Mikel Arteta has perfect evidence of Arsenal dominance as 4 stars rival Kevin De Bruyne
It’s been a great start to the Premier League season for Arsenal, and unsurprisingly a number of their in-form stars are leading the way in key performance metrics.
Arsenal fans continue to dream that this season could lead to something special.
Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Tottenham means the Gunners started the Premier League campaign by winning 21 points from a possible 24. There’s little doubt that Mikel Arteta’s men are looking increasingly like title contenders, although the Arsenal boss was keen to play down such excitement in the wake of the North London derby, reminding everyone his team has “done nothing yet”.
While it’s understandable that Arteta is keen to taper any lofty expectations and minimise the pressure that comes with them, there’s no denying that Arsenal look to have found a different level this season.
Arteta said that exact phrase on Saturday when praising Gabriel Jesus for the role he’s played in Arsenal’s early-season charge following his £45million summer switch from Manchester City. However, the same could be said for several members of this new-look squad.
William Saliba, for instance, has been impeccable in the Arsenal defence, helping form a robust defensive unit that’s not only restricted opponents to a combined eight league goals, but one that has also seen the Gunners register the second-lowest expected goals against (xGA) total behind only Man City (6.9).
Meanwhile, going forward, Arsenal have been thrilling, with so many of their key attackers combining with crisp sequences to carve open their opponents and create an abundance of opportunities on goal. The Gunners are averaging 17.4 shots per 90 this season, with 6.25 hitting the target. That’s a notable increase on the respective 15.3 and 4.87 averages from last season.
Perhaps most pleasing for Arteta will be how so many of his attacking players are playing a role in these flowing offensive moves. There’s no reliance on one or two individuals, but instead, it’s proving to be very much a team effort.
This point is captured best by looking at the Premier League’s top players in terms of shot-creating actions this season. The metric, as provided by FBref, is defined as a player contributing to one of the two offensive actions directly leading to a shot, such as a pass, dribble or drawing a foul.
Remarkably, the Premier League’s top five in this area is dominated by Arsenal players this season, with Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Sako and Gabriel Martinelli bearing down on Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne at the top of the pile.
It’s Martinelli who tops the Arsenal contingent, adding weight to claims that he’s one of Europe’s most exciting emerging talents. The 21-year-old has had to bide his time since arriving at the Emirates back in 2019, but his importance has gradually increased year on year and he’s now one of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet.
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