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More than meets the eye at Arsenal

A day or two back JBH wrote a really interesting piece on Denilson in the comments section of this website.   I strongly recommend it as a piece of interesting reading – especially the summary of the stats.

Take a look at this – and remember we are talking about a young player doing his first full season as an EPL regular…

Premiership: All Midfielders:

Denilson 3rd in Total Passes, 2nd in Pass accuracy (86%), Successful Tackles 45 (7th) with a tackle success rate of 75%, Attempts Created 21 (21st), Shots on Target 10 (13th), Assists 4 (4th), Goals 2 (12th), Fouls won 25 (9th).

Tackling is particularly noteworthy, no other midfielder in the top 4 comes close (none in the top 20).

All the others in the top 10 tacklers are from the low end of the table. In all these categories he is performing better than Obi Mikel, Alonso, Mascherano and Gareth Barry.

In the Champions League his form is even more impressive:

Midfielders: Total Passes (4th), Pass accuracy (3rd), Successful tackles 17 (3rd) with success rate of 85%, Fouls won 13 (10th).

It was with this in mind that I watched Denilson even more intently than normal during the Wigan game.  Without seeing the stats I’ve been feeling more and more we have got a gem and a half here.  But watching one player intently – trying to see where he is going rather than watching the ball etc – it becomes even clearer that this is an incredible player.

And of course he is still being trained and developed.  This is the game that he has now – another year and his game will be further advanced.

Of course many don’t agree.  The guy on my left (who arrived late, wandered out for half time three minutes before the whistle, came back ten minutes into the second half and left early at the end – just my kind of supporter) spent much of the game berating Denilson for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I didn’t see it that way at all – what I saw was a player who knew exactly where he should be and how he should play – even though he was playing out of his more favourite position alongside Cesc.

Cesc meanwhile remains the most successful permanent Arsenal club captain of all time, having a 100% record in the matches he has captained.  Let’s hope it continues.   (Actually did you know our most successful manager of all time as also in the ground – Pat Rice who as manager between the end of the Rioch fiasco and the start of the reign of the Lord Wenger, was utterly undefeated.

(c) Tony Attwood 2008 with most grateful acknowledgment to “JBH”

6 comments to More than meets the eye at Arsenal

  • AIC

    It’s true. Stats don’t lie, denilson has been brilliant, yet he still gets his fair share of crits.

  • jbh

    I posted this below on another site, you may also find interesting.

    Earlier questions on how Denilson played today. Here is analysis of the game for all 5 midfielders (note Nasri played 30 mins, Eboue 60)

    Denilson Passes 71, Accurate 66 (93% accurate), Tackles 4, Tackles won 3, Attempts 1 (hit post), Attempts created 2, Balls contested 3, Clearances 2. Attacking passes in the final third of the pitch 29.

    Fabregas Passes 75, Accurate 60 (80% accurate), Tackles 2, Tackles won 1, Attempts 0, Attempts created 4, Balls contested 0, Clearances 1, Attacking passes in final third 15

    Song Passes 58, Accurate 55 (95% accurate), Tackles 1, Tackles won 0, Attempts 0, Attempts created 0, Clearances 2, Attacking passes in final third 11.

    Eboue Passes 25, Accurate 17 (68% accurate), Tackles 1, Tackles won 0, Attempts 0, Attempts created 0, Clearances 2, Attacking passes final third 11.

    Nasri Passes 12, Accurate 10 (83%), Tackles 0, Attempts 1, Attempts created 0, Clearances 0, Attacking passes final third 5 .

    Summary. Yes an excellent game from Denilson. Incredible stats for final third of the pitch which is one that Wenger takes a lot of notice of. Also pass numbers are exceptional for playing mostly on the right. Highlights how heavily he is always involved in the game. Season to date he has 48 tackles won, 16 lost (7th in the League for midfielders which is exceptional as all the other top 15 are from low in the league).

    Good game from Cesc. You expect the pass accuracy to be down due to being the number 1 playmaker and he is always pushing for the key play. 4 Att created in a game is a good average.

    Eboue – figures show how little he was involved. I think the booing is still unfair given only back from injury and playing out of position. You would expect a midfielder to be 80% plus in pass accuracy.

    Song – solid game.

    I’m not surprised that Barcelona have made enquiries about Denilson. I hope he isn’t tempted. All these players need to be supported.

  • don't believe the hype

    AIC, I would say he gets more than his fair share of criticism. He is an outstanding young talent who can only get better. He is suffering from not being Flamini in the eyes of some, because he quietly gets on with the game people don’t notice him because he’s not rushing around the place sticking his foot in. A lot of fans are taken in by ‘effort’ rather than ‘effect’. Denilson is a very effective player. He is also not responsible for Cesc not quite hitting the heights of last season. Cesc is doing fine if you look at the stats, but he is also developing his game as he said himself he wants to be able to defend as well as attack so that he is not taken off for Spain when the team need to shut up shop.

    Once Denilson gets some more experience and Cesc integrates his new approach to his role, they will be fantastic together.

  • jbh

    Actim index for year to date including this weekends games:
    All Players in the Premiership
    Denilson 204 pts (17th overall and 6th amongst Midfielders, 2nd to Barry in defensive midfielders)
    Clichy 181 pts 33rd overall
    Adebayor 181 pts 33rd overall
    Almunia 176 pts 38th
    Nasri 173 pts 40th
    Fabregas 164 pts 56th

  • FunGunner

    Hi, JBH
    Very useful, detailed stats. Where did you get them?

  • jbh

    Interesting article here:

    http://www.setanta.com//uk/Articles/Football/2008/12/10/Opta-on-Alonso/gnid-30988/

    Confirms what I’ve been saying. But you really need to compare apples with apples. ie look at defensive midfielders vs def midfielders, central def vs central def, etc.

    Alonso year to date (including last weekend):
    Passes 1,179 Accurate passes 997 (84.5%), Shots on target 10, Tackles won 36, Tackles lost 12, Fouls won 25, Assists 1, Goals 2, Attempts created 25

    Denilson year to date:
    Passes 1,063, Accurate passes 915 (86.1%), Shots on target 10, Tackles won 48, Tackles lost 16, Fouls won 27, Assists 4, Goals 2, Attempts created 23

    Why didn’t we buy Alonso last summer? Answer – we had Denilson coming through.
    Alonso and Denilson are good comparisons as they play similar roles, although Denilson has also played on the right and left of midfield which makes his figures look even better.