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?