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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wenger’s Rookies Selection Almost Spoil the Day Against Wigan

By 1970’s Gooner

I could go on about the new found resilience within this Arsenal team which has learned how to win when things are not running as smoothly as they should.

Or how persistence, fitness and quality which are obviously in abundance, always shine through in the end. What is it? About a third of Arsenal’s points, 13 of 33, have come in the final 10 minutes?

Or even about Gallas’s saving grace once again and Wenger’s vindication in his selection of a new talisman.

Or about Sagna’s repeatedly beautiful displays.


But I will not! Because all these qualities, admirable as they are, need not have come to the for during this game against Wigan at the Emirates. A side that tasted defeat in its last seven games.

There was a major reason why Arsenal struggled to break down this Wigan side and in my opinion it was not all down to “brilliant defending” as Mr Wenger had suggested after the match.

This concerns Arsene Wenger’s selection of the two central midfielders in Denilson and Diarra and the choice of starting Walcott up front to partner Adebayor instead of in his (for now) customary wide midfield position.

Both Denilson and Diarra were content to win the ball and play it safe. This invariably meant a pass back to the defenders or sideways. In this way play was usually delayed and Wigan had therefore the time to get enough men organized behind the ball.

What was equally important is that there was neither leadership nor forward penetration coming from the middle of the pitch. There was no one to take up the mantle and dictate play the way that Fabregas usually provides.

It wasn’t till Wenger moved a more forceful and creative player, Rosicky, into that area behind Adebayor and the midfield when things got better.

Eduardo’s introduction on the 68th minute for the ineffective Eboue meant that Walcott was moved to the right of midfield. Eduardo stayed more on the left and Rosicky started coming infield from his wide left position dictating play.

Arsenal suddenly had forward movement and urgency and as a result were circling round Wigan’s area pushing them back more and more.

You would have expected Bendtner’s entry for Walcott ten minutes later to have added more firepower. But it added more creativity instead.

He was the one that spread play to Sagna to get his cross in for Gallas for the first.


Bendtner was again the one that gave the assist to Rosicky who, having been released from his wing duties, found himself in a more creative area in the middle of the pitch to race on and score the second.

Yet it was Rosicky who should have been given a starting booth in one of the central midfield positions as he is more experienced and far more creative than the two rookies of Diarra and Denilson. Eboue and Walcott (or even Denilson) could have been the wide midfielders.

Let’s hope that we are not short of central midfielders again!

Man of the Match: William Gallas

Arsenal: Almunia 7, Sagna 8, Toure 7, Gallas 8, Clichy 6, Eboue 5 (Eduardo 68min, 6), Diarra 5, Denilson 5, Rosicky 7, Walcott 6 (Bendtner 79min 8), Adebayor 6

Wigan: Pollitt 7, Boyce 7, Granqvist 6, Bramble 6, Kilbane 6, Brown 5, Scharner 6 (Skoko 90min), Landzaat 6, Olembe 5 (Heskey 68min, 5), Koumas 7, Bent 6 (Sibierski 84min, 5)

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love big, soft titties.

Anonymous said...

bollocks

adam savvides law said...

i beg u shut ur trap son. ur chattin utter rubbish denilson n diarra were quality, it was adebayor's lack of attacks that wer in fault and theos lack of ball control, n eboues inconsistency. did u even go to the game or were u waiting 4 MOTD.
please u call yourself an arsenal fan but yet yur constantly critcising us.

philthegooner said...

Negative doom mongering nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I actually think that the main point of the article is correct. We did not have enough creativity in the middle of the pitch.

dave said...

I was at the game and it seemed that in the first half no one wanted to lead this team. Cesc's absence left a big void and we lacked crativity. But we got i right in the end!

Patman said...

Seems like you got your analysis from watching highlights and not the full game. Its easy to point to what we lacked and blame it on the central midfield, but the fact is wigan defended well as a team, they didn't ever look like scoring. i assure you any team in the premiership would have found it just as hard to break them down if they set up shop like that. Also your ratings are pure bollocks, diarra 5? you must be having a laugh! Fix up mate

Patman said...

Seems like you got your analysis from watching highlights and not the full game. Its easy to point to what we lacked and blame it on the central midfield, but the fact is wigan defended well as a team, they didn't ever look like scoring. i assure you any team in the premiership would have found it just as hard to break them down if they set up shop like that. Also your ratings are pure bollocks, diarra 5? you must be having a laugh! Fix up mate

Anonymous said...

I watched the game live and it looked to me that Wigan were defending very well. But also we were lacking in urgency and leadership. The article is puting the blame on the new boys in the middle of the park. It is right in a way as they certainly could not do what Fabrergas can do (who does?).

jeffers said...

is every article on this site negative? the reason we are doing as well as we are at the moment is precisely because wenger does give rookies a go. he also plays people out of their traditional position in order for them to gain a better understanding. its working. live with it.

Anonymous said...

first of all, i watched the entire match live

i feel this analysis has been one that's more reflecting the truth rather than simply singing the praise blindly

there was little forward momentum / movement in 1st half from denilson, who's been hailed as playing cesc's role by many before the game; and except several fine passes from rosicky it's relatively poor in creativity

other responses on ade, eboue, walcott lacking touches/ control/ etc are indeed the case, except two interlink plays; that's too few against wigan by our standard, with or without cesc, hleb etc.

am particularly unhappy with ade who spent too much time on the flanks, crowding the space eboue/ sagna occupy and leaving the 18 yard box quite empty of arsenal player; and pls tell me how many times ade managed to head down something close to decent in the entire match; anyway ade is not up there despite some sparks occasionally

jeffers said...

i am particularly unhappy with people moaning.

Anonymous said...

I also watched the game live and I also agree with the previous anon. There was indeed srious deficiencies in our midfield. People should stop allowing their love of Arsenal and Wenger to blind them from the obvious. Surely just because the team won doesn't mean that there were no weaknesses in the team. And it also doesn't mean that a blog like this cannot point them out and constructively criticise!

Anonymous said...

Article is spot on - all played well but no incisive defence splitting passes until Rosicky came central.

We have Fab, Rosicky, Hleb who can all play the creative role and Denilson may very soon be up to that role too with a bit more confidence.Give the lad a chance. Cesc was similar at Denilsons age.

jeffers said...

when we have a full team out and play cack then is the time to complain.

with key players missing and the international break having just passed, this game was all about the result.

Anonymous said...

BOLLOCKS YOU CUNTS.

ARSENE KNOWS.

Anonymous said...

This article was crap!
1. you can't blame Arsene's selection, he picked his best team.
2. lack of leadership, what did Gallas do? showed leadership, got forward and got the goal.
3. Diarra played a decent match
4. We won 2-0, and are 3points clear.
5. Stop your moaning

balan said...

No I dont agree with previous anon.
The article is right. Wenger did not pick his best team out there. Rosicky should have been in the middle of the pitch not out wide.
Also there was no leadership from the cental midfielders and people like Gallas had to step up.
But it need not have to be like this!

I was also at the match by the way.

Anonymous said...

oh, what do you know about the selection process? please do not undermine Wenger's coaching ability mr. editor,

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