Sunday, June 16, 2024

Aurier v. Coleman: By the Numbers

Arsenal have been linked with Serge Aurier for so long that the newspapers have grown tired of writing the same article and have started to branch out, suggesting that Arsenal could be in for Seamus Coleman instead. But the question for me is how do both players compare to the guy they are replacing, Bacary Sagna?

The simple answer is that Sagna was a very well balanced player for Arsenal, going forward when needed and staying back when needed, making himself available on the touch line as a sort of 5th midfielder.

Aurier, on the other hand, is an attacking menace who was still able to get back and play defense. And Seamus Coleman is just all around a very efficient fullback.

Here, the three players are compared:


The first thing that pops out to me is how much of Aurier’s stats are about going forward. His passes are mostly forward, he scored 6 goals, he had 6 assists, and he took 58 shots, 47 of which were in the opposition 18 yard box. That shots stat is pretty ridiculous. As an example, Theo Walcott took 86 shots two seasons ago, 60 in the box. Aurier was third on Tolouse for shots per game and goals scored. He’s a fullback.

Aurier also had 6 of his team’s 32 assists, 19 % of their total. But he got those 6 assists with just 26 key passes, which was 8% of Toulouse’s total Key Passes. Despite his low number of key passes, he still connected on 19% of 191 crosses, that accounts for 21% of Toulouse’s total crosses attempted. To put that in context, Leighton Baines attempted 229 of Everton’s 836 (27%) crosses completing just 17% of those attempts.



Aurier tried more crosses than any of the three players and also connected on more crosses. But it’s Seamus Coleman who was more efficient, completing over 30% of his crosses. He took less than half of the total number of crosses that Aurier did but that’s completely understandable when you consider the stats above about Leighton Baines and the number of crosses he took.


Defensively, Aurier puts up impressive numbers as well, leading all three players in tackles, interceptions, and doing OK in aerial duels. Sagna’s aerial duels numbers are so high mostly because he was a favorite target for Szczesny to clear the ball to. Oh, and he is good in the air. Coleman is, erm, not.

It’s actually kind of eerie how similar Coleman’s numbers are to Sagna’s in terms of output. But while the numbers are similar Coleman is more efficient. He shoots the ball less than Aurier but still scored the same number of goals; took half as many crosses, still connected on almost the same number; took fewer dribbles but was a 60% dribbler and completed more dribbles than Aurier; fewer passes and yet created more chances; attempts fewer tackles but is successful 62% of the time; just all around a very efficient player.

So, who do you choose?

Serge Aurier is one of the hottest names in football right now and his name is only heating up with performances like the one against Japan 3 days ago. 2 assists off 2 crosses in 2 minutes will do that for a player. Meanwhile, Coleman is a much more efficient player all around. I can see arguments for both though I do understand why people would choose Aurier over Coleman, his stats are quite mouthwatering.

Can Wenger tame him? Keep him from camping out in the opposition box? Do we want Wenger to tame him? Can Aurier play with Walcott in front of him? Can Walcott play with Aurier in front of him? Coleman seems more like a safe bet, Aurier more the gamble. A gamble with potential for huge payout.


(All numbers via Opta)

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I’d prefer Aurier to Coleman for the following reasons:
-we can likely get Aurier for under 25 million.
-Aurier is interested in joining us.
-Wenger turned both Gibbs and Cashley into fullbacks.
-Coleman gets a bit lost when going forward, as he loves to pull inside. Put him on the same flank as Walcott, and that could be trouble.
-Coleman has only had one standout season, so far.

Daft Aider

put Aurier on the same flank as Walcott and we’d spend 60 minutes a game defending attacks down our right side


How about ACON?


Sixteen Nations One Cup.


How about Serge Gnarby?

Aurier is a wing-back more than a full back. If we are in need of a wing-back, why not convert Gnarby into one, in the same manner Wenger converted Cole and Gibbs?

For Gnarby it would be a sensible choice as he would cement his place as right-back for Germany (Germany used Daniel Boateng as right-back). And in Arsenal, he is probably down the pecking order on the Right side with Walcott (RF), Ox (RM, CM), Cambell (RM) and other Central Midfielders (Rocisky, Wilshere).


