Who starts with Xhaka in Arsenal’s midfield?? by JH
Having just written an article on how good a signing Xhaka is, before he has kicked a ball or even been announced, I thought I might as well go all out and discuss who i feel will be the best option to sit next to him, I feel he is the only player certain of starting in midfield next year. AW is not going to spend £30 million plus on a rotation option or backup. He will start at the base of our midfield, starting every attack with his superb passing ability and in theory, he will shield our back four aggressively and forcefully.
But the question lingers… Who will play with him, well I’m going to discuss that now, so if I’m wrong everyone will have forgotten by the time the season starts so nobody will remember to call me an idiot 🙂
With the signing of Xhaka, Arsenal probably have the best collection of CMs in the country.
Xhaka, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Coquelin, Elneny, that is some list!!
With my assumption being that Xhaka will start, that leaves just one place in the centre for the other 5.
I’ll start with Francis Coquelin, the man who is probably being upgraded by Xhaka, he has similar ability defensively, but in terms of passing ability there is no comparison, Xhaka knocks Le Coq out of the park, I would suggest that Coquelin (The man who finally showed AW how important a real Dm is) is going to be cover for Granit Xhaka should our infamous injury curse take hold of him or just for the inevitable suspensions.
Next to Jack Wilshere, Jack has so much potential, had injuries left him alone he would be our captain already, he has the ability to pass or dribble through midfields, capable of sitting alongside Xhaka or playing box to box, he enjoys getting stuck in, he also has the passion and leadership skills we are always missing, the issue here is AW doesn’t like Jack playing deep, so I would expect him on the wing more than in the middle this year.
Now it gets difficult, Santi Cazorla, his injury probably ended our title hopes this year, we missed his incisive passing and quick feet in midfield this year, once he was out of the side every attack seemed so slow, laboured and uninventive, there will be rumours all summer about him returning to Spain, and the sale of Santi would go some way to pretty much pay for Xhaka’s transfer, the only thing that would go against him is his defensive contribution is not as great as our other options.
Aaron Ramsey, perhaps the most criticized on this list, he is the most frustrating, and even worse AW seems to think he has to get him in the side somehow, On his game Ramsey is immense, he has energy for days, can influence the game at both ends, however the Ramsey of 2014 doesn’t seem to be coming back, everything he hit that year was in, everything he touched was gold, the unfortunate fact is he has never got close to those standards since, even more unfortunate is that aw will probably stick with him still, I expect him to either start with Xhaka or start on the right.
Mohammed ELNeny has been a revelation since signing from Basel, at just £5 million he was a real find, he was also Basels replacement for Xhaka (funny how things work out). Elneny is superb on the ball, his passes always find his man, he can run and run and never seems to slow down, his contribution in the final third may go against him though, he doesn’t have the vision or technique of Cazorla or Wilshere or even Ramsey, he is however more capable in our back third than those players, very rarely making mistakes, he slotted into our side and style effortlessly and was probably our best player after Christmas.
In conclusion, I am confident that Coquelin is more backup than partner to Xhaka, at his best Jack is probably the best option but it will be a fight for right wing for him as Wenger prefers him further forward.
This leaves Santi, Ramsey and ELNeny. I think Ramsey may well fight it out with Jack and Theo for the right, leaving Santi and Elneny, I feel Santi is most likely, given how badly he was missed this year, i think he will start in the majority of games, although don’t be surprised to see Elneny come in when we need to be more secure in midfield.
What do you guys think??
Who will play with Xhaka??
Who Should play with Xhaka??
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