Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 3

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into five positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Centre Forward
  • Striker

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend by aggressively pressing the opponent.
  • Attack by monopolising possession of the ball in the opposition’s half, and patiently moving the ball back and forth laterally to stretch the opposition’s defensive block, and create passing lanes into the centre forward and striker and/or cut backs and crossing opportunities.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through accurate passing (80%+) and producing multiple key passes (1+) per match.
  • The wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game) and contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple forward dribbles (1+) and multiple key passes per game (1+).
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) per game and goals (15+ per season).

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

The player rankings by position are as follows:

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs
  • Tierney, Mustafi, Chambers, Mari, Sokratis, Soares, Emile-Smith Rowe, and Martinelli recovering from injuries
  • Arsenal have already played West Ham and Leicester within the last nine days

11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 3 Premier League clash versus Liverpool, would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Carabao Cup 3rd Round

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into five positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Centre Forward
  • Striker

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend by aggressively pressing the opponent.
  • Attack by monopolising possession of the ball in the opposition’s half, and patiently moving the ball back and forth laterally to stretch the opposition’s defensive block, and create passing lanes into the centre forward and striker and/or cut backs and crossing opportunities.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through accurate passing (80%+) and producing multiple key passes (1+) per match.
  • The wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game) and contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple forward dribbles (1+) and multiple key passes per game (1+).
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) per game and goals (15+ per season).

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

The player rankings by position are as follows:

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs
  • Tierney, Mustafi, Chambers, Mari, Sokratis, Soares, Emile-Smith Rowe, and Martinelli recovering from injuries
  • Arsenal have already played West Ham and due to also play Liverpool all within a nine day period

11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 3 Carabao Cup clash versus Leicester, would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

ARSENAL PLAYER ANALYSIS: ROUND 2 TEAM SELECTION

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into five positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Centre Forward
  • Striker

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend by aggressively pressing the opponent.
  • Attack by monopolising possession of the ball in the opposition’s half, and patiently moving the ball back and forth laterally to stretch the opposition’s defensive block, and create passing lanes into the centre forward and striker and/or cut backs and crossing opportunities.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through accurate passing (80%+) and producing multiple key passes (1+) per match.
  • The wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game) and contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple forward dribbles (1+) and multiple key passes per game (1+).
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) per game and goals (15+ per season).

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

The player rankings by position are as follows:

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs
  • Mustafi, Chambers, Mari, Sokratis, Emile-Smith Rowe, and Martinelli recovering from injuries
  • Arsenal also playing Leicester and Liverpool in the next nine days

11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 2 clash versus West Ham, would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Round 1 Team Selection

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into five positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Centre Forward
  • Striker

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend by aggressively pressing the opponent.
  • Attack by monopolising possession of the ball in the opposition’s half, and patiently moving the ball back and forth laterally to stretch the opposition’s defensive block, and create passing lanes into the centre forward and striker and/or cut backs and crossing opportunities.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through accurate passing (80%+) and producing multiple key passes (1+) per match.
  • The wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game) and contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple forward dribbles (1+) and multiple key passes per game (1+).
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) per game and goals (15+ per season).

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

The player rankings by position are as follows:

Formation and line-up

Based on the above analytical comparison, Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs, and with Mustafi, Chambers, Mari, Luiz, Sokratis, Emile-Smith Rowe, and Martinelli recovering from injuries, the 11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 1 clash versus Fulham, would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

2020/2021 SEASON : WHICH PLAYERS ARSENAL SHOULD RETAIN, SELL AND RECRUIT TO FIT A 3-5-1-1 FORMATION

With Arsenal’s 2019/2020 Premier League campaign over, the team finishing a disappointing 8th in the Premier League (but qualifying for the Europa League via their FA Cup triumph) and the adjusted Summer transfer window now open, it’s an opportune time to examine the on-field production of each player in Arsenal’s senior squad, and the player market, in order to identify:

  • which players Arsenal should sell
  • which players Arsenal should recruit
  • which players Arsenal should retain.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into five positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Centre Forward
  • Striker

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend by aggressively pressing the opponent.
  • Attack by monopolising possession of the ball in the opposition’s half, and patiently moving the ball back and forth laterally to stretch the opposition’s defensive block, and create passing lanes into the centre forward and striker and/or cut backs and crossing opportunities.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball, and win aerial duels.
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball, and contribute to the team’s offensive play through accurate passing and producing multiple key passes per match.
  • The wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball and contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple forward dribbles and multiple key passes per game.
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots and successful aerial duels per match as well as goals
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots per game and goals.

