Arsenal’s Midfield Cost A Quarter Of Chelsea’s. Whose Is Better?

I’m short on time at the moment, so a guest post today from Dyllan Munro.

Exactly who has the best midfield in London? For many years now Arsenal fans have salivated over the attractive, possession-oriented football on display. However, while we have been forced to watch many of our talented stars leave, the likes of Chelsea have grown stronger due to their owner’s investments.

Despite losing vital members of the midfield, Arsenal have maintained the free-flowing football we associate with the Gunners. The shrewd acquisition of the attack-minded Santi Cazorla from Malaga provided the highly talented link between midfield and strikers, something we had lacked since Cesc’s departure. In his first season he scored 12 goals and contributed 11 assists in the Premier League, figures that look set to rise as he grows more assured in his role. Aside our diminutive Spaniard we have Jack Wilshere. When injury-free he has the ability to seize the game and provide the leadership needed to transfer Arsenal from perennial top four finishers to genuine title contenders. Able to deal with not only the expectation of his club but also his country, Jack possesses the vision and confidence that men many years his senior lack.

Also included as attack-minded midfielders is the fantastically talented yet perennially injured Tomas Rosicky. Probably the reason that Arsenal have pipped Tottenham to the Champions League spot the last two years, the Czech maestro finds fitness and form around February, when the team needs him most. This offers Gunners a tantalising glimpse of what we could achieve if his extraordinary technique and experience were available all year round.  

Switching now to the more defensive-minded players in our midfield: one such player is Mikel Arteta. Initially regarded by many as one of the infamous panic buys, Mikel has shown such determination and commitment that he has risen to the position of vice-captain in only two years. As many info-graphics have shown, Arteta made more passes, has greater passing accuracy and more touches every 90 minutes than Michael Carrick, who was nominated for the PFA player of the year award. With comparisons to Xavi and Pirlo, Arteta will continue to show his class for Arsenal. arteta oof

His partner in the double pivot pairing that proved so successful towards the end of the season was the often divisive Aaron Ramsey. It’s forgotten by many Gooners that before Ryan Shawcross’s awful tackle, Aaron was regarded as a more promising prospect than Wilshere by many within the Arsenal set-up. This season, especially during the run-in, Ramsay once again showed that promise with his tireless effort making him one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers. His touch has improved and he once again tackles without fear, as he did before his horrific injury. The total transfer cost for all these players comes to around £40m. Both the present and future are bright with such a batch of players.

How does our midfield compare to our London rivals though? I will focus on 5 players as I did for Arsenal. Chelsea have spared no expense in trying to acquire the type of player able to display Roman Abramovich’s notion of perfect football on the pitch. Juan Mata is such a player. He is possessed with exemplary technique fit for Arsenal, making our failed pursuit of him all the more exasperating. An excellent passer who is capable of scoring, Mata has been Chelsea’s standout performer the last two years.

Another who has excelled is Oscar. The young Brazilian possesses the flair typically associated with his country whilst also displaying a certain amount of grit making him suited to the Premier League. Accompanying them is Eden Hazard. Well founded accusations of diving and the nonsense with the ball boy cannot distract from the fact that Hazard is an extremely talented, if slightly over-hyped footballer. A return of nine goals and 14 assists in his first season was less than many had come to expect, no doubt including Hazard himself.

Chelsea also possess a powerful midfield enforcer in the form of another Brazilian, Ramires. Committed to his defensive duties yet also skilful in attack, Ramires has flourished under each of the many Chelsea managers he has served under. Tireless displays demonstrating his athleticism and a good attitude have won the Brazilian many admirers.

Alongside Ramires I’m choosing yet another member of Chelsea’s Samba Contingent, David Luiz. Since no one seems to know whether he’s a midfielder or defender, I’ve selected him in midfield as that is where he has impressed most. Ridiculed in his first season at Chelsea for his wayward defending, he always demonstrated fabulous technique, prompting many to say he would be better suited to midfield where his defensive faults wouldn’t be as costly. Rafa Benitez agreed, and Luiz went on to make the position his own for a time last season. Combining skilful moves with delicate passing he has become a cult hero at Chelsea. This midfield was assembled for around £132m. This amount includes the player swap of Nemanja Matic, now valued at around £20m, to Benfica as part of the David Luiz deal.

The question posed is how does Arsenal’s midfield, costing only £40m, compare to that of Chelsea, costing around £152m if the loss of Matic is taking into consideration. Since the fee is almost four times as large, does that mean that Chelsea’s midfield is four times superior to Arsenal’s? No, not at all. Not by a long way. There will be few Gooners out there who would disagree that currently, Chelsea do have a better midfield. They also have a squad depth we are sadly lacking at present. However the slight advantage they hold over us is reflected in the substantial investment they have made. Hazard alone almost cost as much as our five players. However, if Arsenal make the required purchases, players like Cesc and the unsettled, underrated Luis Gustavo, then perhaps the scales will slide back into their rightful place, in our favour.

To prevent anyone complaining I limited my analysis to these two clubs, not only in a failed attempt to keep the word count down but because they are the only two genuine contenders. For Tottenham, Bale is no longer classed as a midfielder so that leaves Sandro the standout performer. With perhaps Sigurdsson, Huddlestone, Holtby and Parker. Comparing them to Arsenal and Chelsea’s squads would have been a waste of not only my time but also yours.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share and comment.

Dyllan Munro (@goonerdyllan)



29 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Midfield Cost A Quarter Of Chelsea’s. Whose Is Better?

  1. Sandro – Dembele – Paulinho is a pretty good midfield, to be fair. Hard to judge when one of the players is a new signing, but looks quite impressive on paper.

    I’d take our midfield over Chelsea’s overall, but still think we need a Luiz Gustavo type to provide the defence with superior protection.

  2. Two minutes of my life I will never get back, the only positive is that you wasted more time writing it than I did reading it

  3. When you add De Bryune who for me is better than a young Paul Scholes. Its a formidable midfield. If Arsenal get Bernard (scouted by CFC for 2 1/2 years plus Suarez they’ll be contenders. The biggest question mark is Wenger

  4. Good post Dyllan, I agree that Chelsea have the marginally better midfield but its elsewhere that our problems have persisted for several years. We have never properly replaced the Keowns or Seamens in our defence. Likewise up front we struggled post Henry and we were unable to retain the services of RVP . If we believe the “party” line then we just didn’t have the readies to invest in the squad. The number of quality players we have lost in recent years is staggering. Trying to replace such talent is not alone expensive but is also very difficult as you have to take a punt on players. Just think of the poor signings that have been made over the same period. Hopefully this trend will be arrested during this transfer window, but I am not so sure. So far I have not seen anything to make me feel optimistic.

  5. OMG I have never heard so much rubbish in all my life. Only cld a gooner be so bias. If your gonna compa’re at least be honest and fair lol. You go on about arsenal like they have won something. I’m sure in your head arsenal are amazing. But the truth is your midfield is not even close to Chelsea. REAL Winners. You compare like there on the same level. Take your very thick blinkers of and smell the roses. Lol what a joke

  6. And where is Mikel in your analysis of Chelsea midfielders. Chelsea have a better midfield. I’m an Arsenal but that’s the painful truth

  7. this is total rubbish, you purposely added liuz so as to increase the money, mind you he is typical defender, just an attacking minded one, gooners or wat do u call urselfs ,u are only decieving yourself……….your match day tickets is the most expensive yet you dnt win anything execept top 4

  8. Chelsea’s midfield is better. In two-three years, we may surpass them, but right now they have stronger players. The core of Mata, Oscar, Hazzard, Ramires, Lampard, and Mikel beats us. Mainly due to our massive weak link, Aaron Ramsey. He wouldn’t get anywhere near breaking into their midfield and he shouldn’t be anywhere near ours. He’s a mid-table starter not a top four starter. The attention to other top-midfielders, Bernard, Fellaini, Luis Gustavo, Cesc, etc. is very much welcome. We need top talent to accompany Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla, and Arteta. Ramsey doesn’t cut it.

    With talent like Ox, Gnabry, Aneke, Eisfeld, and this magnificent kid Zalelem coming through, we have great prospects in midfield in years to come, but in the short-term we need to bring in proven talent to replace Ramsey if we want to win anything next season.

  9. BTW,

    The drivel about Ramsey being one of our most consistent players last season is cartoonish and absurd. The author should be ashamed at such a ridiculous attempt at revisionist history.

    Ramsey was horrific for the first 6 months of the season. It was impossible to discern between him and Gervinho who was more abysmal. Yes, he improved in the final 8 weeks of the season, but that does little to address what was a significant net minus for the whole of his performance last season.

    • Ramsey was played as a winger for the first half of last season, and yes he was absolutely dreadful. He was pretty much thrown to the crows being played on the wing. Having said that when Wenger realised something (his own error, shock, horror) he did something I hadn’t really seen him do in years, admitted he f***ed up and played Ramsey alongside Arteta. Them two did gain a good understanding of each other toward the end of last season.
      Out midfield being compared to the Chelsea midfield looks wrong, there’s no Lampard in there and without him they have no drive at all, which was evident last season when it looked as though he’d never play for them again (December/January he got axed and was on the verge of leaving apparently) and they struggled, then he came back to play a few sub appearances and scored some vital goals. Rightfully earning himself a new contract in the process. I have respect for the talent in their midfield, imho Lukaku will be a major player under Mourinho.

  10. In all honesty as a Chelsea supporter I don’t rate Arsenal midfield. With the exception of Wiltshire, the rest are pretty ordinary.

  11. Yawn yawn zzzzzzzzzz. Dylan, like all Arsenal fans it seems, only ever thinks about money. B O R I N G. P R E D I C T A B L E. B I T T E R. The lack of it and the lack of team investment has cost Arsenal more than the money they’ve saved/made. The Chelsea midfield is so far ahead that you didn’t even include Chelsea’s greatest midfielder and probably the greatest Peemiership midfielder of all time, Frank Lampard. Entirely outclassed in both meetings between the two clubs last season and once again making a pig’s ear of the transfer market (Cesar, Higuain, Rooney, Fabregas), another season of mediocrity beckons and unless you improve you do well to finish fourth. Wake up and smell the coffee, Arsenal fans are being taken for a ride by Wenger (on £8million a year!) and the owners who must have made a lot of money at the fans’ expense over the last few years. My sympathies.

  12. Whose fault? Can U̶̲̥̅̊ imagine †ђε writer 40M t̶̲̥̅̊ợ̣̣̇̇̇ 152M, H̶̲̥̅̊ợ̣̣̝̇̇̇w̶̲̥̅̊ would δԑƴ win trophies. Chelsea midfielders ​α̲̅я̩̥̊ε̲̣̣̣̥ 90percent better than Arsenal

  13. As much as it pains me to admit it ,Chelsea have by far better and deeper midfield. The only obstacle preventing them from achieving their full potential is the managerial merry go around at Stamford Bridge. With the arrival of Mourinho however, they should be able to cement themselves as title contenders this year. Having said that Arsenal midfield when healthy , can give them a game and as you said , at a quarter of a price.

  14. are you guys being serious the chelsea mid is far superior you ask anyone outside arsenal and chelsea and i bet you get the same answer ….. very very poor post will aviod at all costs from now on

  15. Not a single mention of lampard in your article! That’s equivalent to a chelsea fan not mentioning vieira when at his peak at arsenal. And therein lies our problem. We haven’t replaced vieira for 8 or so years, we failed to compete with chelsea for hazard and mata, we don’t have a real captain of terry s quality. We have no central spine to our team, and no spine in our team . We are spineless losers, run by a spineless owner with less passion for winning than abramovic s little toenail . And we have been managed by a bunch of dithering old fools like hill wood, chips Keswick, ken fryer,and now the worst of them all, arsenal wenger.. Gazidis is out of his depth.

  16. Very succinctly put, Al. We’re one of the richest clubs in the world, but sadly the ‘holy trinity’ – Kroenke, Gazidis and Wenger are so cowardly inept they’ve neutered us and made us irrelevant. Wenger’s decision not to leave after the 2006 CL Final has set us back years.

  17. This article is born out of joblessness & idleness, whoever wrote this should please get a job or better still get a life… Rubbish

    • No doubt you don’t see the irony of telling the writer to ‘get a life’, as you spend your time trawling the Internet to find things to leave bitter small minded comments on.

  18. This is what is called biased analysis coloured with ineptitude and undue patronage of incompetence.
    Arsenal is a team living on past glories and its a pity how you try to justify mediocre performances of your midfield in order to elevate it to those of Chelsea that oozed class compared to yours.
    Also i found it difficult to understand how you arrived at all the figures you flaunted most especially DL and Matic. So if you sold a property for £5 three years back but now worth £100, then based on your presentation it means you sold it then for £100. For your info DL was bought £25 million with Matic being part of the payment.
    So this report is lazy journalism at its best with purpose of misinforming fans and celebrating incompetence.

    • “those [performances] of Chelsea that oozed class”

      which were those exactly? I saw a couple of neat backheels and party tricks but chelsea’s midfield were generally dull last season. like Mata, efficient but hardly spectacular.

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