Arsenal's team of the decade according to statistics

Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Premier League

It’s been a pretty wretched year for Arsenal Football Club.

The Gunners won three FA Cups but they didn’t come close to winning the Premier League and have fallen adrift of their rivals in the past few years.

Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign in charge of the club came to an end in 2018 and a new era will be led by former midfielder Mikel Arteta, who has replaced Unai Emery as Arsenal’s head coach.

Arsenal fans have been treated to some fine football at times, though, with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez providing plenty of magic.

Santi Cazorla was a fine footballer and Robin van Persie’s 2011/12 season, in which he scored 30 goals in 38 league games, was also memorable.

Arsenal fans have no doubt spent the past few days coming up with their team of the decade and now WhoScored have calculated the true best XI, using data from Opta as the source of their research.

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*In order to qualify for the team, a player needs to have made at least 70 appearances for Arsenal across the Premier League and Champions League since 2010.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech (115 appearances) - 6.91 rating

Cech was past his best when he joined Arsenal in 2015 but the Gunners haven't had many great goalkeepers since Jens Lehmann.

He averaged 3.1 saves per game and kept 43 clean sheets across the Premier League and Champions League during his time at the club.

Right-back: Bacary Sagna (172 appearances) - 7.08 rating

Sagna was one of the best defenders in the top flight, averaging 3.6 tackles and interceptions per game from the turn of the decade until his departure.

He was dribbled past just 0.31 times per game in that time.

Centre-back: Shkodran Mustafi (92 appearances) - 7.22 rating

It says everything about Arsenal's decline that Mustafi makes their Team of the Decade. 

He's been a liability in defence and the fact that he averages more aerial duels won per game than any other Arsenal player this decade (4) doesn't save him.

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Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny (296 appearances) - 7.21 rating

The French centre-back ranks top at Arsenal for interceptions per game (2.8) and most clearances per game (5.7).

Left-back: Thomas Vermaelen (132 appearances) - 7.08 rating

Injuries hurt Vermaelen's spell at Arsenal but a move to Barcelona in 2014 showed he could play at a high level.

Central midfield: Santi Cazorla (157 appearances) - 7.51 rating

Similarly to Vermaelen, injuries means Arsenal fans didn't see the best of Cazorla as much as they would have liked.

Still, he ranks third for accurate passes per game of Arsenal players this decade (56.6) and fourth for most key passes per game (2.1).

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Central midfield: Alex Song (111 appearances) - 7.38 rating

Song's dribble success rate of 69.9% across the two competitions this decade is very impressive.

He also ranks first at the north London club for tackles and interceptions combined per game (5.9) in the 2010s.

Right wing: Samir Nasri (70 appearances) - 7.32 rating

Nasri played in role in 25 goals during his 70 Premier League and Champions League appearances for Arsenal this decade.

Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil (202 appearances) - 7.26 rating

Ozil has registered more assists than any other Arsenal player this decade (59) and has the best key passes per game ratio (3) at the club.

He's faced plenty of criticism during his time at the Emirates but it's no surprise he makes the team because when he's on it, Ozil is a delight.

Left wing: Alexis Sanchez (144 appearances) - 7.73 rating

Sanchez was involved in 103 goals in 144 Premier League and Champions League, ranking top for dribbles per game (3.2) and times fouled per game (2.2).

He is statistically Arsenal's best player of the decade.

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Striker: Robin van Persie (92 appearances) - 7.71 rating

Van Persie impressively averaged a goal across the two competitions every 114.3 mintues, a better ratio than any other Arsenal player this decade.

Like Sanchez, he soured his Arsenal career by joining Manchester United but there can be no doubting his quality.

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Yes, that really is Shkodran Mustafi in Arsenal’s team of the decade.

Nothing sums up their struggles this decade more than that.

Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott are among the notable omissions from the team.

The attacking quartet is very good, mind, and it's a shame Arsenal never had a striker of Van Persie's quality to play with Ozil and Sanchez.

They will be hoping the next decade brings about more improvement.

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