Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 3

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 eight 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 Midfielders
  • Attacking 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) in Europe’s top 5 leagues or the Championship, was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

The KPI data considered for each positional group is based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 4-2-2-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defending in a horizontally and vertically compact low block of two lines of four and the second striker assisting the midfielder and the centre forward lurking for the long counter attacking ball. This defensive focus is about minimising risk, even if that means ceding possession. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus defensive approach, that sees the team prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into the box.
  • Attacking primarily out wide, after winning possession. This involves the fullbacks, attacking midfielders and second striker driving forward before looking to release the centre forward. This attacking approach relies on individual attacking flair to create goal scoring chances, as opposed to complex passing moves.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The fullbacks’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent (2+ per match) and and make interceptions (2+ per match) to recover the ball, and contribute to the team’s transitional play through making multiple dribbles (2+ per match) and keys passes (2+ per game) per match.
  • The central defenders’ primary aims are to shield the goalkeeper by positioning themselves to intercept passes into the box (2+ per game), win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s transitional play through making multiple long passes forward to the attacking midfielders and centre forward as they counter attack (3+ per game).
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent (2+ per match) and make interceptions (2+ per match) to recover the ball , contribute to the team’s transitional play through making multiple long passes (3+ per match) forward to the attacking midfielders, second striker and centre forward as they counter attack.
  • The attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s transitional play and offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (2+ per game) and key passes (2+ per game), and contributing to the team’s goal scoring (10+ goals per season).
  • The attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s transitional play and offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (2+ per game) and key passes (2+ per game), and contributing to the team’s goal scoring (15+ goals per season).
  • The centre forwards’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s transitional play and offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (2+ per match), and significantly contributing to the team’s goal scoring (20+ goals 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 Midfielders

Attacking Midfielders

Second Striker

Centre Forward

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs, and
  • Runarsson, Bellerin, Gabriel, White, Tierney, Partey, Willian, Saka, Pepe, and Nketiah recovering from injury,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 3 Premier League clash vs Man City would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

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