When you lose like that, it’s best to get it all out.
Everyone deals with football-related anguish differently. Whether it’s to switch off and read nothing for a few days or to soak up all the resulting torment in the immediate aftermath, Arsenal fans will have learned their preferred method.
In the world of sport, incidents such as these are grueling and tiresome. In among all the imperious highs are the draining lows. When it’s that bad, however, the performance can’t be brushed off and easily banished from memory.
It requires analysis, dissection and an extension of the pain. Usually, coming in the form of stats. Wonderful, yet presently putrid, stats.
As Arsenal sunk to new depths with that 3-0 Premier League home defeat against Aston Villa, there are plenty such figures to bask in.
Shot-Shy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Labelled as a contract fiend whose interest in success has waned since signing his new deal mustn’t persist by banging that cheap drum.
It can be firmly agreed that he isn’t playing well, but he was the one providing crosses or Willian against Villa. An atrocious sight to behold, one that is a tactical ploy. Blaming him for not scoring is distasteful opportunism when he’s essentially been tasked with doing otherwise.
Something has got to give.
Failure to Turn Over a Deficit
Opta have again unearthed a worry trend that’s befallen this Arsenal team of late: turning a game around. Indeed, we’ve won only one of the previous six matches under Arteta where we’ve been trailing at half-time, losing in each of the last four occasions.
Another one of the main criticisms Arteta has faced has been for struggling to maintain a lead, but this stat indicates there is not one main weakness, but a deeper issue that has yet to be solved.
It doesn’t make for great reading.
Fewest Goals Since 1998
It feels like over the last year or so that the amount of stats being brought to light, in regards to Arsenal, featuring a date before this century crop up. When they do, they’re never good.
Opta have revealed this season to be the lowest scoring tally by the Gunners after eight Premier League matches since nine were netted in the 1998/99 campaign. Confirmation that Arsenal and pre-2000 stats are indeed, not good.
The nine goals scored in that season opening included two 3-0 wins and three consecutive 0-0 draws. Arsenal did, however, concede just 17 times all season and finish one point off Manchester United in second.
For some inexplicable reason, I can’t envisage a repeat.
Sleepy Second Half Showings
This one is a real gem. Via Stats Perform, we can learn that Arsenal’s 33 shots attempted in the second half of matches is fewer than any of the other 91 sides across all four divisions of English football have mustered during that period.
It’s a damning statistic this one, although Arsenal’s paucity in attack is nothing new to those of us who sit through 90 minutes twice every week.
Arsenal Wait Extends to 6 Hours & 26 Minutes
The above being the length of time we’ve waited for Arsenal to score a goal from open play in the Premier League (Orbinho).
For those who are still young and have decent enough memories of what happened that long ago, the goal was Nicolas Pepe‘s cool strike against Sheffield United at the Emirates.
Bottom Half in Attacking Stats
Stats on their own can be incriminating, but stacked up against the sides you’d ideally want to be beating, they look even worse.
As per Statman Dave, Arsenal are 14th or below compared to the rest of the Premier League when it comes to touches in the opposition box, total shots, penalty area shots, goals scored and xG.
Now you can be unwavering in your philosophy and style of play, but Arteta has a strong core of staff he works with who will not be unaware of the standings. It is unfathomable to assume the methods in place will work if allowed to repeat themselves each week. There has to be another dimension.
Continuing in this stride will garner no joy. Like trying to draw blood from diamonds, the tools are there but they’re being used for the wrong purpose.