Individual achievements and performances in the 2020-2021 – Part III. – Offensive statistics
Following up the general statistic summary and the defensive attributes earlier this week, here are the best players and their Arsenal counterparts with regards to offensive skills and contribution. I will highlight (with bold) if we have our players in the TOP20. Still, every data is from WhoScored.
Since the number of goals and assists were already covered among the general attributes I will not repeat the statements/discussions. If interested or have missed that post, please visit it using the link above.
Shots per game:
There is a reason I didn’t mentioned in the lead that I would expect to see an Arsenal player in the TOP20, maybe even in the TOP10 of every statistic. Besides the negative indicators (like yellow cards, own goals, successful dribbles against a player) there are neutral stats where leading the charts is not necessarily desirable. For me shots per game falls in this category. While I don’t doubt that Tottenham and Liverpool fans are proud of Kane and Salah sitting on the top with 3.9 and 3.4 shots per 90 minutes respectively I think this is a sign of being selfish and often making the wrong decision, as I appreciate a smart pass or a cheeky dribble instead of shooting from every possible opportunity. Similarly it is debatable who is considered the better striker, the one who scored more goals, or the one with the superior goals per shots statistics. I wish there were available data on the latter, but apparently I have to research it on my own.
Kane: 23 goals in 134 shots = 17,1% conversion ratio
Salah: 22 goals in 116 shots = 19,0% conversion ratio
Fernandes: 18 goals in 114 shots = 15,8% conversion ratio
Son: 17 goals in 63 shots = 27,0% conversion ratio
Aubameyang: 10 goals in 52 shots = 19,2% conversion ratio
Lacazette: 13 goals in 32 shots = 40,6% conversion ratio
Pepe: 10 goals in 30 shots = 33,3% conversion ratio
I didn’t make a full comparison, but Lacazette (and Pepe) obviously stand out. Would you request it in the comments, I can make similar calculations for a few more players.
An important statistic I have the impression we seriously neglect under Arteta both on the individual and the team level. De Bruyne and Grealish are the key pass machines of the PL with 3.2 and 3.1 major chances created per game. Our best passers are Odegaard and Smith-Rowe with 1.4 each, which gets them to #34-36 position, behind players like Cresswell, Digne, Westwood or Moutinho – who are less known for their creativity.
Dribbles per game:
I consider this an important skill to have for wingers and midfielders, but I don’t insist on having multiple players in the top20. So I’m quite pleased with Saka (#42 with 1.4 dribbles), Partey (#62 with 1.2 dribbles), Ceballos and Pepe (#79-87 with 1.0 dribble), and I expect this stat to slightly improve next season. Traore and Saint-Maximin sit on the PL’s throne with 4.1 and 3.8 dribbles per 90 minutes, with Anguissa & Grealish following with 2.7.
Another indicator where the top 2 sit way up high – Grealish with a shocking 4.2 figure, then Zaha with 2.9 – and the rest of the PL come after quite a gap. And we have a player in the top: Saka was fouled twice every game (on average) making him the 10th most frequent victim of faults. Based on my subjective recollection of Arsenal games I’m not surprised. However this is a statistic I would happily swap for places in the key passes top10.
Offsides ’lost’ per game:
I’m not sure whether this statistic is something to be minimized – like yellow cards – or an indicator that implies predatory instincts that could still improve. Vardy and Mané are the offside collectors with 1.1 ans 0.9 rules against them per 90 minutes. Aubameyang (0.6) and Saka (0.5) take the #14 and #19 positions.
Another negative statistic; but don’t confuse this with the technical abilities (see next one), as this rather shows that the player is taking or more than he can deliver. A signature Alexis Sanchez statistic, if you remember the late Wenger years. The 2 persons dispossessed the most were Sterling and Zaha with 2.7 and 2.6 per game (with a large gap behind them). Our only player dispossessed too frequently is Saka with 1.3, and he is only at #41, so I think the coaching team does a quite good job in this department.
Unsure touches a.k.a. bad ball controls per game:
This last offensive statistic confirms that our squad is well equipped technically – unless we consider the low figures a sign of an unhealthy balance n the discipline-creativity scale. But again, we have a single player in the top 50, young Bukayo saka takes the #24 position with 2.3 bad controls. Zaka leads with 3.6, then Lookman, Salah, Watkins and DCL follow with 3.1 clumsy touches each.
Similarly to defensive statistics these figures don’t tell the whole story either. However there are a few of conclusions I can draw. Firstly that we underappreciate Lacazette big time. His insane shot conversion ratio shows that he has the brains to decide when to shoot and when to pursue different options. Were he playing every PL minute, he would have shared the Golden Boot with Kane – reaching 23 goals assuming a similar 1.5 shots per game ’temperament’ and a 40% conversion rate. The other conclusion is that we are behind in the critical offensive indicators, and only competitive in the less important statistics. However this is quite common knowledge, as we have already discussed that Arsenal has a capable defense, now we have to focus on more creative and efficient attacks, including chance creation and long shots.
My last last thought concerns Saka. Since TA gave the title of the last piece ’defensive stats showing one clear winner’, this post might lead to a similar conclusion that Saka is the weakest link since he leads most of the dispreferred or unfortunate offensive statistics within Arsenal. Doesn’t that contradict him being the player of the season? I believe it doesn’t. Most of these statistics can be explained by the combination of youthful exuberance and Saka often being the only player trying to create things even when the rest of the team is in apathy. Nevertheless it shows that Bukayo is far from being a complete product, and him being our player of the season as well as the most valuable Arsenal player should be strictly interpreted in the context of his young age, as Pepe seems to be ahead of him in almost every skill and statistic. Risking to see a lot of challenging comments I sign off with a controversial idea that there might be some bias behind Saka’s comet-like popularity, but this is absolutely fine for an academy player who just turned 19 and has a great attitude and personality.
This was the third batch of statistics.
What is your opinion? Where shall we improve individually next season?
Assuming that WhoScored has no anti-Arsenal bias, where/why do you think it under- or overrates players?
Part IV. will deal with passing statistics.