Let’s go back in time, back to the 2015/16 season. I know that’s a traumatic season for many of us but it’s been a few years and I actually have fond memories; because for most of the season I thought we (Arsenal) were going to win the League.

My belief that we were going to win the League was based entirely on the expected goals stats that I saw Arsenal putting up each week. And what I saw from the teams around Arsenal that season. Leicester were the feel good story and I would never take that away from them. They overperformed by about 12 points but what kind of scrooge would I have to be to say that they didn’t deserve the title? Sometimes underlying metrics like xG are used to say that a team “doesn’t deserve to win” but I think of it the other way round: Leicester outperformed their expected defensive metrics, they worked harder than anyone else, they deserved the title. Most teams who win the league overperform in some area so, it’s normal and to be expected.

Arsenal’s problem that season was, as you all remember, we couldn’t put the ball in the damn net. That season we had an expected goals of 74 and an actual goals scored of 68. Many people blamed Alexis and his goals haul of 13 wasn’t great but looking at the expected goals stats for that season, he was expected to score 13 off the shots he took. Could he have taken more shots? Probably. Could he have taken more shots in better positions? Probably. But he didn’t.

The six missing goals were actually all down to Aaron Ramsey (-3.6), Theo Walcott (-3.4), and to a lesser extent Mesut Ozil (-1.9). Players who overperformed were Giroud (+1.5) and Welbeast (+1). So, what Arsenal got, actually, was average performances from a lot of players, some slightly sub par performances from a few key players, and bang, we lost the title to a team who performed better.

One of the metrics that we didn’t have back then is expected goal chain and expected goal buildup (xGC and xGB). Both of these metrics exist in order to measure how much players are involved in the eventual shot (in the case of xG Chains) or just how much they are involved in the play that doesn’t create a shot (xG Buildup). Just to give you an example: John Stones passes to Fernandino who passes to Walker, who passes to Aguero, who passes to Silva, who passes to Jesus and Jesus takes a big chance shot (0.45xG), all of the players in that chain get the (0.45).

So, that season Mesut Ozil led all players with an expected goals chain of 32.79. It’s important to put that number into some perspective, though. You can have a high xGC and not be a creative player. For example, Aaron Ramsey was 2nd on Arsenal in xGC with 23. Meaning that Ramsey was involved in a lot of the passes which led to a shot. But Ozil also had an expected assists of 18 (17.6) and expected goals of 8 (7.9). Meaning that while he was involved in the touches which led to a shot, he was also the one creating and taking those shots. Ramsey’s expected assists were just 4 that season.

Expected goals buildup is all of the passing work that doesn’t lead to a shot. You can still calculate expected goals without a shot. Have you ever seen a ball crossed in the six yard box and wondered why there wasn’t a forward on the end of it? Or maybe it’s a blocked cross or an Alexis turnover in the final third. Whatever the action was, there was still a lot of buildup that happened before the turnover. That’s xGB.

Mesut Ozil led the League in this metric as well with 18.4. But perhaps a bit of a surprise was the fact that Nacho Monreal was 2nd in the League in this metric with 15.3 and Hectare Bellerin was 4th with 14.4. Eriksen was 3rd, Fabregas was 5th and Ramsey was 6th. These are the sum total of the expected goals from these player’s buildup play over the whole season and I think that they show that Arsenal’s buildup play was the best in the League.

But if you remember that was a strange season. It started with Coquelin and Cazorla in midfield and Cazorla suffered an horrific injury which would keep him off the pitch for a long time. After Cazorla went down, Coquelin had to be dropped and Arsenal never really recovered.

If we prorate the stats on a per90 basis, Santi Cazorla led the League in xG Buildup with 0.73. He was also 5th in the League in xG Chain per90 with 0.83. Cazorla’s expected assists per90 was only 0.3 that season (Ozil was 0.52) but the stat shows how important he was to Arsenal’s buildup and shots chains. Surprisingly, Coquelin was 2nd in the League that season in xGB per90 with 0.56 and had a decent xG Chain of 0.58!

Those numbers dropped off the next season for Coquelin. His xG Buildup dropped to 0.42. I think there’s a decent case to be made that he was helped out enormously by the pairing with Cazorla.

Now let’s travel forward in time to last season. Expected goals buildups and chains are almost certainly going to favor the Man City players. They scored 100 goals and Guardiola’s philosophy is that the team has to make a certain number of passes before they can take a shot. And sure enough, the top 6 xGBp90 players (I limited to 1500+ minutes played) are all on City: Delph, Silva, Fernandinho, Walker, de Bruyne, and Gundogan. But there in 7th and 8th place are Granit Xhaka (0.63) and Mesut Ozil (0.61).

And in expected goals chains per 90 it turns out that Aaron Ramsey makes a surprise appearance in 7th place (again I limited this to just players who played more than 1500 minutes) with a whopping 0.93 per90. That’s more expected goal involvement than Mesut Ozil.

Granit Xhaka’s numbers last season were also pretty surprising. He was 2nd in the League in total xGB with 22.6 and he had an xGB per 90 of 0.63. Wenger deployed Granit Xhaka as the lone central midfielder, giving him the keys to the house. These numbers show that Xhaka was involved in almost every play last season. Though, it’s just as a shuttler. His job is just to get the ball to other players who will do the work. His expected assists last season per90 were just 0.08. Francis Coquelin had a similar xAper90 during his halcyon days, 0.02.

I wish we had more data from the seasons when Mikel Arteta played with Arsenal. But I do know that in his last season he had an xGB of 0.84 p90 an xGC of 1.14 per 90 and an xA of 0.27 per90. I wish I had his numbers from 2013/14 and 2012/13 but I don’t. I suspect that we would see insanely high buildup and chain numbers and also Cazorla-like expected assists.

It’s wild to think that Arsenal went from Fabregas (who still appears on these tables as one of the best buildup/chain players) to Arteta (who was an amazing force of nature in Arsenal’s midfield) to Cazorla (who was another absolutely amazing CM).

What’s interesting about this season is that Emery is pairing Xhaka with a second midfielder and Xhaka’s xGB and xGC numbers have taken a hit, though he’s still 2nd at Arsenal in xGB behind Guendouzi.

And he’s also taken a hit in xGC (again, below Guendouzi):

The one name on that list that probably surprises you is Torreira. It’s not a surprise to me to see him so far down the list in both buildup and chain. These metrics heavily favor players who get a lot of touches and Torreira has (so far) demurred to Granit Xhaka when both are on the pitch.

This season Granit is also suffering from a change in formation, playing style, and from Emery’s indecisiveness in terms of lineup. So, his buildup numbers and chain numbers will have to be something to watch as the season goes on.

Anyway, I was very excited to find a source for expected goals. And this one, understat.com, is fantastic. I don’t think it will settle any debates about any players. Especially not Granit Xhaka who it seems is either untouchable from some fan’s perspectives or unredeemable. I think the truth is somewhere in between. I don’t see anything that suggests he’s at the level of midfielders we had in the past (Fab, Arteta, Cazorla) but he’s useful in terms of keeping the ball moving and he’s almost never injured so he gets a lot of touches and plays a lot.

I also think the future is bright. Guendouzi’s numbers early on this season show a player who can (probably) pick up for Xhaka if he were to get an injury.


Source: understat.com


  1. That’s outstanding work, Tim. You spoil us with such deep, analytical, illuminating dives into this stuff. Respect. You know what they say about opinions. Statistical evidence has a bad habit of making arguments more persuasive 🙂

    Ive had a crazy thought for a while now… if Xhaka ever leaves (as some rumours have it that he could), we should bring Cescy back, especially if he’s not playing regularly for Chelsea. But Im not calling for Xhaka’s departure. I want him to stay, because (even if he’s not my favourite player) his value to the overall squad is undeniable.

    Interesting point about Giroud and Welbeck when we finished 2nd to Leicester, in that they did what was expected of them. But to us the fans, they lacked the quality to lead us to a title. I think the it can be argued that we had 3 average forwards (those 2 plus Walcott). Replace them with two of more elite quality and they would have higher Expected Goals figures, that reduced the dependence on goals from elsewhere. Two better quality strikers would have easily worth more than the 6 goals by which we fell short.

    1. Claude – If Xhaka leaves, I think Guen is not far off to replace him. He is so much better under pressure than Xhaka. Looking back, I’m not surprised Unai chose him for those first 2 games. He knew we would be pressed hard, and Xhaka would be destroyed if we relied on him too much. Guen and Torreira are made for press-breaking. I think that’s where we should head, and I hope Guen continues to improve, especially defending.

