Arsenal Analysis – How does Bissouma’s stats compare to Ruben Neves?

How does Neves fair up against Bissouma?

Moving on can be difficult sometimes, be it life or football. The Saturday evening news of Aston Villa beating Arsenal to the signature of Emi Buendia was disappointing, to say the least.

But this is the world we live in. Clubs are going to miss out on their long and short-term targets. History has told us that if the club gets it right the second time, the mistake they made the first time can be quickly forgotten.

Arsenal have no choice but to tread that path after missing out on Emi Buendia and Martin Ødegaard, who looks set to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Gunners are strongly interested in Bissouma and Neves and can make a move for either one of them in the coming weeks. In this article we look at how they fair up against each other.

Starting with the attacking output, Neves is clear of his Brighton counterpart. The Portuguese averaged 0.17 goals per 90 while Bissouma’s figure was 0.03 last season. However, it is worth pointing out that Neves has been a regular penalty taker for Wolves.

He is pretty clinical too, having missed just a single penalty in his entire career.

The metric of Shots on Target gives us more depth in our attacking analysis of the duo. The Portugal international averaged 0.47 shots in a match while the Malian averaged a lowly 0.09.

With the acquisition of Neves, Arsenal can strengthen their freekick options as the Wolves man’s 0.32 figure of Shots from Freekicks, is quite an exceptional number for a defensive midfielder.

The former Porto man also boasts more involvement in the game, a role which has been similar to Granit Xhaka’s at Arsenal. Neves completes 52.68 passes per 90 while Bissouma stands at 40.75.

Some section of the Arsenal supporters have an image of Neves possessing a restricted range of passing than Xhaka. But that is certainly not the case.

Although the Swiss attempts more ‘short’ and ‘medium’ ranges passes, the Portuguese is the player who completed more ‘long range’ passes between the duo in the last campaign.

The Wolves midfielder completed 13.66 long passes while Xhaka was slightly behind at 11.06.

This can help Mikel Arteta’s squad in transitioning quickly from defense into attack, a trait which was clearly not seen much often last season. Bissouma’s passing number in all three categories of short, medium and long was nowhere near Xhaka and more importantly Neves.

It is the defensive side of the place where both appear to be somewhat equivalent. Bissouma won 2.14 tackles per 90 last season, while his counterpart’s figure was 2.22. The figure of Interceptions/ Clearances between Bissouma and Neves was 1.74,1.94 / 1.55,1.82.

Not a huge gap of any sorts.

After coming across this data, you might wonder what is the hype that the Arsenal fans are manifesting around Bissouma?

Well, it might be all down to dribbling. The Brighton star’s figure of Dribbles Completed and Total Carrying Distance was an impressive 1.45/ 258.66 (yards). While Neves’ figures were at 0.40/ 204.16. Bissouma also carried the ball into the final third more times than the Portuguese.

Bissouma also has a greater aerial presence than Neves. But the Portuguese man is a more rounded player than Bissouma and as well as Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.

His package appears to be more complete than the duo.

Neves is also considered to be a dressing room voice (he was made the captain of Porto at the age of 18), which can help the team in making a smooth transition from the expected departure of Xhaka.

Who do you guys think Arsenal should prefer? Although stats don’t tell the whole picture, Ruben Neves can be as a solid addition at the Emirates Stadium next season as Yves Bissouma.

Yash Bisht

Tags Bissouma Neves


  1. DaJuhi says:

    They play different positions. Neves a deep lying playmaker, Bissouma more traditional defensive midfielder.

    Neves is for Xhakas position
    Bissouma more of what Elneny is supposed to do

    1. mekux11 says:

      If we buy boussoma….it wud improve ESR versatility but if buy neves we still need world class 10

    2. Arsenal2win says:

      @Dajuhi, did u play futbol, u analyze like an ex-player. Bissouma & Neves can play in the same game, with Bissouma as the Anchor, Neves a false 10 or even a 10.

    3. Arsenull says:

      He’d be a great acqusition but we all know that this joke of a club will do zero business before they have player sale money on the table. I expect them signing ZERO decent players this transfer window and I expect more shameful performances next season.

  2. Nayr says:

    I would prefer neves to bissouma.
    Partey can be the more defensive minded with Ruben neves being more of a deep lying playmaker.

    I also never wanted emi buendia or Martin odegaard.
    If we are serious about a complete number 10, buy Jack grealish.

    1. Gogo says:

      Too expensive, Buy Mathias Pereira, better player than Ødegaard and Buendia ino. More suited for the prem.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        👍 Mathaus Pereira has done it already in the EPL, having excellent stat’s in a relegated side. When West Bromwich Albion were last in the Championship, Pereira was arguably the best player in the division.
        I would be very pleased to see Arsenal buy Bissouma, Neves and Pereira as they are different midfielders with lots to offer in making Arsenal a stronger, more rounded team.

  3. Adajim says:

    My reluctance in accepting Bissoum is because of AFCON since we are also interested in Onana, I think Neves will be a good addition £20-£30m should do the trick

    1. Grandad says:

      The use of stats in assessing players has been elevated to a level which is bordering on the ridiculous .Having seen Bissouma and Neves on numerous occasions this season, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in my mind which player would enhance the Arsenal squad, and that is the Brighton man.What stats fail to highlight is the speed at which Bissouma covers the ground ,particularly in recovery.He is far quicker than Neves who is pedestrian although a bit quicker than Xhaka .Apart from his long range shooting , Neves is pretty ordinary as far as I am concerned and I very much doubt if he will figure much for the Portugese National team in the Euros.Bissouma is the one to anchor central midfield with Partey next season.

      1. Gogo says:

        Have you considered what our team will be like during the Afcon? I love Bissouma but losing him and Partey at the same time will be catastrophic. But in teras of who I want its Bissouma all day.

      2. gunner4lf says:

        Spot on. Bissouma’s pace and dribbling is going to come in handy since Arteta relies heavily on fast transitions when facing tough opponents. My only concern is that Partey tends to go marauding up the pitch in a similar way to Bissouma. I don’t wanna see our almost 100 mil pair of DMs caught out of position.

      3. gunner4lf says:

        I hope we get a winger and an AM as well :/ preferably 27 – 29. I have high hopes for ESR and Saka, just need two players to fill in for the gap seasons before they become more experienced.

      4. kev says:

        Yeah its ridiculous. According to many Twitter coaches Bissouma and Partey won’t work because they are similar. Others also claim we need creativity and Bissouma is not the one to offer that. People have have forgotten we are generally employing a 4-2-3-1 so no matter what we need the pivot to be as defensively solid as possible while not neglecting ball progression and carrying. In 2021 and in the same conditions if Arsenal had Vieira and were going for Gilberto Silva people will tell us it wouldn’t work. We will be using a No. 10 whose main role is to create chances along wingers who should also contribute through goals and chance creation. The problem with this team is fans can’t pinpoint one player who gives the team inspiration like for e.g Sanchez.

        1. Zert says:

          You obviously never watched Vieria if you think him and Gilberto Silva were Similar.

      5. jon fox says:

        Grandad, I suggest you and I, being two wiser fans who are not in love with stats, as so many wet behind the ears fans are, start a camaign to educate these wide eyed, know nothing fans who stupidly worship stats.
        STAT WORSHIPPERS ARE NOT DEEP THINKERS and stats are no substitute for eyes and watching prospective players personally.

        BISSOUMA IS THE REAL DEAL imo, while Neves is nothing out of the ordinary.

    2. Yash Bisht says:


  4. Dan kit says:

    Neves is looked after by Jorge Mendes who as been trying to get him a big move for the last 2-3 years so a big no from me .
    I would rather we go for ward prowse who is similar in play style to neves if that’s the kind of player Arteta is after .

    1. Sue says:

      Villa have bid 30m for JWP…

      1. Dan kit says:

        Just seen that sue ,always liked him and as a magic right foot ,looks like villa mean business then .

    2. Yash Bisht says:

      Many supporters would be drooling over his setpiece deliveries. I’ll take him any day.

  5. gotanidea says:

    Neves’ and Bissouma’s stats look good, but both of them will tend to pass to the right side more often. They also can’t pass along the left touchline like Xhaka, because of an obvious geometrical problem

    Having two right-footed DMs in a double-pivot formation will minimize our attacking LB’s penetration through the opposition’s defense. Xhaka provided through balls for Tierney and Neves/ Bissouma will be rarely able to do that as a left DM

    Magalhaes or Mari can replace Xhaka’s tasks if Neves or Bissouma plays more centrally with Partey on the right side of the midfield, but I prefer to get someone like Fabian Ruiz Pena, Eduardo Camavinga, Carles Alena or Teun Koopmeiners instead. Because asking our left CB to move to the left DM position occasionally will make us more prone to counter-attacks

    1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

      Hope you were able to take a gander at that Xhaka v. Neves heat map comparison GAI…Xhaka moves about as much as the average fourth official, so functionally he’s the footballing equivalent of a 3-wheeled shopping cart on a windy day…on a side note, I would really appreciate you supplying a list of your top 10 left-footed, left side playing, deep-lying, double pivot midfielders…please make sure they fit all of the qualifiers provided

      1. gotanidea says:

        Tierney and Partey like to move forward, so Xhaka has to stay behind to cover them. Our two pivots shouldn’t be all over the place if we play with two CBs only

        About the left DMs who might be better than Xhaka, I think we need to get Fabian Ruiz Pena or Eduardo Camavinga if possible

        1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

          most teams who’ve had success using the 4-2-3-1 scheme, with a pivot(s,) did so with the intention of absorbing pressure then effectively counter-attacking, which of course we didn’t do as we had Xhaka, who not only is a bang average defender, he likewise slowed down play through his propensity to take extra touches then pass the ball sideways or backwards, which allowed the opposition ample time to regain their defensive shape…btw you still didn’t provide me with that list

    2. kev says:

      You never saw Cazorla spraying long balls like Xhaka from midfield when he played with Coquelin but no one ever complained because he brought different things to the table and he was world class too. Partey and Bissouma can both spray those long balls but its not their main strength. Bissouma brings different things to the table in terms of his ball carrying compared to Xhaka or Neves and a DM with his qualities are needed. Partey at his best is a dominant midfielder and having someone like Bissouma who good defensively as well as offensively will make our midfield better.

      1. gotanidea says:

        I’m sure Neves or Bissouma and Partey can spray long balls. But they’ll have difficulties in passing along the left sideline, because of their passing angle:

        I agree that Bissouma’s defending abilities will make us able to stop the opposition’s attacks more easily. In the last few matches, Arteta has been using two right-footed DMs and Magalhaes as the makeshift left DM when we have the ball, so maybe we’ll get Bissouma in the end of the transfer window

        1. kev says:

          Its not that I disagree with your passing angle theory. Its just that the bigger picture isn’t being looked at. That difficulty you mentioned is not really a big problem because the quality of both would cater for it as both aren’t greatly limited in skillset. The good thing is Bissouma is a DM who looks like a box to box layer which means our midfield will not be flat and reliant just on long balls from one player.

        2. Sylva says:

          Two good midfielders no doubt. Beyond our opinion is the reality and issue of weather the Kroenke are ambitious enough to sign any quality midfielders. They seem a stingy unambitious board. Arsenal should be quick with their signings before other clubs out-muscle us again.

      2. towny254 says:

        If Liverpool want Bissouma we have no chance they have European football to offer we don’t we will be in the Basement AGAIN

  6. Rfrancis says:

    Very good analysis YB….well done.

    I am now even more convinced than Neves is the better candidate – by a very large margin – considering the specific needs of the club at this time. Here are a few reasons why:
    1. We need more goals from the midfield;
    2. We need more experienced leaders in team;
    3. We need to make better use of dead-ball situations.
    4. Bissouma plays too much like Partey, so Neves would provide more variety and creativity to our midfield;
    5. Neves brings long-range shooting – a skill our team have lacked for years.

    The case for Neves is clearly a no-brainer.

    1. Yash Bisht says:

      Thanks Rfrancis!!

  7. kev says:

    This isn’t worth your time. Neves is just an agent led talk. Even for Buendia several sources for e.g from Argentina are saying we didn’t bid but it was rather an enquiry. I will not be shocked to see Aouar and Bissouma here by the time the window ends.

    1. john wheeler says:

      I would be happy with that

    2. Yash Bisht says:

      You are a pretty optimistic fan, Kev!

    3. Towny254 says:

      Kev We bid £30 million Villa bid more full stop

  8. Vinnie2000 says:

    Bissouma is d FIRST player we should buy for the upcoming season!!
    He will b a perfect partner for Thomas Partey!! T
    Then, Willock or ESR should complete d 3-man midfield. though, this is a big gamble Bcos both re so young. We should take the gamble.
    My Dream Line up for Next season
    Bellerin Holding. Gabriel. Tierney
    Thomas Partey
    Bissouma. ESR
    Saka. Andre Silva. Wilfred Zaha

    1. jon fox says:

      BELLERIN? YOU MUST BE CRAZY! I’d rather have any player who CAN defend!

      1. Vinnie2000 says:

        Despite being slammed by Arsenal fans here as Way past his Best/Prime, Hector Bellerin is not a Bad Right back!!
        He’s still a Decent player, with some Fight in him!!
        @Least, better dan Auba, Laca, Pepe, in dat aspect.
        About Tackling, With Proper instructions, he can do better.
        BTW, Liverpool’s Trent-Arnold is a poor tackler but a Klopp’s Favourite!!

        1. Kasey says:

          Pepe is way better than the overrated Zaha. Don’t know why he receives so much stick. First player in the EPL to make Liverpool’s van Dijk hesitate from making a tackle. We,ve seen Zaha pocketed by a lesser defender in the frame of AMN

      2. ozziegunner says:

        jon, Bellerin doesn’t want to be at Arsenal; he has fallen out of love with football and will be sold.
        Arsenal needs committed determined footballers, who want to play for the Club.

    2. Yash Bisht says:

      Woah woahhh!! Bellerin?? What are you *moking?

  9. 03 gooner says:

    Wouldn’t be against signing neves to replace xhaka as long a defensive midfielder is bought in as well bissouma/lokonga. We lack depth in central midfield.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Mathaus Pereira, Yve Bissouma, Ruben Neves

  10. GunnerYogi says:

    Yeah, bellerin is done. Need a strong defensive minded right back. That gives partey a little license to roam forward.
    Between bissouma and neves, I think Bissouma makes more sense than Neves. Bissouma and Partey can very well do a double pivot and cover for the other. Bissouma definitely has better and faster ground coverage than both partey and neves. But then afcon is an issue.
    So I think a more reliable CB and a neves might be worth a shot. Holding is good but I have bad feeling we have already seen his best. Saliba is untested. Gabriel was best with Luiz. So there is probably some communication gap. Hopefully his English improves and starts understanding Scottish 🙂
    We need to find a hard tackler DM who’s fast, with better positioning than xhaka and with the stamina of a horse. And either epl or la liga tested. And not African. Hmm, easier said than done!

  11. Sean Williams says:

    The Arsenal story, is to usually arrive late for the transfer window party. Whilst we dither about which player is better….there will not be weeks to get them. Buendia has proved that. When Dick Law and Gazidis were doing transfers we were too dithery for countless players and so often bought last minute players we never really needed or really wanted. I think that sank Wenger in the end. Why not be proactive like the big clubs are and get who we WANT and who we need NOW?

  12. Reggie says:

    Arsenal not having a plan as usual and signing the cheap option not the best option. NOTHING CHANGES!

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Reggie, they wouldn’t know a good footballer, whether in the Academy or at other clubs, if they tripped over him. They certainly don’t appear to have a plan, proposed playing style, deficient positions and priority list of players to be approached.

  13. AidanGooner says:

    Could be Neves and Bissouma replacing Xhaka & Ceballos, or is that too optimistic?

    1. Reggie says:

      Too optimistic! Lol

    2. ozziegunner says:

      Aidan, one hopes that it is not optimistic, with Matheus Pereira hopefully to replace Martin Odegaard.
      Pereira (#10), Bissouma (#8) and Neves (#6) with Willock and ESR and Arsenal’s midfield is good to go. Backups in Elneny if retained and Chambers.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Not forgetting Thomas Partey!! 🤔

  14. Angus says:

    Media makes up nonsense our fans buy it hook line sinker same old same old every year. We were obviously not in for Buendia as a top target or he would at the very least be delaying in expectation of us matching villa. The media knew this, i called it last week, you could tell from the articles they were writing and how they were constructed that they were building up this as villa beating us (absurd notion, they finished 11th) aimed at our easily manipulated fanbase. They were doing this because they already knew Villa were the only serious interested party but they get no clicks from Villa fans so here we are.

    So now we have comment after comment on how disorganised, cheap, far we’ve fallen etc. they led you to that conclusion and you bought it as you have for well over decade now. Media told to walk of a cliff half of you would whilst shouting about how your not influenced by the media you just really want to jump of the cliff.

  15. Sean Williams says:

    Bissouma is the Pivot/Anchor for Brighton. Like Ndidi at Leicester. Neves is not a Pivot/Anchor. We need Bissouma.

  16. Will r says:

    we need both.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      👍 👍 Plus Matheus Pereira. All relatively young, experienced in EPL and value for money.

  17. @SAMMYKM says:

    Boussuma all the way….. his aggression is required….

    WHy not go for SAINT -Maximin OF Newcastle to provide more impetus going forward … I think we need a player like him now, forget about Zaha and Pepe …he is he man….


  18. Gily says:

    We don’t need any of them. What we need is to sell some big earners who are not performing, beginning with Auba… Then we can properly allocate what we already have.

    We already have what need. We are the ARSENAL. We make Stars – not buy them.

    Get a proper manager!

    1. Gily says:

      If we must buy, then it’s Bissouma every day.

    2. Towny254 says:

      Well said Gily

    3. Yash Bisht says:

      I don’t agree with you, Gily. It’s clearly evident that Arsenal have an average squad, barring few players.

  19. mike bruce says:

    sensible comments everywhere, but the afcon means we need both bissouma and neves. that’s my take on the matter.

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