What exactly does the Arsenal midfield do?
One thing they do not do is score goals.
Mesut Ozil (1) and Lucas Torreira (1) are the only midfielders who have contributed a league goal this season.
Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Joe Willock have all yet to score a league this season.
The problem with Arsenal’s midfield is what else are they actually doing?
Liverpool are running away with the league this season and their midfield contribute little in terms of goals.
Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson have 3 each, as does Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whilst Fabinho has just one league goal. They are certainly not putting in Frank Lampard of Steven Gerrard type figures.
But there job in the team is not to get forward and score goals.
Jurgen Klopp as a hard working midfield that covers a lot of ground, limiting the opponents chances. They have conceded just 21 goals this season.
A big threat for Liverpool is their full backs.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has 12 in the league this season (2nd most), whilst Andrew Roberston has 7 (9th).
Liverpool use their midfielders to cover the full backs as the bomb forward.
Henderson and Fabinho are often found at right or left back during an attack, whilst Alexander-Arnold is putting in a cross which leads to a goal.
But Arsenal’s midfield does not provide much defensive cover.
Too often this season (and previous seasons) it has been too easy to cut through Arsenal’s midfield, to get at the defence. And when was the last time a midfielder covered his full back when bombing forward? It just does not happen.
So at Arsenal, the midfield does not protect the defence, it also does not score goals.
Barcelona’s peak team that had Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta in it did not provide much cover for the defence, and did not score too many goals.
Between them they average a goal every 13 games for Barcelona.
But what they did is create a lot.
There role in the time was to pass the ball in tight spaces until a gap appeared, which lead to goals for Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, David Villa or Neymar. It did not matter that they did not score many when they created so much.
Take Ozil, Xhaka, Torreira, Ceballos, Guendouzi & Willock as a collective.
In 8217 minutes of football, they have scored 2 goals and assisted 7.
That is a goal or assist every 913 minutes.
With 41 goals conceded in 30 games (8th highest), they are clearly also not providing much defensive cover.
So what exactly does Arsenal’s midfield do?
Just saunter around getting lots of money they even get paid if they don’t make it unto the pitch nice if you can get it!!!
Xhaka does cover for Saka to get assists.torrera does his defensive duties. Can’t blame ozil for not playing half the time this season under a manager who clearly hates midfielders that create. Think Wilshire, Ramsey, mikhi. You can’t expect him to magically turnup when he is called to play again. He also has to learn to play with new teammates after the Exodus of his partners in crime. Guendouzi is elneny 2.0 he needs help to effectively play his game. Ceballos at his best is Ramsey having an off day, I wonder who thought he could replace him. Willock would not enter a Southampton team that are fighting relegation. If you think playing these players is going to work, let me remind you Wenger tried a midfield trio of arteta Wilshire and Ramsey with ozil on the right and Sanchez on the left and it didn’t work out. Clearly the combination is better than anything we have right now. Our midfield had been a mess since last season. Our best games were played with ramsey, ozil and mikhi on the pitch then. I reckon Wenger would have done a wonderful job with last seasons squad. The ending to his last season was good except for the Europa league loss. He got the midfield combination right. Ramsey,xkaha,Wilshire,ozil and mikhi were enjoying themselves, auba was scoring goals for fun, laca got his confidence back. It was good. Our midfield clearly lacked the creativity to play on that level again. Everybody worries that our defense is error prone, no one thinks about the the pressure they are constantly having to cope with due to the lack of dominance of the midfield. We would not have conceded so many goals had our midfield controlled the games we were supposed to.the strengths of arsenal has long been our midfield and the problem is we simply don’t have one now.
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Great article. I’ve been saying for ages our defense gets too much stick when in reality our midfield is our biggest problem. Like you have said theres no creativity, no goals and they all switch off defensively. We don’t retain the ball well at all under pressure and also in th big games alot of them go in to hiding and don’t show for the ball which puts pressure on the defense trying to play outfrom the back. also apart from ozil most of them will just pass the ball and then be static and let the next player take responsibility. As much as he is criticised ozil is the only one I ever see pass and then move forward into space to recieve it back. Although Saka is also very good at doing it from left back which is why he gets into such good positions to assist. Our midfield needs a complete overhaul but doubt it will happen. We don’t need anymore defenders this summer!!!