For Arsenal fans, this would be a season that everyone wants to forget as soon as possible. No one is used to seeing Arsenal so far away from the top-four positions of the Premier League table. In this piece, I will perform a data analysis focused on a controversial player for Arsenal, David Luiz, and the two most recent managers of the team: Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta. The statistics have been taken from Wyscout’s database and through this analysis, we will try to notice if there is any significant difference between the two managers, and if David Luiz’s game was affected by the managerial change during the season.
Statistical analysis of Arsenal under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta with the ball
In this section, there will be a data analysis and comparison of Arsenal under the managers, Unai Emery, who was on Arsenal’s bench for 7,504 minutes, and Mikel Arteta, who has coached Arsenal for 1,595 minutes and counting. The statistics of the two managers are from the Wyscout database. A data comparison will also take place between Arsenal under these two managers and the rest of the Premier League.
Arsenal, under Arteta, are effective at goalscoring, as they were scoring 1.29 goals per 90 minutes, with an xG of 1.19 per 90 minutes, at the time of writing. On the other hand, Emery’s Arsenal were scoring more goals per 90 minutes when compared to Arteta’s team: the team was scoring 1.81 goals per 90 minutes, with 1.5 xG/90. These indicators show us that Arsenal has been outperforming its xG this season, but did so at a better rate under Emery than under Arteta so far, as far as chance creation and scoring goals are concerned.
The next indicator that is going to be analysed is related to productivity. Arsenal were more productive under Emery’s instructions, as they were making 11.2 shots per 90 minutes, of which 4.28 were on target. On the other hand, Arteta’s team is producing 8.9 shots per 90 minutes, with 2.7 of them on target. Breaking down these numbers, it can be seen that there is almost a 10% difference between the two teams, as Arsenal got 38.2% of their shots on target under Emery, while for the same indicator for Arteta’s team the percentage is at 30.3%.
When Emery was sacked from Arsenal, the team was making 474.2 passes per 90 minutes, with an 85.6% accuracy. That means that Arsenal’s players were making 406 accurate passes per 90 minutes. Under Arteta, that number has been slightly reduced, but the accuracy stayed at the same high levels. 85.9% of the total passes per 90 minutes are still accurate for Arsenal. This means that Arsenal were making 385.9 accurate passes out of 448.9 passes per 90 minutes. Moreover, from these passes, both managers achieved a similar percentage for forward passes: particularly, Emery’s team had an accuracy rate of 78.78% as far as forward passes per 90 minutes are concerned. Similarly, Arteta’s team has had 76.1% forward passing accuracy. This indicator shows us an important part of Arsenal’s philosophy: every manager must adopt a dominant style of football, with high passing accuracy and control of the game.
The next indicator in this data comparison is going to be progressive passes and passes to the final third. Analysing the data, we see that during Emery’s tenure, his numbers were once again higher than we have seen under Arteta so far: 80.4 progressive passes per 90 minutes with a 76.8% accuracy. On the other hand, Arteta has managed to keep the accuracy percentage at the same level (73.3%), but the progressive passes slightly reduced to 66 per 90 minutes. Similarly, Arteta’s team have managed to keep the accuracy for passes into the final third at a high level, with 72.8%.
Comparing Arsenal’s position under their two managers this season with the other Premier League teams for passes, forward passes and passes to the final third per 90 minutes, we can see that the team has been above average in every category. The only category where Arsenal have been worse than the league average has been for final third passes/90 under Arteta. On the other hand, Arsenal have had a better accuracy rate for all these indicators than the average for the league this season.
Statistical analysis of Arsenal under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta without the ball
When Arsenal have not have the control of the ball, they have been competing in 190 and 166.2 duels per 90 minutes under Emery’s and Arteta’s commands, respectively. Emery’s team won 47.8% of them (91 per 90 minutes), while Arteta wins 47.7%, which is 79.4 duels per 90 minutes. Going a bit deeper into the duels, if we divide duels into defensive duels and aerial duels, we will notice that both managers had a slight difference as far as the per 90 minutes data, but the frequency that both teams were winning those challenges remained similar. Particularly, Emery’s team had 60.4 defensive duels per 90 minutes, winning 37 per 90 minutes (61.2%). Similarly, Arteta’s team had 54.3 defensive duels per 90 minutes, which of them the players win 59.1% (32.1 defensive duels per 90 minutes). Arsenal under Emery had 31 aerial duels per 90 minutes and won 13.2 per 90 minutes (42.5%), while under Arteta, the players win 12.2 aerial duels per 90 minutes of 27.2 (44.8%). In this section, the only difference that we can see is the slight reduction of the duels per 90 minutes that Arsenal’s players take part from the time that Arteta sat on Arsenal’s bench. Arteta managed to keep the winning rate per 90 minutes in the same levels as before.
Breaking down the analysis a bit further and comparing these stats, we can see that Arsenal under both managers could have done better. The Premier League’s average winning percentage of defensive duels per 90 minutes is 60% so far. Emery was winning the 61% per 90 minutes, while Arteta’s is 60%. The differences are not large in that indicator, as the highest rate belongs to Leicester City with 63% winning defensive duels per 90 minutes. As far as the aerial duels, Arsenal is facing a much more serious issue so far: Premier League’s average percentage of winning aerial duels per 90 minutes so far is 48%, while Arsenal under Emery’s instructions had 42.5% and under Arteta’s instructions is 44.8%.
The next indicators that will be analysed for Arsenal without the ball under the two managers are Losses, Recoveries, and Interceptions. Arteta’s team is losing four less the ball per 90 minutes. Particularly, Arsenal under Arteta’s commands loses the ball 90.1 times per 90 minutes, while Emery’s team was losing the ball 94.1 times per 90 minutes. From those losses, Arteta’s team is recovering the ball 62.6 times per 90 minutes, while Emery’s team did that 71.1 times per 90 minutes. That means that Arsenal under Emery’s instructions was recovering 75.5% of the total number of balls that get lost, while Arteta’s team is recovering 69.4% of the lost balls. Furthermore, Emery’s team was completing more interceptions per 90 minutes comparing with Arteta’s team: 41.1 times per 90 minutes Arsenal under Emery was intercepting the ball, while under Arteta, that is happening 36.7 times per 90 minutes.
David Luiz’s data analysis
In this section, a data analysis of David Luiz will be demonstrated to see if there is a significant difference in his performance after the manager change at Arsenal FC. David Luiz played 1289 minutes under Emery and 1355 minutes under Arteta. Luiz’s statistics are taken from Wyscout’s database. The last match that the database updated was after the Arsenal’s loss against Manchester City with 3-0. The data comparison that will take place between David Luiz and some Premier League players are from the season Wyscout report.
Starting with his total actions, David Luiz has completed more actions under Arteta’s instructions and with a higher success rate. David Luiz is completing so far 78 actions per 90 minutes, which of them he won 60.6 per 90 minutes (77.6%), while under Emery’s instructions he was completing 61.3 actions per 90 minutes, and winning 43.7 per 90 minutes (71.2%). This shows a slight improvement from David Luiz in the actions that he is taking part, as he participates more and completes those actions in a successful way.
The next indicator that is going to be monitored is Luiz’s passes. The player under Emery’s instructions was completing 39.5 passes per 90 minutes, which of them 34 were accurate per 90 minutes (86.2%). That number under Arteta’s instructions has greatly improved: David Luiz is completing 58.9 passes per 90 minutes, which of them 52.4 are accurate (88.9%). So, David Luiz not only increased the passes that he completes per 90 minutes, but also has improved his accuracy rate and percentage.
Analysing David Luiz’s position among other players of the Premier League, we can see that despite his accuracy, he is out of the top-10 list with the most successful passers of the league. This is because at number ten of that list is Jordan Henderson, who makes 69.6 passes per 90 minutes, about ten extra passes than what Luiz is doing under Arteta, and about 30 more than Luiz was passing under Emery’s instructions. The competition number in that list is high, as the average passes per 90 minutes of those players are 74.8 and their accuracy percentage is 91%. David Luiz has lower numbers from these and is an indicator of his that he can improve.
Breaking down the passes in more detail someone can notice that David Luiz increased the number of his forward passes and passes to the final third per 90 minutes under Mikel Arteta’s instructions. Specifically, while Unai Emery was managing Arsenal FC, David Luiz had 14.1 forward passes per 90 minutes. From them, 73.7% of the passes were accurate, which was 10.4 passes per 90 minutes. As far as the passes to final third David Luiz had 6.1 passes per 90 minutes, which of them 4.1 (67.2%) were accurate. Under Arteta’s instructions, David Luiz is completing 19.5 forward passes per 90 minutes, which of them 14.2 are accurate. The accuracy percentage for this indicator is similar as David Luiz completes 72.8% of his forward passes. Despite that David Luiz increased his passes into the final third to 8.6, which of them 5.1 are accurate.