Once the relative on field productivity of Arsenal’s current senior squad was assessed, the comparative KPI data (from Whoscored.com) of the players competing in the following leagues was then reviewed:

  • English Premier League
  • Championship
  • Serie A
  • Ligue 1
  • La Liga
  • Bundesliga

When considering players competing in the aforementioned leagues, those players in clubs who are due to compete in the 2020/21 Champions League, were not considered. This included clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchenglabach. PSG, Marseille, Rennes, Juventus, Inter Milan, Atalanta, and Lazio. This was designed to realistically account for Arsenal’s attractiveness as a prospective employer, based on the club’s current standing in European football (as a Europa League competitor).

Also, only players from the aforementioned leagues who have, during their professional career, started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) were considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed. Again, this was designed to provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production.

The KPI data of the reviewed players was then contrasted against the KPI data of the players who currently comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, to identify prospective transfer targets.

Player rankings

Starting with the goalkeeping position, and while it’s unfair to judge Macey or Martinez’ suitability, as neither player has sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, it is fair to say that Bernd Leno, has delivered less impressive performances throughout his career to date, in contrast to the likes of Alessio Cragno of Cagliari.

In light of that, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Leno, and recruit Cragno, to serve as one of the club’s two senior goalkeepers.

In terms of the second of those two senior goalkeepers, with Martinez and Macey unproven but both considered ‘homegrown’, and likely to see limited game time, it would be logical for the club to retain either one of Martinez or Macey as the club’s second senior goalkeeper. My preference would be Martinez.

As for the club’s contracted centre back options, Arsenal fortunately have two players in Mustafi and Sokratis, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as two of the club’s six senior centre backs.

As for the club’s other centre back options, while its unfair to judge Mavropanos, Holding, Saliba or Tierney, as all four players have insufficient professional experience in any of the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances, Luiz, Chambers and Kolasinac’s propensity to win aerial duels are inferior to a number of the players reviewed, and Luiz and Mari’s tackles per game records are similarly inferior.

Needless to say, Mustafi and Sokratis aside, Arsenal lack a sufficient number of adequately productive centre back options.

That being the case, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Luiz, Chambers, Kolasinac and Mari, and recruit one of Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton, Kristian Pedersen of Birmingham, Sol Bamba of Cardiff or Salif Sane of Schalke, to serve alongside Mustafi and Sokratis as three of the club’s six senior central defenders.

In terms of the fourth, fifth and sixth centre backs, given the critical nature of defence, there is a strong argument that Arsenal should aim to recruit the next most productive centre backs available to fill those senior centre back roles. That being the case, Arsenal should sell Holding, Mavropanos and Saliba and recruit three of the following players:

  • Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton
  • Kristian Pedersen of Birmingham
  • Salif Sane of Schalke
  • Sol Bamba of Cardiff.

In terms of the club’s contracted central midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Elneny, and Willock’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience in any of the examined leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other central midfield options, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Maitland-Niles’ tackles and key passes per match records are inferior to a number of the players reviewed. While Maitland-Niles’ passing accuracy is similarly inferior.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted central midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Maitland-Niles and, recruit the following players to serve as three of Arsenal’s six senior central midfielders:

  • Xavier Chavalerin of Stade de Reims
  • Matt Grimes of Swansea
  • Yohan Cabaye of Saint Etienne

In terms of the club’s fourth, fifth and sixth senior central midfielders, while having highly productive and proven players in the defence is critical, given their function as the last line of protection for Arsenal’s goalkeeper, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have more flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill the remaining central midfield spots. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Elneny, retain Smith-Rowe, and Willock, and recruit Will Hughes of Watford to fill Arsenal’s fourth, fifth and sixth senior central midfielder roles.

As for the club’s contracted wide midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Saka, Nelson, Tierney or Martinelli’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience in the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other current wide midfield options, Pepe, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Kolasinac, Bellerin and Maitland-Niles’ tackles per game records are inferior to a number of the players reviewed. While Aubameyang, Soares, Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles’ dribbles per match records are similarly inferior, as are Soares, Kolasinac and Bellerin’s key passes per game records.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted wide midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Ozil, Maitland-Niles, Bellerin, Kolasinac and Soares, and recruit Teji Savanier of Montpellier and Emi Buendia of Norwich, to serve as two of Arsenal’s four senior wide midfielders.

In terms of the club’s third and fourth senior wide midfielders, as with Arsenal’s central midfielders, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill a number of the wide midfield roles in the squad. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Martinelli, retain Nelson, and retain one of Saka and Tierney, to serve as the club’s third and fourth senior wide midfielders. Of Saka and Tierney, my preference would be to retain Saka.

In terms of the club’s contracted centre forward options, Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang are all deficient aerially, in contrast to a number of players reviewed.

In light of the comparative deficiency of Arsenal’s currently contracted centre forward options in this KPI, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Lacazette, Pepe, and recruit Aleksanda Mitrovic of Fulham to serve as one of Arsenal’s two senior centre forwards.

In terms of the second centre forward in the squad, having highly productive and proven players in the centre forward and striker roles is critical, given their primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals. That being the case, it would be logical for Arsenal to also recruit Simon Terrode of FC Cologne.

In terms of the club’s contracted striker options, Arsenal fortunately have a player in Aubameyang, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as one of the club’s two senior strikers.

As for the club’s other striker options, while its unfair to judge Martinelli or Nketiah, as both players have insufficient professional experience in any of the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances, Pepe and Lacazette’s records in term of goals per season and shots per game are comparatively inferior to a considerable number of the players reviewed.

In light of that and there being a need to have highly productive and proven players in the striker role, given its primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals , it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Lacazette, Pepe, Martinelli and Nketiah, and recruit one of Hirving Lozano of Napoli, Raul Jimenez of Wolves, Teemu Pukki of Norwich or Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli to fill the second of Arsenal’s two senior striker roles. My preference would be Pukki, based on his relative value and experience in the English leagues.

Summary of proposed activity

Freddie08

2020/2021 Season : WHICH PLAYERS ARSENAL SHOULD RETAIN, SELL AND RECRUIT to fit a 3-4-3 Formation

With Arsenal’s 2019/2020 Premier League campaign over, the team finishing a disappointing 8th in the Premier League (but qualifying for the Europa League via their FA Cup triumph) and the adjusted Summer transfer window now open, it’s an opportune time to examine the on-field production of each player in Arsenal’s senior squad, and the player market, in order to identify:

  • which players Arsenal should sell
  • which players Arsenal should recruit
  • which players Arsenal should retain.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into five positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Midfielders
  • Wide Forwards
  • Centre Forward

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-4-3 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend by aggressively pressing the opponent.
  • Attack by transitioning the ball quickly forward on turnovers to create higher probability goal scoring opportunities, and create overloads on the flanks to generate cut back and crossing opportunities.
  • Arsenal’s goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • Arsenal’s centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball, and win aerial duels.
  • Arsenal’s midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball, and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through multiple forward dribbles and key passes per match.
  • Arsenal’s wide forwards’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple forward dribbles in the inside channels and shots per game as well as goals.
  • Arsenal’s centre forward’s primary aims are contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots and successful aerial duels per match as well as goals.

Once the relative on field productivity of Arsenal’s current senior squad was assessed, the comparative KPI data (from Whoscored.com) of the players competing in the following leagues was then reviewed:

  • English Premier League
  • Championship
  • Serie A
  • Ligue 1
  • La Liga
  • Bundesliga

When considering players competing in the aforementioned leagues, those players in clubs who are due to compete in the 2020/21 Champions League, were not considered. This included clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchenglabach. PSG, Marseille, Rennes, Juventus, Inter Milan, Atalanta, and Lazio. This was designed to realistically account for Arsenal’s attractiveness as a prospective employer, based on the club’s current standing in European football (as a Europa League competitor).

Also, only players from the aforementioned leagues who have, during their professional career, started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) were considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed. Again, this was designed to provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production.

The KPI data of the reviewed players was then contrasted against the KPI data of the players who currently comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, to identify prospective transfer targets.

Player rankings

Starting with the goalkeeping position, and while it’s unfair to judge Macey or Martinez’ suitability, as neither player has sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, it is fair to say that Bernd Leno, has delivered less impressive performances throughout his career to date, in contrast to the likes of Alessio Cragno of Cagliari.

In light of that, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Leno, and recruit Cragno, to serve as one of the club’s two senior goalkeepers.

In terms of the second of those two senior goalkeepers, with Martinez and Macey unproven but both considered ‘homegrown’, and likely to see limited game time, it would be logical for the club to retain either one of Martinez or Macey as the club’s second senior goalkeeper. My preference would be Martinez.

As for the club’s contracted centre back options, Arsenal fortunately have two players in Mustafi and Sokratis, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as two of the club’s six senior centre backs.

As for the club’s other centre back options, its unfair to judge Mavropanos, Holding, Saliba or Tierney, as all four players have insufficient professional experience in any of the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

As for Arsenal’s other existing centre back options:

  • Luiz, Chambers and Kolasinac’s propensity to win aerial duels is inferior to a number of the players reviewed
  • Luiz and Mari’s tackles per game record is similarly inferior to a number of the players reviewed.

