Jenkinson: A threat to Sagna
Arsenal has played 10 games this season with seven in the Premier League, two in the Champions League and one Capitol One cup game. The Gunners have won six games, drawn three and have suffered their only defeat/wake up call against Chelsea.
Arsenal.com‘s resident statistician, Josh James, took out time to pull out some statistics on the team after 10 games and trust me, they are worth sharing.
Starting with the players who have amassed the most game time, Carl Jenkinson and Mikel Arteta stand out as the most ever-present Gunners in the team as they’ve notched up 810 minutes of game time, playing nine out of Arsenal’s 10 games this season. Over the course of the season so far, 27 Gunners have taken to the pitch and there have been six debutants as well—new signings Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, as well as youngsters Damian Martinez, Martin Angha and Serge Gnabry.
Moving over to goals scored, the Gunners have slammed in 24 goals past opposition defences, taking their tally to 2.4 goals per game. Last season, if Arsenal had scored 24 goals in its first 10 games, I could have sworn that Robin van P£r$i£ would have scored 15; this term, 10 different Gunners have gotten on the score sheet so far.
Gervinho (a.k.a "Le Forehead") leads the charts with five goals, while Theo Walcott and Podolski are tied in second place with four goals each.
On assists, Alex Song led the charts with 16 defense-splitting passes last season but after just 10 games, 12 Gunners have put up a collective effort to play roles in the 24 goals scored thus far and guess who’s on top?
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott…Olivier Giroud, with four assists to his name.
In terms of tackles won this season, it would shock you to know that our three world-class center backs, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen aren’t in the top three in the tackling department. Mikel Arteta leads this section with an impressive 31 tackles, and he’s followed by Kieran Gibbs, who has 24 tackles. The pygmy in the middle, Santi Cazorla, has 15 tackles this season.
Moving over to shots attempted, Arsenal was renowned for its cliche of trying to pass the ball to score the perfect goal but, as expected, the new signings haven’t integrated to the Arsenal way in the shooting department.
Cazorla has fired the highest number of shots this season with 23, with only two reaching the intended target. Giroud has fired 18 shots but his profligacy has ensured that only two have gone in as well. Lukas Podolski completes the trio with 11 attempted shots but four have gone in.
These shooting statistics remind me of a certain Tomas Rosicky when he arrived from Dortmund. In the early stages of his Arsenal career, Little Mozart fired four shots from every five passes he received but after he got integrated into the Arsenal way, Rosicky passed the ball five more times for every five passes he received.
I’m sure you get my drift.
Speaking of passes, Mikel Arteta remains the King de la Pass at Arsenal, as he has attempted a whopping 790 successful passes in just nine games, with a percentage completion of 93.8%. His compatriot, Santi Cazorla notching up 554 passes and Carl Jenkinson makes the list with 465 successful passes.
Arteta, Cazorla and Lil’ Jenko also top the “touches” table as the Lego-haired Spaniard has 957 touches, the hobbit has 846 touches and Jenko has 765 touches.
After reviewing these stats, Mikel Arteta has really been a phenom this season, but I’ll want to shift some focus to the emerging Carl Jenkinson. I know that I’ve shared my views on this right-back dilemma but with Bacary Sagna making his comeback from injury after playing 60 minutes of Arsenal U21’s win over Reading this week, it will be interesting to see if Arsene Wenger throws the Frenchman straight back into the starting lineup.
At the start of the season, there wouldn’t be a soccer blog out there that would even question this situation, but with the way that Carl Jenkinson has been performing, how hard he has been working and how much he has improved, Wenger might just have a decision to make.
For me, there is no questioning who the better player is at this moment in time. Sagna has been one of the most consistent and hard-working Premier League players of the last five years and his seniority will be welcomed to the side. As soon as he is match fit and sharp, you would expect him to go straight back into the team, but this time round he will know that his position in the starting XI is not as secure as it has been over recent years.
Now Sagna has a hungry and a more than capable young player who will have the taste for first team football and will be fighting all the way for Sagna’s shirt.
Some might think it is harsh that Jenkinson will most likely be dropped, but you have to consider the fact that he is still young and developing, and some time on the side-lines might just help him gain perspective of where he is and how hard he has to fight to be an Arsenal player. His improvements over the last couple of months have been enormous.
He looks more assured and confident on the ball and has the experience of playing in big Premier League and Champions League games, which will put him in good stead for a long and successful career.
Timing is everything in football. Last season might have been a little too early for Jenkinson to get his opportunity but he has been fortunate that Sagna suffered the injury when he did and he has benefited from it. At the same time, mow we know, Wenger knows, Sagna knows and the rest of the squad knows that Jenkinson can do a job for the team if called upon.
There is a lot of football to play this season, and having two quality right-backs who are fighting for one position is a great problem to have.