Going deeper with our data, we will see that David Luiz is not included in the top-10 list with the players that pass into the final third of the Premier League. This is because the average passes per 90 minutes into the final third that is taking place from those players are 11.7 with 77% accuracy. The higher number of passes per 90 minutes into the final third have been completed by Jorginho so far, with 13.44 passes. The lowest in this list is from Mateo Kovačić, who is completing 10.61 passes per 90 minutes into the final third. David Luiz is far away from those numbers, as he had 6.1 and 8.6 passes into the final third per 90 minutes under Emery’s and Arteta’s instructions, respectively.
The next indicators that are going to be examined are David Luiz’s interactions without the ball. Starting with the duels, Luiz was taking part in more duels per 90 minutes under Emery’s instructions: the player was involved in 11.8 duels per 90 minutes, which of them he won 6.8 (57.6%). In the same metric under Arteta’s instructions, Luiz is participating in 9.9 duels per 90 minutes and wins 5.6 of them (56.5%). Dividing David Luiz’s duels into aerial and defensive duels we will notice a decreasing trend: David Luiz under Emery was winning 61.5% of the aerial duels per 90 minutes (1.3 out of 2.6 per 90 minutes), while under Arteta is winning 50% of the aerial duels per 90 minutes (1.7 out of 3.4 per 90 minutes). Those numbers show that David Luiz had a downward trend as the season goes by, as far as his defensive duties.
Comparing David Luiz’s position in defensive duels someone can notice that the Brazilian falls behind in that category. The player is out of the top-10 list with the players that complete the most defensive duels in the Premier League, as under both managers he did not complete more than 5 defensive duels per 90 minutes. The player that is last at the specific list is Cédric Soares with 9.43 defensive duels per 90 minutes, and a success rate of 67%. As far as the average success rate, David Luiz did well under Emery, as he had 70.7%, while the average winning rate per 90 minutes in that category is currently 60%. David Luiz needs to improve in defensive duels under Arteta, as he currently is winning 55.5% of his defensive duels. In the top-10 category with the best players in the aerial duels, we can see that David Luiz is winning above the percentage average per 90 minutes (61.5% and 50% under Emery and Arteta, respectively, while the average of the category is 41%). But, comparing to any other player of the list, we can see that Luiz is not taking part in many aerial duels per 90 minutes.
The final indicators that are going to be compared have to do with David Luiz’s losses, recoveries, and interceptions. David Luiz under Arteta slightly improved in the losses of the ball per 90 minutes and especially in Arsenal’s half. Luiz, under Emery’s orders, was losing the ball 7.2 times per 90 minutes, which of the 4.3 were in his half. What changed under Arteta’s directions is a decrease of losses in Arsenal’s own half at 3.5 per 90 minutes, while the total losses per 90 minutes remained at the same levels (7.3 per 90 minutes). Another indicator that David Luiz improved under Arteta’s commands is the recoveries that he is completing per 90 minutes: Luiz is completing 8.7 recoveries of the ball per 90 minutes, while with Emery, he was completing 8. An indicator that David Luiz could not improve after the new manager arrived is his interceptions per 90 minutes: Luiz under Emery was completing 5.7 interceptions per 90 minutes. That number decreased by 4.4 per 90 minutes under Arteta’s orders.
Coming at the end of this data analysis, I could comment that Arsenal maintained its style as a team, as from the comparison among the two managers and with the Premier League teams, we saw that is still a team that is above the average with great percentage accuracy. The indicators that fall behind and need improvement are the defensive ones, especially under Arteta’s orders. Lastly, as far as David Luiz, we noticed an improvement in his passes (forward, progressive and passes into the final third) when Mikel Arteta arrived at Arsenal. This would likely be one of the reasons that David Luiz recently signed a new contract with Arsenal, because of how Arteta wants to use him in the offensive part of the game. The indicators that Arteta could not have an impact on Luiz’s game has to do with his defensive duties: the data analysis showed that despite his good percentage of winning ground and aerial duels, they are few and far between compared with other players and is an area for improvement.