But the Gunners’ creativity remains one area where questions continue to be asked.
The club’s chance creation has left a bit to be desired, prompting a curious response from manager Mikel Arteta after a particularly blunt display in July’s defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
“It’s inevitable, at the end of the day [the strikers] have to be the ones scoring the goals and the others have to get the service right and more consistency to get in the right areas more often,” Arteta said, and the upcoming FA Cup final will be another big test of his side’s creative abilities.
Next season, though, there are a number of ways in which things may change.
There’s also the elephant in the room of Mesut Ozil’s future, but for now we’re focusing on Coutinho, and specifically what his performances on loan at Bayern Munich tell us about what he might be able to contribute in north London.
While Coutinho played less than 1,500 league minutes for Bayern in the 2019/20 season – fewer than half of the maximum available – his return in that period is not to be sniffed at.
According to StatsBomb data at FBref.com , Coutinho ranked 33rd in the Bundesliga for ‘shot-creating actions’, ahead of several players with twice as many minutes on the pitch.
When it comes to shot-creating chances per 90, the Brazilian is much closer to the top: his 4.98 average is a better per 90 return than Jadon Sancho’s 4.88, with Coutinho’s team-mate Thomas Muller (5.23) the only player with more than 500 league minutes to rank higher.
His 12 goal-creating actions, meanwhile, put him above Bayern colleague Kingsley Coman and Bayer Leverkusen duo Kerem Demirbay and Moussa Diaby, despite all three racking up more minutes.
With eight goals and six assists, according to official Bundesliga stats , he has averaged a goal contribution every 101 minutes in the German top flight.
As many will know from watching Coutinho at Liverpool and Barcelona, the 28-year-old does a lot of his best work in the attacking third.
He ranks 20th in the Bundesliga for passes into the final third this season, with all the players above him in the charts having played at least 300 minutes more than the former Anfield favourite.
Those with fewer than Coutinho’s 114 passes into the final third (and from more minutes) include Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Brandt (110) and Bayer Leverkusen star and Chelsea target Kai Havertz (101).
As for key passes (passes leading directly to a shot), which can provide a fuller picture of creative output than assists alone, Coutinho’s season-long tally of 31 amounts to 1.97 per 90 minutes on the pitch.
Again, no player has more key passes from fewer minutes, while those at the top include plenty with a worse per-90 average such as Havertz (1.94 per 90), Serge Gnabry (1.93) and Schalke playmaker Amine Harit (1.79).
Finally, a look at how Arsenal’s players stack up against Coutinho.
Only Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi have more passes into the final third, with Nicolas Pepe and Ozil the only ones to best Coutinho on the key passes front.
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However, of those five, only Ozil has a better per 90 return in the category in question.
No Arsenal player even comes close to the Brazilian when it comes to shot-creating actions, though: Coutinho’s 4.98 is streets ahead of the Gunners, with no player still at the club topping four per 90 minutes this season.
As for goal creating actions, Alexandre Lacazette has one more than Coutinho from roughly 500 extra minutes, while no other Arsenal player reached double figures in the 2019/20 Premier League.
If Coutinho can compare favourably to the entire Arsenal squad in what hasn’t been close to his best season in Europe, there’s surely reason to hope he’d be able to do even better if given regular minutes as the team’s creative hub.