Thursday, June 08, 2017

Sead Kolasinac - A statistical comparison

Arsenal just made their first signing. Sead Kolasinac, Welcome to Arsenal! I will admit it was one of the worst kept secrets, but a relief to know that we are in the transfer market this early and making things happen.

Sead Kolasinac is primarily a left back who played for Schalke and is now in the last month of his contract. Arsenal pulled a march on rival clubs who had Kolasinac in their radars. I am sure Wenger was impressed with few factors that helped Arsenal track Kolasinac and finally winning the transfer battle. For one, he is young (23). He is versatile, an attribute that rates highly for Wenger. He can play left back, left centre back in a 3-4-2-1 system (which reaped dividends in the latter part of last season), left wing-back and, if needed, further forward as a left winger. Add to this, the fact that he was available for free transfer was the icing on the cake for Wenger. In more ways than one, he is a young and ideal replacement to an ageing yet effective Nacho Monreal. 

Let's have a look at how Kolasinac fares in comparison to Arsenal left-backs and Danny Rose (included in PFA team of the season as a left back for 2016-17 season) - 

Defensive Statistical Comparison - 

Sead Kolasinac Squawka Comparison Analysis - Part 1 of 2 Defense

From a defensive standpoint, Arsenal have definitely got an upgrade on our existing left back and a player comparable to the current best left of the league. That is quite a statement! Kolasinac is statistically better in many of the defensive attributes in the comparison. He has won 2.22 tackles per 90 minutes and it's better than even Danny Rose. Same can be said about his interception count (3.39 per 90 minutes) and defensive errors (0). He is behind Monreal on blocks count but better than Rose (0.22 v/s 0.31 for Monreal) but you must know that Monreal has played in a centre back role where blocking a shot has more weightage. He has received more yellow cards than Monreal (experience counts) but much less than Danny Rose. His clearance count and fouls committed as the worst in the comparison (which will be the attributes he plan to improve given that he's only 23).

Attacking Statistical Comparison - 

Sead Kolasinac Squawka Comparison Analysis - Part 2 of 2 Attack

A defender's primary and clear responsibility used to be to help teams to concede no / less goals. Anything more was usually a bonus. Not anymore. Defenders contribute to the attacking prowess of the team as well. Kolasinac has scored more goals and provided more assists per 90 minutes than any of the players listed here for comparison - which is definitely a match for a team like Arsenal who is more attack minded. So when Arsenal switches from defense to attack, expect Kolasinac to sprint down from the left side of the field and be ready to support the attackers. His attack score and total score are not the best but definitely comparable to the best that Arsenal has and the best in the league. 

Conclusion - Arsenal have opened the transfer dealings on a positive note. Kolasinac is definitely an upgrade over the existing setup. And with age on his side, expect him to continue his development and get even better. The only downside is his injury background. But Arsenal backroom staff are better equipped in that level going by their performance in the last season (least injuries compared to previous seasons). Some of the Arsenal fans may not be excited by Kolasinac joining and that's primarily due to his transfer amount - 0. But we need to understand, he chose to see off his contract (a sign of loyalty, if you may) and get the best possible deal for himself and his new team. Kolasinac ends up as a winner in this deal and Arsenal joins him in the winning list as well. 

Stats compiled from Squawka Comparison Matrix - click here for link.

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