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Do Arsenal need to buy a defensive midfielder? Arteta compared to Premier League rivals

TOP CONTRIBUTOR
970   //    03 Jul 2013, 16:24 IST
Arsenal v Norwich City - Premier League

Mikel Arteta

There have been a lot of reports linking Arsenal with defensive midfielders over the past 12 months, including players like Marouane Fellaini and Lars Bender among others. I believe these players would generally be great signings, but I’m not sure if Wenger would spend money on that position when there are other areas to strengthen.

In my opinion Mikel Arteta had a great 2012/2013 season.

I decided to compare him to the other defensive midfielders in the top five of the Premier League. I chose the players by checking who played the most in defensive midfield for each team respectively. Eg. Yaya Toure played at CDM eight times, compared to Barry’s 16, and therefore Barry was chosen.

I wanted to include Fellaini, but he did not play a single match as a defensive midfielder. He only played as a central midfielder and attacking midfielder, if you would like to see his statistics, you can look here.

All statistics are from whoscored.com and are for the Premier League only.

General:

Appearances(Sub)

Yellows

Reds

Aerial Duels Won(%)

Man of the Match

Arteta

34(0)

6

0

35/67 (52)

7

Ramires

28(7)

8

1

40/72 (56)

1

Barry

27(4)

6

0

53/91 (58)

1

Carrick

34(2)

3

0

17/31 (55)

1

Sandro

22(0)

4

0

19/53 (36)

0

Arteta’s seven man of the match performances show how important he was to Arsenal.

Defense:

Tackles(per game)

Interceptions(per game)

Blocked Shots(per game)

Fouls(per game)

Dribbled(per game)

Arteta

108(3.2)

97(2.9)

7(0.2)

74(2.2)

37(1.1)

Ramires

112(3.2)

55(1.6)

10(0.3)

53(1.5)

34(1)

Barry

64(2.1)

44(1.4)

6(0.2)

38(1.2)

17(0.5)

Carrick

83(2.3)

76(2.1)

19(0.5)

30(0.8)

41(1.1)

Sandro

72(3.3)

80(3.6)

9(0.4)

34(1.5)

10(0.5)

A deep-lying midfielder’s defence role is generally to protect the back four by breaking up play through tackles and interceptions. Sandro leads the group in these areas but played about 65% of the amount of games that Arteta played, and didn’t get any man of the match awards compared to the Spaniard’s seven.

Many pundits credited Carrick with Manchester United‘s success and the more stable defense as the season wore on but his performances weren’t as good as Arteta’s. Statistics don’t always reveal the full story, but the north-London players did a lot better than the other three.

Attack:

Goals

Assists

Key Passes

(per game)

Dribbles

(per game)

Fouled

(per game)

Pass(%)

Long

Balls(%)

Through Balls(%)

Arteta

6

3

26(0.8)

19(0.6)

49(1.4)

2517/2750

(91.5)

179/205

(87)

6/15(40)

Ramires

5

1

20(0.6)

27(0.8)

46(1.3)

1102/1294

(85.2)

63/92(68)

1/3(33)

Barry

1

2

36(1.2)

6(0.2)

26(0.8)

1574/1823

(86.3)

86/111

(77)

3/9(33)

Carrick

1

4

37(1)

8(0.2)

32(0.9)

2443/2774

(88.1)

208/277

(75)

3/12(25)

Sandro

1

2

23(1)

16(0.7)

29(1.3)

798/931

(85.7)

55/72(76)

3/3(100)

Linking up the play between defence and attack, controlling the speed of the game,being able to hold the ball under pressure and passing are important for defensive-mids going forward. Arteta leads the way with goals scored and is second in assists. His pass percentage was the third highest in the Premier League. Ki-Sung Yueng (92.7%) and Jamie Carragher (92%) were higher. Mertesacker was fourth with 91.48%.

A surprising statistic is that Arteta was second last in key passes per game; with all of his other good statistics I expected that one to be high as well. Once again Sandro did relatively well; I’m quite impressed by his numbers, AVB has a tough decision in his position.

Overall, the man with the Lego hair proved that he is one of the best (if not the best) defensive midfielders during our most recent campaign, hopefully he remains injury free and continues to play well.


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TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Watching Arsenal play is one of my favourite things to do. I'm a student from South Africa and I enjoy playing and writing about football. I started blogging properly in January 2013. I try my best to always write what is true and original.
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