Sunday, October 05, 2008
Can we have our best player back please Mr Wenger?
By 1970’s Gooner
What is really astonishing is that Wenger said after the Sunderland game that he actually expected Roy Keane to play a more attacking style of play!
I mean did he really mean it? Did he really expect that Sunderland will actually play an open style of play, push men forward and leave the spaces open for Fabregas and Co to exploit?
Blackburn did that at Ewood Park by playing two men in more advanced positions and got annihilated. Roy Keane wasn’t going to be a fool and hand Arsenal freedom to play!
This is what Roy Keane said after the game:
“We've played Arsenal last year, Chelsea and United here, played 4-4-2 and got beaten 4-0; it could have been seven. Maybe Arsène Wenger should focus on his team. Part of the game is breaking down the opposition".
In fact most teams that play against the big four adopt a more conservative formation.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have to face it week in week out yet they find the way to get round it. I have not heard Alec Ferguson complain about another team’s defensive tactics. Have you?
The middle was already congested by Sunderland’s tactics and this was in a strange way aggravated even further by the tactics adopted by Wenger.
He played three central midfielders, Song, Denilson and Fabregas as well as Van Persie and Walcott on the wide midfield positions.
Add to this Sunderland’s five midfielders and you have “spaghetti junction”.
How on earth was Fabregas going to find space to weave his magic from such an area where space was at a premium only Wenger knows.
Clichy was not as effective on the left hand side for two reasons. He is not used to playing with Van Persie there so they did not hit it off.
More importantly Nasri is more suited to Clichy’s game as he tends to come in and allow the space on that left hand line for Clichy to exploit.
They also tend to play the one two very well together something that Van Presie was not that willing to do.
When Nasri belatedly came on, that left hand side threat from Arsenal was suddenly rejuvenated as Clichy began to bomb forward again.
The 4 5 1 (come 4 3 3) formation also resulted in Adebayor being isolated up front without anyone near to feed off him and lay balls to.
Fabregas is not really a forward player in the number 10 role and he was anyway instinctively dropping back to get the ball so that he could do what he is more used to doing well; dictating play.
Result? Stalemate for most of the game which was broken by another wonder strike. This is beginning to be a recurring theme, as in the Hull horror show, with again no one closing the scorer down.
Another recurring theme is referee’s mistakes. Yes the ball did not go out but referees and their assistants do make mistakes.
A strong and determined team however should be able to play through these adversities and score the goals needed to win games.
We did not really create enough to have scored them and the reason is that the tactics employed stifled Sunderland (until the 85th minute) but they also stifled Arsenal’s creativity.
Let’s go back to 4 4 2 Mr Wenger with Fabregas where he belongs.
Wenger gets the tactics wrong, again