10 of our stars are expected to turn out for their respective nations at the World Cup. STATSports – our official GPS Performance Tracking partner – has crunched the data to see where each player might shine.
England, Brazil, Switzerland, and Ghana are just some of the World Cup-bound nations that use the same STATSports’ technology as Arsenal, which means the Gunners in Qatar will be in good hands with re-optimized fitness levels.
The France international has been a revelation at the heart of the defence this season. With a max speed of 34.56 km/h, the 21-year-old is one of the fastest centre-backs in Les Bleus’ squad, and with a personal best of 10.45km in total distance, Saliba can cover a mammoth amount of ground for a central defender.
He will have stiff competition for a starting place with France head coach Didier Deschamps blessed in the defending department. But Saliba has shown his world-class ability this season and should be France’s lynchpin at the back.
Surprisingly, White is the second fastest player in the Arsenal squad, with a personal best max speed of 36.36 km/h, second only to Kieran Tierney’s 37.51 km/h top speed.
The 25-year-old’s athleticism – mixed with his wonderful technical ability – means he can slot in comfortably across the backline in multiple formations.
With England head coach Gareth Southgate switching between a back-four and a back-three depending on the opposition, White is the ideal player for the Three Lions’ defence.
Arguably, Ghana’s hopes of progressing from a tough group centre around their star man, Thomas Partey – and understandably so.
The Black Stars midfielder is one of the most tenacious, powerful, and technically gifted midfielders in the Premier League. Even as a midfield pivot, Partey covers on average 11km per game in total distance, and with a high-speed running distance (meters covered over 18.9 km/h) of 900m per game, the big Ghanaian can certainly shift gears.
If he can dominate those central areas both physically and technically against Uruguay and South Korea, the Africans can cause shocks in both games.
Xhaka is having a superb season and will captain Switzerland with high hopes of tournament progression.
Although he will revert to a slightly more conservative role with the national team than the one deployed under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, Xhaka has the physical and technical capabilities to stamp his authority on the main group opposition of Serbia and Brazil, respectively.
At 11.44 km covered in total distance, Xhaka turns over every blade of grass on the field, working at a massive 120 meters per minute. Chipping in with four goals this season for Arsenal, don’t be surprised to see him hit the back of the net in Qatar.
Arsenal’s golden boy could well be England’s main man in Qatar. The pacey wide forward, who has a max speed of 36.36 km/h, has had a terrific Premier League campaign to date.
Although he’s got plenty of competition up front in the England squad, Saka looks a rock-solid option either starting or coming on as a game-changing option.
One of Saka’s outstanding physical attributes, apart from his lightning pace, is his ability to cover huge amounts of grounds at high intensity – almost 3 km of his 11.5 km total distance, to be precise.
That type of metric allows him to keep going at an intense pace for longer than some of his peers and will be a major weapon in Gareth Southgate’s arsenal, excuse the pun.
Some would say Jesus has been re-born at the Emirates. The Brazilian striker has been a revelation since making the move south from Manchester, forcing his way back into the Selecao World Cup squad on the back of that excellent form.
With a max speed of 35.56 km/h, the 25-year-old isn’t one of the fastest forwards at his club, but it would put him top of the pile when it comes to Brazil’s central strikers. His rapid, incisive movements around the box will be vital for head coach, Tite, with the creativity likely coming from Neymar and Vinicius Junior.
Expect Brazil and Gabriel Jesus to go far in Qatar.
STATSports Arsenal FC GPS Tracker
The STATSports Arsenal FC Edition is the same technology and black pod our first teams use to capture data from every session including distances covered, maximum speeds, intensity and fatigue levels.
Aspiring players will now be able to review their own data against the data from players at all levels of the club to help them understand where they need to improve. The STATSports Black Friday offer is now live - find out more.
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