By Tony Attwood
An interesting piece in the Telegraph today includes a review of Granit Xhaka which instead of just joining in the general “he’s rubbish get him out” actually looks, as we tried to do earlier this season, at his figures. Their commentary reads, “Divides opinion, doesn’t always track his runner and is liable to pick up a booking for ‘accidentally’ mistiming tackles, but the stats don’t lie and Arsene Wenger certainly seems (seemed) to rate the Swiss midfielder.
“Xhaka played 38 Premier League games for Arsenal in 2017/18, making more passes than any other player (3117) and having more touches.
“Not really a holding player, nor a creative attacking one, his stats represent those of an all rounder, and although the things he does badly are easily picked up on, Xhaka’s range of passing, anticipation, and ability to shoot from long range are all superb. Also assisted seven goals for his teammates.”
Ah well, nice to know someone else can see what we saw.
They also did a little analysis on Ozil which said, “Ozil’s languid style may disgust all self-respecting ‘Proper Football Men’, but four goals and eight assists from 26 Premier League starts is a reasonable return.
“It sounds better when you consider he created 84 chances from 26 games – the fourth most of all league players, and at 3.49 chances created per match, the second most prolific chance creator in the country, behind only Cesc Fabregas.
“Ozil also became the quickest player to register 50 Premier League assists (141 games), breaking a record previously held by Eric Cantona, while his volley against Newcastle was one of the goals of the season.”
Here is the full “Chances per game” analysis in which Mesut comes second…
- Fabregas 3.51 per game
- Ozil 3.49
- Hazard 3.11
- De Bruyne 3.09
- Willian 2.96
Separately the same paper has done a review on who might be up for sales and concludes that Ramsey is the player the papers should get their teeth dug into next, noting as we all have, that the fella has just one year left on his on his contract.
They then say, “after the distraction last season of Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal will surely sell him this summer if he does not commit.” Which I found a little odd since I thought the transfer of Alexis was a triumph. He was slowing down and we got Mkhitaryan which seems to me like a really good deal.
Mkhitaryan got three goals in 15 games. He got four assists as well. Alexis with Manchester United, a team clearly doing better than Arsenal in the second half of the season, got two goals and three assists.
There is also the mention that Danny Welbeck and Cech are also out of contract next year but no suggestion as to whether Arsenal will work to give them new deals. I’d look for more swaps with Manchester United.
Mind you the Telegraph thinks we could sell Lacazette “following the January arrival of Aubameyang” but I rate this forward line of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan. I really do hope none of them move on.
The Telegraph also does consider the Under 23 team – a rarity for a national paper – and notes how well the squad has done, picking out, of course, Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Matt Macey, Joe Willock and Josh Dasilva.
Here in case you didn’t spot it is the final U23 table
|West Ham United||22||9||4||9||30||32||-2||31|
Bit of a shame about Man U.
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