Arsenal are known across the world for the attractive nature of their football, though many have accused the North London outfit of valuing style over substance.
The Gunners have averaged 65.3% possession in the Premier League so far this term, but how have they fared in comparison to their major rivals in top-flight matches since the beginning of last season both with and without the ball?
POSSESSION OVER 50%
Interestingly, Arsene Wenger’s side have only enjoyed a greater share of possession than their opponents in 31 of 42 fixtures. This puts them on a par with Liverpool and Tottenham, though they have averaged an extra 0.29 points per game than this pair when all three sides have enjoyed more than 50% of the ball.
POSSESSION UNDER 50%
Having averaged 1.87 points per match when in charge of possession, this figure climbs to 2.18 points per game when Arsenal have had to settle for less than 50% of the ball. Only Manchester City and Manchester United boast better records amongst the leading clubs when losing the possession battle, but they have featured in ten matches of this type between them, as opposed to the Gunners’ 11.
It is interesting to see that Arsenal are not as adept at keeping possession as people would have you believe. Given their improved results without the ball, perhaps the North London outfit should concentrate on sitting back and hitting teams on the counter-attack? Stoke City visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, having had to settle for less than 50% of the ball in three of their four Premier League games so far this season. Our exclusive Kickoff algorithm rates the Gunners’ chances of winning at 63% and the Acca Smacker widget below is the perfect tool for putting together your bets.
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