Monday 1 October 2012

6 Week Team Analysis - Arsenal

After 2011/12's top two teams comes Arsenal.  How are they doing?


Excluding the Southampton game (no data from 2011/12) Arsenal have scored around about the same number of goals as last season in the corresponding fixtures.   They've had the almost the same number of shots in total and no. of shots in the box.  A key difference though is their shot accuracy (hitting the target) this year - down to 23% from 36% in 2011/12t.  Is this the Van Persie effect?  Or the Giroud effect?  Looking at the games individually it's the opening two games against Sunderland and Stoke that were particularly poor, and from the Player Form table below you can see Giroud in particular has had a bit of a shocker, hitting the target just once from 11 attempts, 10 in the box.  No wonder he's been dropped and correspondingly Arsenal's attacking form has picked up.

The Gunners have received many plaudits this season for their defensive improvement and this is demonstrated in the reductin in opponent's shots in box percentage.  Through these five fixtures in 2011/12 Arsenal allowed their opponents to have a whopping 70% shots in the box, with a season average of 59% almost bad as the likes of QPR and Norwich.  This year they have a much improved value of 53% which is very impressive when you take their opposition into account (~50% is more like City or Stoke last year).

As mentioned earlier Giroud has get off to a Chamakh-like start to his Arsenal career and has rightly been benched by Wegner.  Podolski hasn't really contributed much yet from a fantasy perspective either.  Unlike the Manchester teams thouhh there are some settled options in this team.  The main picks for you FPL team bare Cazorla and perhaps three goal Gervinho, who's been played in the central strikers role. He's not a proper striker though and if I were Wegner I'd think about giving Podolski a go up front. The best fantasy options for Arsenal seem to be Cazorla, or in defence, with Gibbs at £5.8m in particular the most likely to keep his place and return attacking and a share of defensive points.
Overall Arsenal are still one of the best teams in the Premiership. Their defence has genuinely strengthened this season under the stewardship of Steve Bould and their defensive players should be considered for purchase, particularly Gibbs.

With the loss of Van Persie, the time taken for new signings Podolski and Giroud to bed in, plus a pretty shitty opening fixture list, the Arsenal attack are yet to prick up the ears of FPL managers but given their underlying stats I don't think we'll be saying that in 6 weeks time.  Someone does need to find their shooting boots though.

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