Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini and Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm will be playing similar roles this evening when the Champions League last 16 tie gets under way at the Emirates Stadium.
Each player will have a big role to play in terms of protecting the defence and breaking up the play but who has done a more effective job so far this season.
We’ve taken a look at the stats across several key areas to judge how they match up against each other as holding midfielders.
Lahm has been booked just twice in the Bundesliga this season whereas Flamini is one of Arsenal’s most penalised players.
Add a red card next to Flamini’s name and it’s clear that he’s a very aggressive player. However, that’s not a bad thing because it gives him a presence and intimidates opponents.
|Player||Club||Pos||Won Tackle / apps||Apps||Mins|
Lahm also enjoys a slightly higher tackle success rate with 1.3 per game, shading Flamini in this area. You may expect that to be higher from two holding midfielder but bear in mind they both play in slick passing teams.
|Player||Club||Pos||Interception Won / apps||Apps||Mins|
One area Flamini is ahead is in terms with interceptions, with a slightly higher average per match than Lahm’s 1.3. That will be important later this evening because Flamini will have to read the game well and position himself to counter against the pace and movement in the Bayern Munich attack.
|Player||Club||Pos||Total Pass / apps||Apps||Mins|
Lahm is significantly ahead in terms of passes with 80.8 on average per match in the Bundesliga this season. The difference can be put down to the gap in quality between the leagues with the Premier League perceived as a more difficult division. In short, Lahm is allowed to spend more time on the ball.
|Player||Club||Pos||Total Long Balls / apps||Apps||Mins|
One interesting difference is that Lahm plays more long balls, 4.5 per game on average. Flamini is seemingly more keen to move the ball in quickly to those around him rather than hitting a long pass. Few Arsenal fans will complain if Lahm is forced to spray long balls around the pitch later.
image: © wonker