It would be easy for Arsenal fans to get carried away at the moment after their side has put together an impressive run of eight Premier League matches without defeat.
In fact now under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners boast the longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League and look to have given themselves a real chance of delivering European football back to the Emirates next season with the gap to fifth place down to just five points points – with a game in hand for the North Londoners.
Key to the success under Arteta has been his ability to create a more cohesive and structured side in possession who are finding greater success in building better and more threatening chances within the final third.
There also looks to be huge improvements in the defence, on the surface at least, with a run of three clean sheets across their previous four Premier League matches.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will start in8Cancel
Yet as the below illustrates, those improvements haven’t been as marked as perhaps that clean sheet record suggests.
Arsenal before and after the arrival of Mikel Arteta
Arsenal’s improvements in front of goal are clear to see, with a notable increase in terms of their open-play goal average per 90 minutes from 1.17 prior to Arteta’s arrival to 1.6 after.
Interestingly though, Arteta’s Arsenal are averaging slightly fewer shots per 90 minutes, yet, as highlighted by their boost in terms of Post-Shot xG (PSxG), these shots are of a much-improved quality.
A reminder that the key difference between PSxG and regular xG is that PSxG uses information after the shot has been taken up until the shot was to pass the goalkeeper. This includes characteristics such as pressure, speed, shot trajectory and tends to give a better overview of the quality of a shot.
Those improvements in the attack will be pleasing to see for Arteta, but the same doesn’t seem to have translated as proficiently in terms of the defence, even despite that streak of clean sheets.
Whilst Arsenal’s xGA has dropped slightly from 1.17 to 1.0, which is good, they do seem to have benefited from some poor finishing from opposition attackers. At the moment, they are averaging just 0.56 goals conceded per xGA, a huge drop on their average of 1.09 under the luckless Unai Emery.
What this tells us is that based on the above, there is a likely chance that we will see a sharp increase in the number of goals the Gunners begin concede per game in the coming weeks, should they continue to perform at this same level.
Thankfully in Arteta, Arsenal have a manager who values performances just as highly as results and he as already indicated that he is fully aware that more progress on the pitch is required, even despite their good run of form.
Following Saturday’s win over West Ham, he said: “We are turning the corner in results and a bit in terms…