Also, in the last season Gnarbyshowed glimpse of defensive reliability in defending the opposing Right wing/backs, much better than Walcott ever had.


Coleman is the safer purchase but will not come cheap. Aurier has some risk but is an exciting prospect at a reasonable “Wenger price.” I can see Aurier come in. Coleman, somewhat unlikely. As to Aurier, until he performs consistently week-to-week, there will always be doubt and questions in the RB position just because Sagna has been so consistent and reliable for quite some time. Good stuff, 7amkickoff.


To be fair to Aurier he was exceptionally consistent last season, getting in the Ligue 1 team of the year at right back, he was Whoscored.coms top rated right back in ligue 1 and I’m pretty sure he was Toulouse player of the year?

He basically tore up the French league last year, may not have proved consistence over a long period but he certainly showed it over a season.

I think the biggest question is whether or not his attacking style will fit our team.


I’m more concerned about his defensive capabilities to be honest. His attacking style would be a breath of fresh air


Yeh you’re right. Just don’t think Aurier should really be considered an unknown quantity or inconsistent.


Well the Toulouse manager did play him at CB for some time last season so there has to be something there.

Kos the boss

So he’s consistent in patches?


However, you have got to take into account that Coleman played in the Premier League whereas Aurier played in League 1.


True, on the other hand Coleman had his stats in a team that finished 5th. Aurier in one that finished 9th

The Panther

Also, Koscielny was playing in the second tier of the French League. Anfd Kolo Toure actually came from the Ivory Coast League…..moral of the lesson…dont judge 🙂

Arteta's lost Tooth

And Suarez came from dutch Eredivisie 🙂


well we have to make some kind of judgement. Otherwise this article would be kinda pointless 🙂



Andy Mack

Is that why Kozzer was given a tough time by our own fans here in his first year and has only really been top level for the last 2 years? Yes I think we can make judgements.
Aurier plays in a vastly inferior league. That doesn’t make him bad but has to be factored into the stats.


A lot of mid table Ligue 1 players would walk into the first 11’s of most PL teams.
It is one of the top 5 leagues in Europe; Give it some respect

Andy Mack

And they would show the odd moment of talent but wouldn’t keep up with the game for 90 minutes and later in the season they usually get injured due to fatigue. We’ve had quite a few of them and they’ve all taken a year to get up to speed consistently (yes the odd great game but not consistently). The same can be said of Serie A, La Liga and every other European league. The only recent player we’ve had that have been consistent in their 1st year is Santi and he’s been inconsistent in his 2nd year….

Oor Wullie

Jenks for me every time.

Third Plebeian

Love Jenks, but he’s not ready. It’s a tough one, because he needs games to get better, but I don’t think it would be wise to throw him in now. And a loan isn’t a great option for us either, because we lose a very capable back-up.

What to do?


Decide whether we think Jenkinson or Bellerin represents the better long-term option in that position, then send that person out on loan for the season.

Sheffield Goon

Rotate our players more like other clubs do. Jenks would be fine against some lesser opposition. If we’d done that with Vermalen he would be much happier to stay. If we did it in midfield we’d have fewer injuries. If we did it in attack… Oh wait, we only have one striker.

Bould's Eyeliner

Except you don’t rotate and break up a centerback duo week in week out. It’s a bit different, and it doesn’t help either if the fullbacks are switching around as well. Quoting Sczez, he says it’s been massively important that he sees the same 4 people in front of him every game.

offbeat madoda

nail.head.*bam*. rotation is great, but CB is a position that requires continuity. one of the main reasons the axis of awesome works so well is because kos and per know each others games so well and they compliment each others style. (ok, i guess that’s 2 reasons)


Jenks and Aurier are both around 21.
Both are a bit suspect defensively.
Both are very good crossers of the ball.
Aurier scores goals and Jenks doesn’t.
Aurier has impressive strength and dribbling ability. Jenks – not really.
Aurier is already a full international starter on the best side in Africa.

For me it’s no competition. Jenks has potential, but Aurier is already far better and will probably get a lot better too, since he already has superior physique and technical ability.

Andy Mack

Aurier has had much more game time. If Jenks had played a similar amount would he have scored more and would his dribbling etc be better?
If Aurier had been with us this season he’d have played the same number of games as jenks.

Should we be looking for someone that would have challenged Sagna for game time this season or should we continue looking for someone that will become Sagna in the future?

This isn’t agreeing or disagreeing with you, just balancing your comments.


Jenk did really well when Sagna was injured for so long. I remember, some of Arsenal fans told that Sagna should fight for his place with Jenk, and should not get back his position immediately. So, I think Jenk can do the job. All he needs is to play football. And maybe an experienced defender, who can teach him, and who has experience and reputation… Sagna was so perfect in all aspects 🙂 I miss him aleady.
Jenk will be our RB, I beleive. Aurier is nice, but I don’t see the point to get another young RB.

Daft Aider

Technically I prefer Aurier, but given that the ACN sometimes happens two years in a row and the time players are out for it I would only sign him if he agreed not to play in it, Coleman would be the more natural fit I guess and has premier league experience but he would probably cost a fortune……………..


The ACN happening 2 years in a row was a one-off done so that it doesn’t fall in a World Cup year (i.e. moved to odd-numbered years now). Still, that means if we sign Aurier we lose him in January.


We could send someone like Costa to sabotage Ivory Coast’s campaign and ensure Aurier returns soon 😉

Daft Aider

They wanted another change again soon and even if it’s not, losing a player for a few months in the business end of the season every other year is unacceptable

fecal smear

I’d prefer Coleman. More of a known quantity at PL level and, of course, consistently a top performer last season. Aurier concerns me as a defender. Yes, he makes a lot of tackles and interceptions, but, playing as a wing-back for Toulouse, his defensive countribution occurs high up the pitch as opposed to Sagna and Coleman who play nearer to their own goal and have fewer players covering behind them, hence he can afford to be more agressive and take more risks (leading to more tackles etc.), as well as contribute more at the other end. I’d be interested to… Read more »

fecal smear

Not to mention the fucking AFCON that Aurier would have to play in.


we have janko who is able to cover for him till he returns which means jenko gets more game time

Andy Mack

Firstly you’re assuming he’d be first choice ahead of Jenks, which isn’t certain, and would he then get difficult if he was back up to Jenks.
If he was first, got injured and Jenks covered and improved, would Aurier then get stroppy?

Secondly, knowing our luck Jenks would be injured whenever ACN was played.

jack p

Gutted our bac left. Id like to see jenko get a chance as there is great potential there and hes a straight up great dude!

Oor Wullie


Daft Aider

Jenks needs game time but he’s too much of a risk to be first choice now, in a few years time hopefully

Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

It’s going to be neither. It’s going to be Joseba Zaldua. Why you ask? Because he is an unknown quantity. At least to us he is unknown. And we all know Wenger is a sucker for unknown players.


And I presume you have been tracking Aurier for 5 years and know everything about him?

monkey knees

Debuchy, please!

Arsene Nose

Wonder how all those numbers look alongside Zabaleta’s,who i think is the best RB in the league, the type we should be looking to get.

Walcott + an attack minded RB could be great going foward but almost suicide defensively,finding that balance is what is important..


I’d quite like us to buy Aurier and Smalling, then pick the RB based on who we’re playing and who’s available to play in front of them


Might as well get Cleverly too while we’re at it and decided to play either him or Aaron Ramsey based on who we’re playing.

New guy

And Nani, don’t forget Nani


Anderson would be perfect to replace Arteta…

Where did everyone go?

Mary Jane

I still would absolutely support Jenks getting the nod at starting RB. In my opinion we already have the perfect relplacement for Sagna’s 100% attitude in Jenks, a guy who adores Arsenal. He’s also got pace, underrated intelligence and seriously impressive crossing ability. Yeah, he gets skinned every now and then but one Keiran Gibbs, originally a winger, stands as an example of talent that can improve with experience. Give the Corporal command damn it AW!

The only Olivier is Giroud

I am way too drunk for this to sink in, but I’m so starved of Arsebloggery that I want to contribute anyway. I reckon Coleman simply because of the AFCON. I also quite like not having my arse doing that rabbit nose thing when we defend.


Which interests me most are those crossing stats. I think in that sense, the player on the the other end of the cross should be taken into account. For Coleman, there was Lukaku last season and Jelavic the season before, both of them are big, strong, target man-ish strikers, among the easier type to find a cross with. Does anyone know what type of striker(s) Toulouse had compared to them?


Toulouse top scorer last season was a young Frenchman called Wissam Ben Yedder (Tunisian descent). Scored 16 goals, but he’s quite small – 1.70m or 5ft 7in. – so not one to be aiming high crosses at.

Jacobite Gunner

I love you “by the numbers” guy (or girl)?


Did I just see DeLuca? Dude is just as old as sagna


Sorry Debuchy

giles grimandi

have been saying for years arsenal will be a better side without sagna. Yes he is solid defensively, however going forward he was poor. the above stats highlight that.
A right back who can actually attack will be a breath of fresh air.
Aurier for me but would be more than happy with coleman aswell.

man city will be less of a team if they play sagna in RB ahead of zabaleta. In saying that I think he would make a great centre back with kompany.


Sagna’s role was not to attack but to provide support. He was almost always available for a pass on the right side and normally a very reliable passer. Notice heatmaps comparing sagna and gibbs position and you will see that gibbs is usually further forward as compared to sagna. The onus is on Gibbs to bomb up the left wing and for sagna to act pretty much as an extra midfielder on the right(that is when we are attacking)

Daan van Lith

Sorry this isnt about the topic but english newspaper Metro reports Arsenal is going to offer Mario Balotelli a 180.000£
And that the deal could be dobe in the upcoming weeks

Does any of you know if “metro” is rubbish or not?

Sorry for possible mistakes Im ot from UK

Gum Chewing Psycho

It has to be Aurier. We have to keep in mind we also have Jenks and in theory Bellerin if and when Aurier goes on a ‘I’m an Andre Dos Santos type fullback’ trip and needs to sit on the bench. I also think the Kosacker discipline and steely ice cold glares after too many forays forward will keep him on a nice learning curve. Aurier’s upside is nicer than Coleman’s and he will want to do well in the Arsenal shirt so he can then talk about wanting a move to Spain or to PSG but only after we… Read more »

Yankee Gooner

Great analysis, but I was really hoping to see a definitive comparison with “I Like Turtles”

Titus King

Coleman had Big Boy Lukaku, Aurier had 5ft 7inches tall Ben yedder to find with his crosses :p


Wouldn’t be surprise if we sign neither of this players, but signing Aurier is more likely to me if I was Wenger. Having an attacking fullback in either RB or LB could do wonders as a plan C,maybe Wenger is trying to replicate a new pair of Ashley Cole and Lauren


The thing you don’t realise is that Toulouse attack is very dependent on its fullbacks getting forward to support the attack. That’s why he is so involved in their attack. Yes, Coleman is quite efficient but the main difference is that Coleman will cost at least £20 million, Aurier will cost around £7 or £8 million. The other key thing is defending can be learned whereas offensive skills are another matter. Aurier already is quite good defensively but of course that’s playing in France. A half of season of being drilled by Steve Bould will further improve him. There is… Read more »

Bouldy's Tupee

Aurier can be tamed by Wenger and Bould. Aurier is an athlete and has the technically ability to play RB. Sign him up!!!


I think the offensive side of Aurier’s game has been somewhat blown out of proportion, especially after his world cup contribution. He’s played 15 or so games at CB from what I remember (I was looking up his stats a couple of weeks ago) and you don’t put someone at CB if they aren’t defensively solid. He’s still an offensively minded RB, but I think he’ll be fine with the whole defending part of the job.



Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

I remember a few weeks ago, right here on this very forum, I said Cesc was not coming back here. I said he was on his way to Bus FC. I was shouted down, red arrowed, and called worse names than Fatgooner. I said I’ll be handing out tissues when cesc wears a blue shirt.

I’m saying it here again. It will not be Aurier or Coleman. It’s going to be Joseba Zaldua. And he’ll be a revelation. I’ll gloat again when I’m right


So, we’ll be bringing in someone with about 10 games of top-flight experience to replace Sagna? Instead of more experienced options that have landed in teams-of-the-year in top leagues?

I’d be lying if I said that I’ve seen Zaldua play, and you might be right in saying that he would be a revelation if we were to sign him and play him regularly, but this scenario seems somewhat unlikely to me.


I think we chould look again at Uchida, unlike Aurier and Coleman he stands out for defending and would rotect the right flank with Walcott as good as he does with Farfan in Schalke.


The primary issue with the numbers is that Aurier’s stats are not from the premier league…He’ll be up against stiffer competition here.

With that said, I want Aurier. He’s got this big, strong, I’m a man thing that I think we need on our back line. Jenks is not a particularly imposing presence. And those crosses that were assists for Ivory Coast the other night were spot on.


Put it this way, if a bloke can hit a cross that even Gervinho can’t miss, he’s got a fucking good cross in his locker.

Donjo Mac

Deal already done for Callum Chambers of Southampton. So unless we are buying two right backs this is all irrelevant…….


We’re signing chambers.

Atletico Islington

It’s all academic because Wenger will sign a Romanian 23 year old who probably didn’t even realise he was a football player, and he will inevitably end up becoming a leading Premier League right back.

Momo (@MuhamLAD)

I think we’ll go for Aurier.

I can’t remember where I read it but Arsene once said something along the lines of: You can teach an attacking player to defend, but you can’t teach a defensive player to attack.

Aurier’s a monster of an attacker and any defensive deficiencies will be dealt with


Lets give Jenkinson a chance with Bellerin as back up. If TV5 goes I’d rather see 2 CBs come in.


Jenkinson needs to go out on loan and improve vastly before that.


Weren’t we linked with Uchida once? Any way to know what his stats look like in comparison to the other three – Coleman, the ivorian and Sagna?


58 shots from a right back . HAu rare.


Coleman every time.

A good solid defender (the primary role after all), a better strike rate, better delivery, bags of energy.

Plus he adds to the British/Irish quota.


Give Jenko a shot!


Aurier is likely to be significantly cheaper, which is important since we have to spend big elsewhere. Also younger and obviously wants to come.


Go for Seamus Coleman, He’s 25, Jenkinson is 22. My point being. If we bring in Aurier, that would kinda be the end for Jenkinson who might turn out to become a very good player, surely we’ve seen signs of that. I’d rather have 1 experienced premier league RB and Carl Jenkinson (Who are still developing). 🙂


Can we see Calum Chambers’s stat?
He’s a gunner already.


Don’t know much about either to be honest but with our injury record in defence and our habit of getting thumped by the top team’s we should go for a proven quality defender who can defend foremost.
A defender who is better at coming forward than defender is a recipe for disaster on the that side of the pitch.

Policeman's Bangers 'N' Mash

Well Chelsea will come in with £19m for Aurier so forget that and Coleman well let’s say PSG will bring in £39m too.


Not going to pretend I know a lot about Aurier, but based on those stats, I’d take him over Coleman. Always loved Sagna, so dependable but I am looking forward to seeing what a more creative full back can offer us this season… Look at zabaletta and how involved in play he is…

negro Smurf

@fecal smear. Some of us are African and we quite enjoy the AFCON in spite of its inconvenience to European teams.

offbeat madoda

agreed. not signing a player just because he will play in the AFCON every couple of years is a load of cowdung. There might be a reason not to sign him, but this is not it.

Personally, i’m tired of the premier league getting in the way of the AFCON 😛

Andy Mack

ACN every 2 years is just a money generating event for the national football federations. The initial idea was to have it every 2 years until it was established (and for the quality of play to rise to a professional level, which it has!) and then extend it to every 4 years like the ‘grown up’ events (Europeans and World). That should have happened 6-10 years ago.


So where is the data taken from? If they’re from club play last season than Aurier’s would be misleading since he plays in a different league. I would say that Coleman would be more ideal considering his numbers closely match Sagna’s.


Can someone complete this sentence….

“If we sign Coleman, he’ll be the first Irish player at Arsenal since……..”

Prize for the winner. Please don’t call if you’re watching on plus one. You may lose your home if you bang your head and forget where you live.

Patrick Coleman

I can simplify things for you. Our Seamus is going nowhere.


Aurier is keen to come, more threatening with the ball and keen to learn. We can teach him how to track back and perform his defensive duties if it turns out to be an issue, case closed sign him up already.

Gunner From Another Mother

Very interesting read. Lots of good information here. A breath of fresh air during the journalistic crapfest that is the summer. Thank you


It’ll be easier to make aurier more efficient, but it’ll be much harder to make Coleman more dynamic.

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