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Who is the most effective attacking player of Arsenal?

Who is the most effective attacking player of Arsenal?

By Alek Pan

Everyone can choose criteria to assess attacking abilities of players. So I do not insist that statistics say everything. But I think that stats can help us in understanding the issue of selecting a team.

The main task of attacking player is to produce goals and assists. So let’s take a look on how our players managed this task.

(Goals + Assists)/Game

All competitions from beginning of season 2010-2011 to 26 April 2011.

Robin Van Persie 1.03
Theo Walcott 0.84
Cesc Fábregas 0.73
Andrei Arshavin 0.70
Nicklas Bendtner 0.67
Carlos Vela 0.65
Marouane Chamakh 0.49
Samir Nasri 0.49
Jack Wilshere 0.25
Abou Diaby 0.24
Alex Song 0.22
Tomas Rosicky 0.19
Bacary Sagna 0.15
Laurent Koscielny 0.09
Emmanuel Eboué 0.09
Sebastien Squillaci 0.08
Gaël Clichy 0.07
Kieran Gibbs 0.06
Johan Djourou 0.06
Denilson 0.00
Thomas Vermaelen 0.00

And let’s compare this season and previous one.

(Goals + Assists)/Game

All competitions of the season 2009-2010.

Cesc Fábregas 1.02
Robin Van Persie 1.02
Nicklas Bendtner 0.81
Sanchez Watt 0.60
Fran Merida Perez 0.56
Andrei Arshavin 0.52
Eduardo 0.43
Aaron Ramsey 0.40
Carlos Vela 0.38
Abou Diaby 0.34
Tomas Rosicky 0.33
Theo Walcott 0.30
Samir Nasri 0.29
Denilson 0.25
Thomas Vermaelen 0.23
Emmanuel Eboué 0.19
Kieran Gibbs 0.14
William Gallas 0.12
Alex Song 0.08
Bacary Sagna 0.08
Sol Campbell 0.08
Mikael Silvestre 0.06
Gaël Clichy 0.03

These comparisons show us that RVP stays on the top of list both years with almost the same rate 1.02 – 1.03.  Theo Walcott jumps from 0.30 to 0.84. This is absolutely fantastic jump +0.54.

Cesc Fábregas moves down from 1.02 to 0.73. This is minus 0.29. This is not a catastrophe but a reason for concern.   Andrei Arshavin makes a move up from 0.52 to 0.70. Nicklas Bendtner makes some slide down from 0.81 to 0.67. This is minus 0.14. Samir Nasri moves up from 0.29 to 0.49. This is +0.20.

You can see that this season Cesc Fábregas,  Andrei Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner shows approximately one level.

Cesc Fábregas 0.73
Andrei Arshavin 0.70
Nicklas Bendtner 0.67

So I do not understand why so many analysts calls for Bendtner to leave when he produced so many goals and assists this season and previous one.

Just compare his rate with the rates of the best players of this season of Barcelona and MU:

Lionel Messi 1.56
Pedro 0.72
David Villa 0.64
Dani Alves 0.48
Bojan Krkic 0.41
Andrés Iniesta 0.34
Thiago 0.33
Xavi 0.29
Seydou Keita 0.24
Dimitar Berbatov 0.80
Wayne Rooney 0.78
Javier Hernández 0.78
Nani 0.61
Michael Owen 0.55
Park Ji-Sung 0.48
Ryan Giggs 0.47

These were rates for all competitions. Method of calculations of these rates was not so accurate.

I calculated the total number of games played (TG) which equal to games started (GS) plus games when players used as substitute (SB) divided on 3. TG = GS + SB/3.

So now let’s take a look on more precise rates and compare all rates.

Season 2010 – 2011 from the beginning to 26 April 2011

Competitions =>> EPL EPL EPL All Comps
Method of calculation

=>>

MGA = Mins/(G+A) 84min/MGA (G+A)/TG (G+A)/TG
Robin van Persie 71.43 1.18 1.24 1.03
Theo Walcott 98.07 0.86 0.80 0.84
Andrei Arshavin 124.18 0.68 0.65 0.70
Cesc Fàbregas 141.29 0.59 0.61 0.73
Nicklas Bendtner 165.67 0.51 0.43 0.67
Marouane Chamakh 175.50 0.48 0.50 0.49
Samir Nasri 214.36 0.39 0.41 0.49
Abou Diaby 229.50 0.37 0.31 0.24
Alex Song 409.67 0.21 0.22 0.22
Jack Wilshere 590.75 0.14 0.14 0.25
Bacary Sagna 686.50 0.12 0.14 0.15
Emmanuel Eboué 720.00 0.12 0.11 0.09
Tomáš Rosický 1002.00 0.08 0.08 0.19
Laurent Koscielny 1285.00 0.07 0.07 0.09
Johan Djourou 1635.00 0.05 0.06 0.06
Sébastien Squillaci 1853.00 0.05 0.05 0.08
Gaël Clichy 3042.00 0.03 0.03 0.07
Kieran Gibbs 0.06
Thomas Vermaelen
Aaron Ramsey
Denílson

First rate is the rate which shows how many minutes are needed for a player to make a goal or assist. This is for EPL only.

