Arsenal preview: Gunners in top three but showing some frailties

Preview: Sheffield United vs Arsenal, 21 Oct 2019 at Bramall Lane, 745pm

Arsenal have given the impression of starting the season misfiring a bit. They are third in the league though, one point above Leicester but some distance behind Man City and Liverpool.

Compared to Sheffield United they come out on top in a lot of numbers you want more of – goals for, shots, passes, pass success, touches in box.

But they also compare unfavourably to United in some areas. Arsenal’s expected goals (xG) is only marginally better than the Blades, while expected goals against (xGA) and shots against is significantly less good.

When it comes to individual player’s goal threat, Aubameyang is head and shoulders above the rest of the Gunners’ team. United, despite a relatively low overall xG, at least spread the chances around a fair few players, with McBurnie, Robinson and McGoldrick leading the pack.

Scroll down to see passmaps and defensive action maps for Arsenal’s away games at Manchester United and Watford.

Their game at Watford might be the nearest template for what to expect at Bramall Lane. They hit Arsenal with a lot of possession high up the pitch, with 31 shots to the Gunners’ 7 in a game that ended 2-2. Arsenal’s defensive actions show them being pressed back much more than they were at Old Trafford.

Arsenal tend to play a 4-2-3-1 from kickoff, with adjustment to 4-3-3 later in the game when losing on a couple of occasions.

team Arsenal Sheffield Utd
P 8 8
F 13 7
A 11 7
xG 10.7 9.4
xGA 11.8 9.6
shots 108 79
onTarget 0.37 0.47
shotsAgst 136 95
passesPG 524 439
passSuccPG 0.81 0.73
ppdaPG 10.7 9.7
deepCPG 19 25
touchesInBoxPG 28 18
avgLinePG 47 49
opp3rd 0.27 0.29
directnessPG 0.45 0.54

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