Xhaka’s Granite kick at the start of Arsenal’s match against Manchester United was the beginning of the Red Devils nightmare in the 30th week of the 2018/19 English Premier League on Sunday (10/3). Xhaka’s goal opened the Arsenal goal before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang locked London’s Cannon victory over United with a score of 2-0.
On the first goal, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea was in the spotlight because he seemed careless so Xhaka’s shot slid smoothly into the goal he was keeping. Repeat goals then showed that there was an oddity from Xhaka’s kick which made De Gea wrongly anticipate so that he didn’t seem to move.
Xhaka kicks using the left foot from outside the penalty box and the ball seems to be heading towards the left side of the goal. De Gea immediately reacts and moves to the left side of the goal to block the ball. But a split second after the ball is kicked, suddenly the direction of the ball changes towards the opposite direction. The ball actually turned towards the right goal and made De Gea die step.
Xhaka’s kick on goal David De Gea is a kick known as knuckle shoot. The effect of the kick seems to make the ball turn twice or come out suddenly, out of the initial archway.
There are many players who can do this kind of kick. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juninho Penambuchano, Hakan Calhanouglu, and several other players often do so through their free kicks.
The sudden and difficult change in the direction of the ball is thought to make knuckle shoot a very difficult kick for the goalkeeper to anticipate. Changes in direction that occur not only changes horizontally, but also changes vertically with a sudden dipping ball or floating in the air.
The player who does this kick actually doesn’t know when and where the kick ball turns or changes direction. The uncertainty of the speed of the ball makes the knuckle shoot kick very feared by any goalkeeper in the world.
But of course it’s not easy to release a knuckle shoot . Professional players also may not be able to do it at any time. Or even some knuckle shoot kicks accidentally by the kicker.
This kick difficulty level can be seen from how to do it where the ball must be kicked right in the middle. Slightly deviating from the center will make a kick into an ordinary kick or become a banana kick that curves towards one side, a kick that is also special but easier to do.
The kick right in the middle of the ball aims to make the ball slide without experiencing rotation at all. After sliding without a round, the ball will face air friction which at a certain point will make the ball begin to rotate / rotate. The rotation of the ball due to friction in the air then makes the ball change direction suddenly and make the goalkeeper go off.
The toe and foot shell are the most effective part of the foot used to do this kick. However, even contact between feet and balls cannot be done with mediocrity. Contact between feet and balls must be done in the shortest possible time. A very short contact time with large power will create great momentum for the ball so the ball will slide faster and turn suddenly too.
In addition, a short contact time will avoid additional contact that causes the ball to rotate. Cristiano Ronaldo often outsmarted this by stopping or stomping right after he kicked. Because of the complexity and high level of difficulty in doing this kick the risk of injury will be increased due to very sudden changes in movement.
On the other hand, some balls can easily experience the knuckle effect because of the shape of the seam. We still remember when the Jabulani ball was used at the 2010 World Cup, many goalkeepers complained that the ball easily floated in the air and changed direction erratically. In the end the air pressure in the field can affect the occurrence of the knuckle effect and make this kick more difficult to predict.
Therefore not De Gea who made a blunder or De Gea who was not focused on the situation. Xhaka’s knuckle kick is indeed a goal that is not easy to guess, especially the Swiss player has a hard left foot shot. The strength is accompanied by the right moment and time to release knuckle shoot , a kick that is feared by all goalkeepers around the world.