Arsenal’s midfield does a lot of things pretty well, but the big ‘goal production’ is a massive failure for them. The stats are actually kind of shocking.
With the season on pause, it’s given all of us a chance to poke around at stats and details that might get overlooked. When Arsenal is concerned, that’s not always a great thing. Because you end up turning up some numbers that aren’t exactly… great.
But these numbers do provide a vantage point into what needs to be improved so that next year can be better than this year. Unsurprisingly, the big thing that needs improvement is the creativity in the midfield. In case you haven’t seen my other 18 articles about this over the past week.
In the course of poking around at stats, I decided to compare how our centerbacks do in goal production compared to our midfielders. I’m not happy with what I found.
For our centerbacks, I counted David Luiz, Calum Chambers, Sokratis, and Shkodran Mustafi. Our four main guys who have been used regularly. They account for 5607 minutes.
For our midfield, I counted Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Mesut Ozil. Five guys this time, accounting for 7,232 minutes.
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In 5607 minutes, our centerbacks alone (note, that doesn’t include fullbacks like Bukayo Saka, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac) have accounted for five goals and three assists. That’s a goal every 700 minutes. Not so great, but these are defenders. We don’t need them scoring goals. So no biggie.
Turn that math mind around to the midfield. In 7232 combined minutes, this midfield has just two goals and seven assists. That’s a goal produced every 803 minutes. Which is insanely bad. I mean, Ozil and Ceballos are in that group too. Guys meant to create and score goals. Those two alone only produce a goal every 472 minutes.
Our centerbacks are more effective at producing goals than our midfield. Let that sink in. If ever there was a sign that we needed help, this is it. Go get Santi Cazorla, Jack Grealish and Marcel Sabitzer. Get all the help you can afford because if you want to know what causes a logjam in goal scoring, which we saw earlier this season, this is it. The midfield does not score goals.
The wingers have done a nice job alleviating, but you have to have that central threat too, and we just don’t.