Wenger has a hatred for specialist defensive Midfielders. By Galen Sona
I got up today seeing Arsenal top of the league… yet I don’t feel happy or excited. I don’t know if something is wrong with me or if am the Only Arsenal fan feeling this way. Am I ungrateful? I just have a feeling that we could have gone above Man City by about 7 – 10 points by now if we were more serious.
Arsene Wenger is a very loyal guy and has always put his young players first. Even if it has to mean him losing the title. In 2009 Wenger said “I have been criticised for not hiring Xabi Alonso or Gareth Barry. But if I signed them, I would have killed Song, Diaby and Denilson,”
“I told the shareholders we have to trust this team. Everything is based on my own conviction,”
“If in two years I don’t have any success, it will be my fault. It is a bet I made”
Years have gone by and all this players have left us. We are currently first in the league, but can we cope without strengthening the team? Fans have asked for one of Wanyama, Carvalho and Krychowiak. Wenger has gone for Mohammed Elneny. The big question is why Mohammed Elneny? When we have all this money in the bank to get a more experienced player? I spoke to three Basel fans and I was capable of coming up with certain conclusions.
Firstly Wenger hates pure defensive midfielders. “There are no defensive midfield players at the moment,” explained Wenger in one window. “We try to find the defensive balance collectively. We have fewer players who are purely defenders but some are physically strong in defending like Diaby, some are tactically strong like Arteta.”
Coquelin is the perfect example. Last season Coquelin had the best defensive stats in the league and had an average passing accuracy of 85%. This season Coquelin defensive statistics, Interceptions, Blocks, Clearance and Tackles have all dropped but there is an improvement in his overall play with his passing accuracy increasing to 91%. There is also more forward passes from Coquelin and there are more successful passes from him. Wenger is not a fan of the Makelele role as he feels the team is playing with a man down when in possession. If you watch Coquelin this season, what you see is a good footballer.
Is Elneny Technically Accomplished? When I spoke to some Basel fans the first thing they said was he was technically very gifted. I asked if he was a defensive midfielder? They said he is not and English type of defensive midfielder, but he is more in the Xabi Alonso, Javi Martinez or Sergio Busquets types. His passing accuracy of 92.4% is the highest at Basel and the highest in the Swiss League. At 5ft 11 it is clear that he is a tall and strong lad that does a lot of tackles and interception. But Wenger is more of a fan of a deep-lying playmaker type of defensive midfielder.
Athleticism? Elneny said last year. “As a child, I often played for 10 hours on the street, and that’s where I learned to run non-stop in the heat. I have to help the team with my strengths. When my teammates see me running, they run more themselves as well.” Stamina became his trademark at Basel: he covered 23 kilometres in the games against Real Madrid and Liverpool in the Champions League last season — much more than anyone else on the field.
Finally Elneny is a typical Arsenal signing. He is cheap and unknown. If he does well then Wenger is a genius. If he does badly then he was a cheap transfer that could be sold to an average team like Chelsea or Man United.
Happy New Year to all Arsenal fans out there….
By Galen Sona.