Stuck between a Coq and a hard place


I don’t normally write analysis pieces, but a couple of graphics I’ve seen recently by the genius analyst @11tegen11 have inspired me, so here goes.

Arsene has a decision to make; does he go with Le Coq Blocker or the Stone Cold Kosovan as Santi’s sidekick.

Both players have different outlooks to the game with differing outcomes to the overall team performance.

Le Coq vs Southampton

Le Coq vs Southampton

Francis plays more of a destroyer role, get the ball (or man) and get rid, mostly to Santi. The tends to a more compact team shape , requiring more work from the centre backs to initiate the forward motion.
Needed in tight niggle games when you need to fight fire with fire.

Xhaka vs Watford

Xhaka vs Watford

Pretty much the fulcrum of the team. Picking the ball up from the back four, in a deeper lying position and providing the start point for most or the attacking moves. This allows Santi to be further up the field to affect the forward movement of the team and Hector and Nacho more freedom to get forward providing an attacking 7. He also gives a greater opportunity to start a counter attack as he is picking the ball up in space rather than in the crowed central area.

I think my mumbling makes sense, but I know the pictures explain much better than I ever could.

To state the bleeding obvious Boom Xhaka Lakah is Santi’s perfect foil and provides a better balance to the team.

Le Coq has his role, when opposition is tough and the shop needs to be shut.

Feel sorry for Elneny, he done nothing wrong and seems to be on the periphery already.


3 Responses to Stuck between a Coq and a hard place

  1. Victor Thompson September 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    I agree with your analysis Steve. In fact, I thought that with a very difficult match, AW would have played Coq and Xhaka just to bottle things up and frustrate them.

    • Eris September 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      That would have been okay but would stifle fluidity and/or ball retention in such tight matches. Cazorla’s twinkle toes was needed last night to allow some ball retention while Coq was needed to match Matuidi and Rabiot’s physicality.

      • Tim Hargreaves September 16, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

        OK Eris but surely Xhaka matches Coquelin for physicality? He’s no shrinking violet. Xhaka is a more dynamic passer thus he’s more suited to starting UCL matches over Coquelin. I agree on Santi though – his ability to keep the ball moving even in tight spaces is vital to the way Arsenal play.

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