Analysis of Tielemans vs Paqueta – Who should Arsenal sign?

Tielemans vs Paqueta. Who should Arsenal sign? by Zikora

Arsenal are interested in signing a new midfielder to bolster our ranks and the two main players touted for a move are Youri Tielemans of Leicester and Lucas Paqueta. But which of the two should Arsenal sign?

We have already signed Fabio Vieira who plays as an advanced playmaker in a three. He got 14 assists in Liga Portugal last season and averaged 1.3 key passes per game. He got a 7.45 average rating on Sofa Score which, albeit he plays in a lower league, is higher than all the current Arsenal midfielders. He did score 6 goals, meaning he had 20g/a in the league and 22g/a in all comps, this shows that he is a creative force that can also add goals to the team. But his defensive numbers tell a whole new story, he makes just under 1 tackle per game and a pitiful 0.4 interceptions per game, telling us he lacks the defensive acumen to play deep. Now, let’s look at Paqueta and Tielemans’ stats head-to-head and then in comparison to Vieira.

Attacking statistics (all comps)
………………Lucas Paqueta – Youri Tielemans – Fabio Vieira
Goals…………….. 11……….. 7…………. 7
Assists …………….7……….. 5………… 15
Shots (per game)….. 2.5 ……….1.3……….. 1.6
Key Passes (per game) 1.4 ……….1.0……….. 1.3
Dribbles (per game) ..2.1………. 0.9……….. 0.8
Touches (per game) ..60.7……… 67.6………. 38.4
Big chances missed …11……….. 2…………. 2
Big chances created 15 8 16

Defensive statistics (all comps)
………………….Lucas Paqueta – Youri Tielemans – Fabio Vieira
Tackles (per game)……. 1.9………… 0.8………….. 0.7
Interpt (per game) …….0.3………… 0.5………….. 0.4
Fouls (per game)……… 1.8………… 1.1………….. 0.7

As shown in the tables above Paqueta brings the most to the table defensively, and is also the best in the attacking sense; he scored the most goals and second most assists while shooting the most, dribbling the most and making more key passes than everyone else. But he did miss 11 big chances last season showing he’s wasteful but that may just come with the fact that he shoots more than everybody else.

Fabio Vieira is the weakest in defence but second best in attack, he created three times more assists than Tielemans and more than double Paqueta’s 7. He created the most big chances and second most key passes per game. Although he sees the ball the least and has the lowest dribble numbers out of all of them.

Finally, analysis of Tielemans numbers paint a disappointing picture as he is seemingly the worst attacking threat and even though he played in deeper positions than the Paqueta he had less than half of his tackles per game and was only a marginally higher number of interceptions per game. He created half of Paqueta and Vieira big chances, had the least assists and the second least dribbles per game. He did, however, have the most touches of the ball showing his teammates trust him to distribute it well.

The stats at least show that Tielemans is the worst player – at least based on last season – out of all of them, most definitely in attack but also doesn’t really have the defensive numbers to give him the boost he so desperately needs.

Of course, Arsenal have already signed Vieira so that cannot be changed but it seems to me personally that Paqueta is the one to go for.

My few concerns are that Paqueta hasn’t been consistent over the past few seasons unlike Tielemans who has been and also doesn’t play as deep as Tielemans can and often does. If Paqueta is signed the midfield suddenly becomes very attacking and without much deep lying playmakers such as Tielemans is.

If Paqueta is signed then perhaps Odegaard can take on a deeper role on the left while Paqueta plays Central Attacking Midfield and Vieira plays centrally on the right in the middle of the park.

In contrast if Youri Tielemans is signed, he can play as a deep lying playmaker on the right, while Fabio plays Left Centre Midfield, in a little more advanced position above the half way line, then Odegaard can play CAM drifting to right when we are attacking.

But at the end of the day as fans we do not decide who is coming in and we will have to wait and see who Arteta and Edu decide on, and hope it’s the right decision.



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  1. What a well detailed Analysis, great job Zikora*

    Well……in all, I think a premier league proven player will be much better….but then i think we need to focus on our under 23, integrate Patino and invest in a winger and right back

  2. You can use stats to prove or disprove any argument. Unless you have seen the players a few times you cannot just make up your mind on stats alone.

    1. Good points. There are also additional factors which may not be immediately obvious but are relevant. Some can be gleaned from watching a player but others require further understanding of the player as an individual.

  3. Since Paqueta can’t play as deep as Tielemans, who’s done in the Prem for years, I’d go all in on him. As far as form’s concerned, I think he suffers from Aubatitis – feeling stuck at a club that didn’t deliver on your expectations.

  4. I think we should go for Dele Alli who four years ago was valued at 100mill and is now available for under 20mill. He is PL and Europe tested, is quota, is an international, is exciting, creates and scores goals. What’s not to like about signing Dele? Just imagine the Spurs chagrin when we win the title.

    1. The last line of your comment is when I realized that your were actually joking/being sarcastic…hilarious sir

  5. So the fact we have Vieira already it would be wise to go for Tielemans.

    There seems to be a lots of options in midfield hence us targeting the left back first

    1. I can appreciate the effort, but unfortunately this is wrong interpretation of statistics. First of all, counting the stats per game and not per minutes played is plain false, as you have deducted an argument that doesn’t take into consideration that Viera came off the bench in half the games he played. So saying that he has less passes per game for example comparing to the other two, is as relevant as saying that odegaard had more passes per game for the arsenal team comparing to El neny. Also, you are comparing a cm (tielemans) with two cams. I have not been able to find the defensive stats you have mentioned above, but considering the position each of them plays, I don’t consider any of them having superior Def stats. Also, a quick stroll into transfermarkt will tell you that paqueta (3200mins) and Viera (2000mins) played most games as attacking midfielders and 5-10 games as strikers, second strikers or wingers, while both of them were classified as pure cm only twice. On the contrary, tielemans played 4000mins, was the most involved in most games (as per the number of passes you wrote above) and played almost all games as cm and in the absence of ndidi he covered cdm a few times. Am not trying to advocate in favor of any of the 3, am just trying to counter the deductions you made from the above listed statistics. I would be delighted with either tielemans or paqueta, preferably tielemans though as paqueta seems to play in a position we are covered atm, unless he is being purchased as an offensive option) anti raphinha+gabriel Jesus backup).

  6. Tielemans is proved in the EPL and plays well in it. ‘Better the midfielder you know than the one you don’t know. Famous saying said by Margaret Thatcher in 1842 AD to to Jacob Rees Smog during the reign of Charles 2’nd.

    1. Bruno Guimaraes had no PL and despite that,he had an immediate impact,not only that but having watched both players,I believe that given a bit more freedom Paquetá could contribute “offensively”,as for being inconsistent at Lyon,it most probably has to do with the fact the whole team didn’t perform,loads of changes in personnel, playing and coaching(a new manager/coach).anyone,If I had to choose between Paquetá and Tielemans, I’d go for Lucas for his defensive work,ball progression and splitting defences passes.he has a very good left foot and is quite technical like many Brazilian but at Lyon his role has been reduced to being a DM/shielding the defense.according to reports,we have already table a bid but too low and this is not the only bid(Newcastle) OL have received.the problem being that the player and his family are very happy in France and would need convincing.

  7. Fair fan.What you smoking? Deli Alli? R uYou his agent? Hilarious.Personally would take BOTH Tielemans & paqueta.Affordable as we won’t be getting Martinez & going for the much,much cheaper option of “ The Grimster”.Plus we might be without a certain influential midfielder soon.

    1. @ Positive Pete,

      Who is this influential midfielder? Thomas Partey?
      I wish we get more clarity as per the Partey situation.

      He is key to how we play. and we need to move fast in the market for a proper DM. Ruben Neves is my choice.

  8. I know hardly anything at allabout PAQUETA AND ONLY A LITTLE MORE ABOUT VIEIRA.
    But as i havew been posting now for some time I am convinced that we are NOT after Tielemans at .Ininitially I had thought us intertested but as time has gone by with no real rival interest in him and a reasonable price asked and then NOTHING , NO ACTION , from us to sign him, I realised that he was being used as a decoy to throw rival clubs off the scent of whichever midfielder we TRULY ARE interested in.
    I do not know who it will be but I am very clear that it will not be TIELEMANS..



    1. I agree with Jon, both about Tielemans and stats,they can easily be manipulated to suit a narrative,as I always say stats without context can be really deceiving.

  9. Tielemens over Paqueta for me but I more intrigued about the link to Bennancer the other day. Deeplying playmaker with good passing ability whilst also having the defensive qualities to play no.6 role and has been at the club already, so should be able to settle quickly.

    1. i read an interview from Bennacer where he talks about his time with Arsenal,he arrived as a 17 years old and didn’t have the best of time off the pitch.hopefully he got over it!!

  10. Everyone knows we are looking for a midfield upgrade … still no one coming in for xhaka … speaks volumes … need to move him on ASAP to see real progression in middle of park … for me allowing partey to play deeper and finding a real box to box would be the right combo

  11. Although I agree that a correct use of staistics is a valuable tool in comparing peopl;e whjo play similar roles in similar formations and at a similar standard of play…

    Not only are the above factors not quite aligned, but the comparators used in the article are not comparing like with like.

    The goals total is presumably for a whole season which is then touted as showing that Paqueta is “better in the attacking sense” – without reference to how many games they played.

    Also, if he shoots more per game but only scores a few more goals then he is wasting attacking opportunities – anyone can shoot and hit the corner flag, it’s not a positive stat.

    The “Big chances missed” stat for Paqueta is telling in that regard at 11 (2 for the others) showing that his finishing and nerve is not all it might be.

    There are also issues with fouls committed (higher than the others) and the dribbles stat doesn’t tell the whole story – there’s usually also a “successful dribbles” equivalent; comparing the two shows how often he lost the ball while attempting to dribble.

    There are some interesting numbers there but I’m not sure I agree with the author’s conclusions.

      1. yes Jon. we need to look beyond both.

        The right back and left back positions, we need to get it right.

        We need a tall, pacey and aggressive Full back. Someone with a good passing range. someone like Alex Arnold trent, Kyle Walker.

        Bellerin and cedric should be sold this summer.

        Tomiyasu lost some pace after recovering from injury.

        Tierney cant last a full season. and with the europa league, we have more games.

  12. My problem with both these two players is:

    1) Neither is a top .DM, which I still believe is the big hole in our squad

    2) I believe, if we are looking for a ball playing midfielder, neither is a left sided player. I believe this is the second big hole in our squad.

    So, as good as they might look, overall I think neither of them should be a priority signing.

    I have watched Tielemans play for Leicester and I think he is too inconsistent. He has great days, then some very poor days (where he often seems disinterested).

    I have only watched U-Tube videos of Paqueta and he has lots of tricks, but most of what I watched was him playing in Internationals with Brazil. I suspect that playing those tricks in Premier League games may cause him to suffer a lot of injuries!!

  13. Tielemans has done it at EPL level. On that alone we know what he can do in the EPL and I would vote for him. In truth very few of us have seen Paqueta week in week out, so Tielemans would me my choice,

  14. Haven’t seem much of Paqueta. I have of Tielemans and while he’s a good player he has periods where he is not anything special as well. If we can get Tielemans for 25mill I think that’d be fair. Is Paqueta worth Lyon’s asking price? Probably not, and we all know Lyon are tough negotiatiors and like to waste clubs time. Wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a totally different target.

  15. I follow Paqueta since his start at Flamengo, as I`m a huge fan of the brazilian club and always watch their games. I can tell you that Paqueta already played as CDM, CM, CAM, SA, ST and Winger, he went well in all those positions, but the one that I most admire watching him was CM, as a classic number 8, he is brilliant in keeping the ball in the midlefield and helping defensively on the sides. In that position he might not score as many goals as he did in Lyon last season playing as CAM, but will surely add consistency to our mid.
    Also, that`s the position that he plays when wearing Brazilian country team as well.

    1. This is true.
      Paqueta is more skilful than Tielemens and probably better as a playmaker.
      The main reasons not go for him would be the price and lack of premier league experience.
      Personally, I would go for him over Tielemens if a reasonable fee could be agreed.
      However, neither is a top level defensive midfielder.

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