Second rate shows how many goals or assists a player made per 84 minutes. You can ask me why 84 minutes but not 90 or 95? This is just because I calculated this rate this way –  sum of minutes for best 7 attacking players I divided by sum of total games (TG) for these players. This is the most accurate way to compare Second, Third and Fourth rates. Second rate calculated for EPL only.

Third rate shows how many goals or assists player made per game. This is for EPL only.

The fourth rate shows how many goals or assists each player made per game in ALL COMPETITIONS (EPL, UCL, CC, FAC).

The biggest surprise is that in the EPL Theo Walcott was twice as effective as  Samir Nasri and 1.47 times more effective than Cesc Fàbregas.

The second biggest surprise is that Samir Nasri is the one of the less effective attacking players of Arsenal in EPL games. I think that first of all this is because Samir played more games this season than any attacking players of Arsenal. And he is tired. But there is no room for moaning about how poor he is. Because 0.4 – 0.5 is very good for attacking player. If you do not believe me – just compare:

Park Ji-Sung      0.48

Ryan Giggs       0.47

Jermain Defoe    0.44

Gareth Bale       0.42

Aaron Lennon    0.31

Andrés Iniesta   0.34

Xavi       0.29

You can see that the majority of attacking players of Arsenal are very effective. Arsenal is the second best goal scorer in EPL. So if our footballers do not perform their best in every game does not mean that players from other clubs are the machines for performance.

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15 comments to Who is the most effective attacking player of Arsenal?

  • Dark Prince

    I think, there is more to this than just the goals and assists. Few months back, Cesc Fabregas was voted as the best midfielder in the world by calculating the number of goal scoring passes he creates. Obviously most of those passes are not converted into goals. But still it makes Fabregas the most dangerous player in our team. It can also be seen with the naked eye that without fabregas our team lacks any vision and creativity.
    Hence i think a more detailed analysis should be made, for eg, shots per game, shot conversion ratio, number of chances missed, number of goal scoring passes created.

    If you look at Berbatov, he isn’t clearly a dangerous guy, its just that he pounces at that dead ball in the penalty area. Players like Nani, Rooney are clearly more dangerous than a Berbatov.

  • Davi

    If you did goals/assists : minutes for vela last season, he must be one of the more effective players.

    I think nasri does a lot more for the team than just goals and assists. He keeps the ball better than anyone else and keeps moves alive. I think because of this he often plays important passes that aren’t necessary the final pass. Hleb did this sort of thing a lot as well.

  • Charlie

    It’s interesting to see how ineffective Nasri has been. For attacking ability you should also show pass completion values. At the following link you can see how goals were scored by each club in the league this year. Intersting to see that Arsenal have scored 4 goals from crosses whereas United have scored 17 goals from right wing crosses and 14 goals from headers.

    http://www.footiegambler.com/2011/01/goal-method-tally-for-each-premiership-club/

  • Charlie

    ….and people say Arsenal are predictable.

  • Naren

    Hey Alek!
    Again very meticulous in gathering stats…I appreciate it very much as this work is very time-consuming drudgery.
    Don’t you think it is a bit difficult/unfair comparing the effectiveness of two players when both have a large difference in the number of matches played? For example, if you would have added Henri Lansbury to this list, his (G+A)/Game would have been 1, comparable to Robin Van Persie while Robin has played more than 25 games while Henri played only one. Else, comparing a player who has scored 3 goals in 2 games to a player who scored 30 in 20 games will be statistically same but it makes too much difference in actuality.
    Credit to you for adding the first paragraph in the article.
    You are doing a very good work, keep it up.

  • bjtgooner

    Interesting analysis. With regard to the change in Cesc’s figures from 1.02 last season to 0.73 we need to remember that last season Cesc played superbly for most of the season, then suffered the hamstring injury that effectively finished his Arsenal season. This year he has been struggling for form having had his season interrupted by injury and is just now looking as if he is coming back to his best.

    Lets hope we can retain Cesc and that over the summer he has a good rest and then a proper pre season. I don’t think he was fully fit at the world cup or at the beginning of this season. The continuous utterances coming from the Barcelona boneheads last summer could not have helped his mental preparation for this season.

