Arsenal have completed their fifth signing of the transfer window and second signing from the current champions with the signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Like Gabriel Jesus he should not be an unknown player to most Arsenal fans but his role and minutes distribution for Manchester City make him an interesting player to think about and analyze.
For the stats that follow I have included his rank against both Fullbacks and Midfielders in Europe’s Top-5 Leagues going back to the 2017-18 season.
6.79 – Progressive Passes per 90, 98th percentile for Fulbacks, 98th percentile for Midfielders
3.06 – Deep Completions (within 25 meters of goal) per 90, 88th percentile for Fulbacks, 87th percentile for Midfielders
2.63 – Deep Completions (excluding crosses) per 90, 96th percentile for Fulbacks, 93rd percentile for Midfielders
0.42 – Deep Completions (from crosses) per 90, 37th percentile for Fulbacks, 69th percentile for Midfielders
16% – Cross Completion Percentage, 20th percentile for Fulbacks, 25th percentile for Midfielders
1.16 – xG Buildup (involvement in the build up play to shots) per 90, 99th percentile for Fulbacks, 99th percentile for Midfielders
7.22 – Progressive Carries per 90, 95th percentile for Fulbacks, 95th percentile for Midfielders
0.59 – Dribbles, Completed per 90, 38th percentile for Fulbacks, 35th percentile for Midfielders
85.08 – Pass Attempts per 90, 99th percentile for Fulbacks, 97th percentile for Midfielders
88.3% – Pass completion percentage, 98th percentile for Fulbacks, 91st percentile for Midfielders
1.19 – Pass Completion Efficiency (1.0 means completes as many as expected, higher is better), 99th percentile for Fulbacks, 97th percentile for Midfielders
9.0 – Final third entry passes per 90, 99th percentile for Fulbacks, 97th percentile for Midfielders
3.06 – Final third entry carries per 90, 94th percentile for Fulbacks, 96th percentile for Midfielders
One of the things that really jumps out you is that Zinchenko is an amazing passer. Part of that is that this Manchester City team are on another level but I think that he also comes in is a match for some of the other brilliant players on the ball.
His ability to add additional technical security to the squad is one of the most exciting parts of this move.One of the things that I commented on in the Fabio Vieira post was that it seemed like Arsenal were trying to bring back diminutive player maker FC, I think that this signing is another example of the club looking to increase the technical security of the squad.
1.27 – Aerial Duels, Won per 90, 61at percentile for Fulbacks, 63rd percentile for Midfielders
48% – Aerial Duel Win % per 90, 43rd percentile for Fulbacks, 52nd percentile for Midfielders
2.33 – Successful tackles per 90 adjusted for possession, 64th percentile for Fulbacks, 60th percentile for Midfielders
51% – Tackle %, 54th percentile for Fulbacks, 86th percentile for Midfielders
1.28 – Fouls Committed per 90 adjusted for possession, 63rd percentile for Fulbacks, 33rd percentile for Midfielders
1.51 – Interceptions per 90, 60th percentile for Fulbacks, 66th percentile for Midfielders
0.93 – Blocked Passes per 90, 62nd percentile for Fulbacks, 45th percentile for Midfielders
7.56 – Pressuers per 90, 5th percentile for Fulbacks, 18th percentile for Midfielders
2.55 – Succ_Pressures per 90, 9th percentile for Fulbacks, 18th percentile for Midfielders
For a player that lines up as a defender, doing the actual defending is one of his bigger question marks. His stats come out looking decent, especially when a possession adjustment is added to account for the fewer opportunities that a player at Manchester City would have given how much of the ball that they have.
However, from watching video of him this is still a major weakness for him. The most worrying is when he is one on one with an attacker he really struggles to limit them from accomplishing their next action.
For Arsenal, I expect that he will play more often but I do think that there is the potential for some mixing and matching between him and Tierney based on the situation, the team faced and what Arsenal are looking to accomplish.
I am not a tactical expert (you’ll have to turn to the other Arseblog writers for that) but I see Arteta leaning towards wanting a 5-3-2 type attacking formation when established in the final third. Both Zinchenko and Tierney can operate in the wide channel as part of the five across but the stats and video suggest that Zinchenko would be much more comfortable as an inverted fullback operating as part of the three supporting the attackers.
This is his primary role with Ukraine where he has played primarily as an 8 and some of the conversations seem to point to something that is possible with Arsenal as well. At City he received that ball in the zones that aren’t that unusual for a fullback but venture into the halfspaces.
When he did get into those more central locations this is where he created a lot of his threat, especially looking to switch the ball over or behind the two banks of four that City face regularly.
Overall, he is a player that has shown amazing promise in limited opportunities. There are questions about his defending, especially one on one against elite wingers but still a player that I think can add something unique to this Arsenal team.
Sources: Opta via whoscored, my own database, Statsbomb via FBRef