With a lot of talk on social media about the number of tackles Nicolas Pepe has been making, we took a look at how high the winger ranks among Arsenal’s top tacklers this season.

Arsenal's French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe takes a free-kick to scores his team's second goal during their UEFA Europa league Group F football match between Arsenal and Vitoria Guimaraes at the Emirates stadium in London on October 24, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP / Getty Images)
Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe takes a free-kick to scores his team’s second goal during their UEFA Europa League Group F football match between Arsenal and Vitoria Guimaraes at the Emirates stadium in London on October 24, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP / Getty Images)

It’s not exactly uncommon for fake stats to spread quickly across social media, and the latest of these is one claiming Nicolas Pepe has made the most tackles of any Arsenal player this season:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5ABNGsgw2c/

For obvious reasons, this is a very shareable stat. For rival fans, it’s a way to laugh at Arsenal spending so much money on a forward contributing more defensively than in attack. For Arsenal fans, it’s another reason to complain about Unai Emery’s coaching.

The problem is, it isn’t true. Despite making 22 tackles overall, Pepe doesn’t top the tackles list in any individual competition, nor in all competitions, and he’s not even top in ‘per 90’ terms.

Let’s have a look at who does top these lists for Arsenal, with ties separated by minutes played where possible:

Top Tacklers Per Competition

Premier League

  1. Matteo Guendouzi – 20
  2. Dani Ceballos – 19
  3. Granit Xhaka – 18
  4. Calum Chambers – 17
  5. Nicolas Pepe – 17

Europa League

  1. Joe Willock – 9
  2. Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney – 7
  3. Sead Kolasinac – 6
  4. Emile Smith Rowe – 5

EFL Cup

  1. Bukayo Saka – 7
  2. Joe Willock – 6
  3. Calum Chambers – 4
  4. Lucas Torreira – 4
  5. Emile Smith Rowe – 3

Top Tacklers in All Competitions

  1. Joe Willock – 25
  2. Dani Ceballos – 25
  3. Sead Kolasinac – 24
  4. Granit Xhaka – 22
  5. Calum Chambers – 22

Top Tacklers Per 90 Minutes

  1. Emile Smith Rowe – 3.69*
  2. Bukayo Saka – 2.84
  3. Joe Willock – 2.77
  4. Sead Kolasinac – 2.59
  5. Dani Ceballos – 2.48

*Smith Rowe has only played 195 minutes, significantly less than anyone else to have made a single tackle this season. So take his presence at the top of the list with a pinch of salt, even if his work-rate out of possession is a clear positive to his game.

Pepe just missed out on our top-five for all competitions, as he’s level with Xhaka and Chambers but having played more minutes. Still, it’s clear he’s not at the top, whichever way you want to look at it.

Previous articleArsenal name young squad for U20 International Cup in Bali
Next articleRob Holding: It’s not a crisis yet
Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.