Just how well are Arsenal doing on a player by player basis?

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.

Shots per Game
Man City 20.6
Arsenal 20
Tottenham 16.4
Southampton 16
Chelsea 15.6
Pass Accuracy
Man City 85.7%
Arsenal 85.6%
Man Utd 85.5%
Chelsea 83%
Swansea 81.7%
Overall Ratings
Arsenal 7.18
Man City 7.1
Tottenham 6.97
Leicester 6.95
West Ham 6.94

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

S. Cazorla 7.77
A. Sánchez 7.76
M. Özil 7.6
H. Bellerín 7.52
F. Coquelin 7.48

Which we might compare with Man City

D. Silva 8.04
K. D. Bruyne 7.93
Y. Touré 7.75
Fernandinho 7.54
V. Kompany 7.43

And Man U

A. Martial 7.6
L. Shaw 7.36
C. Smalling 7.32
J. Mata 7.26
D. Blind 7.08

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.

  1. Silva 8.04
  2. Bruyne 7.93
  3. Cazorla 7.77
  4. Sanchez 7.76
  5. Toure 7.75
  6. Ozil 7.6
  7. Martial 7.6
  8. Fernandinho 7.54
  9. Bellerín 7.52
  10. 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.

POS CLUB P W D L GF GA GD Pts Summer 5yr 5yr pos
1 Manchester City 8 6 0 2 19 7 12 18 £124m £64m 1
2 Arsenal 8 5 1 2 13 7 6 16 £8m £20m 5
3 Manchester United 8 5 1 2 12 8 4 16 £33m £60m 2
4 Crystal Palace 8 5 0 3 11 7 4 15 £21m £10m 9
5 Leicester City 8 4 3 1 17 15 2 15 £20m £9m 11
6 West Ham United 8 4 2 2 17 11 6 14 £27m £19m 6
7 Everton 8 3 4 1 12 8 4 13 £13m £4m 17
8 Tottenham Hotspur 8 3 4 1 11 7 4 13 £5m £-7m 20
9 Southampton 8 3 3 2 13 10 3 12 £-1m £6m 14
10 Liverpool 8 3 3 2 8 10 -2 12 £10m £33m 4
11 Swansea City 8 2 4 2 10 10 0 10 £9m £3m 18
12 Watford 8 2 4 2 6 7 -1 10 £23m £1m 19
13 Norwich City 8 2 3 3 12 14 -2 9 £10m £9m 11
14 Stoke City 8 2 3 3 8 10 -2 9 £3m £9m 11
15 Bournemouth 8 2 2 4 10 12 -2 8 £21m £5m 15
16 Chelsea 8 2 2 4 12 17 -5 8 £32m £45m 3
17 West Bromwich Albion 8 2 2 4 6 11 -5 8 £21m £10m 9
18 Aston Villa 8 1 1 6 8 13 -5 4 £9m £7m 14
19 Sunderland 8 0 3 5 8 18 -10 3 £22m £12m 8
20 Newcastle United 8 0 3 5 6 17 -11 3 £46m £14m 7
Transfers in the last window don’t really tell us much – we knew that already.  But now it seems transfers in the last five years are not a perfect guide to a club’s fortunes either.  At least so far this season.   Of course if you have the money Man C has, you can buy and buy and buy until you find the gems.  But otherwise…  Maybe it is down to the manager.

22 Replies to “Just how well are Arsenal doing on a player by player basis?”

  1. Or maybe it’s down to all the advice the manager gets from the Daily Mail and Piers Morgan and Adrian Durham and a bloke who runs a blog when he gets home from school and some kids who work in MacDonald’s and a bloke in the pub and Robbie Savage et al. After all, they all seem to know a lot more than AW………………

  2. Reading through a lot of football sites and blogs I still find to my amazement people still believe Ozil is a waste of money and definitely not worth the amount we bought him for. I do believe these people are swayed by pathetic comments from TV expert’s such as muggy michael and jerk off jamie (you choose) and why do they all follow the same mantra about BFG? He has over 100 caps for Germany and won the world cup more than any of them mug’s. We need a striker they scream…. yep so would I…. tell us who is available and do they want to come who will they replace and we scored 3 in 20 mins (could of been 4) against the best defence in the league (according to gobby gary) we also have a weak spine Cech Kos le Coq Ozil Walcott not good at all!!!!! All these so called expert’s and brain dead football fan’s really do talk a load of bollocks

  3. The thing about the media is that they believe they are fantastic – amazing, even.

    Cue the interview with Roy Keane about Robbie Keane yesterday.

    Put the media right in their place!

  4. syd, please call them ‘pundits’ not experts, because, as you say, they certainly aren’t experts at anything except earning money by talking bollocks.

  5. Anyone seen the big headlines in the Daily Mail?

    Yet agaion having a go at Arsenal claiming we are lying about our attendance figures.

    What the Daily Mail journalist has done is forgot to research his subject. Under Premier League rules EVERY CLUB has to list the ‘Tickets Sold’ and ths is what gets announced. The rule is L38 Gate Statements.

    If Arsenal sell all their tickets, then they have sold all their tickets!! What is so hard to understand here? Whether or not a fan is on holiday or taking his wife shopping instead of attending is irrelevant and not the clubs fault. The fact is, we are sold out.

    FFM’s and these shit journalists are starting to do my head in. No doubt this will get recycled on twitter and throughout the media as another anti-Arsenal story when its the same for every club! Its a rule……………….!!

  6. Tony,
    I really appreciate the well-researched articles you put up, nearly every day; as much for their content as the intelligent comment they evoke on this site. How do you do it?
    This.. from an old un-reconstructed NorthBank boo-boy..i take my hat off to you. The best blog site by miles.
    I still see supporting one’s team as an article of faith, or therapy more like. At least you guys bring a bit of sanity to the proceedings.
    I am now a Cornwall Gooner, having left Australia for good. One day, I will save up enough to visit the Emirates. Hopefully, by then, it will be called the Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves it – no less.

  7. Don’t even know why TV entertain these “expert’s” even some of the commentators are totally biased especially that fool from ITV who had to mention Man Utd at least 30 times whilst commentating on an Arsenal game I know it’s not my imagination because the missus even notices it just wish we had people like Brian Moore or a character like Peter Alliss who told it how it is (it’s up for grabs now)
    P’s Andy Mack I promise never to use the oxymoron ‘TV expert’ again

  8. Ando

    Lovely post echoing the thoughts of myself and obviously many many others.

    I hope you are enjoying Cornwall, a county in which I have enjoyed many a great holiday.

    I hope you get your visit to the Em’s very soon, as well as your wish that one day Wengers name finds it’s rightful place above the threshold of the magnificent stadium he was so instrumental in creating.

  9. proudkev

    “Yet again having a go at Arsenal claiming we are lying about our attendance figures.”

    This journalist MUST know that it’s a rule. He must know EVERY Club has to do this.

    Yet he chooses to mention Arsenal, and ONLY Arsenal.


    And people still try to dismiss the notion that there is a chronic anti Arsenal agenda throughout the media.

  10. proudkev

    I don’t usually bother to visit these stories on the principle I just don’t want to feed there coffers, but I just wanted to see what people where saying.

    I did this principally because I thought just about everybody with a quarter of a brain cell knew that stating ‘tickets sold’ was what every Club did. In fact, where obliged to do.

    And so it seems. 95% of the comments where along the lines of.


    Such a non story, it seems this Oliver chap lacks even the requisite quarter of a brain cell to of realised this?

    Or perhaps he was just under instructions to find an anti Arsenal story, anything, just something, to have a go.

    Or is that just me being ‘Paranoid’ ? 😉

  11. EPL Handbook for 2015/2016 Season states, Rule L38 Form 11, Gate Statement.

    BOTH tickets sold and bums on seats (including hospitality) are reported by the home club for every match.

    The Executive box attendees and others, will use the underground underground turnstile! The Met Police will NOT include these visitors.

    Poor research by the Press.

    Perfect research by Caroline Dalton, where persistence under the Freedom of Information is imperative.

  12. If 1, a 100, a 1000, or 10,000 ticket holders can’t, or simply don’t want to turn up for a match, that has NOTHING to do with Arsenal.

    Tickets sold depict whether the match is a sell out or not.

    We sell out just about every match.

    This article by the Daily Mail is nothing short of libellous, bullshit.

    Arsenal FC should insist on a retraction because basically they are accusing Arsenal FC of lying and manipulating figures.

    If it was an individual it would be deformation of character.

    Is there an equivalent for a business?

  13. Pretty soon, Walcott and Monreal will make the elite list too, in their respective positions. Key prayer now is that they all remain fit and motivated for the rest of the season.

  14. I received this a few days ago , ” Manchester United lost yesterday because the defenders were , Young , Small and Blind !”
    Never a truer word said than in jest.

  15. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  16. Excellent and well researched article Tony.

    Now we can get a good idea why the media don’t want to actually investigate – it would turn up details of exactly how strong this squad of ours actually is – thats totally against their anti-Atsenal Agenda!!

  17. This season has been like most others – a lot of ups and quite a few downers too. Not everybody has been firing and on song at the same time. Some of the guys have been consistent for the most part , while others just shine sporadically .
    Just hope that we get into a rich vein of form and play as well as we know we can . Am hoping that our players come back fit and raring to continue after the internationals .

  18. he work rate against Manchester United was just outstanding, considering how that was what people were getting on his back about. That slide tackle on Bastian was a thing of fucking beauty, as well as how quickly he bounced up and started sprinting forward. That shit made me erupt with a “THEEEOOO” scream, and possibly destroyed a vocal chord. Endeavour is almost as important as anything on the football pitch, just look at Alexis. Never stops running, even when nothing’s working.

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