Arsenal 6 – 1 Southampton – all the stats: A Premier League statistical round-up

At the end of Sunday’s games, the Premier League table stood thusly:

Yes, it took all of four games for the top four that most expected to occupy those spots to occupy them together for the first time.  Interestingly, it also took only four weeks to be able to state that no team has an unblemished record.

One of the greater surprises this weekend, to those who don’t read this blog, was Arsenal’s comprehensive demolition of a Southampton team that had leads on three separate occasions against the two Manchester clubs before losing both games.  It’s true that they were aided by two Southampton own-goals from Kieran Gibbs crosses.  However, one could easily say the Saints were aided by a woeful lack of concentration at the end of the first half by Arsenal’s suddenly under pressure keeper, Wojciech Szczesny – which led to their only goal.  Arsene Wenger’s furious reaction to this, despite their three goal lead at the time, was because Arsenal blew their chance at a club record fourth consecutive clean sheet to start the season.

If I showed you the following statistics for a game this year between the home team and away team, who would you think won the game?  These statistics are often-quoted in standard analyses, and in this case, I suspect most people would suspect the game would at least be close, if not drawn.

Now let’s look at these:

I suspect most people would suspect a rout.  Chances clearly are expected to increase with passing accuracy in the final third, and those who read the match analysis of Liverpool 0 – 2 Arsenal know the importance of winning air and ground 50/50 challenges.

Once again, the secondary statistics bear out why home team – Arsenal – routed away team – Southampton.

Who were the key performers for each team – good and bad?  Five Arsenal players with more than 15 passes attempted completed more than 90% of those passes.  Only two Saints could say the same.  Mikel Arteta completed 93% of his 90 passes.  He was Arsenal’s most frequent passer.  However, Lukas Podolski completed every one of his 31 passes.  Even more interesting is that Podolski passed forward only 16% of the time, and that percentage was the lowest on the team this day.  And Szczesny?  He completed only 8 of his 14 passes.

Considering Arsenal attempted 25 crosses with a 24% success rate to Southampton’s 12 crosses with an 8% success rate, one could argue that Daniel Fox attempting 4 crosses was impressive.  However, none were accurate.  Nathaniel Clyne attempted only two, but he was the only Southampton player to record a successful cross.

In closing, there are more similarities to Arsenal’s performance here and their performance against Liverpool than many would guess.  Arsenal are winning aerial battles, something that has always been described as a weakness.  Their passing was accurate across the board, anchored by Arteta in back and Santi Cazorla up front.  With an accurate Lukas Podolski in the final third, the odds of Arsenal’s scoreless first two games being an aberration seem good.

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