Arsenal the Big-Game Players, Man City’s xG Dominance, and Penalty Prowess

Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on Arsenal, Manchester City, and the best Premier League penalty takers.


It’s the last SVQ before the end of the Premier League season. No, we’re not crying. It’s hay fever, we assume.

We’re going right down to the wire in the title race after another weekend that saw Manchester City and Arsenal secure victories. It means whatever happens when City travel to Tottenham on Tuesday, the top two will both have a chance to win the league on the final day of the season on Sunday.

This week’s SVQ is dedicated to the battle between Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta as we look at Man City’s recent ominous form and Arsenal’s impressive record in big games.

Our quiz includes some of the most significant stats from the weekend’s action, while our Ask Opta question queries those who have been deadly from the spot for one specific club.

Let’s get going.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe below and receive Stat, Viz, Quiz direct to your inbox every Tuesday.


STAT Big-Six Benefactors

It was one last big hurdle for Arsenal to jump away from home. Mikel Arteta’s men travelled to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Sunday, where Arsenal hadn’t experienced much joy in recent years, not winning there in the Premier League in front of fans since 2006.

They secured the victory they needed though thanks to Leandro Trossard’s first-half goal, leaping back above Man City in the race for the title after a 1-0 success.

The roof may have been leaking at Old Trafford, but Arsenal’s defence wasn’t, earning their 11th away clean sheet in the Premier League this season. Only Chelsea in 2008-09 (12) have ever recorded more on the road in the competition in a single campaign.

That arguably wasn’t the most impressive stat of the day, though. The win also meant that Arsenal have gone the entire 2023-24 season without losing in the league to any of their so-called ‘big six’ rivals.

The Gunners completed the double over United, having produced a win and a draw against each of City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. Their 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup third round was their only loss to one of the big six all season in all competitions.

It means Arsenal picked up 22 points in their 10 games vs the big six (W6 D4), while United won six points (W1 D3 L6), Liverpool won 12 (W2 D6 L2), and Chelsea won 13 (W3 D4 L3). Spurs and Man City are still to play each other but are currently on nine (W2 D3 L4) and 12 (W2 D6 L1) points respectively against the big six in nine games so far.

Big 6 mini league PL 23-24

That therefore means Arsenal will have won at least seven more points than any of their rivals in the big-six mini-league, which many believe is crucial when it comes to being in a title race.

Of course, Aston Villa will have a thing or two to say about that. They might not be a traditional big-six team (yet), but they are on course for Champions League qualification and unlike those other names, did beat Arsenal in the league this season. In fact, they did so twice.

Unai Emery might have a wry grin to himself if he ends up costing his former employers the title, but Arsenal cannot look back with any regrets in their outings against their fellow big-six clubs.


VIZ Man City the xG Kings

Man City xG for last 7 games
Viz by Jonny Whitmore

Maybe xG really stands for extremely gigantic rather than expected goals.

At least, that feels to be the case when it comes to Manchester City and their annual relentless destruction of all and sundry as they follow the scent of another Premier League title.

On paper, Fulham away looked like a potentially tricky game in the early kick-off on Saturday. It was anything but as City marched to a 4-0 victory, having 16 shots to the hosts’ one and putting up 3.25 xG against Fulham’s 0.12.

City have won each of their last seven Premier League games by at least two goals; their joint-longest run of victories in the competition when winning by more than one goal each time (previously a run of seven between May and August 2015).

Following their 0-0 home draw with Arsenal in late March that put City’s title credentials in doubt, they have gone back to what they know; winning all the games with all the goals.

In the seven games since, Pep Guardiola’s monstrous side have accumulated a total of 18.9 xG, scoring 27 goals at an average of almost four a game. They have also only allowed 5.4 xG against, conceding just five times.

Man City xG against last 7 games

Arsenal have had their fair share of xG joy this season, with their overall xG against at 27.8, more than six fewer than City’s (or anyone else’s).

Man City xG difference PL 23-24
Arsenal xG difference PL 23-24

That form for City is what many expected, though. Regardless of wobbles earlier in the season, if they have even a hint that a title can be won in the last two months of a season, they tend to go into Terminator mode and storm through everything and everyone.

Can they do the same to a Spurs team on Tuesday whose Champions League hopes are fading and whose fanbase isn’t exactly wanting to be the ones to win rivals Arsenal the title?

Don’t be surprised to hear of Tottenham fans sending dodgy lasagnes to their own players.


QUIZ Gvardiol and Newcastle’s Goals For, and Man Utd’s Goals Against

It’s quiz time. Five more questions from the weekend’s Premier League action to tickle your football trivia muscle. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. After not scoring in any of his first 32 appearances for Manchester City across all competitions, Josko Gvardiol has netted five goals in his last seven games for the club. How many have been with his stronger left foot, though?

2. Bournemouth have conceded 498 fouls in the Premier League this season, the most by any team in a single campaign in the competition since which side back in 2016-17? Clue: They’re currently playing in the Championship.

3. Sean Longstaff’s goal for Newcastle United in their 1-1 draw with Brighton on Saturday meant the Magpies scored in all 19 home games this season in the Premier League. How many times have they achieved that feat before in the competition?

4. Burnley were relegated after losing 2-1 at Tottenham. Since their debut Premier League campaign in 2009-10, no side has been relegated from the top flight on more occasions than the Clarets, facing the drop in 2009-10, 2014-15, 2021-22 and now 2023-24. Who are the only team to have also been relegated four times from the Premier League in that time?

5. After their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, how many goals have Manchester United conceded in all competitions? A) 72, B) 76, or C) 82?


Ask Opta

This week’s question comes to us from regular question poser Paul Heighton, who asks: “Can you tell me, of current Premier League teams, who are their all-time top penalty scorers in the Premier League?”

Do you have a stat-based question you’d like Opta to answer in a future edition of SVQ? Email us at editors@theanalyst.com or message us on X @OptaAnalyst with #AskOpta and we’ll pick the best one.

Answer:

We sure can, Paul. Here is a list of the top scorers of penalties in the Premier League for each current team in England’s top flight:

  • Arsenal – Thierry Henry (23 penalties scored)
  • Aston Villa – Gareth Barry (18)
  • Bournemouth – Joshua King (12)
  • Brentford – Ivan Toney (11)
  • Brighton – Glenn Murray/Alexis Mac Allister (8)
  • Burnley – Ashley Barnes (7)
  • Chelsea – Frank Lampard (41)
  • Crystal Palace – Luka Milivojevic (22)
  • Everton – David Unsworth/Leighton Baines (19)
  • Fulham – Danny Murphy (12)
  • Liverpool – Steven Gerrard (32)
  • Luton Town – Carlton Morris (4)
  • Manchester City – Sergio Agüero (27)
  • Manchester United – Wayne Rooney (20 – Bruno Fernandes is just one behind on 19)
  • Newcastle United – Alan Shearer (37)
  • Nottingham Forest – Stuart Pearce (9)
  • Sheffield United – Dane Whitehouse (3)
  • Tottenham – Harry Kane (33)
  • West Ham United – Mark Noble (28)
  • Wolves – Rúben Neves (8)

The most penalties scored overall in the Premier League have come from the mighty right boot of Alan Shearer (56), while of players still active in the division, Mohamed Salah leads the way with 25.

Jamie Vardy has 26, which he’ll be able to add to if he stays at newly promoted Leicester City.

Most penalties scored PL

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

Here’s some of the latest data-driven offerings you can find on our website:

🏆 Who Will Win the Premier League in 2023-24?

⚽️ Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal Stats: Narrow Win Keeps Up Pressure on Man City

😱 Manchester United’s Centre-Back Chaos Encapsulates Inconsistent Season

❓ A Big Decision for Liverpool: Stick or Twist with Darwin Núñez?

⚒️ Julen Lopetegui Is Elite but May Not Bring the Excitement West Ham Fans Want


Opta Player Ratings & Games

Opta Games logo

If you haven’t done so yet, check out and play Opta’s FREE weekly football challenges, Opta Max and Opta Five.

Both games are powered by the Opta Player Ratings, a measure that takes into account over 100 different metrics to provide an accurate performance score (out of 100) for every player in a single match.

This matchday’s top-performing player was Jhon Durán (99.7/100) following his two goals as a substitute that saved a point for Aston Villa in a dramatic 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Monday.

In Opta Max and Opta Five you can compare players’ latest players ratings and stats. Then put your player ratings knowledge to the test for a chance to win big prizes each week of the football season.

Head to the website to find out more and start playing Opta Games.


Quiz Answers

  1. Zero (4 right-footed, 1 header)
  2. Watford (517)
  3. Never. They’d previously scored in 18 of their 19 home games in the 1995-96, 1996-97 and 2002-03 campaigns and 20 out of 21 in 1994-95.
  4. Norwich City
  5. C) 82. It is the most they have conceded in a campaign since 1970-71 (also 82).

Before you go…

Enjoying Stat, Viz, Quiz? Think it needs improvement? Send us your feedback to editorial@theanalyst.com.


Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.

Powered By
100% Free SEO Tools - Tool Kits PRO