Assessing the stats to see how Arsenal have improved this season
Wiping the slate clean after Arsene Wenger’s 22-year dynasty at Arsenal was always going to be a tough task for Unai Emery – but he’s doing a good job, and the stats back him up.
Here are some of the key stats to help sum up their improvement under Emery.
A goalkeeper upgrade
A multiple title-winner, and a key part of Chelsea’s record-breaking defensive record under Jose Mourinho, there’s no arguing with Petr Cech’s career.
But he was far from his best last season and has been usurped by a more reliable presence between the sticks in Bernd Leno.
Cech made 2.5 saves per 90 minutes in the Premier League last season, compared to Leno’s 3.2 so far this season in comparison, but crucially the Czech made six errors that lead to the opposition scoring, more than anyone else in the Premier League, averaging an error every 5.6 games.
Leno has by no means been perfect in this regard, having made three errors in 24 appearances, but his average of one every 8.0 games is a step in the right direction.
Arsenal have been a fair bit deadlier in front of goal this season, in part down to the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang featuring for the full campaign.
With 64 goals scored so far and eight games left to play, they look likely to smash last season’s final tally of 74 – they average 2.1 goals per game this campaign, in comparison to 1.95 per game last time.
And with none of the big six left to play and a favourable run-in, there’s every chance that average shoots up before the end of the season.
An increase in goals is impressive considering they’re actually shooting less this season; they’re simply more clinical and perhaps waiting for better opportunities.
This season Arsenal average 12.2 shots per match and 4.6 on target, whereas last time they managed 15.6 per match and 6.1 on target.
Under Emery, Arsenal are playing a more direct style less focused on passing. They’ve maintained more or less the same pass accuracy this season (83% in comparison to 84%) and cross accuracy (21% both years), but they have less of the ball and play fewer passes.
This season they play 539.87 passes per game, a decrease of 12% on last season when the average was at 539.87 per game.
Arsenal’s defence this season has not been helped by the long absences suffered by Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos.
As such, clean sheets have been a rarity – only Fulham, Huddersfield and Fulham have kept fewer than their total of six from 30 games.
Overall, the defensive stats are broadly the same as last year, though they do concede marginally fewer goals per game this season (1.3 in comparison to 1.34).
This season, a player concedes an error leading to a goal every 3.0 matches in comparison to every 2.5 last season.