Needless to say, Mustafi and Sokratis aside, Arsenal lack a sufficient number of adequately productive centre back options.

That being the case, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Luiz, Chambers, Kolasinac and Mari, at a minimum, and recruit one of Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton, Kristian Pedersen of Birmingham, Sol Bamba of Cardiff or Salif Sane of Schalke, to serve alongside Mustafi and Sokratis as three of the club’s six senior central defenders.

In terms of the fourth, fifth and sixth centre backs, given the critical nature of defence, there is a strong argument that Arsenal should aim to recruit the next most productive centre backs available to fill those senior centre back roles. That being the case, Arsenal should sell Holding, Mavropanos and Saliba and recruit three of the following players:

  • Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton
  • Kristian Pedersen of Birmingham
  • Salif Sane of Schalke
  • Sol Bamba of Cardiff.

In terms of the club’s contracted midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Elneny, Willock, Nelson, Martinelli, Tierney and Saka’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience in any of the examined leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other midfield options:

  • Soares, Torreira, Kolasinac and Xhaka’s dribbles and key passes per match record is inferior to a number of the players reviewed
  • Bellerin, Maitland-Niles and Guendouzi’s tackles per game record Is similarly inferior in contrast to the players reviewed, as is Bellerin and Guendouzi’s key passes per match record and Maitland-Niles and Guendouzi’s dribbles per game record.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Soares, Torreira, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Bellerin, Maitland-Niles and Guendouzi, and at a minimum, recruit the following players to serve as four of Arsenal’s eight senior midfielders:

  • Teji Savanier of Montpellier
  • Emi Buendia of Norwich
  • Felipe Anderson of West Ham
  • Daniel Caliguri of Schalke

In terms of the club’s fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth senior midfielders, while having highly productive and proven players in the defence is critical, given their function as the last line of protection for Arsenal’s goalkeeper, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have more flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth midfield roles. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Elneny and retain four of Smith-Rowe, Willock, Nelson, Martinelli, Tierney and Saka, as the club’s fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth senior midfielders. My preference would be to retain Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Willock and Tierney in these roles.

As for the club’s contracted wide forward options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Saka, Nelson, Nketiah or Martinelli’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience in the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other current wide forward options:

  • Maitland-Niles goals per season record, and shots and successful forward dribbles per match record are inferior to a number of the players reviewed
  • Ozil and Pepe’s goals per season record is similarly inferior, as are their propensity to shoot per game
  • Lacazette’s shots and dribbles per match record is also inferior to a number of the players reviewed
  • Aubameyang’s dribbles per game record is inferior In contrast to a number of the players reviewed.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted wide forward options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Ozil, Lacazette, and Aubameyang, and recruit Hirving Lozano of Napoli and Raul Jimenez of Wolves, to serve as two of Arsenal’s four senior wide forwards.

In terms of the club’s third and fourth senior wide forwards, while having highly productive and proven players in the centre forward role is critical, given their primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have more flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill the backup wide forward roles. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to retain two of Saka, Nelson, and Nketiah, to serve as the club’s third and fourth senior wide forwards. My preference would be to retain Saka and Nelson in the roles

In terms of the club’s contracted centre forward options, while it’s unfair to judge Nkeitah, and Martinelli’s suitability, as neither of those players have sufficient professional experience, in the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances, regarding the club’s other centre forward options:

  • Pepe and Lacazette’s goals per season and shots and successful aerial duels per match records are inferior in contrast to a number of players reviewed
  • Aubameyang’s successful aerial duels per game record is also inferior.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted centre forward options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Lacazette, Pepe and Aubameyang, at a minimum, and recruit Aleksanda Mitrovic of Fulham to serve as one of Arsenal’s two senior centre forwards.

In terms of the second centre forward, having highly productive and proven players in the striking roles is critical, given their primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals. That being the case, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Nketiah, and recruit Simon Terrode of FC Cologne.

Summary of proposed activity

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Arsenal Player Analysis: Round 23 Player Analysis and Round 24 Team Selection

Following each round of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s season-to-date performance is analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

In assessing the respective players’ on field production and their comparative internal rankings, each player is allocated into eight positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper,
  • Right fullback,
  • Centre back,
  • Left fullback,
  • Defensive midfield,
  • Centre midfield,
  • Attacking midfield, and
  • Striker.

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

Different weightings are then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defensively: press the opponent when they are in their own half, and then when the ball transitions into Arsenal’s half, establish and maintain compactness by adopting a medium block, position focused pressing game, in which the forwards and midfielders prioritise retention of shape, and only press the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back pushes forwards.
  • Offensively: transition the ball quickly forward on turnovers to create higher probability goal scoring opportunities, and create overloads on the flanks to generate cut back opportunities.
  • Arsenal’s goalkeeper’s primary aims is to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • Arsenal’s centre backs’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), win aerial duels, clear the ball from danger and block shots.
  • Arsenal’s fullbacks’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), execute multiple key passes during a match (with the intent of providing assists), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s defensive midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple long range passes per match.
  • Arsenal’s central midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to provide assists, score goals, create goal scoring opportunities through multiple key passes, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s strikers’ primary aims are to score goals, and record multiple shots and successful aerial duels per match.

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

Following Round 23 of the Premier League, the player rankings are as follows:

GoalkeeperRight FullbackCentre BackLeft FullbackDefensive MidfieldCentre MidfieldAttacking MidfieldStriker

Formation and line-up

Based on the above analytical comparison, Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis, and with Bellerin, Chambers, Tierney and Torreira recovering from injuries and Aubameyang suspended, the 11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 24 clash versus Chelsea, would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Round 22 Player Analysis and Round 23 Team Selection

Following each round of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s season-to-date performance is analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

In assessing the respective players’ on field production and their comparative internal rankings, each player is allocated into eight positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper,
  • Right fullback,
  • Centre back,
  • Left fullback,
  • Defensive midfield,
  • Centre midfield,
  • Attacking midfield, and
  • Striker.

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

Different weightings are then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defensively: press the opponent when they are in their own half, and then when the ball transitions into Arsenal’s half, establish and maintain compactness by adopting a medium block, position focused pressing game, in which the forwards and midfielders prioritise retention of shape, and only press the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back pushes forwards.
  • Offensively: transition the ball quickly forward on turnovers to create higher probability goal scoring opportunities, and create overloads on the flanks to generate cut back opportunities.
  • Arsenal’s goalkeeper’s primary aims is to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • Arsenal’s centre backs’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), win aerial duels, clear the ball from danger and block shots.
  • Arsenal’s fullbacks’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), execute multiple key passes during a match (with the intent of providing assists), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s defensive midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple long range passes per match.
  • Arsenal’s central midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to provide assists, score goals, create goal scoring opportunities through multiple key passes, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s strikers’ primary aims are to score goals, and record multiple shots and successful aerial duels per match.

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

Following Round 22 of the Premier League, the player rankings are as follows:

GoalkeeperRight FullbackCentre BackLeft FullbackDefensive MidfieldCentre MidfieldAttacking MidfieldStriker

Formation and line-up

Based on the above analytical comparison, Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis, and with Bellerin, Chambers and Tierney recovering from injuries, the 11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 23 clash versus Sheffield United, would appear to be as follows:

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2019/2020 Mid Season Review: Which players Arsenal should retain, sell and recruit

With Arsenal’s 2019/2020 Premier League campaign at the half-way point, and the January transfer window now open, it’s an opportune time to examine the on-field production of each player in Arsenal’s senior squad, and the player market, in order to identify:

  • which players Arsenal should retain,
  • which players Arsenal should seek to move on, and
  • which players Arsenal should seek to recruit during the transfer window, based on their comparative on-field productivity.

Methodology

In assessing the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, each player is allocated into eight positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper,
  • Right fullback,
  • Centre back,
  • Left fullback,
  • Defensive midfield,
  • Centre midfield,
  • Attacking midfield, and
  • Striker.

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category has then been considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

To provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production, only data from those seasons, throughout the player’s professional career, where the player has started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) was considered. Where a player has not, throughout their professional career, started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive), their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defensively: press the opponent when they are in their own half, and then when the ball transitions into Arsenal’s half, establish and maintain compactness by adopting a medium block, position focused pressing game, in which the forwards and midfielders prioritise retention of shape, and only press the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back pushes forwards.
  • Offensively: transition the ball quickly forward on turnovers to create higher probability goal scoring opportunities, and create overloads on the flanks to generate cut back opportunities.
  • Arsenal’s goalkeeper’s primary aims is to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • Arsenal’s centre backs’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), win aerial duels, clear the ball from danger and block shots.
  • Arsenal’s fullbacks’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), execute multiple key passes during a match (with the intent of providing assists), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s defensive midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple long range passes per match.
  • Arsenal’s central midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to provide assists, score goals, create goal scoring opportunities through multiple key passes, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s strikers’ primary aims are to score goals, and record multiple shots and successful aerial duels per match.

