Pedraza v Estupiñán: Premature impressions who will shine.
The match against Eibar gave us a very rare insight in how these players will compare. It’s not often you see a LB switched half through a game to have noticeable time to make a difference.
Before I go into detail about this I should say I have always been a fan for Pedraza and I was impressed by Estupiñán when he came on. I believe a large part of this was more down to the mentality of the game. Villarreal had just gone 1-0 down a fresh if not exciting, is always going to make a difference.
My first impression of the two was that Pedraza was the better defender. When watching the two play I thought Pedraza was the better defending willing to stay back. I don’t have stats to back this up as you know stats really aren’t my thing. It could have been also down to if Emery wanted a more defencive approach to first half who knows.
Comparing the two
Against Eibar Pedraza was solid throughout the game. His defence awareness was solid and consistent. Against Huesca personally I don’t think he was to blame for the goal. Looking at the image below, it was a beautiful move by Huesca. They drew our whole defence in with Raul Albiol and Mario at right back and Torres at LCB. Pedraza was left covering both CB and Left Back.
Back to Eibar, Moi was incredible in that match. A lot of that was down to Pedraza staying back and doing his defending for him. People were a bit frustrated not to see him doing those runs down the left. To be honest Moi was doing such a good job that he didn’t need to. He does have excellent attacking ability; it would be a sad day to see that subdued because of the need to defend.
Estupiñán looks like the type of defender who will just hound a player into a mistake rather than putting in hard challenges. His first real action resulted in Gerrard goal. We have a wing back who can cross which is an interesting prospect. Like many of you I prefer to see more direct play into the box than crossing but this did work. My only concern is that he may end up being caught out of position more than Pedraza. This is where my preference of Coquelin over Iborra comes in. You need someone quick who can get into that LB position to cover him.
He was incredibly attacking from the start and you can see that in his runs. At one point he was playing practically 433 with Moreno and Kubo
There is no conclusion to this as it is far to early to tell. In the end I think it will be down to who we will play next. It will create a headache for Emery I am sure. Long term I would worry about Alberto Moreno coming back. Estupiñán and Pedraza are great options to have a LB