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Are Arsenal Players Still Lightweight? (Comparing the Arsenal of 2004 and the present batch)

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Are Arsenal Players Still Lightweight? (Comparing the Arsenal of 2004 and the present batch)

By Nitesh Padhi

A common complaint against this present Arsenal team is that they are too lightweight. Of course, we can never ever forget the Invincibles and the Tony Adams era, men who were known to be tough ones who would sooner murder you on the field than concede defeat. This puzzled me, so I decided to do a little more research.


Season S. No. Name Height Weight
2003-2004 1 Jens Lehmann 190 87
Average 190 87
Present 1 Lukasz Fabianski 190 83
2 Wojniech Szczesny 196 75
3 Manuel Almunia 191 86
Average 192 81

All goalkeepers certainly seem to be tall enough. A bit low on the weight, which enables them to be roughed up by teams like Blackburn and Stoke. But their performances this season have been much better than earlier. I would say that they are very close to Lehmann. Not quite there, but no one can be. Jens was absolutely cracked, and that’s what we loved.


Season S. No. Name Height Weight
2003-2004 1 Sol Campbell 188 91
2 Gael Clichy 175 70
3 Ashley Cole 176 66
4 Pascal Cygan 191 87
5 Martin Keown 185 79
6 Lauren 180 71
7 Kolo Toure 183 76
Average 183 77
Present 1 Gael Clichy 175 76
2 Kieran Gibbs 178 65
3 Bacary Sagna 176 72
4 Emmanual Eboue 178 72
5 Thomas Vermaelen 183 75
6 Laurent Koscielny 185 75
7 Johan Djourou 183 87
8 Sebestian Squillaci 184 76
Average 180 75

The defenders seem to be doing okay. But we need to see that Clichy (2003-04) and Lauren didn’t play week in week out. Take them out and the average increases. Also Sol Campbell, the giant, would play every week. The only one close to Sol in the present batch is Djourou, and he cannot play nearly as many games, with injuries weighing him down.

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Season S. No. Name Height Weight
2003-2004 1 Edu 185 72
2 Gilberto Silva 185 78
3 Robert Pires 185 74
4 Fredrik Lundberg 175 69
5 Ray Parlour 178 75
6 Patrick Vieira 192 83
Average 183 75
Present 1 Francesc Fabregas 175 69
2 Samir Nasri 177 75
3 Alex Song 184 76
4 Abou Diaby 188 75
5 Jack Wilshere 170 65
6 Neves Denilson 178 68
7 Tomas Rosicky 179 68
8 Theo Walcott 176 68
Average 178 71

We have a couple of midfielders more than before and still we occasionally fall short in numbers. Thuggery is rampant in the premier league, but I don’t think we can just blame this on it. In both cases, we fall short by exactly 5. What’s it with that number?


Season S. No. Name Height Weight
2003-2004 1 Jeremie Aliadiere 183 70
2 Thierry Henry 188 83
3 Dennis Bergkamp 183 79
4 Nwankwo Kanu 196 83
5 Jose Antonio Reyes 175 71
6 Sylvain Wiltord 174 76
Average 183 77
Present 1 Robin Van Persie 183 71
2 Marouane Chamakh 185 70
3 Nicklas Bendtner 192 83
Average 186 74

While the midfielders increased, the forwards have decreased. We went from a 2-striker formation to a single striker one. I do not feel you can count the wide players as forwards. They play a major role in tracking back and that’s a big part of their game.

Our forwards are taller? Way to go! But now also we know that in no way were Aliadiere and Reyes starters all the time. Take them out and the stats inevitably change. But lets leave that aside.

I guess all I can say is no, we are certainly not lightweight at all and no, we can certainly not be dominated physically all the time. It is time to let go of old stereotypes. Arsenal has moved on.

We do not need a massive, traditionally strong player to play for us in every position. Like the example of Barcelona [forgive me Lord for I have sinned, I have actually praised the apocalypse!!  A team doesn’t need Shawcross’ and Robinsons’ and huge players to do the job. We can dictate teams in our own sweet way, and that’s what we love.


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25 comments to Are Arsenal Players Still Lightweight? (Comparing the Arsenal of 2004 and the present batch)

  • IndianGunner

    I think you got the height’s wrong. Djourou is 6.4″ which makes it close to 193 cms and not 184.

  • Paul C.

    Lauren didnt play in 2004? He played every game when fit.

    Being “lightweight” is NOT about height and weight. Paul Scholes is small and nobody ever said he was lightweight. Maradona was a midget and you could never say he was lightweight. Didier Deschamps was tiny and he was a midfield heavyweight. You could be 198cm and 100kg and still be lightweight.

    When using the term “lightweight” in football it is much more about being able to handle yourself physically against players of all shapes and sizes, and dealing with the pace and intensity of the game. Jack Wilshire is small yet seems to be anything but “lightweight”.

    Being “lightweight” in football is much a mental thing as a physical, measured, thing. After all, according to your figures Pascal Cygan was one of the biggest of our 2004 squad, and he was complete and utter lightweight.

  • ingooner

    frm india mate…. let me tell u that u r doing a grt job on this site…u missed arshavin in da analysis which will drastically cut down the average..

  • Sudarsan

    U have missed out one of our shortest players Andrey arshavin….If u include him in either mid or strikers department,total will come down further…Also height and weight alone does not add steel to the team…Take the case of scott parker or our very own jack wilshere…Neither of them are very tall or strong ,but both are very good at their work…..

  • Salim

    Sorry but this is a football and rugby. What that lightweight mean to football? Or u wanna bring the like of bigshow and coop to football? Shame.

  • JohnW

    I agree with Paul C, but, pundits have always compared the height and weight of our squad to actually say we are bullied because we are light weight. I onoly wish we win at least 2 trophies this season, whether we have a light weight squad or not.

  • Salim

    Correct there: this is football and not a rugby

  • Paul C.

    JohnW – I have never heard pundits use height and weight to criticize our squad. In fact I’ve heard Diaby called lightweight by pundits much more than I have ever heard Cesc called lightweight. For central defenders height is sometimes used since they are expected to handle balls in the air, but even there strength (as opposed to height and weight) and leap (as in the case of Vermaelen and Cannavaro) are used far more often to judge central defenders. Kanu was another one often accused of being lightweight and he was the biggest guy on that 2004 squad.

  • Dark Prince

    I think the height and weight differences of those 2 different generations cant be compared. Simply bcoz we used to play a different style of football those days. We used to have a lot of physicality among the like of Viera, Campbell and others. But our game today is more inclined towards technicality. The physical aspect in our game has visibly decreased, not in terms of height or weight but in terms of tactics. Also height and weight should not be confused with physical aggression. You can easily see the difference when you look at Wilshere. He may be very short but he’s definately the toughest in our squad. He has the physical aggression which we have not seen in our team in a long time. Also why have you left out Arshavin??

  • rastique

    where is arshavin?

  • lucanus

    and who is Fredrik Lundberg?

  • RedGooner

    I dont think we aqre lightweight at all.
    I think we are a different team completely in everyway from the invincibles but what that can be just as successfull if not more sucessfull.

    The difference is more likely to be that due to building the new stadium and rebuilding the squad with spending restrictions we played the last few years with more teenagers than anyone else.

    Now that their bodies are a little older and stronger they can handle better the EPL and demands on their bodies recover quicker from injuries and strong enough not to pick up as many as before.

    Add to that Walter highlighting the Reffs allowing teams to murder them bringing a little media attention with the BBC etc it all helps.

