Friday, March 28, 2008
There are three ways to replace Sagna
By 1970’s Gooner
Sagna has been outstanding for Arsenal having made the transition from French football to the Premiership in I think the least time ever taken for any Arsenal recruit that I can remember.
He was Arsenal’s best player at Stamford Bridge and was voted so by a vast majority of readers of this site.
So trying to replace him adequately after his unfortunate injury would be difficult for Wenger but there at least three options available.
1. Justin Hoyte
This is the simplest way to replace him as it does not move other players out of position and allows Wenger to keep the rest of the players in their normal positions.
But Hoyte has been out of the first team picture for a very long time. He has only one League and one substitute appearance all year so I would not consider him as match fit enough to play at Bolton but also to carry on for the Liverpool trilogy and beyond.
2. Toure or Gallas reverts to right back, Senderos at centre back
Although this scenario sounds a bit outlandish it does have merit. The argument here is that Toure and Gallas proved inadequate to deal with the long and high balls into the centre of the defence that Chelsea in desperation tried successfully.
So bringing Senderos in the centre of the defence along say Toure who has pace, will help in that respect; and Senderos has been playing well prior to Toure’s return to the team.
Gallas has played at right back for Arsenal before and of course he was almost a permanent occupant of that position at Chelsea under Mourinho; and a very effective right back he was indeed.
This option however would involve two changes, one player changing position and another being brought into the team and as such would not, I think, be very high on Wenger’s list of options.
3. Eboue drops back to defence
This appears the less risky option as Eboue of course was until this season Arsenal’s first choice right back with very effective performances throughout last season both in his defensive and offensive duties.
He is also match fit and additionally has not been playing that well at the right side of midfield lacking penetration and precision in his crosses or cut backs.
This move will therefore give Wenger the chance to bring back into the team another right sided midfielder like Walcott or my preferred choice Diaby.
Walcott I believe is much more effective coming off the bench and using his pace to good effect when the opposition is beginning to get tired, like he did at the San Siro.
On the other hand Diaby, although not as fast or penetrative as Walcott, is more experienced and has the strength to counter a physical Bolton side. He will also be very useful at defending set pieces and high balls, a tactic which is likely to be adopted by Gary Megson.
There has been talk by Wenger of resting Adebayor and this may be just what he needs. He has looked tired and laboured lately and giving him a rest now just before the more hectic period coming up with games every three or four days may be just what the doctor ordered.
My team for the Bolton game then will be:
Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy
Diaby Flamini Fabregas Hleb