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Arsenal third-choice defender is statistically better than Virgil van Dijk in the Premier League

Arsenal third-choice defender is statistically outperformed Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk in the Premier League

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Arsenal - Virgl van Dijk
Image credit: Getty Images

Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior has statistically outperformed Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk in the Premier League this month, highlighting his pivotal role in the Gunners’ recent successes.

Kiwior, 24, has seized the opportunity for regular playing time following Oleksandr Zinchenko’s injury, making a significant impact since stepping into the Arsenal lineup. His standout performance came in the memorable 3-1 victory over Liverpool earlier this month, where he replaced Zinchenko at halftime and has since solidified his position.

Kiwior has contributed to Arsenal defensive resilience in the last six five, conceding just one goal in the Premier League while scoring an impressive 15 goals in their last three games, including Kiwior’s own contribution against Newcastle United.

Despite not playing in his natural position, Kiwior has excelled in the absence of Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu, earning praise for his adaptability and defensive ability. Remarkably, statistics from WhoScored’s Premier League Team of the Month for February reveal Kiwior’s exceptional performance, earning him a higher average rating (7.42) than van Dijk (7.38).

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Jakub Kiwior

Jakub Kiwior has been fantastic for Arsenal in recent matches (Image credit: Getty Images)

Kiwior’s rise to prominence has defied expectations, especially after an own goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup raised doubts among Arsenal fans. However, the £20 million signing from Spezia has since established himself as a key figure in Arsenal’s title ambitions, surpassing competition from Zinchenko, Tomiyasu, and Jurrien Timber for the left-back position.

ESPN pundit Craig Burley recently expressed his admiration for the Arsenal defender, highlighting the player’s role in the club’s turnaround in the Premier League. 

During an appearance on ESPN FC, Burley highlighted Kiwior’s impact within Arsenal’s tactical setup, attributing it to the team’s improved form in the league. With Arsenal now firmly competing in the title race alongside Liverpool and Manchester City, Burley underlined Kiwior’s significance in their resurgence.

“Kiwior coming in for Zinchenko has kind of put a stop to the floundering about in the middle with the extra player; he’s more of a natural full-back.

“So, they’ve all of a sudden got White on one side, Kiwior on the other, and they’ve got four guys who, yes, will get forward but, guess what? They want to defend as well. And that’s given them some stability at the back.”

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