    Overall the figures confirm that if VP does not play Bentner and Chamakh will not score or assist as often. Bentner would stastically be better than Chamakh, even though his figures must have been based on him playing on the right rather than centrally. (As an aside, I feel that Bentner is more dangerous coming in from the left wing rather than right; if he cannot be played centrally). Walcott, while he is closest to VP stastically is not a direct replacement for VP, he could play centrally but would be more effective in a 442 system rather than as a lone striker.

    The analysis confirms that we have a very effective attacking unit and that we are close to being a title winning side.

    It would be interesting to know how many goals we score (and concede) from inside the 6 yard box, penalty box and from longer range.

  • @Dark Prince
    “Hence i think a more detailed analysis should be made, for eg, shots per game, shot conversion ratio, number of chances missed, number of goal scoring passes created.”

    You are absolutely right – the more stats the more detailed analysis.

    @Davi

    “I think nasri does a lot more for the team than just goals and assists. He keeps the ball better than anyone else and keeps moves alive.”

    I agree with you.

    @Charlie
    Thank you very much for interesting link.

  • Gooner80

    I heard cesc has had trouble with his girlfriend and they are now split up, if you have trouble in personal life this can transmit unto the field, I think cesc is very unsettled.

    I think considering how much sagna and clichy get forward they are very ineffective, the crosses from these two has been second rate, how many times do they hit the first man and they seem to hinder the wingers IMO while leaving us open at the back.

    one thing is clear RVP is at a seriously high level, world class gets over used so much but he is up there, he has had a terrible career, without the injuries he would be as influential as henry and would no doubt be compared to messi and ronaldo

  • @Naren
    “Don’t you think it is a bit difficult/unfair comparing the effectiveness of two players when both have a large difference in the number of matches played?”

    That’s just what I think.
    For example for Nasri and Arshavin rate must be multiply – let’s say 1,2 – because they did play more games than average player. There is more difficult to be on one level for long time that to be on the same level for small amount time. Plus – tiredness is accumulated and makes more difficult to be on good level)))

  • @bjtgooner
    I think you are right about Cesc.

  • Wrenny

    Thanks for the link Charlie. The stats for corners immediately caught my attention – according to that table Arsenal have conceded 3 goals from corners this season while Man Utd have conceded 6… but hang on, isn’t that the opposite of what we’re always being told? We’re USELESS at defending corners, and Utd are just brilliant at it! And both Arsenal and Utd have scored 6 each from corners. Woops, I guess that’s another ‘public opinion’ proved to be seriously mistaken.

    @gooner80
    Couldn’t agree more on Van Persie, if not for the injuries I believe he would have been the equal of Henry and any player in the world today.

    Our deliveries from wide areas can certainly be improved, as well as the way in which we fashion chances in those areas, often we don’t really try to probe and pass and create triangles in and around the flanks. The ball moves wide briefly but players don’t go with it, waiting for the ball to return to the centre instead.

  • walter

    Alek, another great piece.

    I also think that it is far mor difficult to keep a high level for a whole season or just for let us say 6 games.

  • @Walter

    Thanks for compliment)))

    @All

    Thank you very much guys. Your comments were very helpful.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    This is a pernicious article which bases all its judgements on the fact that (goals+assists/game) is the correct metric to use.

    It’s clearly nonsense to assume that Fabregas and Bendtner should have equivalent levels. Bendtner’s should be far higher than Fabregas’ as he is a main striker and Fabregas is in midfield.

    Nasri was Arsenal’s best player for the first half of the season and yet is way down the lists.

    What does van Persie look like if you subtract penalties scored from the lists? It’s jolly easy to look great if you’re the main man taking penalties…….because it’s not a level playing field if you include those…..

    This article has a pre-determined end-point in mind and has found some statistics to back it up.

    I’d think rather more deeply about how to analyse contributions if I were you………

  • @Rhys Jaggar
    “What does van Persie look like if you subtract penalties scored from the lists? It’s jolly easy to look great if you’re the main man taking penalties…….because it’s not a level playing field if you include those…”

    How much penalties RVP scored in EPL this season?

    “It’s clearly nonsense to assume that Fabregas and Bendtner should have equivalent levels. Bendtner’s should be far higher than Fabregas’ as he is a main striker and Fabregas is in midfield.”

    Do you really think that there is a big difference for involvement in attacks between Fabregas and Bendtner? If so then you are live in the world of illusions. If Arsenal in attack Fabregas is #1 player. He creates many goal scoring opportunities (therefore he can raise the rate through assists) and he shoots on goal many times.

    “Nasri was Arsenal’s best player for the first half of the season and yet is way down the lists.”

    Nasri was Arsenal’s best player for the first half of the season. And what do you say about second half of the season? And how did you calculate that he is the best player for the first half of the season?