Season 2021/22: Which Arsenal Players best fit A 3-4-2-1 Formation

With Arsenal’s 2020/2021 Premier League campaign underway, and the summer transfer window having just closed, it’s an opportune time to examine the on-field production of each player in Arsenal’s senior squad, and the player market, in order to identify Arsenal’s best starting 11 in a 3-4-2-1 formation.

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 seven positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Right Wingback
  • Central Defenders
  • Left Wingback
  • Central Midfielders
  • Attacking Midfielders
  • 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 3-4-2-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Attacking primarily down the flanks through an attacking midfielder, wingback and a central midfielder on that side, combining to enable one of those three players to get to the byline and cut the ball back to the centre forward.
  • Defending using a vertically and horizontally compact position-focused high pressing approach, that that sees all 10 outfield players retain their shape when pressing, and shifting from side to side, if and when the opposition switch flanks.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The wingbacks’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent (2+ per match) to recover the ball, and contribute to the team’s attacking play through making multiple key passes (2+ per match) and dribbles (2+ per match).
  • The central defenders’ primary aims are to shield the goalkeeper by positioning themselves to intercept (2+ per game), and tackles (2+ per game) opponents as they transitions, win aerial duels (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, and contribute to the team’s attacking play through accuracy passing (85%+ per match).
  • The attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (2+ per game) and key passes (2+ per game) and contribute to the team’s goal scoring (10+ goals per season).
  • The centre forwards’ primary aim is to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third in the form of 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 Wingback

Central Defenders

Left Wingback

Central Midfielders

Attacking Midfielders

Centre Forward

Formation and line-up

Based on the above analytical comparison, and Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs, the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11 in a high pressing, wide overloading 3-4-2-1 formation would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: