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 seven positional categories (with some players allocated to multiple positional categories due to their perceived versatility).
Those positional categories consist of:
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:
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:
Formation and line-up
the above analytical comparison,
Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs, and
Elneny and Smith-Rowe recovering from injury and Xhaka suspended,
the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 4 Premier League clash vs Norwich would appear to be as follows: