With Arsenal’s 2018/2019 Premier League campaign in its infancy and the transfer window firmly shut until January 2019, it’s a good opportunity to take a closer look at the on field production of each player in Arsenal’s senior squad, using data from Whoscored.com. Doing so not only helps to develop a clearer understanding of the playing tendencies of each play, over their professional career, but the findings provide and invaluable insight as to:
- how each player ranks against their internal competition; and
- which players, based on their productivity, should Arsenal focus on accommodating when determining their playing formation.
Player assessments and internal rankings
In assessing the respective players’ on field production and their comparative internal rankings, each player is allocated into seven positional categories. Those positional categories consist of:
- right fullback
- centre back
- left fullback
- centre midfield
- attacking midfield
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 cornerstone of the Arsenal’s tactical approach is to stretch the game vertically by creating generous spacing between their defensive, midfield and attacking blocks so as to allow for quick forward transitions and space in behind the opposition’s defence. Specifically the ‘defensive block’ is comprised of Arsenal’s goalkeeper, right and left full backs, and centre backs. The ‘midfield block’ is comprised of Arsenal’s central midfielders. While Arsenal’s attacking block is comprised of Arsenal’s attacking midfielders and strikers.
It is also noted that the goals and assists per season data detailed in the below player rankings reflects the average number of goals or assists for the respective player in each season where the player has started at least 15 league games.
Formation and lineup
Based on the above analytical comparison, Ozil, in an attacking midfield role, and Aubameyang and Lacazette, in striking roles, represent Arsenal’s three most productive attackers. Given this, and assuming that Arsenal’s tactical basis is to stretch the game vertically by creating generous spacing between their defensive block (goalkeeper, right and left full backs, centre backs), midfield block (central midfielders) and attacking block (attacking midfielders and strikers) so as to allow for quick forward transitions and space in behind the opposition’s defence, Arsenal’s most productive starting 11, which allows Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang to be deployed in their favoured positions, would appear to be as follows: