Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Arsenal players are tired and Bolton are up for it…Vela can cope

By 1970’s Gooner

I was critical of the performance at Kiev last Wednesday and some of the Arsenal Analysis readers were hostile to my thoughts.

My objection was mainly due to the choice of tactics and formation for that game which meant that two of the most influential Arsenal players (Fabregas and Van Persie) were shifted to positions on the pitch which were not most suited for them.

Fair enough we are all entitled to our opinions but I think that sentiment should not be allowed to cloud our judgment. Yes a point in the end was a good result away from home in the Champions League but it could have been a lot different.

The players will be very tired due to the travelling to the Ukraine midweek, playing a tough game and then having to take the long journey back from Kiev in the early hours of Thursday morning.

As a comparison, last season Arsenal travelled much closer to home, to Spain and lost to Sevilla. We then proceeded to drop five very valuable points in the next three Premier League games which were all away.

This time the trip to Kiev was further away but more importantly we had to chase the game in the second half right up until the last minute.

So fatigue will be one of Arsenal’s main problems against Bolton at the Reebok despite Arsene Wenger’s attempt to play it down:

"Fatigue will not be an issue. When you are a competitor you want competition so you cannot complain, when you have competition, that you are tired."

Yea I believe you Arsene…

If it were so then why has he already hinted that he will rotate so as to rest some players?

The question that arises then is which changes are likely to be made and whether these players will be able to cope against Bolton.

A player that needs a rest is Fabregas but I doubt whether Wenger will deprive the creativity that the team obviously will need to counter Bolton’s style of play.

Look at what happened when Fabregas was shifted away from the central midfield areas in Kiev. Even Wenger himself admitted that the team lacked creativity in that game.

The obvious newcomer may be Song in place of Denilson. I have since last season been singing Song’s praises and I think he will a very good defensive midfielder along side Fabregas especially in a place like the Reebok.

His style, which is to sit back and provide a cover for the defence, will allow Fabregas to assume his more creative role with more ease.

As for the other changes I would think that Eboue will replace Walcott and I would like to see Vela given his first start on the left wing.

I made a point of watching his performances on the left for Osasuna last season and he is more than capable in my opinion to play that role very well and withstand any rough tactics the opposition may deploy.

In this way Van Persie can be restored to his natural position along side or just behind Adebayor. I don’t think that Arsene will risk resting either of these two players.

The next question to address is whether Arsenal will be able to cope with Bolton’s combative and physical style which is centered on first stopping the opposition from playing, adopting a very defensive formation in 4 5 1 and being very alert on set pieces so as to sneak a goal.

Bolton will certainly not be last week’s Blackburn. Paul Ince adopted a more attacking formation for that game which suited Arsenal very well as there were open spaces between Blackburn’s midfield and the defence which Fabregas, Van Persie and Walcott exploited.

Last season’s heroic 3-2 obviously will give Arsenal’s players encouragement and belief that they can win there again. And looking at Bolton’s unconvincing performance against Fulham last week they look decidedly weak at the back.

Gary Cahill completes the final game of his suspension so Danny Shittu and Andy O’Brien will again be tasked with shoring things up at the back. I think they will be in for a very tough time against Adebayor and Van Persie.


Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy
Eboue Fabregas Song Vela
Van Persie Adebayor

If it were not for the fatigue element I would have been predicting a 0-3 away win. But I do not expect us to concede.

Bolton 0 Arsenal 1

Abject performance against Kiev can be blamed on the choice of formation and Fabregas’s position

Song’s Olympics could prove Wenger wrong


David said...

You are entitled to be critical. That's fair enough. What one is not entitled to do, and that is what they do at (le-grove) le-glory, is put in the criticism and then delete people's posts when they get real arsenal fans, and not glory hunters objections.

I am sure you are an Arsenal fan, and I hope that you put up an argument, remembering that debate is the best way, and not censorship.

Anonymous said...

where was cesc playing in kiev? he seemed pretty central to me.






seems like his posistion.

he just played wank. it happens.

1970's Gooner said...

To David
I think everyone is entitled to voice their point of view. I welcome criticism as not everyone will have the same opinion as me.
This is an open forum and I don't mind if people berate's part of the fan.

Spike said...

Players will be rested IF they are carrying injuries and NOT coz they are tired. We are still in September FFS!

Was this post originally written 2 years ago?

'Can Arsenal compete with Bolton's combatitive style?'

Did you not see the game last season?

Effin brilliant comeback!

If Eboue replaces Theo I will be gutted.

Gotta say, a pretty poor effort today, shite post.

jcb said...

What the f..k are you talking about Spike? Even Wenger is talking about resting players and Bolton are still combative you moron.
Last season's 3-2 comeback was still a very tough game for the boys so what are you saying that we will walk it today?

the gooner said...

funny thing, is that I thought the tactics in the first half agains kiev were spot on.If we scored one of the many chances we created in the first half, people wont be complaining so much. It was an away game, in a far away eastern european night, and we needed to be strong in midfield and defence. If you remember, we got to the champions league final in 2006 by playing a similar tactic. and whenever we play 5 accross midfield, van persie always plays on the left, and cesc basically plays the same position. Infact, that was the position he usually played for spain at the euro's and he had a good tournament. So dont blame wenger for the performance, cesc is still struggling from lack of pre-season.

the gooner said...

Also for today I hope wenger rests walcott, denilson and van persie. He should play eboue, vela and bendtner. song should stay in the starting line up. this game would be physical so we need to match them physically, with vanpersie and walcott coming on in the second half if needed.

Anonymous said...

Cesc had an off game because he has had no pre-season to speak of and is still playing himself into form. He barely played while he was with Spain for the international games so I don't see how he needs a rest. He actually needs to play to help his match fitness. He along with most of the first team players will have a week off because they will not be playing in the Carling Cup.

Vela will not be used on the left because he is a striker. If he plays, it will be in place of RVP. I suspect Arsene will start with his strongest, most experienced line up, look to gain an advantage and then use earlier than usual substitutions to give us fresher legs for the closing stages of the game.

Frichie said...

Think Denilson will get a rest, Cesc still needs games to get to the top form. Walcott should probably get a rest, but more likely will play 60 min.

I agree with you on the tactics against Kiev, was a very cautious approach which stifled our attacking threat from the start. RvP didnt see much of the ball out on the left.

But also Kiev played a high tempo pressing game and it could have gone either way if we had changed formation. Guess thats what managers have to think about and not the fans. Sure we could have gone gungho and won 4 nil, but also could have lost badly and would have destroyed the growing confidence we have built up so far

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