Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Stoke

Objectively, it was a disjointed and poor performance from the Gunners, punctuated by some excellent individual performances by Mustafi and Chambers and 2 well struck penalties by Aubameyang and Lacazette.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 4-2-2-2 formation in game.

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Despite Arsenal dominating possession (70% to Stoke’s 30%), the Gunners failed to regularly create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for the mobile and efficient Aubameyang and were largely directionless in their attacking approach.

That was largely due to Arsenal’s central midfielders, Elneny and Ramsey, again failing to transition the ball forward with speed to enable Arsenal’s attacking midfielders to create for the pacy Aubameyang.

This enable Stoke to:

  • set a deep defensive block and limited the available space within which Aubameyang could run into; and
  • launch counter attacks, led by the dangerous Shaqiri, when Arsenal’s ponderous attacking approach inevitably broken down.

Defensively, Arsenal’s centre backs, Chambers and Musatfi, were excellent despite being isolated by Arsenal’s central midfielders, Ramsey and Elneny, who again demonstrated that they do not have the defensive focus or desire to fulfil the defensive requirements of that role.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Ospina
While it was not an overly busy day for Ospina, thanks to Stoke’s wayward finishing and inaccurate crossing, it was nevertheless a solid performance from the Colombian, who produced 2 saves for the match and did well when called upon to deal with Stoke’s 17 crosses for the match. 7/10

RWB: Bellerin
It was a quiet day for Bellerin defensively (1 tackle and 0 interceptions) as his opponent Sobhi failed to provide any offensive production for Stoke (0 shots, 0 forward dribbles and just the 1, inaccurate, crossing attempt). Offensively though Bellerin was again very poor, showing no attacking intent with his dribbling (0 successful forward dribbles) nor a willingness to cross the ball (0 attempted crosses). 4/10

RCB: Mustafi
It was an excellent defensive performance from Mustafi (4 tackle, 3 interceptions, 3 clearances and 3 successful aerial duels). While Mustafi wasn’t particularly challenged aerial by his opponent Shaqiri, and the Swiss was able to attempt 3 shots, 1 of which was on target, and execute 2 successful forward dribbles, but for the German’s accomplish defensive showing, Arsenal would likely have conceded one if not more goals. 9/10

LCB: Chambers
It was a similarly excellent performance from Chambers (2 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 clearances and 4 successful aerial duels). While his main opponent on the day, Diouf, was generally poor (1 shot, which was off target and 0 successful forward dribbles), Diouf’s limited offensive production was largely due to Chambers’ aggressive and intelligent defensive play. My only criticism of the young Englishman’s performance was that he lost the aerial battle with Diouf (3 successful aerial duels to Diouf’s 9 successful duels). That said, Chambers’ effort and application in the match could not be questioned and the youngster made the most of his limited first team opportunity in his prefer and best suited position. 8/10

LWB: Monreal
It was a very quiet day defensively for Monreal (1 tackle and 2 interceptions) as his main opponent Bauer offered nothing in terms of a dribbling threat (0 forward dribbles), had 1 shot, which was off target, and recorded 2 attempted, but inaccurate, crosses. My only criticism of Monreal’s defensive performance was that he could have been more aggressive in his approach to completely nullify the limited attacking threat posed by his opponent. Offensively, Monreal, like Bellerin was very poor, attempting no forward dribbles and just 1, inaccurate, cross. 5/10

RCM: Elneny
Despite Arsenal dominating possession, it was another dreadful defensive performance from Elneny (0 tackles and 1 interception), who failed miserably to screen the space in front of Bellerin and Mustafi. Offensively, while Elneny’s passing accuracy (88%) was excellent, his transitional passing (1 accurate range pass) and transitional dribbles (1 successful forward dribble) were very poor. 4/10

LCM: Ramsey
It was a mixed defensive effort from Ramsey, who was solid in his tackling (2 tackles), but woeful in his defensive positioning (0 interceptions). Overall, Ramsey failed to offer sufficient defensive protection to Chambers and Monreal. Offensively, while Ramsey’s passing accuracy was very good (83%) and his transitional passing was solid (2 accurate long range passes), Ramsey failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles (0 successful forward dribbles). An increased volume of quick transitional plays, either via the dribble or long range passing, is required from the Welshman if he wishes to meaningfully contribute to Arsenal’s offensive play. 5/10

RCAM: Ozil
It was an underwhelming performance from Ozil who only executed 1 successful through pass from his 1 attempt and had 1 shot for the match. Positively though Ozil recorded 2 successful forward dribbles and passed the ball with 85% accuracy. For the amount of wages Ozil is being paid, an increased volume of dribbles, shots and attempted through passes is both expected and required from the German when occupying one of Arsenal’s attacking midfield positions. 5/10

CAM: Wilshere
Like Ozil it was a similarly underwhelming performance from Wilshere (1 shot, 3 successful forward dribbles, 0 attempted through passes and 88% passing accuracy). Objectively, Wilshere’s time at Arsenal should be coming to an end due to his lack of offensive production (attempted through passes, goals and assists) when deployed in an attacking midfield role and his lack of defensive production (tackles and interceptions) when deployed in a deeper central midfield role. Unfortunately Wilshere did nothing versus Stoke to change that assessment of his on field performances. 5/10

LCAM: Welbeck
It a dreadful performance from Welbeck (1 shot, which was off target, 0 successful forward dribbles, 80% passing accuracy and no attempted through passes). Much like Wilshere, Welbeck lack of offensive production, whether it be in a striking role (goals and shots per game) or in an attacking midfield role (dribbles, assists and through passes), should result in Arsenal selling the player at season’s end. 3/10

ST: Aubameyang
Apart from his penalty and a well taken goal from a loose ball in the box, it was another match for Aubameyang in which Arsenal’s attacking midfielders failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for the Gabonese striker. Despite this being a recurring theme for Aubameyang, as it was for Lacazette before him, Wenger continues to employ a tactical set up which fails to plays to his mobile forwards’ strengths,  depriving them of any regular clear cut goal scoring opportunities. The longer Wenger continues failing to adopt a tactical system that accentuates the Gabonese striker’s strengths and hides his weaknesses, the more I fear for the state of Aubameyang’s confidence. 7/10

Overall it was another poor performance by Arsenal, masked by two penalties from 50/50 challenges by Stoke players and a well hit strike from Aubameyang.

While the result will likely mask Arsenal’s poor performance in he view of many pundits, make no mistake, Arsenal’s individual and collective performance levels need to drastically improve.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

5-3-2 is NOT the short term solution for Arsenal

Recently I read an article from a fellow Gooner which proclaimed that switching to a 5-3-2 formation comprised of one of the following starting elevens, was the immediate change Arsenal needed to improve their poor on field performances.

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While I implore the author for their optimistic approach, there are some clear oversights in their proposition, particularly regarding the actual and perceived productivity levels of the players the author identified as central midfield options.

For a 5-3-2 formation, with mobile but slight of frame strikers, to effectively work, it requires the 3 central midfielders to be both productive defenders and highly effective at quickly transitioning the ball from defence to attack (whether via the dribble or a long range pass). This is critical as mobile, quick forwards need space in behind the opposition’s defence to effectively utilise their off the ball movement and a failure to quickly transition the ball from defence to attack allows opponents to set a deep defensive block, limiting the available space within which the forwards can run into.

Unfortunately Arsenal’s squad does not currently have enough central midfield options with that skills set in order to effectively execute a 5-3-2.

Firstly, while a midfield trio of Mkhitaryan, Xhaka and Ozil is undoubtedly talented on the ball:

  • Neither Ozil nor Mkhitaryan are productive enough defensively to meaningfully protect Arsenal’s defence.
  • If Ozil and Mkhitaryan were deployed further up the field to provide the link between Arsenal’s central midfielders and strikers, that would isolate Xhaka and allow opponents to press him (which he does not cope well with) and force dangerous turnovers in Arsenal’s defensive third.
  • If Ozil and Mkhitaryan were to rotate, with one of them occupying a more advanced attacking midfield role while the other dropped deeper alongside Xhaka to ensure the Swiss is not isolated, Arsenal would have insuffienct attacking midfielders to effectively link their central midfield and strikers.

Secondly, Ramsey, Wilshere and Elneny are simply not productive enough defensively (tackles and interceptions) to play in central midfield and are not productive enough in an offensive sense (goals, assists and through passes) to play in an attacking midfield position. They might look busy (Elneny), appear to provide a goal scoring threat (Ramsey) or seem creative (Wilshere) but if you closely analyse their individual contributions, they simply don’t produce on the field.

For that reason alone, I’d be happy to see Arsenal move on from Wilshere at season’s end and sell Ramsey. I was also really disappointed the club recently re signed Elneny despite his lack of on field production. The Egyptian’s re signing demonstrated to two concerning issues:

  1. Despite a new chief scout and head of football operations, Arsenal still lack the objectivity and ruthlessness to make recruitment and retention decisions which will actually improve the squad and the team’s on field performances.
  2. As a favourite of Wenger’s, Elneny’s re signing indicates that Wenger is staying on for another season as manager which means there will be more team selections based on his personal relationship with players as opposed to players’ on field
  3. production.

On top of the above suitability issues with Arsenal’s central midfield options, neither Bellerin nor Maitland-Niles (though he hasn’t had many opportunities) have proven themselves sufficiently productive defensively to protect Arsenal’s right flank.  In a 5-3-2 systems with two of Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Wilshere or Elneny in central midfield (either side of Xhaka), that would place that much more pressure on Xhaka and Arsenal’s 3 man central defence to cover up the right fullback’s defensive shortcomings.

All of the above indicates that switching to a 5-3-2 formation comprised of one or a combination of the abovementioned players, is NOT the immediate change Arsenal needed to improve their poor on field performances.

If Arsenal truely wished to adopt a 5-3-2 system of play, with mobile but slight of frame strikers, Arsenal’s central midfielders would need to be completely overhauled (possibly with the exception of Xhaka). Given that the transfer window is currently closed and Wenger is notorious for being resistant to changing personnel and tactics, I expect to see more disjointed and underwhelming performances from the Gunners between now and seasons’ end.

Freddie08

2017/2018 Arsenal Squad Profile

As Arsenal’s season winds to an underwhelming but not unexpected finish, and in preparation for the off season, it’s a good opportunity to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each position within a number of potentially suitable formation for the Gunners (i.e. 4-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-1-2, 4-3-2-1 and 5-2-2-1) and, using data from http://www.whoscored.com, develop a clearer understanding of the tendencies of each player in Arsenal’s first team squad (over their professional career).  The findings provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition; and
  • which 11 players make up Arsenal’s most effective team in each of the abovementioned formations.

Note: The player rankings, starting line ups and formations outlined in this article are based on the assumption that Arsenal’s tactical basis is to stretch the game vertically by creating generous spacing between their defensive and attacking blocks so as to allow for quick forward transitions and space in behind the opposition’s defence. Specifically the ‘defensive block’ is comprised of Arsenal’s goalkeeper, right and left full backs, centre backs and central midfielders. While Arsenal’s attacking block is comprised of Arsenal’s attacking midfielders and strikers.

Internal player rankings

In terms of how each player within Arsenal’s first team squad ranks against their internal competition, seven positional categories were considered (goalkeeper, right fullback, centre back, left fullback, centre midfield, attacking midfield and centre forward). Different weightings were also assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group. These weightings were based on alignment with aforementioned assumption regarding Arsenal’s tactical basis.

It is also noted that the goals and assists per season data detailed in the below player rankings reflects  the average number of goals or assists for the respective player in each season where the player has started at least 15 league games.

Goalkeeper:

Goalkeeper Rankings

Right Fullback:

Right fullback Rankings

Centre Back:

Centreback Rankings

Left Fullback:

Left fullback Rankings

Central Midfield:

Central Midfield Rankings

Attacking Midfield:

Attacking Midfield Rankings

Centre Forward 

Centre forward Rankings

Formations and lineups

Based on the above analytical comparison, and assuming that Arsenal’s tactical basis is to stretch the game vertically by creating generous spacing between their defensive block (goalkeeper, right and left full backs, centre backs and central midfielders) and attacking block (attacking midfielders and strikers) so as to allow for quick forward transitions and space in behind the opposition’s defence, Arsenal’s most complimentary starting 11 in each of the below listed formations would appear to be as follows:

4-2-2-2

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4-2-3-1

4-2-3-1

4-3-1-2

4-3-1-2

4-3-2-1

4-3-2-1

5-2-2-1

5-2-2-1

While the defensive focus of a 5-2-2-1 formation and a 4-3-2-1 formation make such systems attractive, both systems would deprive Arsenal of Lacazette’s goal scoring threat, which is deficiency Ozil and Mkhitaryan are not likely to be able to make up for in the form of additional goals.

A more traditional 4-2-3-1 also has its appealing qualities in that it would allow Arsenal’s three most productive attacking midfielders (Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Cazorla) to be on the field and within Arsenal’s attacking block at the same time.  That said, this system would again deprive Arsenal of Lacazette’s goal scoring threat and all three attacking midfielders have demonstrated a tendency in the past to over complicate Arsenal’s attacking play and slow down the speed of Arsenal’s attacks when the ball enters the opposition’s defensive third. Such an approach fails to play to Aubameyang’s off the ball strengths.

Regarding a 4-3-1-2 formation, while the defensive security afforded by that system is appealing and it would allow both Lacazette and Aubameyang to be on the field and within Arsenal’s attacking block at the same time, the lack of multiple attacking midfielders may prevent Arsenal from being able to regularly create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for that striking pair.

With the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil and Mkhitaryan in Arsenal’s squad a more attacking 4-2-2-2 would appear to be the most balanced of the evident options available to Arsenal. However, for this system to work, Arsenal’s defensive block (i.e. goalkeeper, right and left fullbacks, centre backs and central midfielders) would need to consistently remain disciplined and focused on their defensively positioning and defensive responsibilities.

One thing which is for certain is that Arsenal, in regularly selecting Ramsey, Elneny and/or Wilshere in central midfield, have not got their  central midfield balance correct this season. Repeated poor team selection in that area of the field, combined with a lack of defensive discipline amongst Arsenal’s defensive block and slow, overly complicated attacking play amongst Arsenal’s attacking midfielders, has rendered Arsenal ineffective both offensively and defensively. While formation and personnel changes would appear to help correct some of those deficiencies, the effectiveness of those changes are likely to be impaired without a complimentary stylistic change from the manager.

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Watford

A welcome victory for the Gunners, with some impressive performances by Cech, Mustafi, Holding, Xhaka and Aubameyang but poor performances by Elneny, Mykhitaryan, Ozil and Iwobi.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 4-2-4 formation in game.

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Arsenal were able to dominate possession (60% to Watford’s 40%), but unlike in Arsenal’s recently loss to Brighton, Watford were far more willing to commit players in attack, rather than employ a deep defensive block and counterattack. This stretched the game vertically and provided Arsenal’s attacking midfielders and Aubameyang with the space and time needed to attempt more lower risk through passes and make runs in behind Watford’s defence. It was a tactically naive approach from Watford but very much welcomed by the out of form Gunners.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
It was a strong performance from Cech who made 4 saves for the match, including 1 from a penalty taken by Deeney. The experienced keeper also did well when called upon to deal with Watford’s 24 crosses for the match.

RWB: Maitland Niles
It was mixed defensive performance from Maitland Niles, who was proactive and aggressive with his tackling (3 tackles) but struggled with his defensive positioning (0 interception). That said, he did enough defensively to effectively shut down his opponent, Pereyra (1 off target shot, 2 forward dribbles, 1 accurate cross from his 2 attempts and 0 attempted through passes). Offensively, it was also a mixed performance from the young Englishman, who made 2 successful forward dribbles but failed to attempt a cross. While his performance wasn’t prefect, and the penalty he conceded demonstrated his inexperience playing at right fullback, Maitland Niles demonstrated enough in terms of key performance indicators to justify his continued selection in the position ahead of Bellerin.

RCB: Mustafi
It was a very strong defensive performance from Mustafi (4 tackles, 7 clearances and 6 successful aerial duels). While his aggressiveness compromised his defensive positioning at times (0 interceptions), which allowed his opponent Richarlison to attempt 4 shots, 2 of which forced Cech into action, his proactive ball recovery skills, no non sense approach to defending and aerial strength can’t be questioned.

LCB: Holding
It was a strong defensive performance from Holding (3 interceptions, 7 clearances and 4 successful aerial duels). While the lack of aggressiveness in Holding’s defensive approach (1 tackle) gave his opponent Deeney some shooting opportunities (2 shots, 1 of which was on target) and he lost the aerial battle with the Watford striker (4 successful duels to Deeney’s 7), Holding was largely able to keep the experienced forward at bay. All in all
an impressive performance.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was a quiet day defensively for Kolasinac (2 tackles and 0 interception), as his opponent, Femenia, struggled to influence the game in an attacking sense (1 off target shot, 1 successful forward dribble and 1 accurate cross from 2 attempts). That said, some more intelligence in Kolasinac’s defensive positioning would have eliminated any threat posed by Femenia. Offensively, it was a poor showing by the Serb, with no forward dribbles and just 2 inaccurate crosses. His historical performances indicate that Kolasinac is capable of much more particularly defensively. He needs to show that now for Arsenal on a consistent basis.

RCM: Elneny
It was an underwhelming performance from Elneny, who was solid in his tackling (2 tackles for the match) and passed with excellent accuracy (92%) but his defensive positioning was poor (0 interceptions) and he failed to efficiently and directly transition the ball from defence to attack, whether it be via a dribble (0 successful forward dribbles) or accurate long pass (1 accurate long pass for the match). Elneny has demonstrated consistently that he hides in matches and fails to meaningfully contribute either defensively or offensively. His continue selection in central midfield ahead of youngsters such as Willock, Da Silva and Sheaf is one of many perplexing team selection decisions by Wenger.

LCM: Xhaka
It was a fantastic all round performance by Xhaka, who expertly screened Holding and Kolasinac (4 tackles and 2 interceptions) and was highly effective and productive at directly transitioning the ball from defence to attack (5 accurate long passes out of 6 attempts). His passing accuracy (90%) was also excellent. While Xhaka’s immobility restricts his ability to regularly execute success forward dribbles, which was again the case versus Watford, it was as complete of a performance as can be expected from Xhaka who has significantly improved defensively during the second half of the season. Arsenal’s man of the match for me.

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
Despite recording a goal and assist, it was an poor performance from Mykhitaryan (1 shot, no successful forward dribbles, a paltry 71% passing accuracy and 1 successful through pass from 1 attempt). It was a far cry from his excellent performance versus Milan and his overall offensive production needs to improve.

CAM: Ozil
It was a mixed performance by Ozil who impressed with his willingness to dribble at the Watford defence (3 successful forward dribbles), notched another assist from
a set piece delivery and passed accurately (81%). That said, Ozil again failed to consistently offer a goal scoring threat (1 shot for the match) and while he executed a nice through pass for Aubameyang early in the match, that was his only attempted through pass for the game. More offensive output is required by the German.

LCAM: Iwobi
It was a poor performance by Iwobi who, despite show some creativity with his passing (2 attempted but inaccurate through passes), passed the ball with inaccuracy throughout the match, only executed 1 forward dribble and had 1 off target shot.

ST: Aubameyang
A very strong attacking performance from Aubameyang who, given Watford’s attacking intent, was given space behind their defence in which he could make off the ball runs into. While he only scored 1 goal for the match, he showed his willingness with 4 shots in total, 2 of which were on target.

A great outcome for Arsenal, even though it wasn’t a good attacking performance. Arsenal’s ongoing struggle to find a central midfielder who can partner Xhaka and consistently defend as well as directly transition the ball from defence to attack continues. Xhaka’s performance in that regard has significantly improved, though none of Elneny, Wilshere or Ramsey have been able to consistently deliver the required performance standard. While strong individual performances from Mustafi, Holding and Xhaka were able to mask Elneny’s poor defensive play, the Egyptian’s overly complicated transitional play, combined with a lack of directness from Arsenal’s attacking midfield cohort, limited Arsenal’s potential goal scoring opportunity versus the Hornets. That said, like the AC Milan victory the week prior, a win is a win and hopefully Arsenal can produce a much more complete performance in the mid week return fixture versus the Italians.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: AC Milan vs Arsenal

A great outcome for the Gunners but on closer inspection there were disappointing individual performances by the majority of Arsenal’s starting 11, including Chambers, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Ozil and Wilshere. Fortunately for Arsenal, Milan’s wayward shooting and a strong attacking performance from Mykhitaryan, ensured that Arsenal would take a commanding lead going into the second leg at the Emirates.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 3-3-2-2 formation in game.

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Unlike Arsenal’s prior match versus Brighton, in which the Gunners were able (or allowed) to dominate possession (68% to 32%), the match versus AC Milan was a much more open affair with Milan edging possession (51% to Arsenal’s 49%).

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Ospina
With Milan’s woeful shooting accuracy (only 1 shot out of 16 attempts was on target) it was a relatively quiet day for Ospina. That said, he did well when called upon to deal with Milan’s whopping 31 crosses for the match.

RWB: Chambers
It was a mixed defensive performance by Chambers (1 tackle, 2 interceptions, 4 clearances and 8 successful aerial duels) as he struggled to curb the creative influence of his opponent, Chalhanoglu (1 accurate through pass from 2 attempts and 1 accurate cross from 3 attempts). It was another perplexing decision by Wenger to play the centre back at right back and while Chambers was too timid in his tackling approach his defensive positioning was solid, he tried to keep his game simple, which was reflected in a good number of clearances and he was very strong when dealing with crosses from the opposite flank. Offensively, Chambers was again underwhelming with just 1 successful forward dribble and 1 accurate cross from 1 attempt. That said, it’s hard to blame Chambers for underperforming in a position which he is clearly ill suited to play in but which Wenger continues to select him in.

RCB: Mustafi
Overall it was an underwhelming defensive performance from Mustafi (0 tackle, 2 interceptions, 6 clearances and 2 successful aerial duels). While his defensive positioning was okay and he like, Chambers and Koscielny, tried to keep his game simple by clearing the ball at every opportunity, the German was too passive in his defensive approach which allow his opponent Bonaventura to attempt a whopping 7 shots. Fortunately for Mustafi, Bonaventura only managed to get 1 of his shots on target. Mustafi was also bested by his opponent in the air. While it wasn’t the best performance from the German, a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central midfield certain made things that much more difficult.

LCB: Koscielny
While it was a disappointing tackling performance from Koscielny (0 tackles), his defensive positioning (4 interceptions) was excellent and he kept his game nice and simple with 8 clearances for the match. Koscielny was also strong aerially with 4 successful aerial duels as his young opponent, Cutrone (1 off target shot and 1 successful forward dribble) really struggled. It was a welcome return to form for the Frenchman, who also wasn’t helped by a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central midfield.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was a poor defensive performance by Kolasinac (0 tackles and 1 interception), who was well beaten by his opponent, Susa (3 shots, 0 of which were on target, 3 successful forward dribble and a host of inaccurate crosses), Kolasinac needed to be mor aggressive defensively and more intelligent in his defensive positioning to eliminate the threat posed by Susa. That said, offensively, Kolasinac was good in terms of his transitional play with 3 successful forward dribbles. Unfortunately his end product was lacking in both volume and accuracy, with just the 1 inaccurate cross for the match. I suspect that Serb is still suffering from low confidence following his marginalisation by Wenger throughout midseason.

RCM: Ramsey
His calmly taken goal aside, it was a disappointing performance from Ramsey. Defensively he only managed 1 tackle and 1 interception as he failed miserably to offer protection to Chambers and Mustafi. Offensively, while his passing accuracy was very good (86%), he failed to transition the ball from defence to attack whether it be via a dribble or accurate long pass.

