By 1970’s Gooner
Arsenal’s main weakness is not the midfield enforcer nor a new goalkeeper or a tall and strong centre half. It’s not even poor Eboue.
Denilson as a midfield enforcer has in my opinion been a major weakness which has now been corrected; but for the wrong reason.
Arsene Wenger’s insistence on carrying on with Denilson in the central midfield position until a few games ago has indeed resulted in a soft middle without the obvious ball winner that the team is crying out for.
I have written about this before, sighting the other three top teams ball winners in midfield as prime examples of the type of player that Arsenal need and I believe have now found in Alex Song.
Chelsea has Jon Obi Mikel, Liverpool Mascherano and Manchester United can use Anderson or even Carrick. Denilson is not a midfield enforcer and I am glad that Song is now being used in that position.
In fact if he had been employed there since the start of the season, as Denilson has been, then I am sure that Song would have improved no end and certainly by a far faster rate than Denilson has.
Song’s performance at Chelsea is testimony to that.
Ever since Walcott and sometimes Nasri have been out of action Wenger has been using Song in the middle and pushing Denilson on the wide midfield areas.
So in a way Wenger’s insistence on always picking Denilson in the team has meant that Arsenal’s main weakness has shifted from the central midfield area to the wing.
When Nasri and Denilson play on the wings the team lacks real width. This was very evident in the game against Wigan at the Emirates and became even more apparent when Nasri had to go off in the first half.
Both players are natural playmakers not wingers. They can’t get past their player with any ease and they invariably come infield thus congesting the middle of the park even more.
This plays into the hands of the opponents who put 10 men behind the ball and congest the middle (unlike the big three who let you play).
Arsene Wenger has two options to give the team its wings back.
He can promote Carlos Vela on the left wing and play Nasri on the other thus continuing with the 4 4 2 formation. Denilson should be rested with Song continuing in the central midfield position.
Vela has had a sensational season last year in Osauna’s first team contributing greatly to their survival in Spain’s top division. They are now real relegation candidates. He has shown during the Carling Cup games that with a good run in the team he can hurt opposing defences with his pace.
The other option for Wenger would be to switch to 4 3 3 and play Robin Van Persie on the left wing, Nasri on the right and Adebayor up front. The three in the middle would be Fabregas, Song and one of Denilson or Diaby.
No one can fly without wings and if this is not corrected we will come up a cropper again, pretty soon.