EPL

Lokonga comes with Kompany's seal of approval, says Arteta

By Sports Desk July 19, 2021

Albert Sambi Lokonga's football intelligence can be a huge asset to Arsenal after the Belgium Under-21 international won the admiration of a Premier League great.

Mikel Arteta made Lokonga his second signing of the close season on Monday - the Gunners wrapping up a deal reported to be worth an initial £15million with Anderlecht.

Lokonga was coached by Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and Arteta, who worked with the ex-Manchester City captain when he was part of Pep Guardiola's staff, did the expected background work on the highly rated midfielder.

"Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his performances during his development," Arteta told his club's official website.

"He has been coached well by Vincent Kompany and his team at Anderlecht. I know Vincent very well and he talks so highly about Albert and the positive impact he had to Anderlecht in recent seasons.

"We're confident Albert's ready for the next stage in his development and we’re looking forward to welcoming a new member to our squad with his quality and presence."

Lokonga made his Belgian Pro League debut in December 2017 and Opta statistics from his performances since then measure up well to those produced by Arsenal players over the same period.

Noted for his ability to play in front of the defence, the 21-year-old made 115 tackles and won 77 in 69 league appearances.

Somewhat predictably, Granit Xhaka is the only Arsenal player to have racked up more – 195 tackles and 114 won – during this time, although the Switzerland star did so over 111 games.

Lucas Torreira, who spent last season on loan at Atletico Madrid, perhaps provides a better point of comparison. In 63 Premier League games for the Gunners, the combative Uruguay international made 98 tackles and won 70.

Of Arsenal outfield players to have featured in 30 or more league games since December 2017, only the now departed Shkodran Mustafi (64.29 per cent) has a better duel success rate than Lokonga (60.7).

Overall, he has won possession 414 times – again a figure only bettered by Xhaka on 746, with Torriera (327) off the pace set by the new signing.

Lokonga is also accomplished in possession, with 86.1 per cent passing accuracy and 67 chances created in the top-flight for Anderlecht suggesting he is not afraid of operating in a progressive manner on the ball.

Xhaka, while continuing to bear in mind his greater game time, has made 94 key passes during the time in question, with attackers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the only other current Arsenal players to have supplied more.

Related items

  • Fiorentina 2-0 Juventus: Sorry send-off for Chiellini and Dybala Fiorentina 2-0 Juventus: Sorry send-off for Chiellini and Dybala

    Juventus suffered one final indignation in a disappointing season as Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala ended their Bianconeri careers with a 2-0 defeat at Fiorentina.

    Although Juventus have finished fourth in Serie A, this has not been a campaign to remember and this was one more slog, with Alfred Duncan opening the scoring for a Fiorentina side who were far and away the superior team.

    The hosts had more to play for, admittedly, with this win securing a place in next season's Europa Conference League.

    But for Massimiliano Allegri and his Juventus team, 90 minutes of mediocrity was a dismal to finish, particularly with the long service of Chiellini and Dybala coming to an end at the Artemio Franchi. A late penalty from Nicolas Gonzalez finished them off.

    Fiorentina snatched the lead in first-half stoppage time when Juve failed to clear their lines from a ball hoisted hopefully into the box by Sofyan Amrabat

    Giacomo Bonaventura prodded the ball away from a cluster of defenders, and Duncan lashed in from 12 yards for his second goal of the season.

    Veteran defender Chiellini, having taken a blow to the face that saw blood pour from just above his left eye, was substituted at the break, replaced by Daniele Rugani. It was hardly how he would have wanted to bow out.

    Fiorentina had 71.5 per cent of possession in the opening 45 minutes as the Bianconeri turned in a drab display.

    Gonzalez then sent two shots just over the Juventus crossbar as Fiorentina pushed for a second goal early in the second half, while Bonaventura was denied a penalty after going down under a challenge from Adrien Rabiot.

    Substitute goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio, who played the entire second half, kept Juventus in the game with a double save in the 78th minute from Krzysztof Piatek's header and Bonaventura's shot from the rebound. In keeping with the rest of the game, they showed little sign of taking advantage of the lifeline.

    When Leonardo Bonucci tripped Lucas Torreira in stoppage time it was an obvious penalty, and Gonzalez made no mistake, finding the bottom-right corner.

  • Freiburg 1-1 RB Leipzig (aet, 2-4 pens): Tedesco's side seal first-ever DFB-Pokal triumph Freiburg 1-1 RB Leipzig (aet, 2-4 pens): Tedesco's side seal first-ever DFB-Pokal triumph

    Ten-man RB Leipzig won the DFB-Pokal for the first time in their history after a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Freiburg at the end of a 1-1 draw in Berlin on Saturday.

    Freiburg, who were competing in their first-ever major final, went ahead in the 19th minute thanks to Maximilian Eggestein's fine strike, despite a clear handball from Roland Sallai in the build-up.

    Leipzig were reduced to 10 men shortly before the hour mark when Marcel Halstenberg received a straight red card for pulling down a clean-through Lucas Holer, yet they levelled in the 76th minute through Christopher Nkunku.

    Domenico Tedesco's men had lost two finals in the last three years, but they finally got their hands on the trophy at the Olympiastadion as Freiburg's Christian Gunter and Ermedin Demirovic missed their spot-kicks in the shoot-out.

  • Paris Saint-Germain 5-0 Metz: Mbappe celebrates new deal with hat-trick as champions run riot Paris Saint-Germain 5-0 Metz: Mbappe celebrates new deal with hat-trick as champions run riot

    Kylian Mbappe celebrated signing his new Paris Saint-Germain contract by scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 rout that relegated 10-man Metz.

    The France international, who had been heavily linked with a blockbuster move to Real Madrid, ended months of speculation over his future earlier by penning a new deal with the Ligue 1 champions until 2025 on Saturday.

    Mbappe marked the occasion in style with a treble against Metz, who had Boubacar Traore sent off in the second half as they were consigned to the drop at Parc des Princes.

    Neymar was also on target along with Angel di Maria, who was given a great reception when he was substituted in his final appearance for Mauricio Pochettino's side before a proposed move to Juventus.

    There was already a party mood for the PSG's final game of the Ligue 1 season following the news that Mbappe would remain in the French capital, with the deal confirmed before the game kicked off.

    And PSG's talisman opened the scoring in the 25th minute; racing onto Di Maria's delightful throughball and rounding Marc-Aurele Caillard before slotting into the empty net.

    Ligue 1's top scorer doubled his tally just three minutes later. This time, Lionel Messi provided the precise pass, before Mbappe his finish under the dive of Caillard.

    Neymar then got in on the act just past the half-hour mark. The Brazil international applied a neat finish as the ball broke kindly for him after Kiki Kouyate's brilliant sliding challenge initially denied Di Maria.

    Mbappe completed his hat-trick within five minutes of the restart; dispossessing Kouyate and rounding Caillard before applying the finish for his 28th league goal of the campaign.

    Sorry Metz were reduced to 10 men when Traore was shown a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Neymar, before Di Maria made it five in the 67th minute after Messi's initial strike hit the post.

    Di Maria was then in tears after he was withdrawn, bringing his successful career with the club to an end on a high note.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.