Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 22

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

Methodology

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:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Right Fullback
  • Central Defenders
  • Left Fullback
  • Central Defensive Midfielders
  • Right Attacking Midfielder
  • Central Attacking Midfielder
  • Left Attacking Midfielder
  • Striker

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 4-2-3-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Attack primarily by:
    • the striker and attacking midfielders forcing turning overs in the opposition’s half, and creating goal scoring opportunities by dribbling the ball upfield, and/or executing key passes for their fellow attackers, or
    • the central defensive midfielders and fullbacks recovering the ball deep in their own half and quickly progressing the ball forward to the attacking midfielders and striker to counterattack.
  • Defend by the striker and attacking 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 long passes to the attacking midfielders and striker (3+) per match.
  • The central defenders’ primary aims are to shield the goalkeeper by positioning themselves to block shots (1+ per game), and intercept passes in the box (2+ per game), as win as aerial duels (3+ per game), and clear the ball (3+ per game).
  • The central defensive midfielder’s primary aims are to shield the central defenders by tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and executive multiple long passes to the attacking midfielders and striker (3+) per match.
  • The striker and attacking midfielders’ 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 (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:

Goalkeeper

Right Fullback

Central Defenders

Left Fullback

Central Defensive Midfielders

Right Attacking Midfielder

Central Attacking Midfielder

Left Attacking Midfielder

Striker

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Mari, Tierney, Ceballos, Saka and Aubameyang recovering from injuries or absent for personal reasons, and
  • this being the easier of Arsenal’s three fixtures between 30 January and 6 February,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 22 Premier League clash versus Wolverhampton Wolves would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

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