Henrikh Mkhitaryan was more involved in Arsenal’s build-up of chances than anyone else on Sunday, according to the statistics.
If you asked the majority of Arsenal fans who the star of the team was offensively against Fulham, they’d probably say Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, it seems Mkhitaryan was more involved in the team’s chances than you might think, considering he didn’t get any goals or assists.
The stats that show the Armenian’s influence are xG Chain and xG Buildup. He led the team in both, by quite a distance.
Fulham vs Arsenal Offense Value Added
Henrikh Mkhitaryan really bossed this one pic.twitter.com/N9aZyejjXw
— Scott #Project24 Willis (@oh_that_crab) October 7, 2018
Let me briefly explain what each stat means.
Expected goals (xG) are a calculation of how likely it is for a player to score based on various factors, such as the distance and angle of a shot from the goal, the number of players between the shooter and the goal, the manner that the ball was played into the shooter, and so on.
From those factors, statisticians calculate how likely a player is to score that chance. If they’re 50% likely to score, the xG for the chance is 0.5.
xG Chain credits everyone involved in the build-up of that chance with 0.5 xG. So if Mkhitaryan passes to Aubameyang, who crosses to Ramsey to shoot, all three of them get the same xG added to their xG Chain stat.
xG Buildup does the same thing, but without giving credit for assisting or taking a shot, to shift the focus to build-up play alone. In the above example, only Mkhitaryan would be credited in xG Buildup.
Clearly, Mkhitaryan was an integral part of the weekend win, even if he didn’t get on the end of the chances himself. Hopefully, he can keep that up in the coming matches.