Why Denis Suarez is exactly what Arsenal need

An analysis of the new loan signing from Barcelona

I’m sure we can all agree to be glad to see the back of the January transfer window, with Arsenal being linked to just about every player in European football (with the exception of Benzema for the first time in about 5 years which came as a shock). But like most football fans I wasn’t expecting too much from the January window, hoping for maybe a Gary Cahill to sure up the defence and a winger to replace Mkhitaryan in the long run. Although on the defence front I must admit I was left disappointed, I was more than glad to see Arsenal had signed Denis Suarez.

Being a versatile midfielder that can also play as a winger, Arsenal have essentially killed two birds with one stone, this assuming Arsenal make the deal permanent in the summer. Suarez could work as an Aaron Ramsey replacement if Arsenal fail to sign another midfielder, and if we manage to do that Suarez would work as a creative winger and long term replacement for the aging Mkhitaryan mentioned before.

But before we get too excited though, what can Suarez add to this Arsenal team?

Silky dribbling
Denis Suarez, from when I have watched him play (most prominently in the Europa League a few seasons ago) had an air of a younger Andres Iniesta about him, seeming to have the ability, elegance and agility to be able to glide in between players effortlessly, as if they’re training cones, with the strength and balance to stay on his feet. His dribbling skills are backed up by statistics, as last season he was dispossessed on average 0.9 times per match, which in comparison to his peers at Arsenal was less than Aaron Ramsey (1 per match), Iwobi (1.7 per match), Mkhitaryan (1.1 per match) and Özil (1 per match). Adding to this Suarez also completed on average 1.2 dribbles per match last season, more than Aaron Ramsey (0.4 per match), Mkhitaryan (0.6 per match), but slightly less than Iwobi who managed 1.5 dribbles per match last season.

Passing Ability
Being a graduate of La Masia, passing abilities are almost a guarantee in Suarez’s game, and with Luis Enrique describing the young Spaniard as “on the right path” (to get to Iniesta’s level), it is fair to say Denis Suarez is a pass master. Often receiving the ball deep Suarez likes to shift the ball forward, often beating a man before playing the ball up to the wingers (when he is played as an attacking midfielder). With his passing accuracy, Suarez in the 17/18 campaign had a passing accuracy of 84.6%, better than Aaron Ramsey (80.6%) and Alex Iwobi (76.3%). With his style of play, Denis Suarez prefers to play the short pass, rather than attempting long passes. In his time in La Liga Suarez, on average completed 26.1 passes per game. To break this down, of those 26.1 passes, 24.9 were short passes. Of those 24.9 short passes, 20.1 were successful, giving Suarez a short passing accuracy of 81%, not too bad for a winger. In comparison to Mkhitaryan, the Armenian winger on average completes 35.8 short passes per game, with an accuracy of 80%. Adding to this Arsenal’s other winger, Iwobi, averages 23.2 short passes per game, with an accuracy of 79.3%. This shows how valuable Denis Suarez can be in possession.

Chance creation
Denis Suarez also has chance creation in his locker; playing as an attacking midfielder and winger, chance creation is something that is desperately needed if Özil isn’t to be a regular in the team, so if Suarez were to be a regular an extra creator, it would help the team to thrive. Suarez, over the course of his career averages 1 key pass per game, which admittedly is slightly lower than Iwobi (1.1) or Mkhitarayan (1.7). However during the last campaign Suarez created a lot of chances from out wide. He did this by averaging 0.4 crosses per game, compared to Iwobi’s 0.1 crosses per game on average. However this is still slightly less Mkhitaryan’s 0.5 crosses per match average. However if you look at this stat over course of each of these players careers, Suarez’s average crosses per match is better than Iwobi’s and on the same level as Mkhitaryan, with both Suarez and Mkhitaryan averaging 0.4 per game, compared Iwobi’s 0.1 average crosses per match.

In conclusion:
To conclude, I can’t help but be excited to see how Suarez does for Arsenal. An exciting player that has never been given a decent chance at Barcelona, I think this transfer is a good bit of business by Arsenal, as were his seasons on loan at Villarreal and Sevilla. This was especially evident in the Europa League, where he played on average 1.8 key passes per game in that competition during the 2015/16 season. Furthermore, in the league that season he averaged 1.4 key passes per match. With the glimpses of his creativity and what a talent he still can be, with age on his side I’m optimistic about Denis Suarez and I hope to see him play against Manchester City tomorrow.

What do you think?


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  1. John F

    Feb 2, 2019, 15:42 #113074

    Have to admit to not knowing anything about him .It all sounds good but his stats might not mean too much in a higher tempo and more physical league.Hopefully he will adjust and do well.