By 1970’s Gooner
This wasn’t a total performance as many pundits or even Robin Van Persie will have us believe. And I am not saying this just to be a killjoy or to sound different from all the other eulogizing journalists or blogs dedicated to Arsenal.
Yes it was a very good performance against a neat and skillful Sevilla side who were taught a lesson, as many teams who step up a league, usually are.
They paid the penalty of coming to the Emirates and playing in their usual attacking style.
This allowed a lot of space for the Arsenal creative players to roam in and display their undoubted skills. And when these skills are complimented with a shoot on target policy then danger looms.
But until Fabregas scored his deflected goal it was Sevilla who were the more attractive and forceful side (you can watch the goals by clicking on the Video window).
Ramos’s decision to rest their most important midfielder, Keita, so that another colleague could mark the “unmarkable” Fabregas deprived Sevilla the thrust they so badly needed from midfield.
It also curtailed the support to their main strikers. What is the use of playing in an offensive formation if you deprive the forwards of their supply line?
This was not really a complete performance by Arsenal although it gave promise that this feat is not far from becoming a reality!
A complete performance is when all the parts of the team function perfectly in their individual roles but also as a unit. And there were some individual performances that needed improving.
Senderos was still an accident waiting to happen and it almost happened on three occasions.
The most notable one was when he miskicked a clearance from a low cross from the right allowing the ball to run across the goal in front of Almunia. Only good fortune saved the day as the opposing forward missed his kick as well.
His positioning was again suspect. He lost his man, Kanoute, twice. His shot was saved on the one occasion and on the other he narrowly missed the header.
In attack Adebayor, who admittedly is improving in leaps and bounds with every game, still has to improve his ball skills and control. He also has to add finishing (in a consistent manner) to his other attributes of strength, forcefulness and aerial ability.
His position in the team is becoming very pivotal as his aerial strength and his ability to fend off defenders brings another dimension that was lacking before.
RVP apart from his goal was not his usual penetrative self. Also his link up play with Adebayor still needs to be honed further.
I am not nit picking; I am just trying to bring everyone back to earth.
When Gallas returns and the front two start getting it together then yes we will see a complete performance!
Now an area of Arsenal’s play I was really excited about was their defensive collectiveness. And by this I mean that the desire, positioning and defensive approach when the ball was lost was evident in all eleven players.
It was not just confined to the players at the back or the defensive midfielders. This was especially true of the excellent wide players, Hleb and Rosicky, who were not only creative going forward but doubled up pretty quickly at the back to defend against the Sevilla wing players.
It was also noticeable in Van Persie and Adebayor who were always tracking back to hurry and hassle the Sevilla midfielders often winning the ball.
The whole team played as unit. This is something that was very evident during the “untouchables” season.
Now, let’s not get carried away.
Selection dilemmas for Wenger
Fabregas is a more effective player than Scholes. The statistical analysis backs it up