LCM: Xhaka
It was a reasonably solid performance by Xhaka. While he wasn’t aggressive enough in his tackling (0 tackles for the match), he showed reasonable defensive awareness (2 interceptions). That said, his defensive positioning was still too far from Koscienly and Kolasinac to offer them meaningful protection. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (95%) and transitional passing (4 accurate long range passes) was excellent.

RCAM: Ozil
While he managed to notch 2 assists and recorded a successful through pass from his 2 attempts, it was an underwhelming performance from Ozil. The German failed to offer any threat via the dribble (0 successful forward dribbles) and failed to show anything in terms of goal scoring intent. While his passing accuracy (85%) was very good, more offensive output (in particular dribbles and shots) is expected of the German, who again failed to meet the expected key performance indicators for an attacking midfielder.

CAM: Wilshere
It was a poor performance by Wilshere who, despite recording 2 successful forward dribbles, struggled with his passing accuracy (78%), offered minimal threat on goal (1 off target shot) and showed limited creativity with his passing (1 inaccurate attempted through pass). Wilshere’s inability to consistently meet the key performance indicators of either Arsenal’s central midfielder or attacking midfielder, is increasingly building a case as to why Arsenal shouldn’t offer him a new contract for next season.

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
It was a strong offensive performance from the Armenian, with a goal from his 3 shots, another of which hit the cross bar, 5 successful forward dribbles and 83% passing accuracy. My only criticism of Mykhitaryan’s performance was his passing creativity (no attempted through passes). Apart from that it was a strong showing from the Armenian and he was clearly Arsenal’s man of the match.

ST: Welbeck
It was a solid performance from Welbeck. While his goal drought continued, he showed some attacking intent with 2 shots, 1 of which was on target and he wasn’t helped by a lack of creativity from Ozil and Wilshere in particular. Aerially he was very good with 3 successful aerial duels. While his historical performances indicate he shouldn’t be considered for Arsenal’s first 11 in a striking capacity (or even as a back up), his performance in this match was much improved on recent outings.

Overall it was another poor performance by Arsenal, masked by a couple of goals and some impressive attacking play by Mykhitaryan. Defensively, Arsenal’s centre backs were again left unprotected by Arsenal’s central midfield, and in particular Ramsey. This exposed Arsenal’s defenders to Milan’s attacker and but for some wayward shooting by the Italians, the outcome of this match could have been very different. Offensively, there were poor performances again from Ramsey, Ozil and Wilshere, which made it difficult for Welbeck up front. That said, a win is a win and hopefully Arsenal’s players can take confidence from the outcome of this match into the game versus Watford and produce a much improved and more complete performance that what they dished out in Italy.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: Brighton vs Arsenal

Another disjointed performance from the Gunners whose central midfielders again positioned themselves far too far from
Arsenal’s centre backs,
exposing Arsenal’s central defenders to counterattacks.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 3-3-4 formation in game.

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IMG_1867While Arsenal were able (or allowed) to dominate possession (68% to 32%), Brighton game plan of defending deep and counterattacking at pace down the flanks, was much more effective than Arsenal’s directionless attacking approach.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
Arguably at fault for Brighton’s first goal as he attempted but fail to claim a corner kick leaving an open goal for Duffy to stroke home. That said, the effectiveness of Arsenal’s zonal marking left much to be desired. While Cech could have also done better with Brighton’s second goal, it was a very well placed header from Murray that essentially wrong footed the goal keeper. Apart from those two instances, it was a solid performance from Cech, who made 4 saves to limit the damage. He also did well when called upon to deal with Brighton’s 12 further crosses.

RWB: Chambers
It was a perplexing decision by Wenger to play the centre back at right back and expose him to the relentless dribbling and pace of Brighton’s left winger, Izquierdo. Consequently, the Colombian destroyed Chambers and ended the match with 4 shots, all of which were off target, 3 successful forward dribbles and 2 crosses, 1 of which was accurate. Conversely, Chambers only managed 1 tackle and 1 interception for the match. Offensively, Chambers was equally underwhelming with just 1 successful forward dribble and 2 inaccurate crosses. All that said, it’s hard to blame Chambers for underperforming in a position which he is clear ill suited to play in.

RCB: Mustafi
Overall it was a solid defensive performance from Mustafi (1 tackle, 3 interceptions, 6 clearances and 7 successful aerial duels). While he was too passive in his tackling and his opponent on the day, Murray got the better of him for Brighton’s 2nd goal, Mustafi’s positioning, aerial strength and willingness to clear his lines rather than over complicate his game were all excellent.

LCB: Koscielny
A disappointing defensive performance from Koscielny (1 tackle, 1 interceptions, 2 clearances and 2 successful aerial duels) as he struggled to shut down his opponent’s GroB (2 shots on target, and an assist for Brighton’s 2nd goal, following an error by Koscielny). While the ageing Frenchman remains Arsenal 2nd best central defender after Mustafi, a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central midfield is seriously exposing him.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was an underwhelming defensive performance by Kolasinac (2 tackles and 1 interception), who visibly appeared low in confidence when called upon to defend. While his opponent, Knockart, was solid without impressing (2 shots, 1 of which was on target, 1 successful forward dribble and 2 inaccurate crosses), Kolasinac could have been more aggressive defensively and been more intelligent in his defensive positioning to eliminate the Frenchman’s threat. That said, offensively, Kolasinac was very good, with 2 successful forward dribbles and 3 out of 4 accurate crosses. It was an improved offensive display from Arsenal’s premier left fullback. Long may it continue.

RCM: Wilshere
It was a woeful defensive effort from Wilshere with 0 tackles and 1 interception) as he failed miserably to offer protection to Chambers and Mustafi and was soundly beaten by his opponent Popper. Offensively though Jack was very strong with an excellent 88% passing accuracy and 6 forward dribbles.

LCM: Xhaka
It was an impressive tackling display from Xhaka (3 tackles) as he worked hard to try and protect Arsenal’s centre backs. He did so without the assistant of Wilshere who abandoned his central midfield defensive duties. While Xhaka was nice and aggressive in his defensive approach, his defensive positional play was again poor (1 interception) as he positioned himself far too far from Arsenal’s centre backs. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (88%) and transitional passing (7 accurate long range passes) was excellent and he recorded a nice assist for Aubameyang’s goal.

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
It was a much improved offensive performance from the Armenian, with 3 shots, 2 of which were on target, 2 successful forward dribbles and a more respectable 80% passing accuracy. That said, he struggled again with his passing creativity (no attempted through passes).

CAM: Ozil
It was similarly an improved performance from Ozil who recorded 2 forward dribbles and had 3 shots, one of which was on target and forced an excellent save from Matt Ryan in the Brighton goal. He also passed the ball with 84% accuracy and executed a successful through pass. All in all a better showing from the German.

LCAM: Iwobi
While Ozil and Mykhitaryan demonstrated improved output, that wasn’t the case for Iwobi. While the young Nigerian had 2 shots for the match, 1 of which was on target, and had an impressive 87% passing accuracy, he lacked penetration and creativity with the ball, whether that be via the dribble (0 dribbles for the match) or in the form of through passes (0 attempted through passes).

ST: Aubameyang
His well taken goal aside, it was another match for Aubameyang in which Arsenal attacking midfielders failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for the Gabonese striker. Despite this being a recurring theme for Aubameyang, as it was for Lacazette before him, Wenger continues to employ a tactical set up which totally deprives him of any regular clear cut goal scoring opportunities. The longer Wenger continues failing to adopt a tactical system that accentuates the Gabonese striker’s strengths and hides his weaknesses, the more I fear for the state of Aubameyang’s confidence.

Overall it was another poor performance by Arsenal. Defensively, Arsenal’s centre backs were again isolated by the central midfield, exposing them to counterattacks by Brighton. While Xhaka again showed some defensive improvements, his central midfield partner, whether it be Wilshere or Ramsey, don’t have the defensive focus or desire to fulfil the requirements of that role. Offensively, while Arsenal’s central midfield did a good job at quickly transitioning the ball from defence to attack via a combination of long range passes and dribbles, Arsenal attacking midfielders slowed the tempo of Arsenal’s attacks and over complicated the build up play which enable Brighton to establish a deep defensive block and deny Aubameyang the space he needs. With an inform Milan side to come next, things could get worse.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Manchester City

It was an inept performance from the Gunners who once again over committed players in advanced positions, exposing Arsenal’s central defenders and we’re too cautious in attack, which failed to
create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for Aubameyang.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 2-3-5 formation in game.

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IMG_1864While Man City only shaded possession (54% to 46%) they were far more purposeful in attack and defence than the Gunners, owing much to the tactical astuteness of Guardiola and Wenger’s lack thereof.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
It was a solid performance from Cech, who wasn’t responsible for any of the 3 Man City goals Arsenal conceded and made 2 further saves to limit the damage. Cech wasn’t really called upon aerially as Man City kept the ball on the ground in attack to play to the strengths of Aguero, David Silva, Sane and Bernardo Silva

RWB: Bellerin
It was a solid tackling performance from Bellerin (2 tackles) but yet again his defensive positioning let him down (1 interception) as his opponent Sane, dominated the Spaniard (6 successful forward dribbles, an assist and a goal from his 1 shot for the match). Offensively, while Bellerin showed some attacking intent with his crossing (3 inaccurate crossing attempts), his accuracy again let him down and he only recorded 1 successful forward dribble for the match. Despite being out of form both defensively and offensively, Wenger continues to select the Spaniard in the right fullback position due to their personal relationship. I think the time has come for Arsenal to give Jenkinson or Debuchy an opportunity…wait a minute…Wenger sold or loaned out all or Arsenal’s alternative right fullbacks. Another masterstroke decision from the Frenchman.

RCB: Mustafi
An aggressive tackling performance from Mustafi (4 tackles) but his positional play was poor (1 interception) and he was drawn too far right from centre in an attempt to cover Bellerin’s poor defensive positioning. As a consequence, his main opponent on the day Aguero was able to heavily influence the match (4 shots, 2 of which were on target, an assist and 5 successful forward dribbles). Mustafi also failed to simplify his game and just clear the ball when the opportunity arose (2 clearances for the match). Aerially he wasn’t challenged at all. Overall it was a disappointing performance by Mustafi, though a lot of his struggles in this match can be attributed to the poor defensive positioning of both Bellerin at RWB and Ramsey at RCM, which left the German on an island to try and defend against the attacking thrusts of David Silva, Sane and Aguero.

LCB: Koscielny
An excellent defensive display by Koscielny (5 tackles and 2 interceptions) who bounced back from his disappointing showing in the League Cup final to effectively shut down his main opponent in this match in De Bruyne (1 shot, 2 forward dribbles and 1 accurate through pass from his 1 attempt). While aerially he wasn’t challenged, Koscielny could have simplified his game at times and just cleared his lines to relieve the pressure on Arsenal’s defence (2 clearances). Nevertheless, it was a strong showing from the Frenchman.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was an underwhelming performance by Kolasinac. While his defensive positioning was great (4 interceptions), which largely eliminated the threat of his opponent Bernardo Silva (1 goal from his 1 shot for the match and 2 successful forward dribbles), he could have been more aggressive in his defensive approach (1 tackle). Offensively, while he was very poor (1 successful forward dribble and 1 accurate cross from his 1 attempt). The Serb’s confidence has obviously been affected by Wenger’s decision to withdraw him from the first 11, despite Kolasinac being clearly the strongest left fullback at the club.

RCM: Ramsey
It was a woeful defensive performance from the Welshman (0 tackles and 0 interceptions) as he completely abandoned his positional and defensive duties to individually pursue goals and assists. Offensively, Ramsey’s passing accuracy was very good (85%), he effectively transitioned the ball from defence to attack (2 forward dribbles and 4 accurate long range passes) and he showed some, albeit limited, creativity or risk with his passing (1 attempted through pass for the match). It was yet another performance from the Welshman which highlighted how his defensive ill discipline makes him poorly suited to playing in central midfield.

LCM: Xhaka
It was an excellent tackling display from Xhaka (6 tackles) as he worked extremely hard to try and single handily protect Arsenal’s centre backs, given Ramsey’s decision to abstain from his central midfield defensive duties. While Xhaka was nice and aggressive in his defensive approach, his defensive positional play was generally poor (1 interception). Offensively, while Xhaka’s passing accuracy (85%) and transitional passing (4 accurate long range passes) was very good, he wasn’t creative or risky enough with his passing (0 attempted through passes) and he failed to transition the ball forward via the dribble (0 successful forward dribbles). That said, it was a good performance from the Swiss though he needs to focus on trying to deliver complete defensive performances (i.e. both tackling and his positional play).

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
It was a poor offensive performance from the Armenian, with only 1 successful forward dribble, 71% passing accuracy and no attempted through passes. The only real positive was that he showed some goal scoring intent with 2 shots for the match, 1 of which was on target. It has been an inauspicious start to Mykhitaryan’s Arsenal career. That said, given his highly productive career numbers to date, the big question is whether it is simply Mykhitaryan underperforming or Wenger’s tactics failing to allow the Armenian to consistently demonstrate his undoubted skill set

CAM: Ozil
It was another woeful performance from Ozil who failed to attempt a forward dribble or through pass for the match and only had 1 (off target) shot. Combine that with a significant drop in his passing accuracy (77%) and it was another match to forget for the German.

LCAM : Welbeck
Like Ozil and Mykhitaryan it was a dreadful performance from Welbeck who Wenger shoehorned into a unfamiliar LCAM role to ensure one of his favourites was included, despite his recent poor form. While the Englishman completed 2 successful forward dribbles, he failed to attempt a through pass for the match, only had 1 (off target) shot and recorded a woeful 68% passing accuracy. It’s these types of team selections, based on personal relationships rather than on field performances, which continue to bring Wenger and Arsenal unstuck.

ST: Aubameyang
It was yet another difficult game for Aubameyang who, like Lacazette experienced, is being was deprived of any service from Arsenal’s slew of so call creative midfielders and attacking wingbacks. He ended the match with no goals from his 2 shots, one of which was the on target penalty that was saved by Ederson.

It was the same old same old problems for Arsenal in this match. A lack of protection for Arsenal’s centre halves, particularly from Bellerin and Ramsey for Mustafi, and poor offensive play from Mykhitaryan, Ozil and Welbeck left Aubameyang isolated and without clear cut goal scoring opportunities. While a less skilful opponent in Brighton should enable Arsenal to assert themselves in their next Premier League match, Arsenal are slipping further and further behind the likes of Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Tottenham the longer Wenger remains in charge.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.