arsenal last season but now that they are recharged under Unai Emery, thrashing rivals Tottenham Hostpur on Sunday afternoon. United will have their work cut out to get a result against them this time around. Read More

Arsenal vs Tottenham

Arsenal vs Tottenham Preview: Going The Distance

One London derby blurs into the other for Tottenham, as Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs themselves all now operate somewhat similar styles. Comparisons between Spurs and Arsenal have always aggravated fans but the two teams may appear more similar on the pitch than they ever have when they go to battle on Sunday afternoon.

Squeeze the opposition. Win the second ball. Work the ball to work the space. Take a risk. Repeat.

Practice overcame individual talent last weekend when Tottenham utilised an ultra-narrow diamond to cut-off Chelsea’s preferred passing patterns to take advantage of Sarri’s reluctance for his teams to build through his full-backs. Pochettino sat Dele right on top of Jorginho for 90 minutes, suffocating the visitors possession game and creating turnovers in the process.

The underlying issue for Chelsea, just as is the case for Arsenal, is that although the ideas and talent is there those two elements will take more than a few weeks to become at one. Results are largely coming their way but Emery is not seeing his team control the game through counter-pressing as he’d like them to. 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

Arsenal vs Liverpool Premier League Preview

Arsenal vs Liverpool Preview: Will regression decide the outcome?

With over a quarter of the season gone, it may seem odd that, when Arsenal and Liverpool clash on Saturday evening, there still remains uncertainty about how good either of the sides are. But neither of the opponents from Matchday 11’s most intriguing tie have lived up to the sort of numbers they have been posting in the Premier League so far this season.

In many respects, Arsenal are to this season what Manchester United were to last season. Despite finishing second in the league last year, Jose Mourinho’s United scored nine goals more than their expected goals (xG) values suggested they would, conceding 15 goals fewer than the same metric projected they should have conceded. As any statistician worth their salt will tell you, over- or under-performance against xG values is unsustainable in the long run and, lo and behold, this season, Manchester United find themselves regressing towards the norm with wild abandon. 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

Arsenal vs Leicester Premier League Preview

Arsenal vs Leicester: Can the Gunners hit ten in a row?

When the Premier League season began, Unai Emery’s rebuilding process had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line for Arsenal. There was a fair bit of chop and change with Alexandre Lacazette getting regular cameos, however it took the fourth game of the season against Cardiff City for the Frenchman to lead the line.

For large parts of the games he started without Lacazette, Aubameyang was isolated. In the game against West Ham, the lanky striker was limited to 20 touches with none in the opposition box.

After Lacazette’s inclusion, Aubameyang was more effective with more touches in the box and more shots at goal, though he had less touches in total because he was shifted to the left side of attack. Emery persisted with the Gabonese for the first three games until he moved him to the left side of attack to accommodate Lacazette in the starting line-up. 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