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Monday, December 31, 2007

Electric Eduardo digs Arsenal out of a hole but still without rhythm for West Ham


By 1970’s Gooner

I don’t think that Arsene Wenger has discovered a plan B as most media pundits are reporting. The long ball, for those who watch Arsenal’s games more regularly, has recently played a bigger part of Arsenal’s play as the midfield has struggled to find rhythm.

This was due to the fact that the team had become more static without a lot of movement off the ball. This is after all essential for the “ball to floor” approach that Arsenal had come to be associated with at the start of the season.

Prior to the game I, along with a lot of others, were calling for the abandonment of the lone striker approach as the balls to the front man especially the long ball that had by necessity been adopted was not finding enough recipients able to take advantage.

What really changed at Goodison Park were two things. The first was the fact that Eduardo was in the starting line up in a 4 4 2 formation. He had started in a 4 4 2 formation before but that was when the long ball to the strikers was more reluctantly used.

And during the first half at Everton Eduardo was again not contributing much nor was he able to hold the ball to any good effect. But in the second half Arsenal started hoofing the ball to the front men and due to his pace and anticipation was able to find the space to use the ball more efficiently.

There was also more space available for him as the Everton midfield were more preoccupied in pressing tight against Arsenal’s midfield rather than staying back protecting their defence and relinquishing space.

The second thing that was different at Everton was the inept defending from their central defenders especially Jagielka who was found wanting for both of Eduardo’s goals.

Don’t get me wrong. Eduardo has proved again that he is an electric, clinical finisher. He only needs the merest of chances and he will convert with ease. A real fox in the box that Arsenal needed to add to the impressive generation of chances that are usually created.


Although his second strike was more like Bergkamp’s famous goal at Newcastle he reminds me more of Van Nistelroy who was lethal within the box and on many occasions his goals were the only highlight of Manchester United’s wining performances and title triumphs.

Arsenal’s emphatic win at Everton was such a performance where the team did not play that well but still got the three points. We will need a few more of these to be crowned Champions at the end of the season.

Which conveniently brings us to Arsenal’s next game against West Ham at the Emirates. I watched their sumptuous if unexpected win against Manchester United and I was very impressed with their strength, tenacity and approach.

They pressed United’s midfield very tightly and in Mullins and Noble they have the players capable of doing that. They also played with a single striker up front in Carlton Cole who impressed with his ability to hold and lay the ball off to his team mates even if under the pressure of Vidic and Ferdinand.

West Ham will bring this attitude to tomorrow’s game and they will rely on the dead ball situations to make an impact especially when they decide to go with two up front by bringing Ashton on if the game demands it.

The probable absence of their more creative players in Solano and Parker may, in a way, work against Arsenal’s favour as this may force them to become even more physical in their approach rather than try and pass the ball around.

I would expect that Arsene Wenger will keep the same shape as at Everton. Adebayor will probably start in place of the banned Bendtner and maybe Rosicky will get a starting place in front of Hleb who was not at his best.

Diaby although below par at Goodison may be kept in the team due to his defensive and more importantly his aerial abilities which will be much in demand.

The game is likely to be decided in Arsenal’s favour if chances are carved out for Eduardo who is on a hot streak at the moment but more importantly if the defence organize themselves well for the high balls in the area especially from set pieces.

Prediction: Home win 1-0


From myself and the other contributors to "Arsenal Analysis" Happy New Year!

17 comments:

Wrighty7 said...

You're right that if West Ham dont have Parker and Solano available they will revert to a more defensive system. I think Hleb needs a breather. Have him on the bench. I think Diaby will start and Eduardo should start too. Eduardo must be confident and if West Ham should play defensive as expected and it's a game of few chances, then I'd like the chances to come his way. He is a deadly Finisher and hopefully will come on in the second half of the season.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if Adebayor and Eduardo can combine well together. With Bendtner he was able to get to know him in the Carling Cup games.

Anonymous said...

We are on a high and cant see west ham repeating that performance agaist manure. 3-0

balan said...

Bendtner proved that he needs more games to be able to start. he is bettter coming off the bench

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a plan B or plan C we are top of the table because we have not only the most technically gifted team but the most intelligent team. When Arsene talks about finding the resources to win a game. That resource is the intelligence on the pitch, finding a solution to the problem. Everton like ManU last year complained we use long ball which we don't normally use as if we aren't allowed to, but they have trained for a week to counteract our passing game, and it is not that they can't beat the long ball, but they don't have the intelligence to change their game from what has been drummed into their heads whole week, we on the other hand has the quickest thinking midfield in the priemiership. We are beating them with mind power.

Anonymous said...

I agree it is a fact that when Arsenal started to play the long ball everton didnt know how to deal with it. We can mix it now when before we only knew one way!

CresceNet said...

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osas said...

The reason why Arsenal are struggling is because Cesc and Hleb are yet to rediscover their pre-injury form. The Everton players pressed our midfield but prior to the injuries we used to move the ball around so fast that opponents couldn't get close to our players. When we played Blackburn recently, they couldn't cope with our passing and movement even though they tried to press our players. I knew Everton wouldn't be able to sustain the pressure game and I would be surprised if West Ham would be able to do it after giving so much against United.

orangunner said...

agree with osas. and we did play long ball before when under the situation that cesc and hleb couldn't deliver, but for most of the time it didn't work. i guess that's because we had no that kind of players on the pitch who were really good at grabbing chances and picking up long ball in the box. now we have eduardo, things might change. a real fox in the box!? anyway, the points are cesc and hleb have to be on form as soon as possible to create more space in the midfield and enough chances up front. there should be some pinpoint long balls delivered as well if it needs, and eduardo's position also counts, then we'll see..

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Elliott Broidy said...

This was an excellent match!