Who has been Arsenal’s best (and worst) player so far?

Statistics always need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

They can be used to prove or disprove whatever agenda you wish them to support.

Look at Paul Pogba on Sunday.

Against Brighton he was awful in a 3 – 2 defeat, yet the statistics will show that he scored a goal and now has 2 goals in the first 2 games.

The basic statistics of goals to games will not show that he scored a 94th minute penalty, during a game that he was horrendous and his side lost. It will just show that he scored a goal.

That is why if you look at statistics, you need to look beyond the basic. Although I feel with things such as “2nd assists” and “expected goals” things are being taken a bit too far.

Ultimately, the only statistic that matters in football is the final score.

I open with this because when researching yesterday’s article on Matteo Guendouzi I noticing something interesting on WhoScored.com.

WhoScored.com is one of my go-to websites for statistics. They pay for OptaStats (or whatever it is called now) and publish the information for free. It is a brilliant source.

My hope was that they would show that Guendouzi had been Arsenal’s best player in the opening two games.

What WhoScored.com have is an algorithm that looks at all the key statistics for a player within a position and comes up with a rating. It is not an opinion like you get in a newspaper, it is based on cold, hard maths. therefore removing the bias that Scott Parker always gets an 8 out of 10 because the journalist likes him.

I was mildly surprised by the top 5 Arsenal players in the opening two games:

In Petr Cech and Hector Bellerin you have two of the most criticised – and called upon to be dropped – players. Yet the statistics show that they have been two of the top 5.

Pert Cech’s can probably be explained that as we have been under the cosh for 2 games, he has made a lot more saves than normal. What the statistics that WhoScored.com do not show is the shots that he should have saved, but went in.

And mistakes such as nearly putting the ball into the back of the net against Manchester City go’s down as a misplaced pass.

Now before you pass the statistics off as a load of rubbish, let’s look at the 3 worst players…

I removed the players who had yet to start a game, and that leaves us with a “worst 3 players” of Mesut Ozil, Sokratis and Granit Xhaka.

I doubt anyone would disagree that Ozil and Xhaka have been poor in the opening games.

Sokratis inclusion is surprising, especially as Shkdoran Mustafi has been our “6th best player”. But then it is explained in the statistics.

Mustafi has made twice as many tackles, and Sokratis is yet to make an interception in the opening two games, although he does lead the way in clearances.

I might revist this as the season progresses…

Keenos

 

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