Just Eight PL Assists Between Alexis, Ox, Danny & Theo: How to Improve This?

/1Arsenal managed to score 65 PL goals last season, six goals less than top scorers Man Citeh, and three less than the League winners, Leicester City. The Northern Oilers have Aguero and the Foxes have Vardy who both scored 24 PL goals, and we have Giroud (16) and Alexis (13)…. and Theo (5)…Danny (4) and Ox (1). We aim to spread the goals rather than focus on the one super central forward, and I feel that if we had had more goals from the right side – so from Theo, Ox and Danny – we may have won the PL title this year. Of course there are more factors to winning the PL, but the lack of goals from the right wing combined with a simultaneous drought by Ollie and Alexis in the late winter months proofed to be very costly.

It also seems that the team ‘outsourced’ the PL assists responsibilities to Mesut Ozil. MO11 produced a whopping 19 assists, followed in the far distance by Ollie (6) and Hector Vector (5). We know that, as to be expected, MO11 was not able to keep up his incredible assists rate and we needed others to step up. It is only then that we felt we were really missing Santi, even though he only managed to produce three assists in 1239 PL minutes before his injury. However, Santi’s added assists’ and ‘key passes’ threat seems to alleviate the pressure on Ozil, which probably helps him to be more productive. Of course, there may be other factors involved here, like Giroud’s and Alexis’ lack of focus and/or confidence during their barren spell.

The main worry I have is the lack of assists by the players who were more often than not stationed on the ‘wings’: Ox, Theo, Sanchez and Danny managed to produce a paltry eight PL assists, just as many as Hector Vector (5) and Nacho (3) combined!

Iwobi and Joel added two each and Rambo has four in total, some of these will have come from the wing I reckon. You could argue what is wrong with that: just like our goals we like to spread our assists and many have contributed to our ‘assists from wing positions’?! And you would have a point.

But can we really be satisfied with only producing eight assists from our main wing players: Theo, Alexis, Ox and Danny? I know that they suffered from injuries and or lack of confidence, but surely we need more assists AND goals from the wings if we want to push on? (Theo, Ox and Danny managed to score just ten goals between them, and that in 2878 minutes of total PL football on the pitch.)

17HT argues that our system has our ‘mid wingers’ play too narrow and we rely too much on the FBs to provide the width AND penetration/key passes. Eight PL assists by our FBs is not bad of  course, but is it enough in our system? The mid wingers tend to move central and we often have three or more nr.10s seemingly overcrowding the central area… rather than players stretching opponents on the wing and penetrating into the box from there. Yet only Ozil produces a fantastic assist rate, whereas Theo, Alexis, Ox and Danny can just manage eight between them in 5300 of combined PL minutes. Surely, they need to be, and can be, more effective?! On top of this, Ollie – and also Danny when played as CF – is often alone in the box when the ball gets eventually played in with not enough players positioning themselves in key attacking areas, making it relatively easy for the opposition to defend our hard-worked balls into the box…

So what should we do? 

  1. Get traditional wingers who stick to their task?
  2. Get a more lethal, traditional CF who bangs in 25 PL goals rather than ‘just 16’, and more assists will come from the wing as a result?
  3. Change our system of play altogether?
  4. Demand more positional discipline from our current crop of mid wingers?
  5. Focus on the FBs becoming more lethal both in terms of assists and goals?
  6. ANother…

Over to you fine fellow Gooners!

By TotalArsenal.




5 thoughts on “Just Eight PL Assists Between Alexis, Ox, Danny & Theo: How to Improve This?

  • Ooh first? 🙂

    Hmm.. I am less fussed, though concerned. Ozil is THE player for assists. Our defenders did well or well enough…

    What needs to happen is two key things:

    A. Better fast service in outlet to Ozil will yield more goals. More teams really sit back and counter now, so the time to catch them in transition is increasingly short. IMO, that’s where we missed Santi, and where AR at the back did less than when out wide.

    B. Others to step up. Not because they’ve few, but when Oail is deliberately shut down by 2-3 defenders shadowing, others MUST attack and use his distraction. That’s more than assists, but step up from outlet to last pass to finishing.

    I’d also note, we scored well, but not absolutely great, but is it assists missing … Or finishing. There were some wasteful periods where we could’ve scored more… I’m not sure but whoscored.com notes that team numerous Uni in key passes (chances?) per game was, Arsenal… So maybe we aren’t missing assists, or even their spread but a mixture of that and finishing?

    Cheers — JGC

  • Hmm

    I guess my A above is that we stopped playing as pointedly directly without Santi perhaps? Just a little slower will shut off some things in transition.

    Equally, if we change how we play, it must be to be more aggressive in transition perhaps. Both sides of ball suffered there without Coq, defensive transition and snuffing the counter early, and offensive transition in quick outlet and return of play.

    Some of you may recollect my love of that overlooked aspect of the game, but early turnovers catching teams out led to Ozil assisted and other goals..

    I guess I’m saying maybe it’s systemic and, per last post, relies too much on key individuals?

    Cheers and 2 more pence — JGC

  • I also reckon that with Elneny we have a very good alternative to Cazorla now. Since he arrived we have gradually played better and better; even though he is a bit different from Santi, I reckon he brings a similar control of the game, very good passing (with forward intent) and chance of turnovers.

  • I think Wenger is Centre Midfield minded.. a tiki taka Barca that I don’t really enjoyed.. I prefer total football ala Van Basten-Gullit-Rijkard-Koeman-.. Pressing yet simple.. and fast finishing..
    No need to tick tack trough the middle again and again.. We had absolutely great fullback in Bellerin and Monreal.. They can cross very well.. We had solid DM also who can control the flow..
    Now all we need is a faster Striker or Winger.. Then we will win a lot.. hehehe..

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