Kieran Gibbs: Stat Review of his Performances and Thoughts on his Injuries

Kieran GIbbs on the turf – a familiar sight at Arsenal

This talented young lad actually began his career as a left winger and when he joined the club in 2007, Gael Clichy was in the peak of his powers after the mantle was passed on to him following the acrimonious departure of Ashley Cole to Chelsea. Clichy played all 38 Premier League games for Arsenal that season and his consistent performances saw him earn a place alongside Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor in the 2008 PFA Team of the Year. Gibbs had to make do with a loan switch to Norwich in the winter of 2008, where he notched up seven league appearances.

Arsenal’s 2008/09 campaign was vital for Gibbs’ education as he featured heavily in the domestic competitions but got his breakthrough when Clichy suffered an injury. With the Frenchman out of action, Wenger exposed Gibbs to Premier League and Champions League action, and the young Englishman repaid his manager’s faith with some consistent performances till his ill-fated slip in the Champions League semifinal against Manchester United, and Park Ji-Sung wasted no time in punishing him for his error.

A devastating moment for Gibbs

Arsenal also crashed out of the FA Cup semifinals to the eventual winners, Chelsea, and it was another fruitless campaign for Arsene Wenger and his men. With Clichy suffering another injury in the 2009/10 campaign, Wenger entrusted Gibbs to hold the fort but a metatarsal injury in the Champions League game against SC Braga brought his season to an abrupt end as he went under the knife to fix the issue.

Even though many fans, journos and pundits alike loved watching Gibbs play and tipped him for great things, there was a unanimous agreement that his countless injury problems were denting his career. With the departure of Clichy for the petro-greens of Manchester City, Wenger confirmed that he wasn’t going to invest for a new left back because he trusted Gibbs’ abilities and he named him as Clichy’s successor.

Following another trademark injury to Gibbs, Wenger fielded the inexperienced Armand Traore against Manchester United in Old Trafford in a game that turned out to be Wenger’s worst outing as Arsenal’s manager. After his team was mutilated by the Red Devils, Wenger delved into the market to make some “panic buys” and life with Andre Santos began.

In the mysterious period where all Arsenal’s fullbacks were out injured, Gibbs made a return from his hernia operation and he scored his first league goal in the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa. Gibbs played a significant role in the final game of the season against West Brom when he put his body in the line to block a goal-bound Billy Jones shot.

England v France - International Friendly

GIbbs representing his nation in a friendly against France. He has featured sparingly for England

Last season, Gibbs managed to stay fit for a considerable chunk of the campaign, relegating Andre Santos to the bench. The Brazilian’s lack of play time took its toll on his performances to the stage that he played very poorly in almost every game he was selected. With Gibbs suffering another thigh injury against Liverpool last winter, Arsenal reacted quickly to secure Nacho Monreal’s service from cash-strapped Malaga while shipping out Andre Santos in a big ribbon back to Brazil.

The Monreal – Gibbs competition last season was very interesting as the manager rotated them to bring out the best in both players. This season, Gibbs has also opened his goalscoring account this season with his strike against Fenerbahce and his stellar performances this season has seen Monreal relegated to substitute appearances, but he made his first start in the Capital One clash with West Brom.

His consistency and quality has been a major highlight this season, and he has managed to balance his defensive and attacking play superbly. According to WhoScored, here are Gibbs’ stats thus far this season.

 

Premier League

Champions League

Appearances (subs)

10

3

Tackles made (per game)

32 (3.2)

7 (2.3)

Interceptions made (per game)

19 (1.9)

12 (4)

Fouls committed (per game)

10 (1)

5 (1.7)

Clearances (per game)

28 (2.8)

20 (6.7)

Total Crosses (Accurate Crosses)

22 (2)

Total Passes (accurate passes)

441 (359)

158 (138)

Pass Completion percentage

81.4%

87.3%

Bookings (Yellow/Red)

Now it’s time to compare Kieran Gibbs stats (league only) with the rest of the leading left backs in the Premier League.

 

Gibbs

Ashley Cole

Clichy

Baines

Jose Enrique

Evra

Appearances (subs)

10

9

5 (1)

10

6 (1)

9

Tackles made (per game)

32 (3.2)

22 (2.4)

13 (2.2)

31 (3.1)

10 (1.4)

20 (2.2)

Interceptions made (per game)

19 (1.9)

11 (1.2)

8 (1.3)

13 (1.3)

9 (1.3)

9 (1)

Fouls committed (per game)

10 (1)

8 (0.9)

4 (0.7)

6 (0.6)

4 (0.6)

9 (1)

Clearances (per game)

28 (2.8)

14 (1.6)

18 (3)

25 (2.5)

20 (2.9)

48 (5.3)

Total Crosses (Accurate Crosses)

22 (2)

8 (3)

13 (2)

73 (13)

19 (3)

43 (12)

Total Passes (accurate passes)

441 (359)

378 (339)

322 (286)

444 (395)

300 (241)

360 (305)

Pass Completion percentage

81.4%

89.7%

88.8%

89.0%

80.3%

84.7%

Bookings (Yellow/Red)

(1/0)

(2/0)

As these stats have proved, Kieran Gibbs is arguably one of the best left backs in the Premier League.

He has played as much games as Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines (both players are ahead of him in the England setup) and Patrice Evra but he has attempted more tackles than any of them with a higher success rate (3.2 tackles per game) than any of his peers. Gibbs has also made more interceptions (1.9 per game) than any of them and he’s second best in the clearance department to Patrice Evra, the undisputed king of clearances in the Premier League.

However, Gibbs has to improve on his distribution on the final third as he has just managed a meager two successful crosses from 22 attempts.

In the wake of Arsenal’s recent victory over Liverpool, Gibbs injured his calf and the club is sweating on how long he may be out for. With this injury coming close to the crucial games against Dortmund and Manchester United, Arsenal will have to rely on Monreal yet again and he has shown countless times that when Arsenal calls on him like 1, 2, 3, he’ll be there.

Gibbs has been one of the revelations of the season thus far and his influence will be hugely missed. Injuries are part and parcel of the game but this is where squad depth comes in handy.

Here’s to a speedy recovery Gibbo.

Sayonara.

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About enigma106

An Arsenal fan with a good sense of humor

Posted on November 4, 2013, in Arsenal, Football, Injury News, Premier League and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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