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Stats: Could Morgan Schneiderlin replace Mikel Arteta at Arsenal?

Arsenal continue to be linked with moves to land a long-term replacement for Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard has proven a faithful servant to the cause since coming to north London from Everton in the summer of 2011 - making 83 Premier League appearances as a fixture in the starting 11.

Yet at 31 years of age with a contract that expires in June 2015, Arsene Wenger is thought to be keen to bring in a successor to the Spaniard with an eye towards the future.

A pair of Germans in Ilkay Gundogan and Lars Bender have been said to be on the radar of the powers that be at the Emirates, but another man already plying his trade on English shores has been thought to be the subject of enduring interest from the Arsenal manager.

That man is Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, who has widely impressed since making his way to the top flight in via promotion two seasons ago.

Reports late in January alleged that Wenger balked at a £15m price-tag set by the Saints to take on the Frenchman in January, though a summer bid from hasn’t been ruled out and it seems reasonable Arsenal could be back in for him when the transfer window opens again.

And so with a a move to secure one of the Premier League’s burgeoning gems potentially on the cards for the Gunners, how does Schneiderlin stack up statistically against the man he’d be taking over for?

Defensive contribution

As both players are deployed in a double pivot in front of their respective defences, breaking up opposition play is a crucial piece of their job descriptions - and one that both thrive in. Schneiderlin in particular has been hailed for his ability to wreck forward moves, and duly has made 48 interceptions, 67 tackles and 143 ball recoveries for his efforts.

All figure as higher tallies than those of Arteta in the same regard, though the Frenchman has played nearly 600 more minutes than his Arsenal counterpart and thus finds himself trailing in all but tackles on a minutes-per basis. Such a phenomenon suggests that whilst Schneiderlin is quite effective defensively, the Spaniard is more efficient on the whole, perhaps able to read the game better given his greater experience even if not able to cover as much ground as the younger Southampton man.

PlayerTeammins / Interceptionmins / Won Tacklemins / Ball RecoveryAppsMins
Morgan Schneiderlin Southampton 42.27 30.28 14.19 24 2,029
Mikel Arteta Arsenal 38.00 31.39 11.46 20 1,444

Attacking contribution

Converting defence into attack is the second prong of the role held by the two men, especially in view of the slick passing game employed by both Pochettino and Wenger. Overall, Arteta has been the more prolific in completing just a tick over 92% of his passes, whilst Schneiderlin comes in with a success rate slightly shy of 89%.

Additionally, Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder has played an accurate long ball every 16.8 minutes and played a team-mate into the attacking third every 7.7 minutes, besting the competition in both areas. On top of it all, Arteta has ceded possession to his adversaries less frequently than Schneidelin has - vital to keeping his side ticking over from a deep-lying position.

PlayerTeammins / Final Third Entriesmins / Accurate Long Ballsmins / Poss Lost AllAccurate Passing %AppsMins
Morgan Schneiderlin Southampton 12.15 22.54 9.57 88.75 24 2,029
Mikel Arteta Arsenal 7.72 16.79 11.37 92.19 20 1,444

It’s quite plain to see that Arteta has been statistically superior to Schneiderlin this term when figures are adjusted to reflect minutes played, but there’s a further element in this that Wenger is of course alert to.

Being seven years younger than Arteta, Schneiderlin is capable of shouldering a heavier workload, something crucial if the Gunners are to compete for silverware in multiple competitions.

Logic suggests that the Spaniard’s fitness will only diminish further from this point, whilst the Strasbourg youth product is already quite skilled and still has plenty of room to develop.

Joining a top side might serve to raise Schneiderlin’s game, and under the tutelage of Arteta, has even better prospects for growth.

At this point in the  midfielder’s career, he looks to have the proper foundation and technical qualities to succeed Arteta - so would be a quality purchase for the Gunners.

Whether he’s worth the reported £15m Southampton are keen to receive in exchange for his services is up to the Arsenal hierarchy, but with the proper realisation of his full potential in a team and role naturally suited to him, Schneiderlin could indeed prove good value if Wenger decides to splash the cash.

image: © wonker

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