Arsenal Stats – How does Ben White compare to the Top EPL Defenders?

 Ben White compared to other Premier League defenders

As reported earlier, Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle for Brighton star Ben White. The England international will undergo his medical at London Colney on July 26th, when he returns from his delayed holidays.

Although the Gunners faithful are excited about the 23-year-old, their major concern is the fee that is being involved. In my opinion, Arsenal fans should look at it in a more positive way.

Arsenal certainly have the funds to sign every priority position this summer, most of which will be raised from player sales. Until now the North London outfit have hardly sold anyone for a huge amount but they are still willing to splash the cash on Ben White and Manuel Locatelli (90m combined).

Say whatever you want, but it only says that Arsenal are indeed going to be ‘ruthless’ this summer.

But let’s move on and look at the numbers of Ben White, when he is compared against other Premier League proven players.

Below, we have compared White with Ruben Dias, Harry Maguire, Antonio Rudiger, Wesley Fofana and Arsenal’s Gabriel. We have also taken into account Virgil Van Dijk of the 2019/20 season.


  Ben White Ruben Dias Harry Maguire Antonio Rudiger Wesley Fofana Gabriel Virgil Van Dijk -19/20
Passes Completed 41.46 79.11 56.24 70.47 58.65 57.85 73.45
Pass completion % 83.2% 93.5% 89% 90.8% 88.2% 86% 90.5%
Key Passes 0.23 0.10 0.21 0.16 0.21 0.09 0.18
Passes into Final Third 3.13 5.26 5.73 5.84 4.46 3.70 5.97
Passes into Penalty Area 0.56 0.28 0.24 0.21 0.04 0.14 0.24


Although White’s above metrics don’t look too attractive, it is worth considering that he played as the right-sided centerback in a 3-4-3 formation. He had more license to move forward and often played risky passes. That is the reason behind his poor pass completion rate as compared to others.

With a back four that Mikel Arteta prefers, he will also be expected to be more involved in the team plays.


  White Dias Maguire Rudiger Fofana Gabriel Van Dijk
Tackles 1.58 0.98 0.89 1.58 2.51 1.26 0.79
Pressures 11.54 5.73 5.64 8.74 9.87 6.81 3.50
Blocks 1.95 1.42 1.33 1.11 1.87 1.85 0.84
Interceptions 1.27 0.70 1.80 0.79 2.03 1.04 0.63


Van Dijk’s numbers does not make him a bad defender. It just means that Jurgen Klopp does not like his defenders to get involved while his team is out of possession. My point: looking at stats merely is not a rational decision.

Moving onto our main focus, White’s defensive figures are very impressive. He is good at tackling and also has pace which can hugely benefit Arsenal.

Although he does not boast an aerial presence, having Gabriel beside him will offset the few weaknesses the 23yo has in his game. Both can complement each other for several years to come, and Arsenal will be excited to see how they develop together.


  White Dias Maguire Rudiger Fofana Gabriel Van Dijk
Touches 58.21 92.47 73.84 86.89 78.78 77.83 91.18
Dribbles Completed 0.68 0.10 0.18 0.16 0.52 0.18 0.08
Carries 38.81 68.16 45.52 62.21 52.64 55.15 61.08
Carries into Final Third 1.04 0.54 1.68 1.32 1.51 0.27 0.53


If given the room, White can surge into the final third of the opposition to add up the numbers. Arsenal would have a better time breaking down teams who sit in a low block, with the Brighton star in their ranks.

There are several aspects to Ben White’s game that definitely needs working on. But given his age and that he played for a bottom half team, impacted a lot of his metrics that we mentioned above.

Gabriel, Ben White and even William Saliba have a chance of becoming one of the most robust and flexible back lines in the Premier League. It might take a few years’ time but I definitely believe in the trio.

While White is 23, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga are both 21. The Gunners are definitely looking to make their already young squad even younger, which is a positive sign. They are making hard, risky decisions, but one that can have high rewards too.

Last season, Mikel Arteta’s squad was the fifth youngest in the league and it would be intriguing to see how young they will end up being after the transfer window shuts on August 31, roughly 45 days from now.

Regardless, what are your thoughts on White’s stats against defenders from other top teams?

Yash Bisht

Tags Ben White Dias Harry Maguire rudiger van dijk


  1. Good article. The sky article touched on the fact he is no.1 in the league for both CB dribbles and cb most carries with takeons just felt that should be added to the discussion.

    1. Dribbles were included but not clear that he was by miles no.1 in the league and the other stat was not included.

  2. BW’s statistics also depends on the manager’s formation and philosophy of play, so let’s give him time and patience that he deserves, that is if he indeed signs on the doted lines.

