Sunday, September 21, 2008
Eboue comes of age
By 1970’s Gooner
Now don’t tell me that Fabregas is tired because he didn’t have a pre season! His performance at Bolton was outstanding.
There are a lot of Arsenal fans who take everything that a certain blogger, who once wrote a very average book about “the professor”, dreams up as a fact of life.
Fabregas’s below par performance in Kiev was thus explained and accepted by a lot of Arsenal fans.
But there are a lot of other players that played in the final stages of the Euro who had a shortened pre season. Like Chelsea’s Deco and Bosingua as well as Liverpool’s Alonso for instance; and they do not seem to me to be suffering from fatigue.
My reasoning for Fabregas’s below par performance in Kiev had more to do with the tactics and formation adopted which demanded that he played out of his normal position further up field. This left very little space to weave his magic.
Against Bolton at the Reebok Fabregas was reinstated in the centre of midfield where he belongs and he did indeed weave his magic.
Surprisingly Bolton left spaces open in the midfield areas in the first half by not pressing or marking very tight. This allowed Fabregas to run the show and once you do that the result is almost inevitable!
He was also very ably supported by Song. I think he will be the anchor in midfield now.
The trouble for Wenger will be what to do with Denilson who had another fine game again scoring his second goal of the season. Maybe Nasri will have to stay on the bench for a while when he gets back to fitness.
But the real revelation this season has to be Eboue. He has been putting some very fine performances and the main reason is that he is beginning to use his head.
Gone are the displays where he would run like a headless chicken into cul de sacs and then more often than not give the ball away. Now he is much more patient when on the ball, looks up to see what’s on and invariably picks the right pass.
He has the pace and defensive skills which when complimented with some nous create the ingredients for a very good wide midfielder. Let’s hope he keeps up the quality of his performances.
The victory at Bolton is a fantastic tonic for everyone’s confidence including the players themselves.
It was obtained by playing proper Arsenal type football which was complimented with resilience and stout defending when Bolton pressed very tight in the midfield areas in the second half not allowing the Arsenal players too much time on the ball.
They started bombarding the Arsenal goal with high direct balls which were however dealt with adequately. Unfortunately Arsenal’s defense did not have the same level of concentration in the first half where Kevin Davies rose above Kolo Toure to head home.
Nevertheless the pressure in the second half was soaked up and once Bolton had run out of steam Arsenal struck again.
Walcott’s pace was too much for them and his sweet diagonal pass to Adebayor allowed him to find Denilson in the far post who coolly slotted it into the net beyond the despairing Jaaskelainen.
Liverpool’s insistence in bombarding the Stoke defence with high balls was like feeding fodder to cattle.
These are the kind of balls that are usually played in the Championship, more like it was in the 70s when I used to watch Arsenal at Highbury. And Stoke’s defenders are used to dealing with this type of football.
It was a good result for Arsenal as was the draw between Chelsea and Manchester United which keeps them below us in the League table.