Once the relative on field productivity of Arsenal’s current senior squad was assessed, the comparative KPI data (from Whoscored.com) of the players competing in the following leagues was then reviewed:

  • English Premier League,
  • Championship,
  • Serie A,
  • Ligue 1,
  • La Liga,
  • Bundesliga,
  • Bundesliga 2,
  • Liga NOS,
  • Eredivisie,
  • Russian Premier League,
  • Brasileirao,
  • Major League Soccer,
  • Super Lig,
  • Primera Division, and
  • Super League.

When considering players competing in the aforementioned leagues, certain clubs, who were subjectively deemed to be presently superior to Arsenal, were not considered. This included clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, and Atletico Madrid. This was designed to realistically account for Arsenal’s attractiveness as a prospective employer, based on the club’s current standing in European football (as a Europa League competitor) and as the 6th best Premier League side.

Also, only players from the aforementioned leagues who have, during their professional career, started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) were considered. Where a player has not, throughout their professional career, started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive), their productivity data was not assessed. Again, this was designed to provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production.

The KPI data of the reviewed players was then contrasted against the KPI data of the players who currently comprise Arsenal’s senior squad, to identify prospective transfer targets.

Player rankings

Goalkeeper

Starting with the goalkeeping position, and while it’s unfair to judge Macey or Martinez’ suitability, as neither player has sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, it is fair to say that last season’s recruit Bernd Leno, has delivered the sort of comparatively less impressive performances his career numbers indicated he was going to.

Given that, and there being a number of superior goalkeeping options which Arsenal could realistically pursue, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Leno, and recruit Esteban Andrada of Boca Juniors to serve as one of the club’s two senior goalkeepers.

In terms of the second of those two senior goalkeepers, with Martinez and Macey unproven but both considered ‘homegrown’ and there involvement likely to be limited, it would be logical for the club to retain either one of Martinez or Macey as the club’s second senior goalkeeper.

Right Fullback

In terms of the club’s contracted right fullback options, there is no player who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record, both offensively and defensively, to warrant selection as one of the team’s two senior right fullbacks.  While it’s unfair to judge Maitland-Niles or Osei-Tutu’s suitability, as neither  player have sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, the consistent lack of defensive production from Bellerin, and the lack of offensive production from Mustafi, means neither player can genuinely be considered a complete right fullback worthy of either senior right fullback role.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted right fullback options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Bellerin, and recruit Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City to serve as one of the club’s two senior right fullbacks. However, given the exorbitant prices of recruiting existing Premier League players, it may be more financially prudent for Arsenal to pursue Sidibe of Monaco, to fill one of the two senior right fullback spots.

In terms of the second of those senior right fullbacks, with the Premier League’s homegrown rule meaning Arsenal need to have at least 5 homegrown players within the club’s 22-man squad, Arsenal could potentially retain one of Maitland Niles or Osei-Tutu, both of whom are homegrown but unproven, to fill that role.

That said, given the critical nature of defence, as the last line of protection for Arsenal’s goalkeeper, there is an argument that Arsenal should instead aim to recruit the next most productive right fullback to fill that second senior right fullback role. That being the case, the Gunners should look to sell Osei-Tutu, and target recruiting Jorge Moreira of Portland Timbers to fill that second senior right fullback spot.

Centre back

As for the club’s contracted centre back options, Arsenal fortunately have two players in Mustafi and Sokratis, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as two of the club’s four senior centre backs.

As for the club’s other centre back options, while its unfair to judge Mavropanos, Holding or Saliba, as all three players have insufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, in contrast to the players reviewed:

  • Chambers’ propensity to win aerial duels is inferior,
  • Luiz’s tackles per game record is inferior, as is his propensity to win aerial duels, and
  • Kolasinac’s interceptions per game record is inferior, as is his propensity to win aerial duels, and his per match clearance and block rates.

Needless to say, Mustafi and Sokratis aside, Arsenal lack a sufficient number of adequately productive centre back options.

That being the case, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Luiz and Chambers, at a minimum, and recruit Kyriakos Papadopolous of Hamburg, to serve alongside Mustafi and Sokratis at three of the club’s four senior central defenders.

In terms of the fourth centre back, Arsenal could potentially retain Holding, who is homegrown but unproven, to fill that role. Alternatively, the club could retain the unproven, and not homegrown, Saliba or Mavropanos.

