How Arsenal can create more vs Villarreal this time around

Arsenal started last week’s game with a couple of obvious chinks in the armour:

  1. No striker as Smith Rowe played up front
  2. And Xhaka continuing to substitute as leftback

But those weren’t the only reasons why Arsenal created so little against Villarreal. There are several chinks that need fixing because while trailing 1-2, The Gunners now have to improve their chance creation.

Having rewatched the game, these were some of Arsenal’s biggest tactical issues in the first leg in Spain and how to potentially fix them.

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All the data: How will the league finish?

Only ten games remain of the Premier League season. Looking back at the previous 28, it’s hard not to use ‘unpredictable’, ‘close’, ‘bloody weird’ as part of your assessment. It’s as if someone or something has grabbed hold of the league and its mechanisms and shook it really hard. Like a world-wide pandemic, maybe.

That being said, let’s examine just how the teams battling for Champions League and Europa League spots might fare in the closing stage of the season.

Where might they finish on the league table, by comparing their form, match schedule, new injuries and returning players, previous results and analytics like xPts and more?

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Interview: The creator of OptaJoe and how xG came about

There has been an explosion in popularity regarding football statistics and analytics in recent years.

It is no longer just about which team had the most shots on goal, or enjoyed most of the possession, or even who scored the most goals for some. There’s so much more to consider now, so many more colours to paint the image of the game with.

Among the people igniting the fuse at the other end of the analytics boom was Rob Bateman, also known as “Orbinho” on Twitter.

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From extraordinary to ordinary

Arsenal bossed it a week ago at Old Trafford — a place they haven’t won at for 14 years — and won.  They were tactically convincing and exciting, and it’s far from the first top team they’ve beaten since Mikel Arteta took charge. They were extraordinary.

This weekend, however, the Gunners stumbled on a familiar speed bump against Aston Villa. Taking on the weaker teams on the schedule, they struggle, they lack creativity from their midfield and individual brilliance from their forwards. Arsenal looked completely ordinary, if that…

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Pepe’s enigma

Bagging a goal and an assist against Molde, Nicolas Pepe is now Arsenal’s top goal contributor so far this season with five goals and four assists in 12 games — already reaching half his goal contributions from last season.

It sounds wrong…

But there was something very familiar about his performance against the Norwegians that could explain why.

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The final acts of Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal – a long read

A stroll through the final 12 years of Le Professeur’s time as “the boss”.

While riding the tsunami of success from the Invinsibles season in 03/04, and the six other trophies Wenger and Arsenal plundered since his appointment in 1996, they set out on a bigger adventure as the club announced a new stadium to stand ready in 2006. This is when the final acts of Arsène Wenger’s reign in north London began.

A time Wenger himself described in May 2017 as, “That was, for me, the biggest period of pressure between 2006 and 2014. If you told me today I’d do that again I would say ‘no thank you, I’ll leave that to someone else.’”

It is a tale of a new time, difficult choices, successes and failures, and a surprise ending.

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Another crazy transfer window shuts

Fans have followed their club’s respective transfer sagas with extreme attention and articulation all summer. Reporters turned into the cool, older kids you felt honoured to hang out with for 20 minutes after school. And clubs have just finished — some impressively, some not — a bloody tough exam that could determine which European competition they get into next season.

One can argue that Arsenal fans occupy the more extreme part of the spectrum. Evident on social media, which is used as an echo chamber telling the world of their every thought about the latest rumours. Euphoria and depression are hours apart. And on deadline day, it all accumulates into one sweeping emotion.

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The Arsenal youth’s impact this season

The League Cup tends to give a good indication of who will be the first teams’ B level players for the upcoming season. Who will live in the shadows of the first team, in the dreaded “limbo zone”, where they fight just to get a seat on the bench.

This is often where the team’s younger players operate. So, who are they, what can they expect from the 20/21 season, and should they stay, be loaned out or sold?

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How Arsenal’s attack evolved since Wenger

Besides obvious focal points such as the start of the new season and new, flourishing signings Willian and Gabriel, was the impressiveness of Arsenal’s attacking.

How the Gunners attack has changed massively through the club’s many tactical changes and philosophies in the last three years, and it looks like it has arrived at a place of modern sufficiency. Let’s take a look at Arsenal’s attacking evolution since Arsène Wenger, shall we?

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