Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 18

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:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • 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

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 key passes into the centre forward and striker.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The defenders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through multiple long passes (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to 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 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 per game (3+) 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:



Central Midfielders

Right Wide Midfielder

Left Wide Midfielder

Centre Forward


Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Partey, Gabriel, and Martinelli recovering from injuries, and
  • this being Arsenal’s harder of the two fixtures between 14 January and 18 January

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 18 Premier League clash versus Crystal Palace would appear to be as follows:


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