The FA Cup holds a special place in all Gooners’ hearts – and we have another Cup Final to look forward to this weekend when we take on Chelsea at Wembley.
All this week we will have an in-depth focus on what to expect from the ninety minutes on the pitch. Every day we will look at individual player battles that could decide the outcome of where the famous old trophy heads to.
Today – the centre of midfield.
Jorginho Vs Granit Xhaka
The Italian in the hub of the Blues midfield gets an unfair rap for being simply a robust midfielder, but when compared to our Swiss talisman, he has the better offensive stats across the board.
More goals. More shots per game. More shot success. To be objective, it is worth noting that Jorginho did take and score three penalties for Chelsea this season, whereas Xhaka doesn’t have the privilege of taking spot kicks for Arsenal.
It is the mucky stuff and key passes though, that both players are perceived to be most effective. While neither are conventional defensive midfielders, both primarily play just in front of the defensive line and are responsible for transitioning the possession and the emphasis of play.
Both possess a fantastic range of passing and good awareness when on the ball - but who has been more effective this past season?
It’s the Italian again. Jorginho has played four times the amount of through balls for Chelsea, has created more chances, more passes forward and more touches than Xhaka. Our midfielder does seem to roam the pitch a little more than Jorginho though, as he has played considerably more crosses than his midfield counterpart and seems to be a lot tidier in possession – with ten less occasions of dispossession.
For pure defensive effectiveness, Xhaka has more blocks and clean sheets, but Jorginho has a lot more interceptions and tackles. Strangely though, Xhaka absolutely bosses it with aerial duels and clearances.
What do these numbers tell us?
It seems the emphasis for Jorginho lies slightly higher up the pitch. Often in a midfield with Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho seems to have taken the playmaker mantle since Hazard left, but his stats do show he is performing a box to box role.
Whereas Xhaka is doing his work in our final third. Our Swiss star has shown his importance to our side since the lockdown and if he is on song, it could be up to Xhaka to stop Jorginho himself, in a classic attack vs defence marking battle.
It might only be one man from each team but these two could easily decide who wins the Cup – such is their influence throughout each team.