Following Arsenal’s disappointing loss against Sporting Lisbon, attention now turns to Arsenal’s Premier League clash versus Crystal Palace, 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.
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:
Centre Defensive Midfielder
Centre Attacking Midfielders
Right Wide Forward
Left Wide 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 19 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 4-1-2-3 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:
Defending by the fullbacks, attacking midfielders, and forwards pressing the opposition in their own half, with the centre backs and central defensive midfielder containing the opposition in the event they break the press.
Attacking through a combination of:
counter pressing; and
the centre backs, fullbacks, central defensive midfielder and central attacking midfielders passing the ball amongst themselves using one or two touches, until one of the attacking midfielders is free between the opposition’s midfield and defensive lines to play in one of the three forwards making off the ball runs on goal.
The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
The fullbacks’ primary aims are to contribute to the counter press by tackling their opponent (2+ per match) and intercepting the ball (2+ per match).
The centre backs’ primary aims are to shield the goalkeeper by positioning themselves to intercept balls (2+ per game) and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
The central defensive midfielder’s primary aims are to tackle their opponent (2+ per match) and make interceptions (2+ per match) to recover the ball.
The attacking midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent (2+ per game) and contribute to the team’s offensive play through attacking dribbles (1+ per game) and key passes (1+ per game).
The wide forwards’ primary aim is to contribute to the team’s offensive play through attacking dribbles (1+ per match) and key passes (1+ per game) and in the form of goal scoring (10+ goals per season).
The centre forward’s primary aim is to contribute to the team’s offensive play through key passes (1+ per game) and in the form of goal scoring (10+ goals per season).
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
Tomiyasu, Saliba, Elneny and Nketiah recovering from injury,
the 11 players which should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Premier League clash vs Crystal Palace would appear to be as follows: