Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 20

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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 nine 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 Defensive Midfielder
  • Central Midfielders
  • Right Winger
  • Left Winger
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 4-1-2-3 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Attack by patiently passing the ball amongst their goalkeeper, central defenders, central defensive midfielder and inverted fullbacks to draw the opposition forward, and then quickly transition the ball forward to:
    • the wingers, when in one on one opportunities, to aggressively attack the by-line and to cut the ball back for the centre forward, onrushing central midfielders or opposite winger to shoot; or
    • the central midfielders to play through passes to the centre forward or wingers as they cut inside to shoot.
  • Defend by the centre forward, wingers, and central midfielders pressing the opponent in their own half to force errors, while the central defensive midfielders, fullbacks and centre backs hold deeper positions, should the initial press be bypassed.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The fullbacks’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+), key passes (1+) and long passes (3+) per match.
  • The central defenders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through multiple long passes (3+ per game).
  • The central defensive midfielder’s primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and long passes (3+) per match.
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The wingers’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match as well as goals (10+ per season).
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ 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 Fullback

Central Defenders

Left Fullback

Central Defensive Midfielder

Central Midfielders

Right Winger

Left Winger

Centre Forward

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Mari, Tierney, Ceballos and Aubameyang recovering from injuries, and
  • this being a more significant fixture of Arsenal’s three fixtures between 23 January and 30 January,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 20 Premier League clash versus Southampton would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Recruitment: Edu contradicts himself as Sokratis is released and Ryan is signed

Arsenal’s Technical Director Edu, has been caught out contradicting himself regarding Arsenal’s recruitment and retention strategy.

Recently Edu overhauled the club’s scouting network, and stated that Arsenal would be working “a lot more” with StatDNA, Arsenal’s in-house data and analytics company, as part of the club’s revamp of recruitment. However, his comments have not been reflected in Arsenal recent recruitment and retention decisions to release Sokratis and sign Matt Ryan of Brighton.

Based on the on-field production of Arsenal’s currently contracted central defenders (from those seasons throughout the individual player’s professional careers, where the player has started at least 15 league games in Europe’s top 5 leagues in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive)) Arsenal have two players in Mustafi and Sokratis, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as two of the club’s senior central defenders.

As for the club’s other options in central defence, while its unfair to judge Mavropanos, Holding, Saliba and Gabriel, as all four players have insufficient professional experience in any of Europe’s top 5 leagues, to appropriately assess their performances, the propensity of Luiz, Chambers, and Mari to win aerial duels are inferior to a number of their colleagues, and Luiz’s and Mari’s tackles per game records are similarly inferior.

In light of the above, and the critical nature of defence meaning that there is a strong argument that Arsenal should be aiming to recruit the most productive central defenders available to fill those senior central defender roles, it would have been logical, and in line with Edu’s recent comments, for Arsenal to retain at least Mustafi and Sokratis, as two of the club’s senior central defenders.

Despite this, the club has made the decisions to first exclude Sokratis from the senior team and now release him, in addition to effectively side-lining Mustafi by failing to select the German international when fit.

Given Sokratis’ statistical superiority in contast to Arsenal’s other options in central defence, the club’s decision to release the player seems to be far from based on the statistical profile of the Greek defender, which was espoused by Edu as a key pillar in Arsenal’s contemporary recruitment approach.

In fact, taking into account the relative on field productivity of Arsenal’s central defensive options, the comparative key performance indicator data (from Whoscored.com) of central defenders competing in Europe’s top 5 leagues, and eliminating those players who are contracted to clubs competing in the 2020/21 Champions League, there is a strong argument that Arsenal should in fact have been aiming during this transfer window to retain Sokratis and Mustafi, sell Mari, Luiz, Chambers, as well as the unproven Holding, Mavropanos and Saliba, and recruit at least Salif Sane of Schalke and Michael Hector of Fulham, to serve as the club 4 senior central defenders.

Similarly, the club’s decision to loan in Matt Ryan from Brighton, could hardly be considered sound, based on Ryan’s statistical performances in the three seasons where he has started at least 15 league games (consecutive or non-consecutive) in Europe’s top 5 leagues.

Using Whoscored.com’s accurate, respected and well-known performance ratings, Ryan has an average rating of 6.61 over the three seasons in question. Comparing that to Arsenal pre-existing goalkeeping options, and while it’s unfair to judge Runarsson’s suitability, as the player has not had sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess his performances, Bernd Leno has a substantially superior average rating of 6.77. Ryan’s inadequacy is even more telling, when you consider the number of superior goalkeepers to Leno, who are currently plying their trade in Europe’s top 5 leagues and who are not in a team which qualified for this season’s Champions League.

In light of that, and the critical nature of defence meaning that there is a strong argument that Arsenal should be aiming to recruit the most productive goalkeepers available to fill those two senior goalkeeping roles, it would have be logical for Arsenal to not recruit Ryan, sell Leno and the unproven Runarsson, and recruit Cragno of Cagliari and ex-Gunner Lukasz Fabianski of West Ham, to serve as the club’s two senior goalkeepers.

As the saying goes, insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Based on Edu and Arsenal’s most recent recruitment decisions, and their continued lack of focus of the statistical profile of Arsenal squad and the player market, it appears a healthy dose of insanity remains entrenched in key senior decision makers at the club.

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: FA Cup Round 4

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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 nine 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 Defensive Midfielder
  • Central Midfielders
  • Right Winger
  • Left Winger
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 4-1-2-3 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Attack by patiently passing the ball amongst their goalkeeper, central defenders, central defensive midfielder and inverted fullbacks to draw the opposition forward, and then quickly transition the ball forward to:
    • the wingers, when in one on one opportunities, to aggressively attack the by-line and to cut the ball back for the centre forward, onrushing central midfielders or opposite winger to shoot; or
    • the central midfielders to play through passes to the centre forward or wingers as they cut inside to shoot.
  • Defend by the centre forward, wingers, and central midfielders pressing the opponent in their own half to force errors, while the central defensive midfielders, fullbacks and centre backs hold deeper positions, should the initial press be bypassed.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The fullbacks’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+), key passes (1+) and long passes (3+) per match.
  • The central defenders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through multiple long passes (3+ per game).
  • The central defensive midfielder’s primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and long passes (3+) per match.
  • The central midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The wingers’ primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match as well as goals (10+ per season).
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ 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 Fullback

Central Defenders

Left Fullback

Central Defensive Midfielder

Central Midfielders

Right Winger

Left Winger

Centre Forward

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Mari and Ceballos recovering from injuries, and
  • this being Arsenal’s less significant fixture of the three between 23 January and 30 January

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 4 FA Cup clash versus Southampton would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 19

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Right Wide Midfielder
  • Left Wide Midfielder
  • Centre Forward
  • Striker

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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing key passes into the centre forward and striker.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The defenders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through multiple long passes (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season).
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots per game (3+) as well as goals (15+ 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

Defenders

Central Midfielders

Right Wide Midfielder

Left Wide Midfielder

Centre Forward

Striker

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Tierney, Mari, and Martinelli recovering from injuries, and
  • this being Arsenal’s easier fixture of the two between 14 January and 18 January

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 19 Premier League clash versus Newcastle would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 18

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Second Striker
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing key passes into the centre forward and striker.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The defenders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through multiple long passes (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season).
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots per game (3+) as well as goals (15+ 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

Defenders

Central Midfielders

Right Wide Midfielder

Left Wide Midfielder

Centre Forward

Striker

Formation and line-up

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Partey, Gabriel, and Martinelli recovering from injuries, and
  • this being Arsenal’s harder of the two fixtures between 14 January and 18 January

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 18 Premier League clash versus Crystal Palace would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analsis: Third Round FA CUP

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Second Striker
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide-midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing through passes and cut backs into the second striker and centre forward as they attack the channels between the oppositions fullbacks and centre backs.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The second striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+), dribbles (3+) and key passes (2+) per game as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ 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

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Partey, Gabriel, and Nelson recovering from injuries, and
  • this being Arsenal’s only fixtures until 14 January

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 3 FA Cup clash versus Newcastle would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 17

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Second Striker
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide-midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing through passes and cut backs into the second striker and centre forward as they attack the channels between the oppositions fullbacks and centre backs.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The second striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+), dribbles (3+) and key passes per game as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ 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

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Partey, Luiz, Gabriel, Saka and Willian recovering from injuries, and
  • this being the easier of Arsenal’s two fixtures between 29 December and 2 January,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 17 Premier League clash versus West Brom would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

2020/2021 Mid Season: Which Players Arsenal Should Retain, Sell and Recruit To Fit A 3-5-1-1 Formation

With Arsenal’s 2020/2021 Premier League campaign almost at the halfway point, and the January 2021 transfer window shortly to open, 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:

  • which players Arsenal should retain
  • which players Arsenal should sell
  • which players Arsenal should recruit.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Right Wide Midfielder
  • Left Wide Midfielder
  • Centre Forward
  • Stiker

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) 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 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing key passes into the centre forward and striker.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The defenders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game), and contribute to the team’s offensive play through multiple long passes (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and successful aerial duels (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ per season).
  • The striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots per game (3+) as well as goals (15+ per season).

Once the relative on field productivity of Arsenal’s current senior squad was assessed, the comparative KPI data (from Whoscored.com) of the players competing in the following leagues was then reviewed:

  • English Premier League
  • Championship
  • Serie A
  • Ligue 1
  • La Liga
  • Bundesliga

When considering players competing in the aforementioned leagues, those players in clubs who are competing in the 2020/21 Champions League were not considered. This included clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchenglabach, PSG, Marseille, Rennes, Juventus, Inter Milan, Atalanta, and Lazio. This was designed to realistically account for Arsenal’s attractiveness as a prospective employer, based on the club’s current standing in European football (as a Europa League competitor).

Also, only players from the aforementioned leagues who have, during their professional career, started at least 15 league games in at least two seasons (consecutive or non-consecutive) were considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed. Again, this was designed to provide a realistic picture of each individual player’s on-field production.

The KPI data of the reviewed players was then contrasted against the KPI data of the players who currently comprise Arsenal’s senior squad.

Player rankings

Goalkeepers

Starting with the goalkeeping position, and while it’s unfair to judge Macey’s or Runarsson’s suitability, as neither player has sufficient professional experience to appropriately assess their performances, it is fair to say that Bernd Leno, has delivered less impressive performances throughout his career to date, in contrast to the likes of Alessio Cragno of Cagliari.

In light of that, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Leno, and recruit Cragno, to serve as one of the club’s two senior goalkeepers.

In terms of the second of those two senior goalkeepers, with Macey and Runarsson unproven but Macey considered ‘homegrown’, and likely to see limited game time, it would be logical for the club to sell Runarsson and retain Macey as the club’s second senior goalkeeper.

Defenders

As for the club’s contracted defender options, Arsenal fortunately have two players in Mustafi and Sokratis, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as two of the club’s six senior defenders.

As for the club’s other defender options, while its unfair to judge Mavropanos, Holding, Saliba or Tierney, as all four players have insufficient professional experience in any of the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances, the propensity of Luiz, Chambers, Mari and Kolasinac to win aerial duels are inferior to a number of the players reviewed, and Luiz’s and Mari’s tackles per game records are similarly inferior.

In light of the above and the critical nature of defence meaning that there is a strong argument that Arsenal should aim to recruit the most productive defenders available to fill those senior defender roles, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Chambers, Mari, Holding, Mavropanos and Saliba, and recruit the following players to serve, alongside Mustafi and Sokratis, as the club’s six senior defenders:

  • Michael Hector of Fulham
  • Salif Sane of Schalke
  • Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton
  • Benjamin Hubner of Hoffenheim.

Refer to the analysis of the wide midfielder options regarding Kolasinac and Tierney, and refer to the analysis of the central midfielder options regarding Luiz.

Central Midfielders

In terms of the club’s contracted central midfield options, it’s unfair to judge the suitability of Smith-Rowe, Elneny, Willock, Nelson, or Saka, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience in any of the examined leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other central midfield options:

  • Luiz and Guendouzi are comparatively inferior in all KPIs
  • Xhaka and Torreira are solid in terms of tackles per match, but are comparatively inferior in dribbles and key passes per game
  • Maitland-Niles is solid in terms of key passes per match, but is comparatively inferior in tackles and dribbles per game
  • Partey is solid both in terms of tackles and dribbles per match, but is comparatively inferior in key passes per game
  • Ozil and Willian are both solid in terms of dribbles and key passes per match, but are comparatively inferior in tackles per game.

As for Ceballos, while he is solid in terms of tackles, dribbles and key passes per match, there are a sufficient number of players reviewed who have superior performance records to warrant replacing the Spaniard.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted central midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Luiz, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi and Partey, cancel Ceballos’ loan and, recruit Teji Savanier of Montpellier, Emi Buendia of Norwich and Massimo Luongo of Sheffield Wednesday, to serve as three of Arsenal’s six senior central midfielders.

In terms of the club’s fourth, fifth and sixth senior central midfielders, while having highly productive and proven players in the defence is critical, given their function as the last line of protection for Arsenal’s goalkeeper, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have more flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill the remaining central midfield spots. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Elneny, and retain Smith-Rowe, Willock and Saka to fill Arsenal’s fourth, fifth and sixth senior central midfielder roles.

Refer to the analysis of the right wide midfielder options regarding Willian, Maitland-Niles and Nelson, and refer to the analysis of the left wide midfielder options regarding Ozil.

Right Wide Midfielders

As for the club’s contracted right wide midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Smith-Rowe, Saka, Nelson, and Martinelli’s suitability, as none of those players have had sufficient professional experience in the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other current right wide midfield options:

  • Aubameyang and Maitland-Niles are both solid in terms of key passes per match, but are comparatively inferior in tackles and dribbles per game
  • Bellerin is solid in terms of dribbles per match, but is comparatively inferior in both tackles and key passes per game
  • Soares are solid in terms of tackles per match, but are comparatively inferior in terms of dribbles and key passes per game
  • Lacazette and Willian are all solid in terms of dribbles and key passes per match, but are comparatively inferior in tackles per game.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted wide midfield options, and Smith-Rowe, Emi Buendia, and Teji Savanier, having already been identified as central midfield options, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Willian, Maitland-Niles, Bellerin, and Soares, and recruit Felipe Anderson of West Ham to serve as one of Arsenal’s two senior right wide midfielders.

In terms of the club’s second senior right wide midfielders, as with Arsenal’s central midfielders, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill a number of the wide midfield roles in the squad. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to retain Nelson, to serve as the club’s second senior right wide midfielder.

Refer to the analysis of the striker options regarding Martinelli, Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Left Wide Midfielders

As for the club’s contracted wide left midfield options, it’s unfair to judge Saka or Tierney’s suitability, as neither player has had sufficient professional experience in the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other current wide left midfield options:

  • Kolasinac is solid in terms of tackles per match, but is comparatively inferior in terms of dribbles and key passes per game
  • Ozil and Pepe are all solid in terms of dribbles and key passes per match, but are comparatively inferior in tackles per game.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted wide left midfield options, and Saka, having already been identified as a central midfield option, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Kolasinac and Ozil, and recruit Bastian Oczipka of Schalke, to serve as one of Arsenal’s two senior wide left midfielders.

In terms of the club’s second senior wide left midfielder, as with Arsenal’s central midfielders, there is a strong argument that Arsenal have flexibility to utilise unproven players to fill a number of the wide midfield roles in the squad. That being the case, and given the Premier League’s homegrown rule, it would be logical for Arsenal to retain Tierney to serve as the club’s second senior wide left midfielder.