That said, given the aforementioned critical nature of defence, there is a strong argument that Arsenal should instead aim to recruit the next most productive centre back available to fill that fourth senior centre back role. That being the case, Arsenal should sell Holding, Mavropanos and Saliba and recruit one of the following players:

  • Willy Boly of Wolverhampton Wolves
  • Sol Bamba of Cardiff City
  • Salif Sane of Schalke
  • Bruno Ecuele Manga of Dijon
  • Victor Cuesta of Internacional.

Left Fullback

Regarding the club’s contracted left fullback options, like the club’s right fullback contingent, there is no player who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficient performance record, both offensively and defensively, to warrant selection as one of the team’s two senior left fullbacks.

While it’s unfair to judge Tierney’s suitability, as his lack of sufficient professional experience doesn’t allow his performances to date to be appropriately assessed, in contrast to the players reviewed, Kolasinac’s tackles and interceptions per match records are inferior, as his propensity to execute key passes and dribbles per game.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Kolasinac, the inexperience of Tierney, and the critical nature of defence, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Kolasinac and Tierney, and recruit Rene of Flamengo and either Douglas Santos of Zenit or Ronald Matarrita of New York City, to serve as Arsenal’s two senior left fullbacks.

Defensive Midfield

As for the club’s contracted defensive midfield options, Arsenal fortunately have a player in Mustafi, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as one of the club’s two senior defensive midfielders.

However, with Mustafi occupying one of the club’s four centre back spots, he can’t also be considered as one of the club’s two senior defensive midfielders.

In terms of the club’s other contracted defensive midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Elneny, Willock, Maitland Niles and Guendouzi’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances.

As for Arsenal’s other defensive midfield options, in contrast to the players reviewed:

  • Xhaka’s interceptions per game record is comparatively inferior,
  • Torreira’s interceptions per game record is comparatively underwhelming, as is his inclination to attempt and execute accurate long-range passes per match,
  • Chambers’ tackles per game records is underwhelming, while his interceptions per match record and tendency to make accurate long-range passes per game are inferior,
  • Luiz’s tackles and interceptions per game record is comparatively inferior, and
  • Kolasinac’s interceptions per match record, tendency to make accurate long-range passes per game, and per match passing accuracy are all inferior.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted central midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Xhaka and Torreira, and at a minimum, recruit one of the following to serve as one of Arsenal’s two senior defensive midfielders:

  • Maxime Gonalons of Roma,
  • Milan Badelj of Lazio,
  • Ivan Marcone of Boca Juniors,
  • Asier Illarramendi of Real Sociedad,
  • Grzegorz Krychowiak of Lokomotiv Moscow,
  • Etienne Capoue of Watford,
  • Ellyse Skhiri of FC Koln,
  • Josuha Guilavogui of Wolfsburg,
  • Diego Demme of RB Leipzig,
  • Florian Grillitsch of Hoffenheim,
  • Sam Hutchinson of Sheffield Wednesday,
  • Charles Kabore of FC Dynamo Moscow,
  • Gregore of Bahia, or
  • Felipe Gutierrez of Kansas City.

In terms of the club’s second senior defensive midfielders, Arsenal could potentially retain Willock or Maitland Niles, both of whom are homegrown but unproven, to fill those roles. Alternatively, the club could retain the unproven, and not homegrown, Elneny or Guendouzi instead of either Willock or Maitland Niles.

That said, having highly productive and proven players in the defence midfield position is critical, given the position’s role as the last line of protection for Arsenal’s central defenders. That being the case, there is a strong argument that Arsenal should sell Elneny and Guendouzi and aim to recruit the next most productive defensive midfielder to fill that second senior defensive midfield role. As such, a second player from the aforementioned list, should be the Gunner’s key target to fill that second senior defensive midfield spot.

Centre Midfield

In terms of the club’s contracted central midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Elneny, Willock, Maitland Niles and Guendouzi’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other central midfield options, in contrast to the players reviewed:

  • Xhaka’s tackles and interceptions per game record and dribbles per match record are comparatively inferior, and
  • Torreira’s interceptions per game record is comparatively inferior, as is his inclination to attempt and execute dribbles per match.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted central midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Xhaka and Torreira, and at a minimum, recruit two of:

  • Milan Badelj of Lazio,
  • Christoph Kamer of Borussia Moenchengladbach,
  • Ellyse Skhiri of FC Koln, and
  • Gregore of Bahia,

to serve as two of Arsenal’s four senior central midfielders.

In terms of the club’s third and fourth senior centre midfielders, Arsenal could potentially retain two of Willock, Smith-Rowe and Maitland Niles, all of whom are homegrown but unproven, to fill those roles. Alternatively, the club could retain the unproven, and not homegrown, Elneny and/or Guendouzi alongside or instead of Willock, Smith-Rowe or Maitland Niles.