  • The Brussels Boys

    Rastique – Arshavin ? – he is about 4 ft 11, but worth his weight in gold …

  • ugandan goon

    thank you for your effort and i am glad we are finally getting round to talking about another real enemy of arsenal, the *spit* pundits!
    they get a mention every so often but i think that along with better refs and a saner organising body, next on the list is just how football is presented to the masses, not everyone can make it to the game to see for themselves what went on, they have to rely on one gobshite or another to give an almost uniformly unintelligent, puerile and usually banal appraisal of their teams fortunes.
    We know that when people say arsenal are lightweight, it has nothing to do with their physical stature but more a slur on their artistry via their masculinity or if you like their heterosexuality. John terry is never going to be lightweight, as we know any hole’s a goal with that guy! i think after the ‘smashing it'(copyright, Richard keys) incident, a real insight into the level of machismo in football journalism has been given to the wider public and so the genesis of a lot the shit they spout can at least be situated i.e testosterone + arrested development.
    your article can be used to disprove people who come to this blog and repeat that particular slur on the team viz. more weight in football is more likely to be a hindrance than an asset, if we take it literally, but if as has been suggested it means spirit or some other largely indefinite character trait then we know it means all things to all people and therefore nothing but an insult morons have invented to disguise naked disrespect / envy towards arsenal.
    You have hit on something else, which is this particular attack with it’s implicit macho and homophobic undertones(?) should be relegated to talkshite radio where it belongs, with keys and gray!
    p.s not trying to massage the figures , were you? arshavin has two kids! even if he studied fashion and regularly designs clothes.

  • FinnGun

    Excellent refutation of another silly rumor. Keep ’em coming, please!

  • gooner80

    light weight means not being up to the challenge, nothing to do with weight as others have mentioned

    so when they talk about us being lightweight against the likes of stoke they are talking about us being up to the physical challenge.

    English football is in the dark ages, when I want to watch physical battles I will watch MMA or boxing and in the same breath they will talk about the beautiful game a broken leg is never beautiful no matter how much he didnt mean it

  • Rigger Tae

    Where did you get your stats? Djourou is 1.92, Bendtner is 1.95 I didn’t have time to check every single one…

    I enjoy the blog, but I feel in this matter you are neglecting the fact that stats are merely just that: numbers. Aggression, physical build, playing style all have massive effects on a players overall contribution. (Craig Bellamy isn’t big by any standard, but wow can he influence a game- physically!)

  • Fedda

    Fredrik Lundberg = Fredrik Ljungberg. Some wrong stats on height.

    But fair play, I think the “lightweight” turn is a bit different like other people have stated.

  • xD

    There’s no chance Djourou is shorter than Sol Campbell

  • Nitesh

    really sorry guys. my mind was somewhere else when i was typing this out. was studying for my exams, and its kinda hard to do this while trying to learn the steel plants.
    sorry guys.

  • Nitesh

    i got these numbers from the premier league website. i just checked djourou’s height again. it is 183 cm.
    must be something wrong with their databases.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    1. If you stick Theo in the forwards, not the midfield, your conclusions change.
    2. If you realise that without Diaby, the current midfield size goes down, and Diaby doesn’t play that much, you return to your initial midfield conclusion.

    You might like to ask the sorts of folks Clichy has to jump against: Berbatov, Zigic and Drogba he doesn’t try. He let’s them win the header and gets on with it. That’s the choice Wenger makes. I’m not sure Gibbs would win too much in the air against that lot either……

    I actually think the defence has tightened up a lot recently. I must say I was amused reading this morning in The Times that ‘Koscielny had replaced Silvestre, so the defence had improved’. My reading was that Squillaci replaced Silvestre and Koscielny replaced Gallas, which might be interpreted slightly differently. Still, I think Koscielny’s doing great right now……..and if Squillaci can’t cope against Leyton Orient, Eurostar might seem an attractive option for him……

  • Jerom J.

    @The Brussels Boys- Arshavin is 5 foot 7…

  • nicolas

    I think that height-wise our central defenders (except djorou) are short when compared to other teams central defenders and strikers. But for example in the case of TV5 we all seen how he makes up his lack of height with his ability to jump and robust style of play.

  • Ole Gunner

    Djourou is not 183 cm. He’s 6 ft 4. Squillaci is 6 ft 2
    Koscielny is 6 ft 1