Arsene Wenger has been keen to get a deal done for a player who he regards as the best right-back in the Premier League. Whilst those claims are disputable, there is no doubt that the 31-year-old has been a very consistent player for the Gunners over the years.
He even made it clear today that he loves Arsenal - but he could still be on his way out of the club.
But has he been the best right-back in North London this season? With England international Kyle Walker being the main competition, we just have to find out.
It’s easy to look at team statistics such as goals conceded, clean sheets and potential set piece records but collective team records can’t establish the influence in which either player has on their respective sides.
We have to dig deeper, and that is where we look at individual statistics for each specific right-back role, courtesy of Opta Stats.
First up is tackling statistics:
Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker comes out a clear winner here. Perhaps one argument could be suggested that Arsenal tend to be more on the front foot than Spurs, yet the average between the two is quite big, and would suggest the Spurs man is more dominant in one-on-one situations.
Next up we have blocked crosses:
The two right-backs come out tied in this aspect, yet Sagna holds a slight advantage in the averages as a result of playing a game less. Willingness to charge back to the byline is also key in this specific role, and both hold up comparably with other fullbacks in the league.
Spurs' England international is faster than Arsenal's Bacary Sagna, and this could be a huge factor in the big difference of interceptions. Interestingly, Kyle Walker has often been criticised for being out of position - especially on international duty - but the statistics would suggest that he more than makes up for it with his interceptions.
Kyle Walker once again comes out on top, competing 22 dribbles to Sagna’s five. Largely due to Walker’s speed and ball control, he is often used as an outlet down the right flank and at times appears much more like a winger. Sagna’s marauding forward runs have perhaps decreased with age – and the French international certainly isn’t getting any younger.
|Name||Team||Pos||Total Cross||Accurate Cross||Apps||Mins|
Surprisingly, Tottenham’s man comes out on top again. Presumably, Arsenal’s 10 headed goals this season – Premier League’s second highest – would suggest that they have some decent crossers. However, Sagna’s 14 successful crosses from 80 is lower on average than Walker’s 18 from 85.
One the balance of it, Tottenham’s Kyle Walker comes out on top as the North London’s best right-back. However, the results are based purely on these statistics only, and a right-back’s job description and important qualities differs with each different manager.
image: © wonker