Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Abject performance against Kiev can be blamed on the choice of formation and Fabregas’s position
By 1970’s Gooner
The attitude of the players for this away Champions League game in the Ukraine looked to have been set by all the comments by Arsene Wenger prior to the game.
His attitude had been to talk up this game as a “very difficult one” he even called it “a massive one”. There was talk from the Arsenal camp which considered a draw as a point gained!
In the end it was a point just gained but in my opinion it was two points thrown away. And I can only blame the choice of formation chosen which resulted in two Arsenal players having to play out of position and their effectiveness badly impaired.
Cesc Fabregas the little maestro pulling the strings from the middle of the pitch was a nonentity throughout the whole of this game.
The reason? Wenger’s choice to play a 4 3 3 formation which meant that Denilson and Song were clustering the central midfield areas with no space for Fabregas to weave his magic.
His instructions were obviously to play further up the field just above the two central midfielders in order to offer support for Adebayor who was playing the lone man role in attack.
The result was that Song who was doing his job kept passing the ball sideways or backwards and Denilson who assumed the more creative (Fabregas) role in midfield was not at all creative. I do not recollect any incisive or penetrative pass he made all game.
So without any creativity in midfield our only hope left of scoring a goal was from some good play from our front men.
Oh but wait a minute..We only had one front man and that was Adebayor because Robin Van Persie was shifted to the left wing so that the 4 3 3 formation could be accommodated.
But it was obvious that what was needed was the pairing of Van Persie and Adebayor in attack. They proved in all of Arsenal’s previous games so far that when they play close to each other they can create space and threats to opposing defences.
Van Persie also tends to drop a little bit further back from the front to receive the ball and play one twos with either Fabregas or Adebayor. But alas he could do neither tonight.
And all this because Arsene afforded too much respect to the opponents.
He deployed such a formation so as to stifle the midfield and stop them from playing rather than rely on Arsenal’s strengths and a formation that usually brings the best out of the players now at this club.
Almunia 5, Sagna 6, Clichy 6, Gallas 5 (it would have been a 4 if he hadn’t got the goal), Toure 6, Song 5, Denilson 4, Fabregas 5, Walcott 6.5, Van Persie 5, Adebayor 6.