The mid-season report: Checking on player performance
How are Arsenal's top contributors doing in 2022-2023?
What a half-season it’s been. Arsenal are off to their best start ever through 19 games, sit ahead of Manchester City by 5 points (with a game in hand) and have swept Tottenham, beaten Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, and are turning heads around Europe.
No doubt the season’s been a smashing success for Mikel Arteta’s men, although there’s plenty of rows still to hoe.
Before the league campaign picks back up in February, how are our main contributors doing? Let’s look at some ⭐CHARTS⭐. And, what the heck, I’ll break this down in a power-rankings format.
(Editor’s note: Adam is vehemently against radar charts being used for defenders and doesn’t have the stats to do one for keepers, so Saliba, Gabriel and Ramsdale will be ranked based on “feel.” Big whup, wanna fight about it?)
As always, I’m going to set some limits on who gets in for consideration. We’ll talk about any players with 500 or more Premier League minutes played, giving us 13 total options to choose from. That also means no Tierney, Sambi or Fabio…maybe next time.
Now, let’s go!
It bodes awfully well for Arsenal that Tomiyasu, who was a one-game special starter specifically to shut down Mo Salah (he succeeded), comes in last. For me, it’s really more of an availability issue, since he did miss some time, and I do consider him a clear step down from either fullback. But as he showed this past weekend, still an endlessly useful option for Arteta, and one who can play any defensive role.
OK, I hate this post. Why am I doing this again? PAIN.
Ramsdale has struggled to stop shots at times, but this is also the best he’s done statistically speaking in his career. He’s also doing his usual magic as a distributor. My player of the match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and a continued source of great content and inspiration. This feels harsh but when you see what follows, it’s maybe not so bad.
I really think this chart looks worse than it is.
Eddie has exceeded my expectations for him since coming into the side post-World-Cup. If you could pick one statistic where a forward is sticking out, Eddie’s amazing non-penalty xG is probably one of the top contenders. He’s been outstanding at taking up great positions (making his xG/shot amazingly high). He does need to be a little more consistent cashing them in, though, since he’s never scoring that low-xG chance like Saka did against United, for instance. Other than that, we always knew Eddie wasn’t a chance creator or aerial monster, so those statistics aren’t disturbing, even if they’re low. Ball control being at league average is something I’ll definitely take.
This is really like picking my children, I hate it.
I think on balance, Saliba has been magnificent. He’ll be one of the best centre-backs in the league for years to come. If you bottle up just the performance this season, I think this is about right. Saliba has been stunningly steady, winning 64% of his duels. But he’s also made a few mistakes — more than his mate in the middle, in my estimation — so I’ll put him here. What a problem to have this player this low on the list.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial