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Arsenal's first-half struggles and second-half success explained
Southampton vs Arsenal live on Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm, Sunday
Last Updated: 12/12/18 11:50am
We examine why Arsenal have struggled in the first half of Premier League matches, but have the best second-half record in the division this season...
Arsenal have enjoyed a strong start in their first season under Unai Emery and are currently unbeaten in their last 21 games in all competitions. That's their longest unbeaten run since they went 28 games unbeaten between April and November 2007.
But they haven't done it the easy way. In the Premier League this season there are strong contrasts between Arsenal's first-half and second-half performances. They are one of only two sides, along with newly-promoted Cardiff, yet to lead at the break.
In contrast, Arsenal have the best second-half Premier League record this season, winning the equivalent of 38 points in the final 45 minutes.
Arsenal's 1st half vs second half in Premier League 2018/19
|First half||Category||Second half|
|30||Shots on target||48|
|9%||Shot conversion rate||23%|
|194||Touches in opp box||227|
Overall in the Premier League this season in the second half of games, Arsenal are significantly scoring more goals, creating more chances, having more shots, converting more opportunities and conceding fewer goals.
One of the reasons for their improvement after the break could be Emery's willingness to adapt and change his team within games.
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The Spaniard has made a Premier League high 14 substitutions before the start of the second half. That's already five more than previous boss Arsene Wenger made in the whole of his last season as manager in 2017/18 (nine).
Premier League substitutions before second half
|Team||Subs before second half|
These substitutions have helped contribute to Arsenal's improved second-half performances, where they lead the Premier League for goals scored (26), goals scored by substitutes (eight) and points won in the final 10 minutes (eight).
A further reason for their improved performances after the break could be their increased fitness levels under Emery.
This season Arsenal top the running stats for distance covered, averaging 115.4km per game. That's an increase of over 3km per game compared to last season under Wenger, when they ranked eighth in the Premier League.
Average distance covered in Premier League matches this season
|Team||Distance covered (KM)|
Can Arsenal buck the trend and get off to a fast start against struggling Southampton on Sunday? Or will they be in need of another late comeback? Watch the match live on Sky Sports Premier League from 3.30pm to find out.