Arsenal Player Analysis: League Cup Round of 16

Following Arsenal’s brilliant victory against Aston Villa, attention now turns to Arsenal’s League Cup clash versus Leeds United and which 11 available players make up Arsenal’s most productive team for the match.

To do this, we need to look at the on-field production and the comparative ranking of each player which comprises Arsenal’s senior squad, and Arsenal’s ideal tactical approach.

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 Fullback
  • Central Defenders
  • Left Fullback
  • Central Midfielders
  • Attacking Midfielders
  • Centre Forwards

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

  • Defending using a vertically and horizontally compact 4-4-2 low block, which aims to congest the central area, and only press, albeit aggressively, when an opposition player takes a poor touch or the opponent attacks down a flank.
  • Attacking primarily down the flanks through the fullbacks or attacking midfielders driving forward with the ball and looking to release the centre forwards. This system relies much more on individual attacking flair to create chances, as opposed to complex passing moves.
  • 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 attack, and 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 long passes per match (3+ 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).

Internal player rankings

The player rankings by position are as follows:

Goalkeeper

Right Fullback

Central Defenders

Left Fullback

Central Midfielders

Attacking Midfielders

Centre Forwards

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Tierney, Xhaka and Lacazette recovering from injury, and
  • this being Arsenal’s 2nd of 3 games in 8 days,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round of 16 League Cup clash vs Leeds Utd would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

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