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You Are My Arsenal Stupid Scout Report – Suat Serdar


With the summer transfer window ominously approaching, this is the best time to start on a new journey. This one inspired by a personal interest that lies on the simple premise of being “different”.

Let me try to explain. Each year, I log onto my PS-store and buy the newest FIFA edition, with one single interest – taking the lowest ranking English team, with the worst budget, and turn it into a treble winning side. 

Recently, I’ve added another rule, which is, I can’t decide which players to buy, I have to let the scouts do their job and pick between the players they return.  This, of course, creates some interesting solutions, and forces FIFA to be a lot more about squad building and picking in form players, than about just scouring FIFA career websites to find the lowest overall with the highest potential.

Through my endeavours I stumble upon pearls that I later wished I’d watch live, so I could get an actual sense of how they play – and this is what I’m going to do! Boosting up my Wyscout, I’m going to dedicate my monthly clip limit to scout a player I’ve found interesting on FIFA, in an attempt to see if they might be a good fit for the current Arsenal team.

It’s the…

Monthly Stupid Scouting Report. Our target this this month – Suat Serdar.

Why Suat Serdar 

Recently, it’s become very clear Arsenal have a steep descent from their two definite starters in Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. And while Xhaka has been effective playing with the likes of Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny, they’ve both been struggling to really make an impact without each other.

One of the reasons is Xhaka’s impeccable work ethic. Always looking to improve himself, he’s gone from a very deep lying playmaker, to a player able to screen the midfield area and apply pressure high up the pitch.

Recently, though, it’s become clear that, for Arsenal to move forward, we might want to move away from Xhaka – or at least be able to have someone who can relieve some of the pressure on Xhaka to play every game. Suat Serdar might fit the bill.


Going off of Xhakas stats, there’s some clear areas he does well. Defensive actions in the mid and att 3rd, passing abilities and pressures. All three areas are also important for Arteta’s focus on sustained att 3rd pressure.

Xhaka’s stats:

Passing stats suggest a player that’s very comfortable in possession, completing 89.4% of all his passes, while attempting 73 passes per game. This type of stat is going to be hard to replicate, as we’re also looking for a player that can apply the defensive trait as well. As of now, the closest player to doing both is Fabinho, who outshines Xhaka in both aspects.

Defensive stat wise, Xhaka manages to successfully tackle 49% of the time, attempting 2.31 per 90 minutes, while only being dribbled past 1.18 times per 90 minutes.  Going further, Xhaka applies pressure 12.2 times per 90, mainly in the midfield 3rd, having 26% success in gaining possession from applied pressure. 

Serdar’s stats:

Finding someone who does the same as Xhaka is going to be hard, and Serdar proves that, only completing 77% of all his passes, while only attempting 28 passes per game. Though this is definitely also a proof of why Schalke is doing very poorly in the Bundesliga, it should be said that, of the midfielders at Schalke, he is 2nd only to midfield partner Mascarell in pass completion rate (82%).

Serdar’s strength is definitely in the defensive department. Though only having success with 36% of his tackles, attempting 2 per 90 minutes, he manages to apply pressure 15 times per 90 minutes, in which the majority is in the midfield 3rd. Of those, Serdar successfully manages to gain possession 35% of the time

Comparing the two:

While Xhaka is, no doubt, outshining Serdar in passing, the defensive work of Serdar is really impressive for someone playing for a bottom placed bundesliga team. His ability to apply pressure, even higher up the pitch, would be vital for Arsenal, and would also give Partey more freedom to be the main playmaking outlet.


As Arsenal look to apply a high pressure formula on a more regular basis, Serdars ability to press in both midfield and final third could lead to more turnovers. For more stat comparison, click here:

In action

No player is better than what they show on the pitch. When the stat guys finish with their work, it’s time for the Cagigao’s to go in and scout their actual movement.


Seeing a touchmap of Serdar, is like watching a rendition of your dog’s trip to the dog park. He pops up everywhere on the pitch, leaving the touchmap looking like he saw squirrel around the 1st minute and got dogwhistled around the 90th minute mark.

That being said, he enjoys positioning himself much further up the pitch, joining in as a shadow striker in attack.Though stationed mainly through the middle, Serdar will drop all his groceries to chase off someone on the flanks.

Off the ball movement

As Schalke regains possession, takes up a central position, though very quickly dons his labradoodle gear to go help the wingers run down the flanks.

That being said, it’s very usual that he proceeds to vacate said wide overlap spots to drift towards the penalty area.

Generally he wants to keep moving, taking up positions to help overload, though sometimes getting caught, vacating his area.

Defensive work

To continue the pictures of Suat Serdar being some kind of shepherd’s dog, his defensive work does the job. Willing to counterpress, Serdar sometimes goes out of his way to press the ball. He likes to work across the entire pitch, but has the most luck tackling in midfield areas, no doubt because Schalke’s main line of defense starts there.

Offensive work

Serdar doesn’t only like running off the ball, but he also runs with the ball, having no problems with taking on his man and moving him around.

As said, Serdar also drives towards the penalty area when the ball enters that final third, and as such, he also likes to shoot at goal, usually finding positions to let one or two rip per game.

3 things I don’t like

While everything is good and dandy so far, I’d like these to reflect my actual thoughts, instead of shipping every player with Arsenal. That, of course, means I need to pick him apart as well.

First – Dispossession

Out of all midfield players across the five big leagues, Suat Serdar is dispossessed the most times. With a whopping 2.84 dispossessions per 90 minutes, Serdar does not seem to be able to keep hold of the ball.

This can be explained by a couple of things. Mainly his touch, as he miscontrols the ball 1.88 times per 90, putting 95% of midfielders above him. He also takes entirely too many touches, usually carrying the ball for much longer than he needs to, leaving himself in situations where the defender either catches up and tackles him, or he’s put himself in a 2v1 situation.

Lastly, for a player that’s rarely the target for passes, he only receives it 78.2% of the time, putting him below 97% of his competitors.

Second – Pressing

It’s weird talking about how I don’t like Sardar’s pressing, while also commending his pressing. Watching Serdar press, though, he usually over commits, leaving his initial marking free for an easy pass.

When going to press someone, it’s important that you know your teammates will have your back. And even though I would love having Serdar press the back line, I’d probably lose my voice, shouting at him to keep up with his mark.

Third – Passing range

Do you remember that one player you played with, that knew exactly where the pass should go, but just never got it right? That player grew up and joined Schalke. Looking through clips of his passes, it becomes clear Serdar has an idea with his passes. He’s very positive, trying one touch lay off, deceptive passes and threading the needles through three opponents.  But they rarely come off. Either mispowered, misplaced or miscurved, Serdar’s eye for perfection leaves a lot wanting.


I would have been excused for thinking Serdar’s stats would reflect Schalke’s place in the league. Sitting dead bottom, the tactical approach to games could definitely have an effect on how players perform – but looking back at Serdar’s days at Mainz, the only thing that has changed is the success rate of Serdar’s tackling and pressure. 

Given Arteta’s position on retaining possession and taking care of the ball, I would be amazed if he would look towards a player dispossessed 54 times so far from midfield.

Alas, my search needs to continue, trying to find players that might suit Arsenal, without having caught the eye of the public. If I ever find one, I’m sure Arteta will get notified.

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