    1. @Fred, that’s the point I highlighted in the article. Stats when looked at without any context mean little. One should have a broad perspective before divulging into the stats.
      Cheers mate

  3. It’s mesmerizing to me that the majority of
    Arsenal fans, including knowledgeable regulars
    on this site seem to think that Ben White isnt a
    necessity signing at a definite position of need.

    Gabriel (injured)
    O Rekik

    Would ANY of these players consistently feature in
    one of the TOP 4 sides of the last few seasons?

    Would any of Mari/Holding/Gabriel/CC displace
    Fofana and Soyuncu @ LC?

    Edu and MA DEFINITELY need to upgrade the
    current talent and quality in midfield and @ RB
    but this prevailing opinion that Ben White isn’t
    needed atm and the current CB options are good
    enough to facilitate a serious CL run might the
    MOST ASSININE thing I’ve ever heard on this

    And that’s really saying something…. LOL

      1. I would say its extremely unlikely that Saliba is anywhere close to the level Ben White is at currently. If Saliba is this amazing all star player why he going to France on loan again? He had offers to be loaned to teams in England yet he refused and went back to an easier league. From the limited footage I have seen of Saliba he seems very much like Gabriel, physical imposing but very raw and erratic coupled with the fact hes poor in the air for his height and he is nowhere near as cool on the ball as Ben.

    1. what a ridiculous argument, as White wouldn’t supplant either of those 2 LC defenders you mentioned, let alone crack the other top 4 lineups…if you venture onto the Football critic website, the stats will clearly suggest that we just paid 50M for the 3rd best defender on the Brighton roster last year…maybe if Dunk was a few years younger, he would have been worth the quid…he’s actually the kind of presence we need in front of our timid Keeper and to provide some set piece goals…I think Dunk had as many header goals last season alone than all of our defenders have scored in 2 plus seasons…I hope for the best, of course, but this isn’t the kind of purchase where hope should play such a predominant role in the evaluation process

      1. Should have bought Dunk as well. 😁
        Preferred formation 9-1; 9 CB’s, no midfield so bypass and joof the ball forward to the lone striker. When attacking at home games switch to 8-2,with two strikers up front. 😁

    2. All our CBs are competent and could play in a top 4 side – they just wouldn’t be standout players.
      Watching us play last season, it was clear as anything we were weaker in just about every other area of the pitch, but particularly CM and up front. So why we feel the need to spend so much money on a new CB is baffling to me and I think a lot of others. Feels like we’re trying to be too clever.
      Problem is, if White doesn’t immediately improve the team performances (regardless of his own individual performances), the signing will be questioned.

    3. I completely agree with you. the fact we conceded the third least goals doesn’t mean that we were the third best.
      Good defenders are those who defend well.
      Excellent defenders are those who defend well while contributing in attack too (passes, setpiece goals etc)

    1. We can only know if 50m was worth it when his career at Arsenal finishes. Same was said of Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson

  4. He’s definitely a great signing as a 1st team player. Arsenal defense has been leaking at times n not as alert proven last season despite having good defensive record.
    Let’s hope this 50m is a great investment for the upcoming n future seasons to come.
    What I worried more is our goal scoring outputs.. We gotta put pressure more opponents by scoring too

  5. Stats mean nothing, he’s in a new club with new tactics different from what he’s used to. England like hyping their own. White is no where near Saliba we should have retained & loan out Holding instead,. Only England wants their players in all club around the country in sufficient ratio. Its a shame Arsenal’s buying into that idea & settling 4 less.

    1. You have no right to say Saliba is better than White. Although I agree he should have been given chances but what are you basing your point on? Saliba hasn’t played a single minute in the PL

  6. So, by buying Mr White we are trying to make our strong backdoor even stronger, is that what this article is about?

    The problem is, our side door and our front door are hanging off by their hinges.

    Great stats by the way, but has White ever played in front of a flapper (like our boy Leno)?

    As an aside, I see our best player’s understudy, Tavares, scored against Rangers.
    Maybe instead he should be the understudy for Auba, Laca, Nellie, Willian, Pepe and even Saka!

  7. Stats about passes in the third and the penalty area may seem impressive, but to me are worthless when assessing a center back.

    If a CB is too involved in the final third, this could mean the team would be susceptible to counter attacks. Do we really want to go back to the Unai Emery era when we leaked goals like a sieve?

    Ben White’s acquisition is a high-risk gamble we didn’t need to take. That said, I will support him if and when he wears the shirt.

  8. They really mean little when moving to a new club that plays a different kind of football with different tactics and responsibilities.

    Otherwise Willian would be flying high with his PL experience based on his Chelsea stats.

    They KEY is the player’s MENTALITY and their decision making at key moments.

    Better yet look at Xhaka’s stats, especially passing; reality on the pitch is far different.

    I also remember Mustafi had great stats when he first joined Arsenal; how did that work out?

    One year at Brighton in PL hardly reassuring.

    1. Willian was a very good signing that just hasn’t worked out. It happens. This is football

  9. Hopefully Ben White can convince Arteta to do away with zonal marking at set pieces. Man to man marking endures responsibility, rather than defenders ball watching. Arsenal’s defending of set pieces is abysmal and must be improved.

  10. Our two pre season made me even fear the more.
    We conceded almost four corners and if you think White will solve that, then good luck. All our defenders are better than white aerially which is the most important thing in English football.

    And about the stat you put up, why not go for Forfana, he’s better than white and has more pass than white and very solid.

    People said, Saliba is not EPL proven but they forgot he was a defender who has never been dribble past for two seasons now and in a league he face players like Mbappe, Neymar, Sanchez, Aourar and many more technical players.

    People compare Dirk and Maguire’s transfer fee to White but forgot this two players have more than 3years experience playing in the EPL compare to White’s one year. And both players has the quality to survive as a CB in the Epl(Aerial Dues) than White.
    People point fingers to our current CB that none of them can play in a big club but forgot White wasn’t playing there either.
    If we eventually sign White and you think all the other big clubs are after White then you’re deceiving yourself cos he won’t come to us if truly they are after him.
    Some say, Saliba was hyped up as if he was the next Tony Adams as if White wasn’t hyped up as if he will be the best defender ever to grease football.
    With White’s hype, he should atleast be picked in Euro but he doesn’t even make some bench. And was even pick because of injury to some players.

    My point still remain, no matter HG he is, 50M is a hell lot of money for a player who only has one year of experience in EPL.

    That Man city spent 50M+ on all there CB doesn’t mean we can do that.

    Pepe, Auba and Laca cost more than any front 3 in EPL but can you rate them presently with other top teams 3?

    My only prayer is for White to be a hit or else, they will be coming for the innocent boy.

    1. To buttress your point. I have had over 25 years of watching epl and when an epl playing player is in the news, transfer or not, I quickly have his picture in my mind. But with Ben White I’m struggling to even know what he looks like. This means the boy is a nobody to command that fee. That is what I have problem with though I like his kind of signing with that of Travares and Sambi ( if we have signed him) because I have no expectations of them. With the little I have seen of him and Saliba, Ben is not better than him with both have room for improvement and to WC.

    2. Ben White is just a gamble which our management think they can afford this summer. If we sign him, we can only hope he can replicate and improve upon his last season form at a very demanding, high-pressure new environment like Emirates without the support of Dunk, Bissouma and the likes.

      For the sake of our club, let’s hope they are completely aware of what they are doing.

  11. I’m not sure how stats for a right sided centerback in a three man defense.translate to a RCB in a four man defense, so I think the only statistical comparisons worth considering are Rudiger and Fofana who spent much of the season as outside CBs in three man defenses. The article also recognizes that aerial duels is one of his weaknesses. He can improve in this area, but he’s a shade under 6 feet tall and is never going to be dominant in the air. Gabriel or Mari can provide some protection, but big forwards, like Kane, will find him.

  12. If he’s announced at the club I will have no choice but to get behind him but we need steel and dancing feet in that midfield.We need Locatteli/RubenNeves( most preferably to me)and Auour to play with ESR.We were short on creating the reason our strikers scored blanks

  13. Well I feel arteta is making the same mistake made with Martinez as regards the Ben white/saliba issue…

    We all know saliba is better from all indications,but the manager knows better right….He almost made a mistake with Pepe/saka, ESR/willian, Martinelli..He has this fantasy in his head that no one else can see about how he wants to play but reality on the pitch is quite different.

    My point is players should be given a chance, u may never know if the solution is within our ranks, look at Saka and ESR breakthrough…we can’t continue splashing cash unnecessarily.

    Tavares 7m looks like quality, lokonga might be the same…all these costly overhyped buys mostly flop due to their price tag and weight of expectations…

    I honestly don’t believe our defence is a weak point in the team anymore, the issue is that our Attack is too blunt for a top EPL team.

