By Tony Attwood
Just how good are Arsenal players in relation to those of other clubs? Obviously one answer is to look at the league table, and I will come to that in a moment, but there is another source of such information: the analyses of the type put out by WhoScored.com
One of the stats they produce is of a team made up of the best player in each position. Of course it is something of an odd collection, and it wouldn’t work as a team, because the players are of a different type in each case, and would not meld together. But still it is interesting.
When the stats are done across the whole season to date Arsenal have two players in this “best in each position” team: Hector Bellerín and Santi Cazorla. No club has more than two players in this team. If we look at the table for this past week we actually have four players in the squad: Bellerín, Ozil, Mertersacker and Alexis. The nearest rival we have is Man City, whose two central attackers get in the squad.
Now it is important that these findings are not like “Man of the Match” awards, for they are based on giving marks for each of a number of key events like “headers won” or for a keeper “saves made”. And this shows why some of the results can be odd – a club that has a good keeper and a wonky defence might find they are actually have the best keeper in the league because of the huge number of shots he has saved. Other keepers might well have been less active – which lowers their marks but doesn’t make them worse keepers.
It is also important to be careful of some other stats like “possession” for as Arsenal have shown, you can have a lot of it and lose, and little of it and win. But there are three stats that seem valid to me:
Shots per game: the shots might not always go in, but you are very unlikely to get anywhere at all if you are not shooting.
Pass accuracy: Not every pass will be accurate, but if you keep giving the ball away, then you really can’t be doing very well.
Overall player ratings: Although some of the ratings might be warped by the situation of the team (as with the goal keeper example above) when all the players’ ratings are added together, they tend to give a better guide to what is going on.
So here is how we do according to Whoscored.com, just showing the top five in each case.
I think these are encouraging figures. I don’t say they suggest we are going to win the league, but they are encouraging, and far better than we were led to believe by the aaa.
As for our individual players they give us a top five rating of
Which we might compare with Man City
|K. D. Bruyne|
And Man U
So taking the three top teams we have as the top players in the league, taken just from the top three teams in the league, and without taking any account of each player’s position.
- Silva 8.04
- Bruyne 7.93
- Cazorla 7.77
- Sanchez 7.76
- Toure 7.75
- Ozil 7.6
- Martial 7.6
- Fernandinho 7.54
- Bellerín 7.52
- Coquelin 7.48
So measuring the top three at the moment on the statistics prepared by Whoscored.com we find that yes, Man City have the two outstanding players of the moment, and Man U interestingly only have one in the top ten. And we have five in the top ten. (All these figures taken from their web site on 7 October 2015).
So how does this translate into the league table, and how does it relate to that big issue of transfers in the summer.
This time with the league table I’ve added a bit more info and looked at not just the average net transfer spend over the last five years as well as this past summer. The very last column shows the position each club would be in if we counted the nett spend on transfers as the position in the league.
We can see that to a certain degree spending year on year is a bit of a guide to position – and indeed as logic would suggest a better guide than just how much was spent this summer. But even so it is not that good a guide.
Of course there are oddities – Tottenham’s £100m for Bale screws up their figures – but we can say that based on five year spending profiles, Leicester, Everton, Tottenham, Southampton and Swansea are doing a lot better than expected. Newcastle, Sunderland, Chelsea and Villa a lot worse.
|6||West Ham United||8||4||2||2||17||11||6||14||£27m||£19m||6|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||8||2||2||4||6||11||-5||8||£21m||£10m||9|