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Arteta’s wingmen: Twitter poll gives insight into Gooner expectations

This fascinating Twitter poll question posed by Daily Cannon’s Dan Critchlow helps us analyse wingers from a managerial perspective. The results of the poll show 63.6% of votes cast would rather have 15 goals and 5 assists than 5 goals and 15 assists the previous season. Therefore roughly a third at 36.4% of pollsters are in favour of having a winger who provides assists with 10,812 votes cast in the final verdict.

Dan Critchlow said:

“Some pollsters argued that assists can vary in quality much more widely than goals, which I think is a fair point. Others said they’d rather get their creativity from midfield, or pointed to the success of Liverpool with two goal-scoring wingers.”

The top teams in the Premier League often deliver wingers who score lots of goals such as Liverpool and Manchester City, with players like Mane of Liverpool scoring a high tally of goals compared to assists. Arsenal Football Club doesn’t seem to have those resources at the moment to create and score those extra goals either, as Tom Worville and James McNicholas said in their article on 20 May in The Athletic:

“Let’s not beat around the bush, Arsenal have seen a fairly swift fall from grace in the past few seasons.”

Arsenal need more assists than goals from Pepe next season especially from a managerial perspective. I would want my right and left wingers to be fast and clinical with assists.

pepe-kick

Criticisms have been voiced of Arsenal right winger Nicolas Pepe’s lack of goals by Arsenal fans and former manager Unai Emery. When Pepe joined Arsenal for £72m last summer, fans were expecting the winger to start straight off the blocks and score like he did at Lille, his former club. With the benefit of hindsight, I would still sign Pepe if I was a manager.

If we look at what Dan said following his recent twitter Poll I agree more with his viewpoint:

“In Pepe’s case, he has relatively similar goal and assist tallies, with six goals and eight assists. I think that’s a solid start, particularly if he can hit 10 goals and 10 assists by the end of the season. He was obviously much more of a goalscorer with Lille last season, scoring 23 and assisting 12. So if he rediscovers that kind of form, I think Arsenal fans will definitely take to him.”

After Aubameyang, who often plays out wide on the left, Pepe is our most consistently dangerous player in terms of goals and assists. Without the pace and trickery of Buyako Saka who I can see playing on the left wing next season instead of left back, very few goals would have been created elsewhere this season so let’s hold back on criticism of him.

Trophy winning eras for the Gunners – such as during George Graham’s  tenure – depended on a quality winger who could create assists and keep a steady tally of goals… Anders Limpar for example. When Arsene Wenger Joined the club he started with wing backs, but after his debut season quickly pounced  on Marc Overmars. Then it was Robert Pires, often playing on the left wing with Freddie Ljungberg on the right – both adding many assists and goals for Thierry Henry to win us the Premiership on three occasions.

Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott, on his day, was a dangerous winger, and in his later Emirates days would play off Sanchez and Ozil and score goals. Since Walcott left we have not had a winger in my opinion who could create chances and score goals until Pepe Joined us, maybe the lack of top four Champions League success is down to a lack of creative assists from the flanks. We’ve only seen glimpses of Pepe’s class this season but I think when fully match fit next season, I favour him as a winger to raise his goal tally and increase those much needed assist statistics.

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