A stats analysis of Odegaard, Smith-Rowe and Buendia – Who wins?

Comparing Odegaard, Smith Rowe and Emi Buendia

There is a huge division among Arsenal fans when it comes to who should the club sign as a number 10. Every supporter has their own arguments of why the club should sign Emi Buendia from Norwich City and not Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid and vice versa.

In this article we look at the numbers of Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Emi Buendia to judge what every player can provide to the current Gunners squad.

We will look at Per-90-minutes statistics due to the fact that all of them have not played equal number of games.

It is also worth pointing out that we have adjusted Emi Buendia’s numbers when he was in the Premier League last season, to have a more fair comparison.

Starting with Goals Scored, Emi Buendia’s figures suggest he is the least lethal goalscorer of the three. The Argentine averaged 0.04 goals per 90 minutes while Smith Rowe is first at 0.13 and then Odegaard is at 0.09.

However, Buendia played for a team who were at the bottom of the league for the majority of last campaign.

His argument of being a better goalscorer can be proved by his Expected goals (xG). The Argentine accumulated an xG of 2.2 last season. While ESR has an xG of 2.0 and Odegaard’s is 1.1.

The Norwich man is clearly way better than the duo when it came to expected assists (xA). The 24-year-old’s xA stood at 7.2, while ESR and the Real Madrid loanee’s figures stood at 2.8 and 2.1 respectively.

When it came to the percentage of Shots on Target, ESR sat in first position. The Hale End graduate saw 30.8% of his shots hitting the mark. While Buendia’s figure stood at 27.5 and Odegaard’s number was 18.8.  The Norwegian is a player who does not take many shots and thus naturally does not score many. Acquiring him from the Spanish capital might not solve the problem of midfielders not scoring goals for this Arsenal squad.

The Norwegian has occasionally been criticized for slowing down team moves. And the data proves it. He attempts most Short Passes among the three. Buendia’s 6.53 Long Passes per 90 minutes might make Arsenal more unpredictable and direct.

Moving on, Buendia, ESR and Odegaard’s number in Shot Creating Actions is 5.04, 2.30 and 3.63. Thus the fans can expect more direct involvement from the Argentine on their end product than the other two.

Judging how Mikel Arteta demands increased defensive responsibility from his midfielders, signing the Norwich star makes even more sense. Buendia is clearly ahead of the two in terms of Tackles Made per 90 at 3.21. While ESR and Odegaard’s numericals are 0.86 and 0.53.

The Championship player of the year also puts the opponents under pressure more than the duo. That can lead to Arsenal gaining possession in opponent’s half more often.

Signing Buendia will make the London outfit a more direct side. The former Getafe man can take on his man and thus can free up spaces for other players.

The merits of choosing Buendia over Odegaard are many. Not impeding the development of Smith Rowe as a number 10 and being a more economical signing than Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid are just two specimens.

From the data above, we can see a player who has good endurance, technical ability and is also versatile. He can fit perfectly at Arsenal given his earlier experience in the Premier League.

Aston Villa and Sp*rs have already shown interest in the 24-year-old.

Thus, Arsenal can’t take their own time on acquiring a player who has made an astonishing 32 goal involvements in 39 games for the Canaries in the Championship.

Yash Bisht


Tags Buendia odegaard Smith-Rowe


  1. Stephanie says:

    The stats of Buendia are clearly in his favour over the other 2. He’s a really good player all round. However, ESR is really good at such a young age. He has time to improve

  2. Sean Williams says:

    Well your analysis of the stats are good. Before seeing your stats I would have chosen Buendia based on my eye and watching him on TV and Youtube, and now seeing your stats he seems doubly ready made to improve us. Very positive piece that is based on facts. Important for Arteta to take note of….but where is Arteta at?

    1. Logic says:

      All three can not be compared but interms of talent and performances on certain level Odegaard is head and shoulders above the other two, he possesses more quality then other two. Why I say you can not compare them directly is because first Buendea played an inferior league he did not have to face the same quality as ESR and Ordegard, ESR did not play almost half the league matches as he was favoured by Arteta and then he was injured. Last Ordegard again joint us in January, this is is his first spell in EPL so he is new to league, team, environment and manager. Based on above reasons I think Odegaard has had the most tough test and for me he has passed it with flying colour, when he is on the field you can clearly see his ability and the way he demands the ball like a big player. For me he is the star the go to guy when you see how other players pass the ball to him on the field. Arsenal should try to sign him if he is forced out if Madrid which I don’t think will happen. It’s not bad to have an option of ESR and Ordegard together. I like the trio of Ordegard, ESR and Saka then Martenelli, Saliba, Tierney, Gabi to it and bring back MG, AMN back to the fold we have a very good lot of talented young players who now have good experience in their side and are ready to take the club back to where it belongs.

    2. Logic says:

      Ah, it went down as reply to you Sean but it was not. It was just a comment 🙂

  3. Family Enclosure Man says:

    Interesting analysis. I’m certainly not convinced by Odegaard: he is technically very neat, but is someone who twists and turns with the ball while the opposition’s defence falls into place. He is yet another player slows up our already ponderous build-up, in my view. By contrast, ESR is wonderfully dynamic, creating openings and possibilities though his constant movement across the front line, as well as his ability on the ball. One thing though: I’m curious to know how you calculate expected goals.

  4. Sunny says:

    I would love to have Bundia over Odaguard.
    We need goal scoring midfielder and he is a real goal threat. If we are really serious then we should go in for Zaha as well . Then we need to go for Bissoma and Arrons . All four should come in by spending 150 Million . Upto 100 million we can coup back by selling players. Torriera, Gandouzi, Mavraponus, Niles, Bellarin, Xhaka, William , Niketah. , Willock .
    I don’t want to put williock in the selling list but added it because I put Zaha
    My team would be
    Zaha. Bundia Pepe
    Partey Bissoma
    Trinket Gabriel Salina Arrons
    2nd team
    Martenelli Smith Row Saka
    Elemeny Willock
    Cederic Mari Holding Chambers

    1. ozziegunner says:

      The key is a top quality DM like Yves Bissouma, someone Arsenal has lacked since Gilberto Silva left.

      1. Davi says:

        I think we’re missing someone like Alex Song – someone energetic, who can tackle but also turn and pick passes. Partey looks like poor imitation at the moment but hopefully he’ll be better next season with time to settle and hopefully a better midfield partner.

        1. Stephen says:

          Party is top quality. You don’t deserve him!

  5. Benerdo says:

    Go all out for Saint Maximin now or never. He reminds me of the peak zaha Pls Edu

  6. proudgunner says:

    Is Tierney out injured or do you not rate him

  7. DaJuhi says:

    If you are impressed by Buendias offensive stats, have you check his defensive contribution?

    In the past 3 seasons he has averaged 2.5 tackles every match! To put that in comparison, he has tackled more than any Arsenal player this season! Also averaged 1 interception every match too.

  8. gotanidea says:

    Forget about the stats, because they have different roles in 4-3-3 formation. Odegaard usually works in the half-space on the right side of the midfield, whereas Smith-Rowe often plays on the left side

    It’s like comparing David Silva and De Bruyne in Guardiola’s 4-3-3. Both were fantastic half-wingers or mezzalas, before Silva left City

    A left-footed CAM like Odegaard and Bernardo Silva is a player type we don’t have, so Arsenal had better look for one if Arteta plays with 4-3-3 again next season

    1. Pepe says:

      I don’t understand why a player have to either be left footed or right footed for you every time when did it became a crime to be good with both feet. Your obsession with right feet and left feet is becoming funny
      You are now more concerned about players feet than their actual ability or talent

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Agree Pepe, all players have a “dominent” foot ; however any footballer to get to EPL level should be competent with both feet.

      2. gotanidea says:

        The players’ stronger feet are important for positional based tactics. For instance, Willian doesn’t have the pace to go to the byline on the right wing, but he’s much better when cutting inside from the left wing

    2. Yash Bisht says:

      Buendia’s both feet are strong, judging from the videos I have watched of him. A bit Cazorla like 😉

      1. gotanidea says:

        Good to hear that. But Buendia will make Smith-Rowe spend more time on the bench, if he comes

        However, someone like Odegaard or Bernardo Silva will complement Smith-Rowe’s abilities

        1. Pepe says:

          GAI that is your own opinion
          We taught odegard was going to be Smith competition for no. 10 role but we have seen them both play together
          You are just saying your opinion as I don’t see how signing him makes Smith not playing
          Get over it with your left footed right footed boring stuffs it’s players skill and ability that wins you matches not his left foot

          1. gotanidea says:

            Take a look at the predicted line-up below for 4-2-3-1 formation, if Buendia comes. Smith-Rowe would have to wait on the bench:

            Saka ………….. Buendia …………. Martinelli
            ……………………… Lacazette

  9. Grandad says:

    Buendia is basically a right winger whereas Odegaard and ESR play in the hole behind the central striker.In essence ,we are not comparing like with like.If Arteta is intent on unloading Willian and Nelson the acquisition of another winger makes sense, and Buendia is an upgrade on these two for sure.If he keeps Willian and Nelson there is no point buying another winger to add to Martinelli, Saka and Pepe..As for Odegaard , let him go back to RM.On the thorny issue of stats, here is an example of how misleading they can be.Saka beats two defenders, sends a 20 yard pass to ESR , who side foots the ball 2 yards to Auba ,who taps it over the line.Stats will reveal goal to Auba, assist to ESR, whilst the guy who really created the goal is rewarded with what?

  10. PJ-SA says:

    This seems very bias and lacks objectivity.

    So you say Buendia goals per game are low and quote the following reason, “However, Buendia played for a team who were at the bottom of the league for the majority of last campaign.”

    But then you say that Buendia is ahead of the defence stats….without stating that naturally Norwich defend a lot more than Arsenal.

    “Judging how Mikel Arteta demands increased defensive responsibility from his midfielders, signing the Norwich star makes even more sense. Buendia is clearly ahead of the two in terms of Tackles Made per 90 at 3.21. While ESR and Odegaard’s numericals are 0.86 and 0.53.”

    Seems like the writer is trying to push their own agenda big time.

    1. DaJuhi says:

      @PJ SA

      Well Buendia averaged 2.4 tackles this season in the Championship, and they certainly weren’t a defensive team.

      He averaged the same, more or less, 2 seasons ago when Norwich got promoted.

      So defensive or offensive Norwich, Buendia fights a lot to regain possession.

  11. ThirdManJW says:

    Tough to compare them really. Odegaard has only been here 5 months, and we all know players from abroad need time to adapt.

    Smith Rowe has only been a regular for about half a season. Buendia has far the better stats, but in a division below.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Odegaard’s playing time has also been affected by injury.
      Surely being captain of Norway at 22 yo must say something, even when he is not getting playing time at Real Madrid.

  12. JW says:

    Please remember when you read this article that STATS are numbers without context.
    Norwich and Arsenal play different schemes, so it is almost impossible to make such comparisons.
    I would point to Willock, who is scoring freely for Newcastle, but hardly got a sniff when playing for Arsenal. If you compared his stats to Martinelli say, you would surely pick Willock every day, and twice on Sundays.
    So when you comment on this article, try to keep the above in mind.

    1. RJB58 says:

      JW, you are ahead of me.. the concern I have is a perceived absence of any convincing playing scheme/tactics/plan apart from load the left wing area with Tierney & ESR.

      Until the plan is decided, you can’t say what sort of players you need – so, then it’s just ‘make it up as we go along and hope..’

      I can’t see a style of free flowing, fast football any time soon while we adopt such an ultra safe and conservative approach. And Willock back, yes OK, as long as he’ll be played in the way he was at Newcastle; if not, sell him and wish him luck. Cheers

  13. Wayne says:

    Before Norwich city was relegated, they played in the premier league and Buendia was ranked third for the most assists of that season, despite playing in a weak Norwich city team.

  14. Shine says:


    Personally I will choose both Smith Rowe and Emi Buendia. N put Odegard last.

    Both has shown the desire to play. Work hard. N besides Emi Buendia has more interest to play for Arsenal then Odegard.

    Odegard is just using Arsenal to step up his status n no desire to force his way out in Madrid n besides hes not worth anything more then 25m in my opinion.

  15. Ogaraku Ben says:

    Buendia and ESR over Mø for me.

  16. Lola says:

    Nah we miss players like cazorla and sanches

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