One of similarity between biggest teams is their squads rotation, whether it was Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Juventus Turin, squads changes as little as possible and only few transfer come to improve the team. However, players such as Paco Alcacer, Mateo Kovacic, Renato Sanches or Michy Batshuayi stay on the bench despite their real talent.
It’s clear that it is a strength to keep as much as possible the same team during the season, keeping habits between player. We will analyse here how Arsenal and their rivals manage their team and which players would deserve more playing time.
What about Arsenal ?
Here is the set of data concerning the lineup of the last season
The most impressive thing here, is the low number of striker who start on the pitch. This can explain the law season of the Gunners in attack, Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi are not strong enough to erase the lack of a real striker forward. Fortunately, the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette this summer should solve this problem.
This graph also highlights the dependence of the Laurent Koscielny and Shokdran Mustafi duo, we all remember matches where Laurent Koscielny was absent but graphics show that Arsene Wenger has made the right choices to limit damages. In a general way Arsenal squad rotation is very well with a clear hierarchy, especially in defense.
Nevertheless, there is maybe a misjudgment in transfer managament : although the finances of the club are in the green, the management of the transfers is not necessarily very good (I do not speak here of the choices of players bought).
The most illustrative example is that of Lucas Perez. Arrived last summer, the Spanish striker played only 265 minutes, which does not allow him to convince. Although he has a certain talent, demonstrated in good performances in the Champions League, he will probably be sold : clubs like Bayer Leverkusen, Olympique de Marseille or Deportivo Coruna are shown their interest.
Players like Kieran Gibbs or Carl Jenkinson (and Theo Walcott in other way), who are in the club for longtime, also block places for the arrival of more talented players or young people. The management of Serge Gnabry shows it well: transferred to Werder Bremen, he was then bought by Bayern Munich following his performances at the Olympic Games. He is now loaned to Hoffenheim. Bayern Munich interest shows that he had everything to succeed at Arsenal and Carlo Ancelotti clearly understood the potential of this player, letting him earn experience both in club and national selection to bring back him in first team in some season.
What about others team rotations ?
Let’s a look at how other clubs handle this :
We see here that the teams with the least turnover are the most successful. Chelsea one is very impressive with players who play almost the entire season and where each post is clearly doubled. Moreover it shows the desire of Antonio Conte to play with three defenders : he start the season with four defenders but defeat at Emirate Stadium and Branislav Ivanovic injury allowed him to bring back his “Italian” mind, bringing Marco Alonso and Victor Moses in the team.
Like Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City used to apply a soft rotation. Looking at Tottenham spine is very illustrative of the importance of a stable squad to keep good results all along the season.
There is a strong correlation between the size of the rotation and the final ranking : top three Chelsea-Tottenham-Manchester City with small rotation and in the other side Liverpool-Arsenal-Manchester United with more changes.
Who deserve to play more ?
As we saw in graphic below, Arsenal team is very provided and some players don’t play enough despite their performances.
Olivier Giroud deserve to play more game, although he started late the season because of the European Championship, he reached a total of 0.9 goals per 90 minutes when Danny Welbeck got only 0.2 goals per 90 minutes. Olivier Giroud could have had more playing time, especially at the end of the season. Arsene Wenger probably wanted to play Danny Welbeck after his long injury to restore his confidence. This season will be hard for strikers at Arsenal, now with Alexandre Lacazette, they are three to score as much as possible. With his good end of season and some great performances in preseason, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could earn some minutes, especially with the transition to 3421.
Some young could play more matches too : Rob Holding, Emiliano Martinez, Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles or Jeff Reine-Adelaide, each time they played they performed well and with some injuries from the top players they might earn some minutes in the high level.