  2. Nicely put…Our former coach left a fairly promising team…our present coach doing a good job so far working with it. They did say he had a comprehensive idea what to to with each player he inherited. Time and stats will continue to tell a story….

  3. I would say that these stats show Xhaka to be an ok passer, about the same as Coquelin in terms of importance to xg buildup and xg chain, but nowhere near as important as Cazorla, Arteta, or Fabregas (who was incredible, Alcantara-like). I bet his numbers match those of players like Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, and Nemanja Matic.

    These stats actually back up what I see with my eyes, which is that he’s hugely overrated by many fans. And combined with the fact that he cannot tackle or play defense, that makes him the most replaceable person on this squad.

    1. Cesc Fabregas was an incredible, phenomenal football player for us. I can never fall out of love with him, no matter what the circumstances of his departure were, or who he plays for today. His reputation as an Arsenal legend is set. I’ve not seen an Arsenal midfielder, before or since, who read and orchestrated the play as well. Thierry and Anelka have good shouts as Arsene’s best buys, but my choice is Fabregas.

      Our best two number 4s of recent times, Cesc and Vieira, are my two all time favourite Arsenal players. Today, Elneny wears the shirt…

    2. Don’t you have a higher probability of being part of the XG chain if you play for a possession-first team similar to our club during the Fabregas era? The odds of being part of the chain that leads to a goal seems like it would be higher because typically movements involve more passes and more players. I’m guessing City’s players have chain stats through the roof. Can the style of play impact the metric and by extension then since we’ve not been a good possession team for at least five years now perhaps our stats are lower. Alcantara played for Bayern, that was basically City-esque in possession.

  4. I really enjoyed this article. It seems to be mostly a referendum on the value of Granit Xhaka. A poster by the name of Develin (sic) made the astute point a few posts back that his primary value to the team is in being a playmaker, similar to the players you mention who came before him, and these xGB stats seem to be alluding exactly to that playmaking value. I actually didn’t realize he was as good at it as these numbers show. Second overall in the league at xGB seems incredible for a central midfielder. It suggests to me that he’s initiates all our best moves. I’m not sure I would discredit that due to the low expected assists number; that’s not his job in the team. His job is to progress the ball and get it to the player who will make the assist, the coveted entry pass, the value of which is gaining more and more recognition. I think I remember something about his ability to do that as the reason that Wenger signed him and was so keen on him. To me this xGB stat supports that. The comparison with Coquelin is neither fair or accurate in my opinion. Coquelin’s role was primarily to be a defender, and he notoriously couldn’t see a forward pass. Xhaka’s value is the exact opposite. He is an inverse Coquelin, if you like. He plays something like 6 long balls per game and watching his passing I’m consistently impressed by the number of times he sets up a team mate out wide with a chance to cross or cut inside. I’m not trying to polarize the conversation by suggesting he’s undroppable, particularly as it seems his skills overlap with the more mobile Guendouzi. I do think the interpretation of these numbers marking him as a conservative passer is far wide of the mark.

    1. Xhaka is like the old SNL kit – He’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping. (I think some people here might be old enough to get the reference) He is an exquisite passer. And a turnover liability in our end. A strong physical presence who can be easily dispossessed. A player with excellent vision who fails to track runners. He will hit a cracker of a shot and then get called for a stupid foul or yellow card. He will contribute but he will cost you. I appreciate his skills, but his mistakes are often so damaging that I would prefer to trade some of his playmaking ability for someone who reads the game better and makes fewer catastrophic errors.

      1. That’s the crux of it right there, what does he offer in sum compared to his potential replacement? He’s been first choice for both Wenger and Emery, who has more options to replace him than Wenger did, and to me that speaks volumes. I agree that he’s flawed but I also think what he does bring to the table is under-appreciated. I’m not so sure his errors deserve to be called catastrophic. For example, it’s often mentioned how he gets too many cards for tactical fouls, but the flip side of that is how he never looks like he’s going to get sent off once he does collect a booking, so clearly he can manage that part of his game. He does under-hit one pass in his own half in every game and most damagingly, he sometimes switches off in his own box when he should be tracking a runner. I don’t think either of those is a fatal flaw that can’t be corrected, and I am sure Xhaka has been made aware that he needs to clean that up. I think he has the mentality to keep improving and if he adds consistency in the defensive phase to his Arsenal (pun intended), I think we have ourselves a terrific midfielder.

  5. i second claude’s statement about how you spoil us with the analytics. believe it or not, i’m a numbers (math and science) guy but when it comes to soccer, i’m a bit more artistic but i also know that numbers don’t lie so i really appreciate the work you do to help tell the arsenal story.

    first, wenger has a long history of playing players in the wrong position. that was arsenal’s biggest deficit that season. initially, he played theo at center forward and then alexis. neither of those players are center forwards. if wenger had played them exclusively as strikers instead, i’m sure both would have put up better numbers, especially if they had a center forward to play off of. giroud was arsenal’s premier center forward with welbeck serving as an able deputy. i understand giroud was injured early in the season but once he proved fit again, he should have been reintroduced to the starting eleven as the center forward. regardless, giroud still came off the bench and scored plenty of goals. even if he doesn’t score, he’s just proven that his play can win a world cup.

    second, coquelin is a much better tactician than he’s ever given credit for being. when he can cazorla played together, arsenal looked imperious at times. it was because they had two intelligent footballers in midfield behind mesut ozil. it was once players like ramsey or xhaka were introduced to the fray (players arguably more talented but less tactically sound) that the arsenal midfield looked incredibly unbalanced.

    for me, the measure of a player’s true quality includes what they do away from the point of attack. coquelin was able to affect the play from 30+ yards away because he looked to be involved when he wasn’t at the point of attack. stats will show an opposition center mid played a through ball that went to our keeper but it won’t show that coquelin sat in a gap, making that through ball very difficult to complete. these are things that ramsey and xhaka don’t do but coquelin did very well and why i hated to see him leave. it’s no surprise that his numbers were impressive when partnered with a competent center mid.

    arteta was my favorite; a player who could control the tempo of the team without even touching the ball.

    1. It’s amazing how time changes perspectives. I remember having much the same debate about Mikel then as we are having about Granit now. Both seen as defensive liabilities playing in a team that gives away too many goals, calls for both to be replaced by more athletic types, particularly as we were so obviously vulnerable to pace through the middle. Only with the gentle passing of time, it seems, can we really appreciate what we had in Mikel Arteta. I still think he could be a terrific coach as well.

      1. It’s not that simple. Arteta was a good player for a time, but stopped being effective with age. He wasn’t uniformly good, or uniformly bad. And it can change from one season to the next. Xhaka, unfortunately, can’t offer age as an explainer.

        1. Sure it can change, but the point is that it was largely the same debate well before it was clear that he was no longer effective at that level any longer… When the team is conceding chances, it seems we stop valuing the midfield playmaker. I really think that’s a British mentality, which is defense first. Most Brit commentators’ first thoughts after a goal are about what the defenders could/should’ve done before they throw in a “take nothing away” line, except they do take away by drawing attention to the shame of the defender instead of the brilliance of the attacker. Different sides of the same coin so it speaks to priorities. In Spain or Germany the same sequence might more often be greeted with a lot of OOOOOOOO’s and a celebration of the attacking player’s abilities. So when Arsenal concede goals or chances, the commentary is more often than not what individual players were doing in the buildup to that. Arteta and Xhaka aren’t physically dominant ball winners and they get dribbled past a lot. That seems to supersede their undeniable value in an offensive sense.

          1. Arteta was a great reader of the game, and positionally astute. Xhaka is not. Arteta played as a 4,10, 8 and then 4 again.
            Xhaka doesnt have that versatility. Arteta’s legs went, and he became a non-playing captain. Xhaka is not yet in his prime years. No so sure about this comparison.

  6. Lampard beats Mourinho.

    Holy cow. I cant see how he survives this… losing to a championship side. At Old Trafford.

    Nerve-shredding pen shootout. Watch it on replay, if you havent seen it.

    1. Actually, I’m now hoping for a couple of good wins for Jose, so the show can go on at least through the holidays. Longer if we are lucky.

    2. The height of clever tactical change for Jose is throwing on the tall Belgian with the big afro to nut in crosses into the box.

  7. Tim, this is great work. Again, many thanks. But it leaves me more confused than convinced about players like Xhaka and that is a red flag in itself.

    I am on part of a tour filling in for the guitar tech for several gigs. He’s like Wenger, doing everything. Normally on a tour of this size you’d have 2-3 guys managing the equipment, tuning, maintenance, etc for all these instruments. What does it say about my my age that I’d rather have another roadie than a groupie?
    Anyway, this guy is a Man U fan and he thinks hiring Mourinho has done more to set back his club since the retirement of Sir Alex. Thoughts?

  8. The biggest disservice we as fans have given to Granit is the wrong interpretation of his role. Fans can’t be blamed too much though because Arsene created this wrong context for analysis of Xhaka.

    Xhaka started out his career as a number 10, just like Mikel Arteta. He thrived in that role and was part of the Swiss side that reached the Euro u21 championships final in 2011. Xhaka was short at the time, and I saw him as a great attacking midfield prospect. It was only after he moved to Monchengladbach that I realised he hit a growth spurt similar to Iwobi’s this past summer. He dropped deeper and played as an 8. He did very well playing alongside our very own defensive midfield development player, Harvard Nordtveit. Xhaka only moved deeper when the immergence of Dahoud, a very good box to box midfielder. This combination must have been what convinced A rsene of Xhaka’s ability to take over from Arteta. Dahoud is what Ramsey used to be, a box to box midfielder who scores and assists, while putting in Arturo Vidal level defensive stats. That is Xhaka playing as a 4, not a six.

    Xhaka is versatile, he has just found his perfect role. Toni Kroos has also had a similar path to his current role in his career, he just has the benefit of never being shoehorned in a role that put him front and centre, defensively. Athleticism is good, but it needs players like Xhaka to get the most out of it. England went to the world cup with a squad filled with athletic players and fell at the hands of the first decent team they met. We have a player in Xhaka who has been performing well since he signed, he has just been judged using the wrong metrics. Xhaka is just like Verratti, compare their stats and you will see, but Verratti is never judged like a defensive midfielder.

  9. OK so this is brilliant analysis, and gets to the heart of the playmaker role. Thanks Tim, and I’m always blown away by the work that people are doing to come up with these stats.

    So if I get it right, roughly speaking Xhaka is an very good playmaker, but still way behind Arteta, Cazorla and Fabregas in terms of creativity and productivity. And he has shown this under two managers now.

    I like Xhaka for what he offers. But. At this point I think we can say that we have the same midfield problem under Emery that we had under Wenger, and the constant factor is that we no longer have Cazorla, or a player anywhere near him in terms of quality.

    I think I’m ready to say that if they can’t be coached to do it, then I would sell both Xhaka and Ramsey in a heartbeat if it got us even one player who could control the midfield again.

    1. greg, i believe the stats merely show that xhaka is involved in the buildup, not so much that he’s critical to the goals/chances that arsenal create. the problem arsenal has is, since cazorla and arteta left, they lack leaders in midfield; players with the sound tactical judgement, maturity, and experience to control a midfield, especially in a tough game. i believe emery want’s xhaka to be the leader in that midfield and xhaka may even want that responsibility. however, to put him in charge of that midfield is similar to wenger making vermaelen captain. it will likely end in disaster.

      it’s not about xhaka’s talent. vermaelen is probably the most technically gifted defender arsenal have ever had. however, he struggled TACTICALLY, which is why he put in so many poor performances. it’s never been his talent. wenger putting the extra burden of that armband on a guy who’s struggling to play his position well was a disaster waiting to happen. it’s the same with xhaka. he’s talented as heck but he’s not a very sound tactical player.

      i said in my post yesterday that the true value of a player, especially in midfield, is what they do when they’re not at the point of attack. soon, they will be defending at the point of attack but will they be ready? the tell that they’re not ready is they find themselves chasing or making late challenges. i praised the likes of cazorla, arteta, coquelin, etc. because you rarely saw them chasing guys in midfield unless they were rotating to cover for someone. even guendouzi and torreira don’t chase or are caught out of position; well torreira does because it’s tough for him to keep up but at least he knows what’s going on. xhaka sees everything late but we don’t see him chase because he doesn’t do that. he pretends to defend by lunging instead.

      1. It’s not even tactically, I said it before, but Xhaka is also not good technically with the ball at his feet. He’s painfully one-footed, something I can never grasp how a professional player could be, but I digress. He needs acres of space to turn and his short passing is woeful, so he slows the game down. He’s also not very inventive. What he does well is spraying long balls to the fullbacks.

      2. This exactly, Josh.

        His talent isn’t in doubt at all. As I keep harping on about, his sense of gathering danger is poor. There are many players youd consider slow of foot. But in football, speed of brain counts for a lot.

        All the pity, because he’s an intelligent guy. I also like what he stands for as a man, and as a bi-nation citizen. In many respects, he’s a remarkable guy.

