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Using data to find Arsenal a backup left back

It’s well documented that Arsenal requires a new LB to be both Kieran Tierney’s understudy and as his competitor, with the strongest links Arsenal having for that position being Hibernian’s Josh Doig and Ryan Bertrand, formerly of Southampton.
Requirements for an Arsenal LB:Arsenal need an LB who's strong and fast, with the skillset to play both as an attacking fullback and as an inverted one, so their positioning has to be good, they must be fast, their final ball must be at a good enough level to improve and they should be secure on the ball.Kieran Tierney is the perfect fullback, even if his injury woes are as prevalent as they are. Anyone that deputises for Tierney shouldn’t be a huge downgrade on him, and they should be similar to him in terms of their playstyle. That’s easier said than done and the easiest way to find a player like Tierney is by using data for all leagues around the world (with a focus in Europe and South America) to see those who replicate him.What parameters have been set for this search?To find the ‘perfect’ backup LB, I’ve set out a few requirements.1. They must be under 242. They must’ve played more than 30 games last season3. They must’ve won more than 55% of all contested challenges last season4. They must’ve won more than 55% of all tackles contested for last season5. They must score well on general tackling, dribbling, crossing, and pressing advanced metrics.Setting out where the players should generally be good at (at tackling, dribbling, crossing, and pressing) allows for limited players to be filtered out of the search options. Going for players that have played more than 30 games last season allows for less injury-prone players to be suggested. Finally, with specific win percentages for tackling and overall duels, the weaker players that get done easily by opposing wingers are filtered out.Advert InsertedPlayer suggestions:Owen Wijndal - AZ Alkmaar: He’s a physically imposing LB who’s able to both over and underlap his winger well. When watching him, I notice that it’s hard for teams to get past him, even though he’s in a more advanced position in comparison to the opposing RW/RB’s as he can dominate the flank on his own. He provides a strong goalscoring threat with his final third positioning allowing him to take high-quality shots from outside the box.There are some worries with the player, he seems too good to be a backup to Kieran Tierney and would be better served as a first choice option for a top 6 team, but that being said, having a player of his quality in and around the club would raise the bar in the LB position and give Arsenal the quality in depth they’ve been craving for years now.
Matías Viña - Palmeiras: Palmeiras’ Matias Vina is a South American LB whose metrics and availability make him a potential choice for Arsenal to bring into their club for the summer window. Despite playing in a gung ho side, the 23-year-old isn’t an erratic LB, and he provides stability when Palmeiras are under pressure from the opposition. In the final third, he holds his own by having the strength to power past the opposition RB, he can invert as an LDM if Arsenal does want to play a 4-3-3, and he performs best when more centrally. For Arsenal, that means they can play Nicolas Pepe as an LW and the synergy between both players will be more than good enough to seamlessly transition between Tierney and the backup LB.He has some faults, his concentration levels dip at random times, with Palmeiras conceding unnecessary goals because of it, but Vina isn’t that bad as an individual player. For the right price tag, he could be a good backup to Tierney for Arsenal to secure.Felipe Jonatan - Santos: He’s someone I’m not keen on because of the flaws he possesses. He overhits the ball when dribbling, he doesn’t attack from the outside (he prefers to camp right outside the box when his team attacks,) and he’s too nimble and weak to be a PL level LB. Felipe also gets caught ball-watching too often, despite being the only left-sided Santos Player that’s there just to provide the width for his side.He’s a decent final third attacker (even with his tendencies to drift inwards,) he can hold down his flank and he won’t get swept aside 1v1 against better/faster wingers. However, he isn’t the LB that Arsenal should look to get in to deputise for Kieran Tierney as the quality drop off would be too much to bear for Arsenal.Vitaliy Mykolenko - Dynamo Kyiv - He’s a risk-averse LB with generally good positioning when his team are settled in possession. His tackling is strong, and the power he generates makes it hard for opposing players to play through him when he’s on the floor, which is also helped by his strong recovery pace when his tackles are mistimed/weakly done. He can attack both on the inside and outside with his crosses being of a good standard.He’s a rash player that can switch off/lose intensity over a 90-minute game, that itself isn’t a bad trait for a player to possess, but for a team like Arsenal, consistency is what their LB needs. He can develop consistency with Kieran Tierney being his rival in the position, that isn’t an issue and Mykolenko is a good option to have at LB. Although he has the same issue as Wijndal, there are good teams in for him that would offer him a guaranteed starting 11 role, so convincing him to deputise for Tierney would be difficult to do.Josh Doig - Hibernian: Hibernian’s Josh Doig is available for £5m this summer, which is a good deal on paper for any club looking at LB’s. He’s 6’3, he can operate both as an inverted fullback and as a traditional one, his ball-striking on both feet is to be desired & he can impose himself on the final third if needed be.
Doig is riddled with in-game issues, he isn’t good at imposing himself defensively. He allows attackers to get too many touches in the box before he commits to them, which increases the chance that a foul will happen. That could be down to inexperience, but Doig isn’t exactly suited for the LB role at Arsenal, and even for £5m, he’d limit how the club would play too much for the price to be worth it right now.Lee Buchanan - Derby County: Derby’s Buchanan is another player that has been touted for Arsenal in 2021. His final ball is very strong, he can maintain his position really well (even for a side that has been threatened with relegation as much as his Derby side have been,)
and his fast reactions help him read the game a lot better in comparison to other LB’s his age. As a pure dribbler, he’s one of the best around, he can navigate through tight spaces on his left & rarely loses the ball in ‘obvious’ circumstances.Buchanan relies too much on his left foot, so a right-footed defender can stop him from progressing the ball effectively, even if he does get around tight spaces effectively. As there isn’t a known price for him, the only way to judge whether he is a competent backup or not is dependent on a possible price. For under £10m, Lee Buchanan would be a good backup for Arsenal to get.Who suits Arsenal the best?It’s hard to identify specifically who Arsenal should sign, but based on the list given, Owen Wijndal, Vitaliy Mykolenko and Lee Buchanan are the best choices (from the data) for Arsenal to get in at LB. Owen Wijndal is the best option in terms of player quality, his skill set makes him the best choice, even if he may not want to join. Mykolenko is more suited to Arsenal as he’s a strong defender and fairly good in the final third, but the teams that are in for him will make it harder for the club to sign him. Buchanan is the most unpolished LB of the 3, but as he is an HG LB that has played 35 league games for Derby County this season, he has the availability as well as the skillset to be the perfect pick for Arsenal.Last Thoughts:Finding the perfect LB for Arsenal is harder than it seems, there needs to be a decision made on registration factors as well as player quality. If Arsenal wanted a backup LB without worrying about their registration rules then Owen Wijndal would be the best option for them, if they can’t get Wijndal then a good backup to him would be Vitaliy Mykolenko. If they insist on an HG option, then the only man who would work for them is Derby County’s, Lee Buchanan.