• Billy Mulley

Assessing and analysing Matt Smith: The Arsenal midfielder linked with Luton Town

Luton Town have made an impressive start to the summer transfer window and will be eager to complete their business as early as possible. Welcoming the likes of Louie Watson, Cauley Woodrow, Ethan Horvath and Carlton Morris to the squad already, one of the latest names to reportedly emerge on Jones' radar is Arsenal midfielder Matt Smith.


A report from The Sun credited the Hatters, as well as Millwall as two named Championship clubs that are interested in the 21-year-old.


The article claims that the Gunners could permanently offload the young midfielder this summer after 14 years with the North London outfit. Smith has embarked on loan spells with Swindon Town, Charlton Athletic and Doncaster Rovers, with the last of which being with the Yorkshire outfit.


Using Wyscout, here, is a deeper look at Smith's data from the 2021/22 campaign to better assess the kind of player he is.


Matt Smith's percentile rank performance (attacking) vs other League One midfielders who played over 1500 minutes of League One football during the 2021/22 campaign

Returning numbers that are above the media mark for dribbles per 90 and progressive runs per 90, Smith appears to be someone who looks to create and commit defenders when he is in possession. Despite these high numbers, Smith's successful dribbles percentile rank is quite low.


His above average offensive duels per 90 figure, combined with his success rate sitting on the median mark, suggest that the young midfielder looks to get involved all over the pitch, an impressive attribute to possess.


It is also important to apply context in this situation. Smith operated in an under-performing Doncaster team last time out and he is still learning his trade at 21 years of age. Something that makes these numbers even more impressive.


Matt Smith's percentile rank performance (passing) vs other League One midfielders who played over 1500 minutes of League One football during the 2021/22 campaign

The two measures that immediately stand out here is the accuracy of his progressive passes and his comparatively high number of smart passes per 90 to the rest of the midfielder in League One last season.


Looking back at the first graph, it displayed that Smith was progressive in his forward running and dribbling, with these numbers suggesting that he is also progressive with his passing.


A smart pass, defined as "a creative and penetrative pass that attempts to break the opposition's defensive lines" is an exciting measure to impress in. If applied into the context of the first-team set up at Luton last season, the Hatters sometimes struggled to carve open defences from central positions.


Matt Smith's percentile rank performance (defensive) vs other League One midfielders who played over 1500 minutes of League One football during the 2021/22 campaign

Low returns in three of the four defensive measures, it does appear that Smith would particularly thrive with limited defensive responsibilities.


Still engaging in more defensive duels per 90 than most, Smith can certainly meet the tag of being an all-action midfielder, however, as mentioned above, a more advanced midfield position seemingly matches his skill-set.


Featured image: Copyright of Gareth Owen/LTFC






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