        I don’t agree with Emob that he hasn’t got it technically. His touch is fundamentally sound. He’s got the sweetest left-peg strike in the team. Like Vermaelen one time. Like Podolski one time. We know what happened there.

      3. Joshuad – Spot on! He doesn’t read the game well enough. He takes too long to respond to what the other team is doing. I hate to be fatalistic, but that is something that is very hard to teach. I see kids on my 10 year old’s team that either have it or they don’t. It’s instinctive. You recognize what they are trying to do and respond to get in the passing lane, intercept the ball or make a challenge. Xhaka is slow to recognize, and slow to move in response. And he has a bullseye on his back when he gets the ball in our end in the buildup. Teams know he is slow to turn and makes poor passes. I don’t disagree he has his good points, it’s just that even with a great partner who helps to cover for him, Xhaka will make mistakes that will hurt the team. He feels more like a 3rd choice midfielder than a first XI guy. A great backup who sees a lot of minutes.

  10. Goonaz, would you take Paul Pogba if he came cut price and we could agree on wages? Where would you play him?

      1. I like Ramsey, but I’d take that swap. Dont think Pogba has yet shown us a third of what’s in his talent locker. Tremendous footballer.

        (I ask because reports suggest that things have broken down really badly between him and Jose, and leaving is a possibility. He might have come to Europa League Arsenal if Wenger was still here; probably not now)

        1. …and ramsey hasn’t signed a new contract yet; very much in the mold of alexis this time last year. his £110 a week wages could supplement pogba’s significantly.

          you’re absolutely right about pogba’s talent. ramsey doesn’t compare and he gives us little as far as quality is concerned. pogba’s a clear and significant upgrade. the chance to link up with some other talented frenchmen not including auba, who grew up in france, and mesut? that’s an absolutely terrifying front 4, all capable of scoring and creating. yeah, i’ll take it. in fact, i think arsenal should endeavor to make that happen.

          1. We’re not an attractive enough proposition for him, Im afraid. And I dont see us meeting his wages, or even a reduced transfer fee. But hey, dreaming is what football fans like me do. The first time he left United, for Juve, would have been our shot. That’s gone now.

    1. …a midfield three of torreira. guendouzi, and pogba posted behind lacazette, ozil, and aubameyang? yeah, gimme that!

      1. United would never sell Pogba to us but yeah.. that would be a significant upgrade to our midfield. Most likely his next destination is Barca or Madrid.

  11. Well, we’re Koenke’s beeyatch now. Wholly. All in the family, no listing.

    This feels like a moment. Can’t wait for Tim’s take.

    Came here prepared to be all excited about Smith-Rowe starting, but this.

  12. 6 and 2 now, all wins after dropping the first two, and let’s face it: we should have had 3 points from Chelsea.
    COYG and all that.
    How different is this side from a Wenger side? If Wenger had still been in charge what do you think our record would be right now?

    1. Hard to say but result wise I think we pretty much got as well as we could have hoped for. I would say the only disappointment is that we didnt get anything from the Chelsea match. Would we have bought Torreira and Guendouzi with Arsene in charge? I very much doubt it and even though we are not as good as we want to be, they have both added something to our midfield. So all of that is positive I think. Baby steps as they say.

      1. I hope we aren’t sitting here in May talking about how those three points lost at the Bridge ultimately became the difference between Chelsea usurping us to the top four, but I’m afraid we might.

    2. Guendouzi and Torreira are exciting talents and useful players but they haven’t been transformational in terms of their effect on our midfield.

      Under Wenger we would be roughly where we are now. Lost the first two, won the rest. AMN would have started in midfield instead of Guen in preseason, Elneny may have got more game time since then.

      I haven’t seen everything so far but it’s hard to point to anything we are doing much better, or even very differently. Except maybe the playing out from the back, which has proved difficult.

      Is there a good tactical analysis anywhere on Emery Arsenal v Wenger Arsenal?

      1. Oh the other thing is that we are no longer going through Ozil at 10. Not sure how that makes the best use of him.

    3. Under 23 team guy saying “the game is getting easier under Ljungberg”. Guardiola also has the reputation of making the game easier, of cutting through the complexity. Looks to me as though the game is getting more difficult under Emery. If he is obsessive with systems, videos etc. that could be true, increasing the cognitive load for players. This kind of gets to the heart of my concern over his approach, but let’s see.

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