Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Chelsea

A great outcome for Arsenal who appeared to adopt an oddly shaped 1-3-6 formation despite being setup in a notional 4-3-3 prematch.


Jan 18 Arsenal vs Chelsea(1)

While Arsenal barely shaded possession in the match (52% possession to Chelsea’s 48%) and produced a disjointed and underwhelming offensive performance, the tackling display from Arsenal’s back four was fantastic and central to enabling the team to eek out a victory against Chelsea.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Ospina
It was a relatively quiet day for Ospina who was protected well by Arsenal’s back four and was helped by Chelsea’s wayward finishing.

RB: Bellerin
A strong tackling performance from Bellerin (3). That said, Bellerin’s positional play was again poor (0 interceptions) as he struggled to cut out his opponent Alonso’s 6 attempted crosses for the match. Offensively, Bellerin showed very little attacking intent with his dribbling (1 successful forward dribble) and he failed to offer much in terms of crosses (2 attempts for the match).

RCB: Koscielny
A sensational defensive performance from Koscielny (4 tackles and 3 interceptions) as he was seriously challenged by his opponent Hazard (1 goal and 5 dribbles). That said, Koscielny could have cleared the ball more frequently than he did (4 clearances). He wasn’t really challenged aerially.

LCB: Mustafi
A relatively quiet day defensively for Mustafi (2 tackles and 1 interception) as his main opponent Barkley struggled to make any impact on the game (0 shots on goal, no attempted through passes, and 2 forward dribbles). While Mustafi could have shown more aggression in his defensive play, he kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 11 clearances, and he was solid aerially (3 successful aerial duels).

LB: Monreal
An excellent defensive performance from Monreal (3 tackles and 4 interceptions) as he engaged in a good battle with his opponent Moses (2 shots (both off target), 3 crosses (1 of which was accurate) and 1 successful forward dribble). Like Koscielny, the Spaniard could have cleared the ball more frequently than he did (3 clearances). That said, he was solid aerially (3 successful aerial duels).

CDM: Elneny
A relatively quiet day defensively for Elneny (1 tackle and 2 interceptions) as his opponent Pedro struggled to exert his influence on the game (1 shot on target from 1 attempt, 1 successful through pass from 1 attempt (which resulted in a goal) and no successful forward dribbles). That said, given the defensive production of Arsenal’s back four it was evident that Elneny struggled to screen them appropriately. Offensively, Elneny’s passing accuracy (91%) was excellent, as was his transitional passing from defence to attack (6 accurate long passes out of 7 attempts).

LM : Iwobi
A very strong defensive performance from Iwobi, who made a total of 5 tackles and 2 interceptions for the match. Offensively, though Iwobi struggled in term of his passing accuracy (76%), passing creativity (no attempted through passes) and dribbling (only 2 successful forward dribbles). He also showed minimal goal scoring intent with just the 1 shot for the match.

CM: Wilshere
A strong tackling effort from Wilshere (3 tackles) but his defensive positioning was poor (0 interceptions) as he failed to put enough pressure on Kante who, with 2 successful forward dribbles and 3 out of 5 accurate long passes, did exert some influence on the game. Offensively, Jack had a mixed performance with an excellent 93% passing accuracy and 6 forward dribbles but no attempted through passes and he showed limited goal scoring intent (1 shot on target from 1 attempt).

RCM: Xhaka
Another poor defensive performance from Xhaka, who had a couple of nice tackles (2) but his positional play was poor (no interceptions) as he struggled to curb Bakayoko’s influence on the game (5 forward dribbles and 4 accurate long range passes out of 4 attempts). Offensively, Xhaka’s transitional passing was a little down on his usual high standard (2 accurate long range passes out of 3 attempts) and he failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles or creative passing (no attempted through passes). That said, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (86%) was very good and he showed great goal scoring intent with a goal from his 5 attempts.

CF: Ozil
A poor performance from Ozil who again took up more of a second striker role than a central attacking midfielder. While his passing accuracy was excellent (95%), Ozil only had 1 successful forward dribble for the match, 1 shot on goal (which was off target) and he failed to attempt a through pass.

CF: Lacazette
Yet another difficult game for Lacazette who was deprived of any service from the likes of Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi and Monreal. He ended the match with just the one off target shot.

A great outcome for Arsenal but a very lucky victory and another poor offensive performance which failed to regularly create goal scoring opportunities for Lacazette. But for the tackling display by Arsenal’s back four and some wayward shooting by Chelsea, I don’t think Arsenal would have got the victory in this one. While Arsenal’s performance reinforces my view that the club desperately need to replace Wenger with a more tactically astute manager if they want to improve their on field production, another trip to Wembley for a cup final is undoubtedly something to look forward to.


The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from

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