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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Portsmouth Vs Arsenal. Goal less but entertaining

This was an entertaining open game played like a Cup tie at a fast pace, probably one of the paciest type of games that Arsenal played this year.

The reason was Portsmouth’s positive approach by playing two strikers up front, Arsenal old boy, Kanu and Mwaruwari and pushing their midfielders forward at every opportunity. They were not interested in playing 10 men behind the ball and defending for a nil nil.

Their positive approach was of course dictated by their need to get the three points and give themselves a chance to qualify for Europe. So it suited Arsenal very well. They were allowed to play their passing game, counter attack at pace and use their skill and accuracy in passing to cut through Portsmouth and create a handful of chances. And miss them all! Again.

Mostly by the ever so wasteful Baptista whose only real positive attribute is his ability to position himself for goal scoring opportunities. The biggest opportunity of course was the penalty which was blasted to the right of James but not wide enough, allowing the keeper to push it away for a corner.

Baptista missed a string of other good chances to score notably two clear headers on goal and two shots from very promising positions; both saved by James who also saved from the impressive Clichy with Traore clearing the ball as it was about to cross the line.

Hleb also missed the other big chance of the match when on a one to one with James contrived to shoot wide of the near rather than aim for the far post; as any shooting manual will have advised!

Strangely he was much more alert and busy for this game like his old self of last season. Someone should have told him this was the last game of the season not the first!

Portsmouth are still smarting from one piece of indecisiveness shown by Graham Poll who was officiating the last game of his refereeing career. He first gave a goal for Portsmouth and then after persistent protests by the Arsenal players and consultation with his assistant proceeded to disallow it.

Kranjcar was indeed in an offside position when the original shot was made thus we suppose was deemed to be interfering with play. Although the ball eventually came to him off an Arsenal player!

A shot was spilled by Poom and then again from the oncoming player. The ball then rebounded back to Kranjcar, who had remained behind the defence, off Senderos and that was why Portsmouth claimed that it was not offside.

Arsenal’s penalty was won by Eboue who, interestingly enough, was selected by Wenger to start at the right midfield position with Hoyte at right back.

We say “interestingly” because we have been advocating on this site the merits of this arrangement prior to the home game against Chelsea. Eboue proved a very useful midfielder utilising both his attacking and defencive capabilities.

Another pet topic that usual visitors to this site will know about is our love of the 4 5 1 or 4 3 3 formation for Arsenal.

And Wenger showed us a taste of things to come adopting the 4 3 3 formation with Baptista in front, Hleb and Eboue in the wide midfield positions and the three central midfielders of Fabregas Diaby and Djourou. The latter proving his versatility with flying colours.

There is a lot of strength in depth in this Arsenal squad
!

18 comments:

jbc said...

Batista is a waste and should be sent back where he came from.

AS for the game Arsenal were full of kids playing out of position.

We gave 3rd place away cheaply.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the article.
We do have strength in depth if we can go away to Portsmouth who were playing for a place in Europe and nearly win the game.
If it wasn't for teh beast you would all be cheering away!

Dave said...

Somebody said tou don't win anything with kids!

Anonymous said...

Too much experience was thrown out of the window in a short space of time. Players like Viera, Pires, Edu,Campell,Lauren and others were not replaced adequately such as Bergkamp or Freddie even.

This is why we have fallen back and I don't know when we will come back.

I don't believe all this hype about the fantastically talented kids who will everything in sight!

Arsenal Analysis said...

With the addition of only two experienced players at key positions Arsenal will challenge. Don't you worry about that.

Anonymous said...

Arsenal Analysis is right:
A couple of key purchases, and better luck with injuries, and we'll be quite as good as the best around.
There's an interesting statistic posted at "A cultured Left Foot" today that slices the league table into Top-Ten and a Top-Four versions. Arsenal's position in the two tells a tale; as does the statistic on goals scored in the last sixth of the game, after frequently conceding first.
I'm going to post a "wishlist team" just to get discussions going:
Jens/Fabianski
The back four with fall back:
Micah Richards/Hoyte
Gilberto/Djourou (Hat Tip: Flint)
Gallas/Summer purchase
Clichy/Traore
The Midfield with Fall back:
Eboue/Walcott
Cesc/Denilson
Toure/Diaby
Henry/Rosicky
The Frontline:
Rvp & (Trezeguet or Anelka)/Ade.
We'll see.
Karthic.

george said...

Interesting line up with Gilberto and Toure swapping places. Yes it looks strong. Would be worried about Gilberto's pace though.

Ginseng said...

Micah Richards will be a great addition as he can also play in central defence adding more versatility in the squad.

Arsenal Analysis said...

We like the Anelka suggestion but he could play in two roles according to needs: the lone target man/ striker role or the wide midfield role.

Anonymous said...

Karthic i like your recommendations and the idea of fall backs.

I think that Diaby should be in the first team as he is fantastic. You have to think of another alternative!

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