This is a follow up on some players I thought would be good additions for Arsenal this summer.
Lacazette: 6 goals in 4 games for Lyon, including a hat trick in his home opener after Arsenal refused to pay 1.21 gigawatts of money for him. He was injured in his fourth match and the prognosis was short term at first but Lyon have since activated their “joker clause” and signed 19 year old Mateta. I wonder how his season will turn out now that he’s injured?
Lukaku: No player generates as much fervent hatred as Romelu Lukaku. He’s scored 4 goals this season. A hat trick against Sunderland and then the most dubious of dubious goals against Middlesbrough. The latter was clearly a goal by Bolaise which Lukaku threw a foot at and then claimed he got a touch. Has been dispossessed an astonishing 3.5 times per game. He has also apparently started dribbling like crazy. He’s gone from a career 50% dribbler, with about 1 dribble per match or so to someone who is making 3 dribbles a game at a 75% rate. He’s also only winning 12% of his aerial duels, which is god awful for a guy with his size. He was never great, 40-50%, but this is a huge new low. Still looks like an inanimate lump up front but scores goals. And I guess if you are only going to have one talent, that’s the one to have.
Milik: Moved from Ajax to Napoli. Big body, heir apparent to Lewandowski. Has scored three braces this season, beating AC Milan, Dynamo Kyiv, and Bologna. Hasn’t been dispossessed even one time this season. His aerial duels record, though, is super weird. He’s 1 for 6 in Serie A and 3 for 4 in Champions League play. Also, three of his goals have been scored off headers. Watch this player, I have a feeling he will be Man United’s next record signing. He’s a Man U fan, by the way.
Griezmann: 4 goals in 3 matches, still the only man in the world who looks good with a mustache. He has scored two goals with headers and two goals from outside the box. All of them have been from open play which is weird. I expected the headers to come from corners or set plays but I guess not. Atletico are in 6th place in La Liga and in typical Simeone fashion, have only allowed 1 goal this season. Amaze.
Vardy: The 29 year old rejected Arsenal this summer and frankly I hope him and Leicester get relegated. Has scored 2 goals in 5 starts. Still doesn’t do much else for the team. He is a fast runner.
John Brooks: Plays for Hertha Berlin, leads the Bundesliga in clearances with 9.5 and makes 3 interceptions per game. Hertha have won all three of their opening matches including two clean sheets. Hertha average 77% passing but Brooks leads the team with 89% and he’s a 71% long ball passer. He is also a beast in the air and has won 83% of his aerial duels, to the tune of 2.5 per game. One thing that is off is that he makes 2.5 tackles per game, which he is 83% successful, but the fact that he is making so many tackles and for a big center back it could be a bit of problem.
Comparing him to Mustafi is a bit problematic because the teams aren’t in the same league and don’t play the same style of football. Mustafi passes the ball at an almost 93% success rate, but his long passing has been awful connecting on just 1.5 of 5 long passes per game. Obviously, Arsenal’s lack of a target man hurts Mustafi though Koscielny is completing long passes at double the rate of Mustafi, connecting on 61% of his long attempts. Mustafi also tackles a lot, 3.5 per game, and he’s apparently been 100% successful. I say apparently because I thought Cavani dribbled past him once but I guess that’s just faulty memory?
Granit Xhaka: scored a screamer this weekend against 10 man Hull City but struggles to get consistent playing time at Arsenal. His tackling is about 50%, his long passing is about 50%, his interceptions are down, and his aerial duels numbers are down. Basically, he’s not putting up anywhere near the numbers he did last season. That is to be expected, though, because his playing time is way down and he’s no longer the focal point of his entire team. Interesting to see how Wenger integrates him into the team.
Mkhitaryan: started one match for Manchester United and was dropped at half time. Currently playing backup to Wayne Rooney and his walker. No sense even looking at his stats. I do fear for his career however. Mourinho is notorious for hating players and this weekend saw Mou bring on Juan Mata instead of Mkhitaryan. This is important because Mou hates Mata and if he’s playing Mata over Mkhitaryan then clearly the player has fallen way down the pecking order. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned out this January.
Mahrez: has just one goal in the Premier League but 2 in the Champions League. Leicester look like a team suffering from a post-title hangover and yet Mahrez’ numbers have stayed pretty consistent. Shame that he didn’t make the move to Arsenal, I suspect he would have been fantastic.