Arteta sacrifices Arsenal’s sweeping attack in order to win the Premier League

Arsenal’s start this season is similar to its counterpart last year. After 13 rounds of the Premier League, the Gunners are at the top of the standings, but the difference is that they are one point behind Man City, compared to two points last season.

Arsenal was not a candidate to win the title last season, but its utmost ambition was to be in the top four, and that changed this season as it was one of the candidates for the title.

The London team’s numbers decreased in the offensive aspect. After its scoring average was 2.32 goals per match, it dropped to 2.08, and the expected goals scored in the match decreased from 1.93 to 1.78, and its shooting rate also decreased from 15.6 to 14. ,5, according to the Opta statistics network.

Arsenal has struggled this season to achieve victories in the Premier League, the most recent of which was a difficult victory over Brentford 1-0 in the final minutes, which is the fifth victory they have achieved by a single goal this season.

The London team began to rely more on set pieces. Last season, it scored 17.1% of its goals from free kicks or corner kicks, and this season, it scored from 8 set pieces, which is the highest number in the Premier League, at 29.6% of its total goals. He only scored 12 goals from open play.

What also helped the Gunners was that he received 6 penalty kicks this season, which is double what he scored last season, and without those kicks, the Gunners’ score would have been 4 points less now.

One of the reasons for Arsenal’s suffering is the decline in Martin Odegaard’s influence in matches, after he participated last season in 37 league matches, during which he scored 15 goals and assisted 7 others.

This season, Arsenal’s style has changed with the arrival of Declan Rice, who has a more defensive tendency than the player he replaced, Thomas Partey, who passed the ball to Odegaard an average of 6.2 times per game last season, compared to 4.7 for Rice this season.

Odegaard plays a prominent role in delivering the ball quickly and effectively to Bukayo Saka on the right side. He is the second Arsenal player who passed the ball to Saka the most last season behind Ben White.

The average distance of Odegaard’s passes to Saka last season was 13.7 metres, and that number decreased to 11.3 meters this season, which means his presence near Saka, thus depriving the Englishman of space.

Fortunately for Arsenal, Saka’s level was not affected by last season as he contributed to scoring 9 goals this season at a rate of 0.8 goals per match, after contributing to 25 goals last season at a rate of 0.7 goals per match.

One of Arsenal’s most prominent features this season remains its improvement in the defensive aspect, as it has the strongest defense line in the Premier League, conceding only 10 goals.

Rice is considered the most prominent reason for Arsenal’s improvement without the ball, as the rate of shots the team is exposed to decreased from 9 shots to 8.5 shots per match, and the rate of goals expected to be scored by opponents decreased from 1.1 to 0.8 goals per match.

Arsenal’s level of defense also improved on set pieces, as the team conceded only one goal, which is the lowest number in the league this season, and therefore solid defense is Arteta’s most prominent weapon this season to win the title, even if it comes at the expense of attacking power.