While having highly productive and proven players in the defence and defensive midfield role is critical, given their function as the last line of protection for Arsenal’s goalkeeper, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have more flexibility to utilise unproven players to fulfil the third and fourth central midfield roles. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Guendouzi and Elneny, and retain two of Willock, Smith Rowe and Maitland Niles, as the club’s third and fourth senior central midfielders.

Attacking Midfield

As for the club’s contracted attacking midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Maitland Niles, Saka, Nelson or Martinelli’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other current attacking midfield options, in contrast to the players reviewed:

  • Pepe’s assist per season record, and key passes and shots per game record are all comparatively inferior,
  • Ozil’s goals per season record is inferior, as is his propensity to shoot and dribble per game,
  • Mkhitaryan’s assists and goals per season record is comparatively inferior, as is his key passes per game record, and his propensity to shoot per match, and
  • Lacazette’s assists per season record is inferior, as is his key passes, shots and dribbles per game record.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted attacking midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Pepe, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, and Lacazette, at a minimum, and recruit Hakim Ziyech of Ajax to serve as one of Arsenal’s two senior attacking midfielders.

In terms of the club’s second senior attacking midfielders, while having highly productive and proven players in the striking role is critical, given their primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have more flexibility to utilise unproven players to fulfil the backup attacking midfield roles. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Martinelli and retain one of Maitland Niles, Saka, Nelson, or Smith-Rowe, to serve as the club’s second senior attacking midfielders.

Striker

In terms of the club’s contracted striker options, there is no player who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record, in contrast to the players’ reviewed, to warrant selection as one of the team’s two senior strikers. 

While it’s unfair to judge Nkeitah, Nelson, Saka or Martinelli’s suitability, as none of those players have sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, regarding the club’s other current striker options, in contrast to the players reviewed:

  • Pepe and Lacazette’s goals per season and shots and successful aerial duels per match records are comparatively inferior, and
  • Aubameyang’s goals per season and successful aerial duels per game record is comparatively inferior.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted striking options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Lacazette, Pepe and Aubameyang, at a minimum, and recruit Luuk de Jong of Sevilla to serve as one of Arsenal’s four senior strikers.

In terms of the second, third and fourth strikers, while having highly productive and proven players in the striking roles is critical, given their primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals, Arsenal need to balance this with the need to comply with the Premier League homegrown rule. That being the case, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Martinelli, recruit Simon Terrode of FC Koln and Bas Dost of Eintracht Frankfurt, and retain one of Nketiah, Saka or Nelson.

Summary of transfer activity

Summary of transfers

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Arsenal Player Analysis: Round 21 Player Analysis and Round 22 Team Selection

Following each round of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s season-to-date performance is analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

In assessing the respective players on field production and their comparative internal rankings, each player is allocated into eight positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • goalkeeper
  • right fullback
  • centre back
  • left fullback
  • defensive midfield
  • centre midfield
  • attacking midfield
  • striker

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category is then considered, using data sourced from Whoscored.com.

Different weightings are then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defensively: press the opponent when they are in their own half, and then when the ball transitions into Arsenal half, establish and maintain compactness by adopting a medium block, position focused pressing game, in which the forwards and midfielders prioritise retention of shape, and only press the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back pushes forwards.
  • Offensively: transition the ball quickly forward on turnovers to create higher probability goal scoring opportunities, and create overloads on the flanks to generate cut back opportunities.
  • Arsenal’s goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • Arsenal’s centre backs’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), win aerial duels, clear the ball from danger and block shots.
  • Arsenal’s fullbacks’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), cross the ball multiple times during a match (with the intent of providing assists), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s defensive midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), and contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple long range passes per match.
  • Arsenal’s central midfielders’ primary aims are to recover the ball from their opponent (tackles and interceptions), contribute to the team’s offensive transitional play through accurate passing, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to provide assists, score goals, create goal scoring opportunities through multiple key passes, multiple through passes, and multiple forward dribbles per match.
  • Arsenal’s strikers’ primary aims are to score goals, and record multiple shots and successful aerial duels per match.

The findings of the aforementioned analysis, provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most productive team.

Internal player rankings

Following Round 21 of the Premier League, the player rankings are as follows:

GoalkeeperRight FullbackCentre BackLeft FullbackDefensive MidfieldCentre MidfieldAttacking MidfieldStriker

Formation and line-up

Based on the above analytical comparison, Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis, and with Bellerin, Chambers and Tierney recovering from injuries, the 11 players which comprise Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, for their round 22 clash versus Crystal Palace, would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08