Home Football The Stats That Show How (And Why) Arsenal Have Already Improved Massively From Last Season

The Stats That Show How (And Why) Arsenal Have Already Improved Massively From Last Season

The progress Arsenal have already made this season compared to last was exemplified by the manner in which they demolished Chelsea 3-0 on Saturday evening.

First half strikes from Alexis Sánchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil put a hapless Chelsea defence to the sword and ended the tie as a contest before half time.

Bar the Liverpool defeat on the opening day, Arsenal have been in fine form this season and even emerged from what will be their toughest Champions League group match away at Paris Saint-Germain with a point.

There is a general sense of optimism around the Emirates lately, and the stats show that their opening few games are a big improvement on the same period last season:

First eight games 15/16: 4  1  8

First eight games 16/17: 5  2  20 7

The goal concession stats are virtually similar, though three of the seven goals conceded came against Liverpool. Indeed, since Shkodran Mustafi came into the defence, Arsenal have only conceded three goals in four games.

It is, however, at the other end where the biggest change has taken place. Arsenal have scored 20 goals in their first eight games – their fourth-highest under Wenger and almost three times as many goals at this point last season.

Considering they have played against Liverpool, Leicester, PSG and Chelsea, that is particularly impressive.

According to statistics website Squawka, goalscoring is not the only area Arsenal have improved on, as shown below:

  • Shooting accuracy: 49% – 54% (Up 5%)
  • Set piece goals: 1 – 4 (Up 3)

Oddly chance creation is significantly lower, dropping by around a third from 102 to 70. However, the fact that they have scored more goals despite creating less chances shows that they have become more clinical.

Central to this, has been the use of Alexis Sánchez as the central forward instead of Olivier Giroud.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The Chilean international’s mobility has been absolutely key in the side’s goalscoring run, and the stats back up the theory that Giroud’s static play is not going to mesh well in this new fluid Arsenal, and Alexis’s own performances have dwarfed the French striker’s displays in the corresponding period last season:

Goals Scored:

  • Alexis: 5
  • Giroud: 2

Shooting Accuracy:

  • Alexis: 83% (67% excluding the PSG match)
  • Giroud: 62%

Passing accuracy:

  • Alexis: 81%
  • Giroud: 69%

Chances Created:

  • Alexis: 12
  • Giroud: 4

From this, the conclusion can be drawn that Alexis integrates better within the team as opposed to a striker like Giroud, better passing stats and chance creation also show that he brings others into the game better than his striking rival.

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 13: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal looks on from the bench during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal FC at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Giroud’s return to full fitness could be interesting, but it will now take some effort to dislodge Sánchez now that he has made the role his own.

Certain situations definitely do call for a central target up front, as was the case in the PSG game, but does that mean Giroud will be thought of as a Plan B going forward, rather than the first choice striker?

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