Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 21
Posted on January 30, 2021
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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 nine positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).
Those positional categories consist of:
- Right Fullback
- Central Defenders
- Left Fullback
- Central Defensive Midfielder
- Central Midfielders
- Right Winger
- Left Winger
- 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 4-1-2-3 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:
- Attack by patiently passing the ball amongst their goalkeeper, central defenders, central defensive midfielder and inverted fullbacks to draw the opposition forward, and then quickly transition the ball forward to:
- the wingers, when in one on one opportunities, to aggressively attack the by-line and to cut the ball back for the centre forward, onrushing central midfielders or opposite winger to shoot; or
- the central midfielders to play through passes to the centre forward or wingers as they cut inside to shoot.
- Defend by the centre forward, wingers, and central midfielders pressing the opponent in their own half to force errors, while the central defensive midfielders, fullbacks and centre backs hold deeper positions, should the initial press be bypassed.
- The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
- The fullbacks’ 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+), key passes (1+) and long passes (3+) per match.
- The central 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 defensive midfielder’s 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 long passes (3+) per match.
- The central 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 wingers’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match as well as goals (10+ 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+) 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:
Central Defensive Midfielder
Formation and line-up
- the above analytical comparison,
- Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
- Mari, Tierney, Partey, Ceballos, Smith-Rowe and Aubameyang recovering from injuries or absent for personal reasons, and
- this being a more significant fixture of Arsenal’s three fixtures between 23 January and 30 January,
the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 21 Premier League clash versus Manchester United would appear to be as follows: