With the season nearly over and 20 games played so far, I’ve taken a look at the 24 Arsenal Ladies players’ appearance statistics for the season so far and it is an interesting read.

Considering it is quite obvious that there has been no consistency in the team starting line-up throughout the season, it is good to see if the numbers back up that impression.

In football, you have three types of players ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. ‘A’s are the core players who will start when fit and the base of your team. Those you do not drop in big games. The ‘B’s are the stand in players for the ‘A’s, they are included in the squad rotation and are good enough to do a job when called upon. The ‘C’ players are the fringe players who get a game from time to time but are not good enough or ready to be included in the rotation like the ‘B’ players.

So who are the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ type players at Arsenal Ladies in the 2016 season?

In general in category ‘A’, I would have expect around 80% of the total games played, in category ‘B’ around 50 to 79% and below 50% is clearly a ‘C’ type player.

Numbers at Arsenal Ladies suggest an 11-player core list, a squad players list of seven and a fringe list of six. The numbers in bracket are games started by the player.

Core players >80% – 11

  • 20 games played: Losada (17)
  • 19 games played: Stoney (19),  Janssen (13)
  • 18 games played: Nobbs (17), Van De Donk (16), Williams (14)
  • 17 games played: Scott (17), Van Veenendaal (16), Oshoala (9)
  • 16 games played: Carter (15), Sanchon (7)

Two core players have actually started less than 50% of the games but have many appearances as subs, so they belong to the squad players list in reality.

Squad players 45%-79% – 7

  • 15 games played: Mitchell (13)
  • 14 games played: Rose (13), Corredera (6)
  • 11 games played: McCabe (5)
  • 10 games played: Henning (10), Smith (4)
  • 9 games played: Williamson*(6)

In the meantime Mitchell and Rose have started 65% of the games but have not played 80% of the overall games, should those two be in the core players list instead of Sanchon and Oshoala?

Fringe players 0-44% – 6

  • 4 games played  Byrne (4)
  • 1 game played: Kelly** (0)
  • 0 game: Taylor****, Sampson, Devlin, Yankey***

Byrne is obviously the back-up keeper so gets a limited amount of games.

*Leah Williamson had a season ending injury during the summer break in the friendly against Seattle, the rumour going round is she was going to get loaned to Doncaster Belles, so that number could have stayed the same anyway.

**Chloe Kelly was sent on loan to WSL 2 side Everton Ladies in the second half of the season.

***Rachel Yankey was on loan to Notts County Ladies in the first half of the season.

****Jodie Taylor has been on the injury list nearly all season and was set to play against the Belles but the game was postponed. She’s only played 45 minutes in the Seattle friendly.

The overall picture is very unclear on the players’ status and this is clearly due to the heavy rotation applied. No wonder no one seems to know which is Arsenal Ladies’ best 11.

So if we consider as core players those who have started 80% of the games, we end up with six players: Stoney, Losada, Nobbs, Scott, Van De Donk and Van Veenendaal.

12 players in the rotation: Carter, Williams, Mitchell, Rose, Janssen, Henning, Osohala, Sanchon, Williamson, Corredera, McCabe and Smith.

Six players in the fringe zone: Kelly, Yankey, Taylor, Sampson, Devlin and Byrne.

I think the key to the lack of success in the League is there are 12 players fighting for five places in constant rotation and this cannot lead to consistency.