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Discussion in 'Arsenal' started by ArsenalJake, Aug 20, 2018.
No doubt. I wonder if he's promised not to cut his hair until after Baku?
Statsbomb published their end of season review. Quotes are below.
First, the bad news:
"Arsenal’s declining performance has been a point of discussion on this site multiple times, but it bears repeating that there was a real decline in shot metrics from last season (which itself wasn’t a vintage Arsenal season) to this."
"Last season, as the shot charts show, Arsenal were bad defensively, and also ran cold. This season they ran hot and were even worse."
The aesthetics of Arsenal’s play haven’t been exceedingly better. A theme to have come out of preseason was Arsenal having more structure in their attack compared to the improvisational nature under Wenger, and while strong arguments could be made that this was for the betterment of Arsenal long-term, that did lead to growing pains in the intermediate. Part of those growing pains include a greater adherence to crossing the ball to create chances, going from 1st to 5th in lowest percentage of penalty box entries to come via crosses. Even during the good times, it still felt a bit textbook.
A trend under Emery in season 1 was the constant alternation between a cautious approach and a more aggressive game plan, and more times than not, leaning more towards the cautious end of the spectrum. Perhaps that was due to the suspect defensive talent that was on hand, but Emery’s cautiousness spread into other areas. There were matches when Arsenal could’ve loaded up heavier on attacking talent against inferior PL opposition without too much fear of it coming back to bite them, but that didn’t happen. That fed into Emery having to be aggressive with substitutions, and while it’s nice that he had a quicker hook than most managers, it’s fair to point out that was a byproduct of cautious squad selections."
The shot numbers look really concerning: Arsenal allowed more shots than they took.
Now, the bright spots:
"Certainly, there have been bright spots this season for Arsenal, particularly the midfield duo of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. Between the two, Torreira was much more of a known commodity and was locked for a move to a big club by the end of the World Cup last summer. Guendouzi amounted to a lottery ticket that worked beyond even the most optimistic of scenarios. For a club that’s been criticized (rightfully) for their aversion towards accumulating young talent in the past, getting two above average young midfielders for less than £40M is a massive boon that will pay dividends for years to come."
"The acquisition of Bernd Leno was a contentious one given both the amount of money Arsenal paid for his service, along with the underwhelming shot-stopping track record that he possessed from the Bundesliga. To his credit, he performed closer to his best case scenario, ranking within the top 3 in StatsBomb’s proprietary goals saved above average, and was a big reason why Arsenal didn’t concede even more goals than they did."
The conclusions are somewhat concerning:
"Arsenal should be mildly worried about the potential of slipping into mid-table because they have downside risk coming from the current squad construction, the reliance on older players, and the limited amount of assets that can be sold at close to top value. A good number of Arsenal’s main contributors are late peak-age or already at the wrong end of the age curve. More than anything, a big worry for Arsenal has been the collective decline in athleticism and dynamism over the years. Look up and down the roster, and there’s a noticeable lack of eye popping young talent. This is the byproduct of years of neglecting to prop up a young talented nucleus. Even with Arsenal ranking as one of the richest clubs in Europe, bridging the gap between themselves and the very top of European football has to involve taking more educated shots at young prospects. Getting Guendouzi and Torreira last summer was a good start, but that’s all that it was, a start."
Re the increase in crosses into the box, neither Aubameyang or Lacazette are particularly effective headers of the ball, so traditional crosses aren't particularly effective. Arsenal no longer have Giroud and they don't have a Lukaku clone, so the most effective crosses are pullbacks from the touch line or low crosses to near post runs. I couldn't find the data, but it would be interesting to see how many goals Arsenal scored from crosses during the run of play and which types of crosses were most effective. It should also be noted that good teams, i.e. good defenses, have few problems defending predictable offenses.
I would take some issue with the conclusion has for years Arsenal has neglected young talent. Iwobi and Holding are still only 23; AMN and Mavropanos are 21; Xhaka was only a year older than Torreira was when they joined Arsenal; I believe Mustafi and Kolasinac were only 24 when they signed, young for defenders; and Arsenal appear to have a number of Academy products knocking on the door.
You can make an argument about the talent level of the young players Arsenal has signed or developed, but I don't think you can suggest Arsenal has ignored young talent.
Arsenal had the best chance conversion rate of all time since Opta started charting premiership clubs in 1996.
This stood out for me. It's been something that bugged me all season. So many times we were too cautious and defensive, especially when the game was still tied or when we were up by 1 goal. I know we don't exactly have an elite midfield, but surely we would've helped ourselves out a bunch had played with more adventurous, urgent and pacey attacks.
Since it came from Opta, is the stat you are referring to the difference between goals scored and expected goals, or it is the ratio of goals scored to shots taken. If it's the latter I did some quick calculations. In league play Arsenal converted 15.6% of their shots, while Liverpool converted 15.5% of theirs.
I also did calculations on individual players. Lacazette converted 16% of his shots, while Aubameyang's conversion rate was 23% . In addition, Ozil converted 5 of 12 shots, 42%, and Ramsey was at 12%.
Given a recent post of an Opta tweet that suggested Lacazette and Aubameyang's xGs were consistent with actual goals scored, it suggests that Aubameyang gets in very good goal scoring positions and rarely shoots when he's not in good positions.
The crazy high conversion rate was because of everyone else. Lacazette and Auba were slightly above xG, but I'd expect that a goal or two either side is within the margin of error (unless your xG < 1, and you score 3).
This illustrates why raw conversion is not a very good stat
I remember looking at this with low shot volume players like Hazard and Ozil a few years ago. They tend to have good conversion because they only take on high xG chances.
Higher shot volume players can't do this, but you need volume if you want to score more than 15 goals per season
The thing about pullbacks is they lead to high xG shooting locations. That is why everyone is so focussed on them.
of course there are other ways. e.g. De Bruyne is the master of that curved through ball to the player arriving at the far post
Neither Lacazette or Aubameyang are particularly high volume shooters. Lacazette averaged 2.3 shots per game and Aubameyang 2.6.
We weren’t crossing for headers it was byline cut backs
Effective with good wide players but not the current team
Width is essential
I originally post this because I'm curious about what percentage of the crosses were cut backs and what percentage were crosses on the ground to near post runs.
Do we have the shots per 90 figures?
Basically an elite striker will need to be on the way to 3-4 shots per 90
Of course these days everyone is focussing on xG +xA per 90
2.9 and 3.1, respectively. I used shots per game because it's easy to calculate the total number of shots taken by multiplying the shots per game by the number of games they played, which I then used to calculated their conversion percentages.
For comparison, Salah averaged 3.8 shots per 90, Mane 2.5, Aguero 5.3 and Messi 5.7
Strikers that play centrally are less and less common these days: have to be able to finish and create now. See the same thing now in basketball: the best players have to be multidimensional to succeed.
This is the concern exactly.
Elite strikers get way more shots.
That isn’t to say I think these aren’t elite necessarily.
(Though I have some reservations with Lacazette given his shot volume history.)
Assuming those are accurate...
Aguero and Messi: off the scale. (Makes sense.)
Mane: holy shit what a lucky return.
Just listened to Arsenal Vision's season review podcast, and amongst many ratings, they graded Unai Emery's season...
Clive: B (or B+ if we win EL)
Whoa, that's pretty harsh IMHO. Personally I'd give him a B/B- up to this point.
First of all, the season's not done yet... our biggest game by far, is in 7 days, and if we win that game everyone's grades would almost certainly go up a notch or two. Secondly, from what I know he was given one big target: get back into CL... and so far we still have 1 chance of doing that (2 if UEFA wins their case over Citeh) and then he could say "job done". Not to mention winning our first European cup in 25 years.
Furthermore, he's the first man to follow a revolutionary, once-in-a-century, 22-year-legend of a manager. Even if Wenger was shooting blanks in his final years, those are still awfully big shoes to fill, and Emery's done a damn site better than Moyes I think. Also, Emery has basically not been given a transfer window yet. There were virtually no funds in January and we ended up with Denis Suarez* on loan, who was a complete waste.
*Suarez is an example of legit concern about Emery. If he thought he was really worth signing, then that calls into question his judgment. Then there's the defense which, injuries aside, badly needs improving... still. Then there seems a lack of a core philosophy/style that the players can fall back on. Or a dearth of exciting, positive footy. Etc, etc. There's certainly a number of things to pick on Emery for. But I'd say he's done OK in his first season, given the context. And let's wait until 5/30/19 for our final review!
I think Emery's first season has revealed two important things about Arsenal.
1. The problems lie with ownership and no one else. All of the things that are problems exist because Stan wants to use Arsenal to make the Rams more profitable.
2. Any coach who comes into this situation will have to be absolutely outstanding to overcome the limitations of the budget and infrastructure. The manager will have to nail every transfer, keep wages down, and outcoach everybody else in the league to be able to sniff a PL win.
This is a club that is no longer a member of the top tier of European soccer.
They have a chance to challenge, but probably not win a title, if they replicate what Wenger did after 2004, buy young and hopefully wisely.
Everyone else is doing that now, and better than us.
There aren't many hidden gems in the market right now. Young players are expensive as hell, and even cast-offs from RM or BM cost big money. Torreira is as close as you can come to stealing a player at the moment.
Chelsea do it by buying an army of young players that they then send out on loan. City do it by spending big on young players that have already shown their potential, e.g. Stones, Sterling, Mane, and De Bruyne. Liverpool and United have advanced some young players through their academy, but both have spent big on players that have already established their credentials. The closest correllary to what Wenger started doing 13 to 14 years ago and what Arsenal need to do again is Arsenal's direct rivals.
There is a young corps that with some smart transfer business looks like it could be pretty good in three to four years. With that in mind I really don't want to see any more bandaids, i.e., players over 27 or 28. Given the apparent budgetary restrictions, they will probably need to target players under 20 (more Guendouzis), with an occasional 21 to 26 year old thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be to much margin for error.