Refer to the analysis of the striker options regarding Martinelli, Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Centre Forward

As for the club’s contracted centre forward options, Arsenal fortunately have one player in Aubameyang, who can legitimately lay claim to having a sufficiently productive performance record to warrant selection as one of the club’s two senior centre forwards.

As for the club’s contracted centre forward options, it’s unfair to judge Nketiah as the player has insufficient professional experience in any of the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances. In terms of Aubameyang and Lacazette, all are solid in terms of goals per season and shots per match, but are comparatively inferior in successful aerial duels per game.

In light of the comparative deficiency of Arsenal’s currently contracted centre forward options, and there being a need to have highly productive and proven players in the centre forward role given their primary function is to score the bulk of the side’s goals, it would be logical for Arsenal to recruit Aleksandar Mitrovic of Fulham and Chris Wood of Burnley to serve as Arsenal’s two senior centre forwards.

Refer to the analysis of the striker options regarding Nketiah, Martinelli, Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Striker

In terms of the club’s contracted striker options, it’s unfair to judge Martinelli or Nketiah, as they have insufficient professional experience in any of the considered leagues, to appropriately assess their performances.

Regarding Arsenal’s other current second striker options, while Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe are all solid in terms of goals per season and shots per match, there are a sufficient number of players reviewed who have superior performance records to warrant replacing the trio.

In light of the comparative deficiencies of Arsenal’s currently contracted second striker options, and there being a need to have highly productive and proven players in the second striker role, given its primary function, along with the centre forward, is to score the bulk of the side’s goals, it would be logical for Arsenal to sell Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe, and recruit Teemu Pukki of Norwich and Francesco Caputo of Sussuolo, to serve as Arsenal’s two senior second strikers.

Summary of proposed activity

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 16

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Second Striker
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide-midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing through passes and cut backs into the second striker and centre forward as they attack the channels between the oppositions fullbacks and centre backs.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The second striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+), dribbles (3+) and key passes per game as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and multiple dribbles (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ 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

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Partey, Luiz, Gabriel and Willian recovering from injuries, and
  • this being the more difficult of Arsenal’s two fixtures between 29 December and 2 January,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 16 Premier League clash versus Brighton would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Premier League Round 15

Following each season of the Premier League, each Arsenal player’s career-to-date performances are analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

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

Those positional categories consist of:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defenders
  • Central Midfielders
  • Wide Midfielders
  • Second Striker
  • 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) was considered. Where a player has not met that criteria, their productivity data was not assessed.

Different weightings were then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that Arsenal adopt a 3-5-1-1 formation and the cornerstones of Arsenal’s tactical approach is as follows:

  • Defend in a medium block, with the two forwards also dropping back to ensure the side is vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focus pressing game, that sees the front two and midfield three prioritise retention of shape, and shifting from side to side to deny the opposition space and block passes into midfield, and only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition fullback or when a centre back brings the ball forward in possession.
  • Attack through their central and wide-midfielders quickly transitioning the ball forward after recovering it, by dribbling it up the field and playing through passes and cut backs into the second striker and centre forward as they attack the channels between the oppositions fullbacks and centre backs.
  • The goalkeeper’s primary aims are to stop shots and claim crosses.
  • The centre backs’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per game), and win aerial duels (3+ per game).
  • The central and wide midfielders’ primary aims are to press and tackle their opponent to recover the ball (2+ per match), and contribute to the team’s offensive play by producing multiple dribbles (1+) and key passes (1+) per match.
  • The second striker’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+), dribbles (3+) and key passes per game as well as goals (15+ per season)
  • The centre forward’s primary aims are to contribute to the team’s offensive play in the final third through multiple shots (3+) and multiple dribbles (3+) per match as well as goals (15+ 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

Based on:

  • the above analytical comparison,
  • Arsenal’s aforementioned tactical basis and minimum required KPIs,
  • Partey, Gabriel and Aubameyang recovering from injuries, and
  • this being the more significant of Arsenal’s two fixtures between 22 and 26 December,

the 11 players which it is suggested should comprise Arsenal’s starting 11, for their Round 15 Premier League clash versus Chelsea would appear to be as follows:

Freddie08