Stats: Can Diego Lugano ease Arsenal's defensive crisis?

Arsene Wenger

Would Diego Lugano be a decent signing for Arsenal? Here's what the stats say.

According to reports, Arsenal are exploring the free transfer market in a desperate attempt to ease their defensive problems.

The Gunners’ lack of depth in defence was apparent on Tuesday night when Arsene Wenger was left with just three senior defenders for their 2-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund. 

With Calum Chambers likely to fill in at right-back for the injured Mathieu Debuchy, Arsenal have no senior cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in central defence.

Veteran defender Diego Lugano is a man being touted as a potential acquisition. The 33-year-old Uruguay captain found himself released by West Brom in the summer after just one season at the Hawthorns.

There will, however, be questions regarding his quality; is he capable of supporting the club's leaky defence, or is his arrival simply a disaster waiting to happen?

Based on the statistics, courtesy of Opta, we evaluate his suitability to the current Arsenal cause. 

  TeamPosTackle Succ (%)Aerial Won /AppAerial Lost /AppInterception /AppBlock /AppAccurate Pass /AppInaccurate Pass /AppAppsMins
Per Mertesacker Germany DF 100.00 2.33 0.67 0.83 0.33 49.50 3.50 6 436
Laurent Koscielny France DF 0.00 2.75 0.50 0.50 0.50 20.00 3.00 4 223
Diego Lugano Uruguay DF 0.00 5.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 35.00 11.00 2 180

His World Cup stats are perhaps the most accurate to go by, considering just how limited his game time has been throughout the past 12 months. He made just seven starts for West Brom last term, whilst appearing only twice in Brazil.

Lugano averaged a greater number of aerial duels than both Koscielny and Mertesacker, and while he recorded more successful headers per match, his increased efforts also saw him beaten to the ball on more occasions. He also attempted just one tackle throughout the tournament, yet failed to emerge with possession in this instance. 

Meanwhile, the Arsenal duo recorded a greater number of successful blocks, interceptions and passes per match, while Lugano proved inaccurate on a more regular basis. His pass completion rate of 76% is far below the current Gunners average (86% accurate). 

The 33-year-old has few difficulties when it comes to the physical side of the game, but he lacks the intelligence of the world's best central defenders. If Wenger was to thrusts him into a do-or-die Champions League tie, cracks will inevitably appear.

It's important to note that Uruguay failed to win either match in which their captain featured, yet they won their two without him. Incredibly Óscar Tabárez's side recorded victories over England and Italy - supposedly the team's toughest group stage fixtures - in his absence. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Wenger has insisted publicly his defence is not stretched, and faced with these injury troubles, he seems prepared to give youth a chance. Based on the statistics, he should do just that. 

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