Arsenal new boy Mohamed Elneny was known at Basel for having a bit of a shot on him, but Arsene Wenger has apparently told him to shoot less since joining the north London club, as reported by the Metro.
This is likely to absolutely infuriate most Arsenal fans, as we’re so often calling for a few signings capable of shooting from distance. Alexis Sanchez is currently the only player we really have on our books known for scoring from outside of the box, although Aaron Ramsey does his best impression of someone who’s able to.
We’ve already seen a few decent long-shots from Elneny, and while he’s only scored one goal, it’s been refreshing to see a player shooting from distance. The fact that the player himself has admitted to being told not to shoot is really disappointing though, and will only further turn fans against Arsene Wenger.
“I used to shoot a lot when I was at Basel but sometimes that doesn’t suit our style here,” Elneny said.
“[Wenger] taught me to be more of a team player and to be intelligent in terms of when I shoot. I also paid attention to my teammates and took their advice. That has helped me to improve my performances already”.
Obviously we want our players to shoot at intelligent times, and shooting wildly from distance when there are far better options available is just as frustrating as not shooting from distance at all. We’re known for our unwillingness to take shots from outside the box though, and Wenger’s insistence on sticking to his tikki takka tactics in games where they clearly aren’t working is ridiculous.
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These stats courtesy of Opta (via Arseblog) show just how little we shoot from distance, and when compared to a number of other top European teams we can see how poor we’ve been.
We’ve taken significantly less shots from outside the box than the likes of Tottenham, Liverpol, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid, with even teams known for working the ball into the box like Barcelona and Leicester shooting more regularly from distance.
The stats don’t make for great reading, and when you look at the percentage of those shots converted we’re even worse. One way of looking at that is that it’s hard to score from distance, but another way is that the players just aren’t taught to shoot from distance and are therefore unable to do it effectively.
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Arsenal fans would love to see at least a couple of our players shooting from distance a little more regularly, so hopefully in this instance Elneny doesn’t take too much notice of Arsene Wenger.