Is He Actually A Terrible Defender?

Is He Actually A Terrible Defender?

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After his woeful show in opposition to Fulham on the weekend, I made a decision it was time that we lastly had a solution to this query.

I’m going to check Trent alexander-Arnold’s defensive numbers within the 2021/22 Premier League season in opposition to two of his compatriots within the league – Reece James and Kyle Walker.

Spoiler alert, he isn’t as unhealthy as you might suppose.

1 -on-1 defending

Definitely, that is one in every of his largest weaknesses. Nonetheless, his numbers should not as far off his rivals as some followers and pundits would have you ever imagine.

When it comes to the variety of instances every of them is dribbled previous per 90 minutes, Trent Alexander-Arnold does fall significantly in need of the others. In accordance with SofaScore.com, he’s dribbled previous a median of as soon as per sport, whereas Walker and James are each dribbled previous simply 0.5 instances every.

Basically, Alexander-Arnold is dribbled previous twice as typically as his rivals.

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Nonetheless, while you examine the proportion of dribblers confronted that they deal with, the numbers begin to look a bit higher for the Liverpool defender.

Utilizing FBREF.com as my database, Trent Alexander-Arnold tackled 39% of all dribblers that he confronted. While that’s significantly lower than Walker’s 50%, it does beat out James’ determine of 32%. That is stunning given the truth that Alexander-Arnold does get dribbled previous extra typically than the opposite two, so naturally, you’d anticipate his share to be the bottom.

This statistic suggests then that both Liverpool’s system leaves their full-backs extra uncovered and subsequently must defend in opposition to dribblers extra typically, or that their opposition purposefully chooses to focus on Alexander-Arnold as they imagine he’s weak defensively.

Each of those situations would trigger Trent Alexander-Arnold to be dribbled at extra typically, which might clarify why, regardless of tackling the next share of dribblers, the 23-year-old continues to be dribbled previous extra typically than his rivals.

The truth that Robertson is dribbled previous simply 0.5 instances per sport although does recommend that the latter is true.

However, this may be as a result of Robertson is the higher defender between the 2. So quite than Alexander-Arnold being focused due to his poor defending, maybe he’s focused as a result of Robertson is just a superior defender – a press release which is true when evaluating Robertson to most full-backs within the league.

I’m not suggesting that Trent Alexander-Arnold doesn’t want to enhance his 1-on-1 defending, however the truth that he tackles the next share of dribblers than Reece James, a participant who is commonly represented as being 1-on-1 defender, demonstrates that he’s not as unhealthy as some recommend.

To label him as a sub-par 1-on-1 defender is lazy, and appears to be considerably inaccurate.

Proactive defending

This part will take a look at successful possession, intercpetions and tackles.

When it comes to successful possession, Trent Alexander-Arnold is much superior to his rivals. In accordance with FBREF.com, the Liverpool defender wins possession again 0.8 instances per 90 minutes, in comparison with simply 0.3 instances for each Walker and James.

Alexander-Arnold additionally comes out on prime in each interceptions and tackles per sport too. Sofascore.com state that the 23-year-old makes 1.3 intercetpions per sport, in addition to 1.3 tackles per sport too. Kyle Walker’s respective figures are 0.7 and 0.8, whereas Recce James’ are 0.7 and 0.3 per sport.

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Walker’s inferior numbers might be defined by the truth that Man Metropolis dominate possession – they averaged 68.5% possession in Premier League video games final season. Nonetheless, the identical can’t be mentioned for Reece James as Chelsea’s common of 62.3% is decrease than Liverpool’s 63.3%.

Some would argue that Chelsea’s type of play doesn’t lend itself to proactive defending as simply. Nonetheless, on condition that Marcus Alonso averaged 1.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per sport final season, this argument doesn’t appear to have any substance.

Others will put ahead the argument that Liverpool’s aggressive type of play naturally results in extra interceptions and tackles for his or her gamers. And while that is true, the truth that Robertson makes 0.8 interceptions and 1.2 tackles per video games highlights that Alexander-Arnold additionally outperforms his personal teammates who play in the identical system.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is probably not the perfect 1-on-1 defender, however on the subject of actively successful the ball again for his staff, he beats out each Reece James and kyle Walker in virtually each metric.

Positioning

This factor of defending is sort of unimaginable to quantify, and depends virtually solely upon the eye-test when investigating.

When watching A;exander-Arnold, it turns into obvious that this, like his 1-on-1 defending, is an space that wants enhancing. Reece James and Kyle Walker are each much better on this division than the Liverpool man and I’m positive that Klopp and his teaching employees are working onerous to deal with this problem.

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Nonetheless, I don’t suppose that takes away from the truth that his core numbers are much better than most individuals would suppose. On the very least, his numbers are corresponding to Reece James in most metrics, and at his highest, even beats each James and Walker in sure areas.

No matter your private opinion is on Trent Alexander-Arnold as a participant, I hope this text goes some solution to demonstrating that, regardless of having particular flaws in his defensive sport, he isn’t truly as unhealthy a defender as some would recommend.

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