In this series I aim to cut through all the hype and take a detailed look at what is really happening on the pitch.

I closely analyse the underlying stats of key teams (focusing on the last 6 matches) and discuss their stand out players for performance buzz purposes.

I’ll rotate between the big leagues each week.

To keep it focused I will only discuss key changes that matter on the Index, not general performances of players that readers can get from standard match reports.

Arsenal

Quite a frustrating team to analyse because there are so many players here who are almost good but not quite doing enough to fully convince.

Bellerin has never been much of a performance favourite, but his stats aren’t bad lately. He’s getting into the box and threatening, with 2 shots in each of his last 3 starts (and an own goal vs Leicester, shh). If one of these goes in, he could pop up with a big score particularly if it’s the match winner.

As he makes his return Kolasinac will be worth watching. He’s been out injured but he made 75 passes vs Wolves and got well forward, unfortunately without any actual shots. With some goal threat, he’d look a good option. Arsenal centre backs remain a relative long shot for a big club but a win is possible on a good day because the baselines are solid.

Any one of Sokratis, Mustafi or Holding are doing enough in the underlying stats so really it comes down to who has the biggest goal threat.
That threat is limited but I can see Holding and Mustafi creeping forward occasionally on the heat maps.

Xhaka has long been a puzzle. His strong baselines are no fluke, and the passing numbers in particular are top tier. All we need is that goal to turn those 150’s into 200+’s. Historically, he hasn’t scored many. But he is getting some chances all be it from range. And it’s 2 goals in 12 this season which is better than his average.

There is so much right and so much wrong with Xhaka. But if he pops up with a monster score sometime soon nobody should be surprised.

His midfield partner Torreira has very similar traits. Again, the passing and involvement are great and the baselines will be high. The only question is goal threat. He often gets a long range effort or two per game which makes him very capable of a high score but probably not consistently.

Iwobi isn’t quite as bad as you might think from a glance at his performance scores. His limited minutes hurt his cause, but his playing position is decent and his possession is in the right areas. His involvement is average though and he needs more goal threat. If the scouts are to believed he has room to grow but there aren’t many reasons to believe a win is imminent.

Ramsey is having his minutes restricted, as you might expect for a player on the way out. He isn’t sulking though and when he got 90 minutes vs Sporting he was running the show with 118 passes.
It’s just another reminder of his quality. He’s got an unsettled period ahead but with an advanced position at the right club, he could do very well.

Good passing from Ozil as you might expect but his goal threat has been limited, even in early season when he was scoring regularly. He was just extremely clinical with very few chances. That suggests he may have over performed but if the goals keep coming, he is capable of a win.

Limited minutes for Aubameyang and an unsettled playing position is causing grief for holders. He isn’t the sort of high involvement player who will get a high baseline.

He does however fit the explosive goal scorer type. Unfortunately, his 2 goal+ days have always come when he didn’t play the full game.
I think he is much better than his performance scores let on. Emery just needs to decide what he is doing with him.

Lacazette’s involvement is limited so he will need big goal threat (3-4 efforts per game) for him to be regularly competitive.

At the moment, that is mixed with just 1 effort in some games. He looks better in some games such as vs Leicester where he did manage 4 efforts but this needs to get more consistent for him to be a regular challenger.

Smith-Rowe has caught the eye with his goal scoring exploits of late. His goal threat and playing position have been excellent, but let down by poor possession numbers.

It’s possible he could grow in confidence and start having more influence on the game overall, but I’m not over excited yet.

Tottenham

Both Davies and Trippier have shown good possession and passing stats all season, with good forward running.

Lately, Trippier’s goal threat has been weak whilst Davies’ has been very good (4 shots vs PSV and 1 in most recent matches). Both capable of a win on their day, but Davies looking the more likely at the moment.

We should continue to see strong baselines from Spurs centre backs, their good distribution will see to that. But, as Foyth proved recently, we need that goal to turn it into a winning score.

Despite a weak historic scoring record in recent seasons, Alderweirald has had a few chances across recent games and looks the most likely.

Dier has missed a few with injury. He’s a consistent player, high baseline, low goal threat usually limited to 1 shot in a game if at all. On those rare days he does connect though, he should challenge.

Winks has posted solid baselines when getting 90 minutes and this is no fluke, it should be consistent. His passing game is superb. However, he doesn’t seem to have much interest in getting himself on the score sheet. He could be a top class centre midfielder who runs the show. If he could add some goal threat to that, even just 5-6 goals per season, he could be a monster. But there just isn’t sign of that yet and the worry is he could end up being a frustrating nearly man. One to watch closely.

Moura suffers a bit from frequently getting subbed off. He doesn’t see a lot of the ball, but his goal threat is decent, particularly vs PSV where he managed 4 shots from inside the box in just 62 minutes. He would need to make that level of threat consistent, because he will likely need 2 goals to challenge for a dividend. Those days look like rare occurrences and actually when he did get 2 vs Man Utd, he somehow conspired to end up with just 132.

As ever Eriksen is a quality performance player but recently he has been held back by injury. He hasn’t exploded yet this season but the underlying stats are there, with excellent passing married to strong goal threat, often with 2-3 efforts per game. He’s making owners wait but it should be a matter of time before he comes good.

A good playing position and some reasonable distribution from Lamela, but he’d probably need to be hitting 2 goals to mount a serious dividend challenge.

That looks a bit beyond his powers at the moment and it explains why despite 4 goals in 427 minutes, he’s not making an impression on the Index.

Alli has rarely done much damage to the performance scoring charts. Injury has hampered him this season, obviously, but even when fit last season he didn’t do much for us.

However, he could significantly improve. If you look at his last two games since coming back from injury, his playing position, goal threat and distribution have been very good.

Against PSV he had 5 shots, 3 of those from the box and made 46 passes. Versus Palace, 2 shots and 63 passes. As soon as a game winning goal goes in he will be scoring big with numbers like that and people may soon remember his quality.

Not a great season so far for Kane on the Index in performance terms, but he has improved lately. His huge 255 vs PSV shows what he is capable of.
His goal threat can be monstrous, and he’s had 8 shots on goal more than once in recent games.

He’s capable of exploding again soon and whilst the next opponents Chelsea and Arsenal might be tough tests, after that things get pretty kind.

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Coming soon: Liverpool, Chelsea and the Best of the Rest

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