Suddenly, Arsenal has regained its position at the top of the Premier League after Mikel Arteta’s team quietly started playing very well and took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes over the weekend.
It’s been an odd one; Arsenal’s defensive dominance this season is a clear improvement over last, but the same alluring level of flair has been lost in the attacking department.
With 13 games remaining in the 2023–24 season, the Gunners lead the standings by a single point. They also have the greatest defensive record in the division and have only lost once, at home against Newcastle United.
No team in the Premier League has made less saves than the Emirates Stadium team (18), and only Manchester City has given up fewer shots from open play (72) than Arsenal (91).
William Sarabia, Ben White, Arsenal, Manchester City Premier League, Education, Eta
All of this combines to highlight the players’ increasing maturity and their newly discovered unity on the pitch, which speaks to their championship-winning pedigree.
Being a perfectionist, Arteta will, nevertheless, be eagerly awaiting the January transfer window, when astute spending might lead to the establishment of a more comfortable buffer between the team and its heel-snapping competitors.
The primary transfer target for Arsenal
Arsenal is expected to be keen to add players, and Aston Villa’s general in midfield, Douglas Luiz, is at the top of the transfer wishlist. According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Luiz is Arteta’s “top target,” with speculations about Ruben Neves being unfounded.
The Italian reporter, though, has subsequently moved to Twitter to outline Villan boss Unai Emery’s unwavering determination to reject any approaches for the 25-year-old.
Luiz is regarded by the quickly developing Premier League team as the lynchpin in the midfield, and according to CIES Football Observatory, his strong performances this season have earned him a £52 million transfer worth.
Although the North London team is in a desperate attempt to recruit the Brazilian superstar, Football Insider reports that Manchester City is considering bringing back the player they let go for a fee of £15 million in 2019.
The playing style of Douglas Luiz
As Luiz grew into his skin, Manchester City thought he had no place in the squad, mostly because they had just acquired Rodri from Atletico Madrid for £62.5 million. However, Villa saw that Luiz had the potential to become a star.
Luiz has already accrued 171 appearances for Villa Park, with 18 goals and 17 assists. His skill set has impressed teams like Arsenal and his previous company, securing him the prominent position he currently holds.
Luiz’s creative ability has led The Athletic’s Jacob Tanswell to refer to him as “the complete player.” According to FBref, he is among the top 9% of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for goals, the top 16% for assists, and the top 19% for shot-creating actions per 90.
d. Luis Douglas, Aston Villa
At his core, the ten-cap international is a hard-working center-midfielder, but his expansive plays may demonstrate how he’s eschewing the outdated designations attached to conventional positions.
Rather, his Manchester City upbringing and the opportunity to develop all of his skills at Villa have shaped him into a really unique talent, and he has been playing his best since the summer.
Numbers from Douglas Luiz’s season
Under Emery’s tutelage, Luiz has truly come into his own as Aston Villa has advanced. Far from being merely a cog in the machine, the former Citizen is the vital component holding everything together—clever and crafty, persistent and smart while in possession.
He has five goals and two assists in 13 Premier League games as a central midfielder. On Sunday, he set up a lovely deep pass for Pau Torres to latch onto just before halftime against Tottenham Hotspur, bringing the game back to even before turning it around after the break to advance to the top four.
The £75k-a-week player has been one of the best all-around midfield players in Europe this season. According to Sofascore, he has an 89% pass success rate in the Premier League, averages 1.3 key passes, 2.3 tackles, and 6.1 ball recoveries per game, wins 59% of his duels, and succeeds with 64% of his dribbles.
This is just ridiculous for a player at his position; in just one game, Declan Rice, for instance, has completed 91% of his passes, made 0.8 crucial passes, 1.8 tackles, and 4.9 recoveries. He has also won 49% of his duels and 55% of his dribbles.
Premier League Douglas-Luiz-Aston-Villa
Rice completed a £105 million move from West Ham United to Arteta’s team in the summer after sparking the team’s efforts the previous several years and culminating in a Conference League triumph this past season.
Journalist Joshua Mbu once referred to him as a “Rolls-Royce,” and he’s more than living up to that shining reputation right now. With Luiz by his side in the engine room, the Gunners might reach new heights.
How Rodri and Douglas Luiz are comparable
Tanswell praised the 5 foot 10 machine this term for his “remarkable” creative talent. The FBref player comparison model has connected the player to Rodri, maybe because of their same core attributes due to their previous involvement with the Etihad Stadium.
Rodri of Manchester City celebrates with Bernardo Silva and Erling Braut Haaland after scoring their second goal.
Journalist Raphael Honigstein asserts that Rodri can “do everything,” making him the best No. 6 in the world right now. Luiz, meantime, is excelling in a variety of midfield game-related areas.
In terms of goals, shot-creating actions, pass completion and pass attempted, progressive passes, progressive carries per 90, and pass completion rates, the £220k-per-week Spaniard is among the top 10% of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues over the previous year.
The 27-year-old has amassed three goals and two assists in 11 Premier League games. He has also completed 94% of his passes, averaging 1.2 crucial passes, 2.0 tackles, and 7.0 recoveries per game, and has successfully completed 75% of his dribbling attempts.
Douglas Luiz: AVFC Squad against. PL Stats 23/24
rating of the squad
Progress is made.
passes the comp.
Obtain success with a pass
*Reproduced from FBref
essentially the master of all trades and the jack-of-all trades. Even if he is currently more skilled and productive than Luiz, the Brazilian player has a model to follow—especially considering how highly regarded he is this season in comparison to his colleagues.
Important in a variety of roles, Arsenal must act quickly in January. Although he may be pricey, the Aston Villa player would be well worth the money and could challenge Rodri for the Gunners in the upcoming season, possibly even making the difference in the chase for the elusive Premier League trophy.