Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 16
Posted on December 29, 2020
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Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.
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:
- Central Midfielders
- Wide Midfielders
- Second Striker
- 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 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:
- Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
- Attack through their central and wide-midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing through passes and cut backs into the second striker and centre forward as they attack the channels between the oppositions fullbacks and centre backs.
- 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 and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
- The second striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+), dribbles (3+) and key passes per game as well as goals (15+ per season)
- The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and multiple dribbles (3+) per match as well as 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
- the above analytical comparison,
- Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
- Partey, Luiz, Gabriel and Willian recovering from injuries, and
- this being the more difficult of Arsenal’s two fixtures between 29 December and 2 January,
the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 16 Premier League clash versus Brighton would appear to be as follows: