With three wins from our opening three Women’s Super League fixtures, we remain just one of only two sides to have made a perfect start to the 2019/20 season.
On the opening day we ran out deserved 2-1 winners over West Ham, before sealing a dramatic 1-0 victory over Manchester United on the road, and then beating Brighton 4-0 at Meadow Park.
It’s a positive start to our defence of the WSL title - but what do the stats say? Read on to find out…
Last season we boasted the WSL’s most formidable defence, conceding just 13 times in 20 league outings, and we’ve started this term in equally impressive fashion, conceding just once in more than 270 minutes of league action.
In fact, that’s the only goal we’ve conceded across all competitions this season, meaning we’ve kept a clean sheet in each of our last five fixtures. That’s a run stretching back more than 480 minutes of competitive football.
During this time, we’ve registered the second best xGC per 90 in the WSL (0.50), and conceded the second fewest shots from open play (6.67). Chelsea are the only side to beat us in both departments.
Our defence has also limited the opposition to just 0.67 completed passes in our area this season, the second best in the WSL.
But our backline are expected to do far more than just tackle, block and nullify the opposition. They’re also our first line of attack.
Jennifer Beattie (316) and Leah Williamson (249) have completed more passes than any other players in the WSL this season, and they also top the chart for deep progressions (passes, dribbles and carries into the opposition final third), with 34 to their name each. Our defensive duo love a long ball too, completing 39 and 29 respectively, the most in the WSL.
Expected to support the team in all phases of play, our full backs have a key role to play in Joe Montemurro’s system, and the stats certainly back that up.
Leonie Maier (67) and Katie McCabe (63) are the only full backs to feature in the top 10 for the most open-play passes into the final third, sitting in fourth and sixth respectively.
McCabe is also fourth in the WSL for the most ball carries (208), and has completed four more tackles than any other Arsenal player (9).
Having dominated possession in each of our opening three league fixtures, early signs suggest that we’ve somehow improved on the balance of last season’s midfield three.
Topping the chart for both possession (68 per cent) and pass completion rate (86 per cent) in the WSL, we’ve controlled games and waited patiently for our moment to break forward, all while holding our shape defensively.
Due to our high-pressing approach, we’ve also forced the opposition into an average pass completion rate of 73 per cent, the fourth lowest in the WSL.
Kim Little, our captain, has been one of the driving forces behind these impressive stats. The Scotland international has completed 91 passes in the final third this season, more than any player in the WSL. She’s also completed the most passes into the opposition’s penalty area (15), and currently sits in fourth for deep progressions (28).
Playing a little further forward than Kim this season is Danielle van de Donk, who has once again shown real quality in the final third.
The Netherlands international has the highest xG (1.61) in our squad and the second highest in the WSL, proving that she’s continually finding dangerous positions behind the opposition’s defence. She remains fourth in the WSL for xG assisted with 1.01.
Summer signing Jill Roord has also impressed, averaging 5.52 pressure regains per 90 and a pass completion rate of 97 per cent, the highest in the WSL from anyone to play more than 180 minutes. That means Roord has completed 116 of her 120 attempted passes.
Having broken the record for the most goals scored in a single WSL season last term, it’s no surprise to see that we’re already leading the way with seven goals to our name.
Vivianne Miedema was named PFA Women’s Player of the Year for 2019, and she’s picked up where she left off last season, scoring once and assisting twice. No other player in the WSL has provided three direct goal contributions.
Her only goal of the WSL season arrived in our 4-0 win over Brighton, when she converted a chance with an xG value of 0.11.
But Miedema is far more than just a goalscorer. The Netherlands international is currently second in the WSL for xG assisted (1.24), and has completed more through balls than any other player in the division (2).
Lisa Evans spent much of last season as an attack-minded full back, but with the acquisition of Maier, the Scotland international has been able to claim the right wing as her own. Evans is currently top of the WSL for xG assisted (1.25), and has also completed the second most crosses from open play (5). No other player has completed more key passes from open play (7).
Finally we have Beth Mead, who delivered a standout performance as a No 9 on the opening day of the season, scoring once and assisting once, before moving back out to the wing where she registered the most assists in the WSL last term (12).
An aggressive player that thrives on attacking space, Mead has averaged 11.05 touches in the box per 90 this season, in addition to 15.55 passes per 90 in the opposition’s final third.
So far, so good from Montemurro’s side, who will be looking to maintain their perfect start to the season on Sunday when they face Chelsea at Kingsmeadow Stadium.
Stats sourced from @StatsBomb IQ
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