    All we need is a Marquee signing in the attack like maddison, grealish,chiesa,olmo,perriera, Goncalves ( players that can own the game like debruyne)
    Look at how man utd fixed their mediocre team with fernandes signing…
    50- 90m would have gotten anyone of the above

    1. Last season we looked toothless in attack only because our team needed the forward players to cover for the shortcomings in our defense. Hope the signing of Ben White addresses our defensive shortcoming and our forward players can get back to their primary duty of scoring goals.

  14. Before the Euros I’d never even heard of this guy.I see he’s worked with Bielsa & Potter so he’s obviously a decent player, but will he be good enough? And does this mean we’ll be seeing less of Rob Holding & his new shaved head?

    1. Right now I think of Holding as one of our most important players. We’re not a great side but he’s a reliable and calm presence in defence which gives us something to build on. But yes, unless we change the system drastically, it’s hard to see Holding playing much next season

    2. Yes. I don’t see Rob Holding helping us to win the league. Don’t get me wrong, however. A good dressing room presence and an excellent backup.
      But not a good enough starter for Arsenal Football Club.

  15. Man Utd people were saying the same thing about Maguire… Price tag, price tag, blah blah. What happened? He got them 2nd.

    So real fans should ignore the noise.

    White currently is going to be the only mainstay centerback in Arsenal’s starting 11. The rest are just too slow, casual and limited talent-wise (not comfortable with the ball).

    All I am praying for now is only ONE central midfielder.
    One of, BARELLA, TONALI, LOCATELLI or their cheapest alternative IBRAHIMA DIALLO (Southampton) and I can surely be confident of a guaranteed top 4 finish next season.

  16. Reminds me of how under Wenger for years it was obvious to everyone our weaknesses were defence and defensive midfield, yet we kept signing AMs. Now that we have more trouble scoring goals than preventing them, but we’re signing CBs (for big money).
    Maybe I’ll be proved wrong and this signing will make a big difference, but you have to admit it looks a bit strange.

    1. Like I commented already somewhere else, last season we looked toothless in attack only because our team needed the forward players to cover for the shortcomings in our defense. Hope the signing of Ben White addresses our defensive shortcoming and our forward players can get back to their primary duty of scoring goals.

  17. Let us hope Ben White is the right signing.
    Next to sign: Abraham and Neves, then we are ready to fight for Top 4.

  18. I don’t think it should be taken for granted that Ben White played all Premier League games for Brighton last season.

    1. He played 46 Championship games for Leeds too. EVERY minute of their promotion-winning campaign

  19. As someone who only judges a player with my own eyes which is thankfully linked to an aging, but still operative brain, I have been impressed with Ben White at Leeds and at Brighton.Despite lacking the aerial presence of other towering giants, he is very quick and has excellent positional sense, and is ideally suited to the old “sweeper” role behind the ball winning centre back. You do not have to be left footed to be very successful in the sweeper role as proved by the likes of Bobby Moore, Virgil VD, and many others.There is no reason why Holding and White could not be a successful pairing,as personally I have grave doubts concerning the ability of our two left footed centre backs, Mari and Gabriel.Personally I would have prioritized the acquisition of a quality midfielder like Bissouma or Locatelli, and given Saliba and Mavroponas the opportunity to prove themselves in the EPL.However, Arteta and his support team have a much closer insight on these two young players than any aging fan, and I only hope their judgement call is correct on this occasion.In any event 50m represents a heavy premium to pay for a young CB, good player that he is.

  20. Fun Fact: On Ben White🔴⚪

    Say what one will about the outlay or the necessity, and ignoring the farce that has been ongoing with William Saliba, this is a fantastic signing. It really is. Ben White premier League proven from Brighton.🤔

  21. Sigh!!! The usual pointless misuse of stats that do not, as ever, compare like for like. As all the above listed players play for different clubs and against a range of different opponents , stats are clearly of extremely limited use as a true comparison.
    What irritates me as a mature and logical thinking Gooner, is how so many, almost always young fans, RELY on such incomplete stats to the exclusion of so much else and I constantly wonder at the relative lack of their intellect by choosing to do this.
    They are, in the main, “slaves” to stats alone and that is not a sign of a logical and deeper thinking fan, IMHO!
    It seems such a shame too after all thr clearly detailed research and work that has goneinto this article.

    Each to their own I suppose but I can never be a Gooner who worships and relies on such incomplete and largely pointless stats alone. They have always been a poor substitute for eyes and brain when watching players, as scouts have done for generations past, so successfully in most cases too.

  22. Not bad at all, at 21 he is probably the youngest of all the defenders he was measured with so he has years on his side and a huge chance to become better as years go by.
    I am sure that Arsenal will get the best out of him.

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