Stats: Six Champions League midfielders Arsenal could have done with last night


Arsenal performed woefully against Borussia Dortmund - and Wenger's interest in a DM may have piqued had he watched any of the other matches…

Mesut Ozil has seemingly been scapegoated for Arsenal's abject performance in the Champions League during their 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening but some of the Gunners's problems can also be attributed to their lack of a specialist defensive midfielder.

Arsene Wenger's decision to appoint Mikel Arteta the club captaincy attracted censure due to a: the player's advancing age and b: his inability to influence games as much as, say, Aaron Ramsey could last season or even Per Mertesacker.

Arteta is not a defensive midfielder by trade, but a player able to retain possession - something he struggled to do at crucial points against Borussia Dortmund last night, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan also had the run on him, also.

  TeamPosTouchesPass AccDuel WonAerial WonTackleInterceptKey PassAppsMins
Mikel Arteta Arsenal MF 62 80.0% 4 1 2 2 0 1 77

Arteta was able to win a few duels and complete a couple of interceptions but his overall statistics for the European encounter paled in comparison to a number of specialist defensive midfielders who have either piqued Wenger's interest before, or would no doubt strengthen the current Arsenal roster by providing a barrier, or a layer of protection, in front of the defence.

  TeamPosTouchesPass AccDuel WonAerial WonTackleInterceptKey PassAppsMins
Felipe Melo Galatasaray MF 94 89.6% 10 2 7 5 1 1 90
Gonzalo Castro Bayer 04 MF 85 78.1% 6 1 4 4 2 1 90
Paul Pogba Juventus MF 83 91.4% 9 3 3 1 2 1 90
Lars Bender Bayer 04 MF 68 76.6% 12 2 6 2 1 1 76
Steven Defour Anderlecht MF 67 77.6% 4 0 3 3 2 1 90
Jeremy Toulalan Monaco MF 59 67.57 10 1 4 3 0 1 90

Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo performed marvelously for Galatasaray against Anderlecht, completing almost 90% of his passes, receiving 94 touches on the football and winning ten duels (two of which were aerial), while also providing a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Melo was not the only in-form defensive minded midfielder on display on Tuesday in Europe, as Gonzalo Castro for Bayer Leverkusen, Paul Pobga for Juventus, Lars Bender, Steven Defour for Anderlecht and the all-action Jeremy Toulalan for AS Monaco would all have no doubt been vast improvements on the largely ineffective Arteta.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch