Arsenal had a terrible start to their Premier League campaign this season. They lost their first three matches against Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City and found themselves at the bottom of the league.
The Gunners failed to score a single goal in the matches while conceding a total of nine goals. Mikel Arteta and co looked to be on board a sinking ship and seemed clueless with nowhere to go.
But since then, it has been a magical turnaround for Arsenal. The injured players sidelined for the first few matches came back and the side felt nothing like what we saw in the first matches.
Arsenal are unbeaten for six matches, since their 5-0 humiliation against Man City, in the league. They have won five matches and drawn two, scoring 12 goals on the way. In turn, the defence which looked absolutely ridiculous in the three matches have conceded just four goals, keeping four clean sheets.
Gabriel, Tomiyasu and White have brought a lot of stability at the back with Ramsdale being ever reliable between the sticks, Partey and Sambi Lokonga has created a strong midfield partnership while Aubameyang, Saka and Smith-Rowe have been outstanding in ripping the opposition defences apart.
We look at a few stats about how Arsenal got their season back on track.
The Gunners have underperformed their expected goal against metric of 14.52 by nearly two goals, conceding 13 in all. They have been really strong at the back and have stopped other teams to get into the penalty box easily. Arsenal have been very efficient in closing off spaces quickly and have hunted in packs to restrict players from getting shots off easily.
The above image shows the number of shots Chelsea took in matchweek 2 against them. In absence of Gabriel and Tomiyasu, Arsenal had allowed the Blues to take 21 shots in all, the majority of them being inside the box. Chelsea were quite wasteful and only scored twice, otherwise, they would have been up for another humiliation.
Against Man City, it was a debacle on matchweek 3. The Londoners failed to register a single shot in the whole match. Dominated by City completely, Arsenal struggled to even get the ball out of the back, spending the majority of the match in their own half.
After a disastrous start, they saw off Norwich and Burnley with two 1-0 victories. But their biggest test came again against Tottenham in the North London derby.
The above image shows the xT timeline from their match against Spurs. Arsenal took a very tentative approach to the game. They were attacking the match but did not press too much, afraid of the fact that they might leave spaces behind for the Spurs forwards to attack. They spent time behind the ball closely marking the players, while they were not in possession. The timeline shows that Tottenham had the domination but Arsenal had the goals. They kept a strong defensive shape and kept hitting Spurs on the counter. They very well mitigated the spaces they were leaving in the previous matches, closing them down soon. The same story repeated in their recent fixture against Aston Villa. They played a patient game, waiting behind the ball to hit Villa on the counter and efficiently did it twice. Due to a lot of men behind at all times for the Gunners, Villa were not able to open up spaces often as well. This tactic has helped them win a lot more duels as well in the air. Following and keeping eyes on the ball till the end, without rushing too much into challenges, waiting for the perfect time to strike.
The above viz is from their latest game against Leicester City which the Gunners won to extend their unbeaten run even more. In all of the above images after the Man City debacle, Arsenal have tried to start the game on the front foot. It has been their go to tactic to score goals in the first half while they defend their lead in the next 45 minutes. This has paid off really well for them.
Since Aaron Ramsdale replaced Bernd Leno in goal who conceded nine goals in three matches, the Englishman has only conceded only four times and kept four clean sheets. He has been one of the biggest reasons behind Arsenal’ redemption being uber reliable between the sticks. The above image shows the shots Leicester City attempted against the Gunners and how many times Ramsdale was present to save them. His save from James Maddison’ free-kick is already being deemed save of the season by many. He gave a total of six saves in the match both from close range and the shots from long range. Surely, Ramsdale has brought a lot of stability in their defence.
Due to this factor, Arsenal’s ppda has also been on the higher side with 13.70. This has significantly helped them to be much more solid at the back while also finding ways to pen up defences. Thomas Tuchel has taken up a similar approach at Chelsea as well, which has improved them heavily and it has been a similar story for Arsenal and their redemption too.