web analytics

5 centerback possibilities to solve this defense

Arsenal is still searching for their centerback difference-maker, so let’s break down the options out there and see if the solution is in the works.

The search for a viable center back to fit into Arsenal‘s squad has been extensive, but the club has not found its difference-maker in the defense. With the loss of club captain Laurent Koscienly prior to the season, Arsenal’s struggles in their own third were on clear display in the 2019-20 campaign.

The club has tried to make do with what they have to terminate the club’s defending woes, but the defensive unit remains problematic. Sokratis took a step back from last season, and Mikel Arteta seemed to favor him on the bench when it came to Premier League play. David Luiz was brought in as a veteran. He helped distribute from Arsenal’s own third, but his reputation for making mistakes held true. Although he made some solid passes from the backline, they came at the price of a few defensive blunders.

Sokratis is 31 and Luiz is 32, which means they don’t have much more potential. What you see is what you get. Being in their thirties also means that their value will only decrease the longer Arsenal holds on to them.

There are a few other center backs who remain options but didn’t see consistent playing time this season. Calum Chambers had a strong few games under Unai Emery but went down for the season after suffering a torn ACL early in Mikel Arteta’s time as manager. Rob Holding has also dealt with injuries and was clearly not fit enough to play a significant role this season.

One of Arsenal’s most intriguing players is Shkodran Mustafi. He made clownish mistakes through the entire 2018-19 season, which landed him on the bench for the majority of this season. Injuries to other squad members and reported strong training from Mustafi led to him working his way back to the starting 11 under Arteta. Once there, Mustafi put together a convincing string of performances. He does, however, remain a question mark due to his random mistakes in the back.

Arsenal has a few transfer targets in mind for this summer, but there are a few possible hurdles to overcome; pricetags, unloading of current players and competition.

 So, with a shortlist of centerbacks that Arsenal may choose from this summer, who seems to be the best fit? Here is a blind comparison of center backs that Arsenal could target this summer. Based on stats alone, who would you take?

Player A 

  • 13 tackles on 25 contested tackles, 52% tackle success
  • 61 successful pressures (squad gains possession within 5 seconds of pressure) on 187 pressures, 32.6% success
  • 25 blocked shots, 19 blocked passes, 25 interceptions, 155 clearances and 1 error leading to an opponent’s shot
  • 71.4% successful dribble percentage on 14 dribbles
  • 37 fouls committed, 24 fouls drawn, 2 penalty kicks conceded, 3 yellow cards and 0 red cards
  • 61.5% aerial duels won on 117 duels

Player B 

  • 21 tackles on 38 contested tackles, 55.3% tackle success
  • 123 successful pressures on 269 pressure attempts, 45.7% success
  • 16 blocked shots, 24 blocked passes, 35 interceptions, 90 clearances and 2 errors leading to an opponent’s shot
  • 82.1% successful dribble percentage on 28 dribbles
  • 17 fouls committed, 11 fouls drawn, 0 penalty kicks conceded, 5 yellow cards and 0 red cards
  • 65.2% aerial duels won on 69 duels

Player C 

  • 13 tackles on 27 attempts, 48.1% tackle success
  • 61 successful pressures on 196 pressure attempts, 31.1% success
  • 19 blocked shots, 22 blocked passes, 37 interceptions, 144 clearances and 3 errors leading to an opponent’s shot
  • 100% dribble percentage on 4 dribbles
  • 23 fouls committed, 9 fouls drawn, 2 penalty kicks conceded, 8 yellow cards and 0 red cards
  • 72.7% aerial duels won on 88 duels

Player D 

  • 10 tackles on 23 attempts, 43.5% tackle success
  • 57 successful pressures on 160 pressure attempts, 35.6% success
  • 30 blocked shots, 22 blocked passes, 25 interceptions, 140 clearances and 2 errors leading to an opponent’s shot
  • 37.5% dribble percentage on 8 dribbles
  • 22 fouls committed, 12 fouls drawn, 2 penalty kicks conceded, 4 yellow cards and 1 red card
  • 58.3% aerial duels won on 72 duels

Player E 

  • 13 tackles on 25 attempts, 52% tackle success
  • 80 successful pressures on 251 pressure attempts, 31.9% success
  • 20 blocked shots, 16 blocked passes, 22 interceptions, 132 clearances and 1 error leading to an opponent’s shot
  • 85.7% successful dribble percentage on 7 dribbles
  • 42 fouls, 12 fouls drawn, 0 penalty kicks conceded, 5 yellow cards and 0 red cards
  • 80.2% aerial duels won on 81 duels

(Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

Player A is Axel Disasi from Reims. He had 155 clearances, the most out of the players on this list. Along with clearances, he had the highest number of attempted aerial duels at 117, which he won almost 2/3 of. Disasi could be Arsenal’s best deal of the summer if they choose to pounce on the young defender, seeing he is projected to be sold for around £13 million.

Player B, Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, has the most consistent overall statistics out of the five listed. He also has the most dribbles attempted, which means his contributions stem further than being just a stationary stopgap in the back. Upamecano conceded 0 penalties, whereas three of the other four players conceded two each. The downside of Upamecano is his price tag. He would be the most expensive out of this group to go after this summer, and there will be aggressive competition from other big clubs from all over Europe. He has, however, shown interest in a move to the Premier League.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

Player C is West Ham’s Issa Diop. He won almost 3/4 of the aerial duels he went into, winning 72.7%. He is a far less mobile option, attempting only four dribbles through the entire duration of last season. An upside to Diop is his year of Premier League experience. Unlike the other youngsters on this list, he has had a taste of English football.

Compared to the other players, Player D’s stats are second-rate. He has the lowest tackle success, lowest successful dribble percentage and lowest percentage of aerial duels won. This player is Arsenal’s own David Luiz. Luiz did, however, block more shots last season than any of the other selected defenders. The Brazilian is also a gifted passer, which is hard to find at the center back position. He is already a Gunner, but lacks the defensive skill, potential and age that the other players do. Luiz is 32, while the next oldest of the group is 23.

(Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

Based on these statistics, Player E seems to be the most physically imposing of the group. Nikola Milenkovic, from Fiorentina, won a massive 80.2% of aerial duels and committed 42 fouls. Although he committed the most fouls of the group last season, he conceded zero penalties. Similar to Diop, he is more physical and less mobile than the rest of these defenders, only taking on seven dribbles all season. If Arsenal sprung for Milenkovic, they would be adding stability rather than creativity.

Arsenal have a lot to consider this summer when seeking out their next central defender. William Saliba, the 19-year-old from St. Etienne will be arriving, but he is still young and has dealt with injuries in his past. Since Saliba has yet to play a game as a Gunner, it is unclear what his role will be.

Next: Predicting The Future Of Every Loaned Player

Will Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s summer signing work as a partner to Saliba? Will he go after someone to start in front of him or come in off the bench, or is he looking to sign a player to spur competition? It would be a massive gamble to count on the young Saliba alone, and Arsenal don’t seem willing to take that chance. A center back signing seems inevitable this summer, and Arsenal will certainly have to weigh their options.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *