Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Wenger changes formation and tactics but he is really creating a monster
By 1970’s Gooner
Wenger told a lie when he said recently that he had gambled enough with the team’s formation and personnel on the field.
How else can we explain the transformation that we saw unraveling before us during the game against Roma? A game that threatened to turn into a rout bar the goals that should have been scored plentiful.
Wenger made radical changes both in the formation and the deployment of the personnel within that formation. These changes were designed to bring creativity back into Arsenal’s game but also adopted a fast paced all out attacking approach.
To say that he gambled enough in the games prior to this Champion’s league encounter is taking the mickey really. Or maybe he tried to lull Spalletti into a false sense of security. Whatever, it worked.
Firtsly, Wenger adopted a 4 2 3 1 formation where Robin Van Persie was the front player with Nasri brought in behind him to act as the principal playmaker. Bendtner was deployed on the left and Eboue on the right wing. The two central midfielders were Denilson and Diaby.
This worked a treat.
Not only did it surprise the opposition it more importantly allowed Nasri to show all his playmaking ability at which he excelled.
This is a change that we have been asking for on this site ever since Fabregas became unavailable.
But Wenger kept insisting on the dull and sideways passing of Denilson and Song.
Now not only did the team find its creativity in midfield it also had some sort of width, in Bendtner and Eboue, which helped stretch the field and provide the spaces for Nasri, Diaby and Van Persie to weave their magic.
The second change involved making Van Persie the main man up front rather than Bendtner.
Van Persie played very well indeed, receiving the ball and bringing players into the game.
But more importantly he posed a real goal threat.
Thirdly the team played with lots of pace and high tempo. This did not allow Roma to settle nor have time on the ball. The excellent Diaby and Denilson chased everything and challenged for every ball and all players when in possession pushed forward at pace.
Eboue made runs with the ball from midfield into forward areas, went passed players and sometimes found his man. Nasri whenever on the ball dictated the high tempo with his quick passing and probing.
But the most important change was the full attacking philosophy adopted.
One of the two central midfielders, Diaby, was allowed to be forward minded rather than being defensive (which is what both Song and Denilson are when they are deployed).
But more importantly the two full backs were allowed to take the hand brake off and resumed their forays into the opponents half; an approach that we were beginning to think was a thing of the past.
Add the much improved Eboue into the mix and the only players that were restricting themselves to just defending were Almunia, Gallas and Toure! This was a team that had only one thing on its mind: Attack.
Are we likely to see this formation, but above all, philosophy adopted form now on?
I hope so!
Wenger begun a project a few years ago based on youth and versatility. He nearly won the Premier League last year bar the injuries that beset a thin and relatively young squad. That would have been his greatest triumph.
When you consider that there is Fabregas, Eduardo, Adebayor, Walcott, Rosicky and Arshavin yet to come back the capability, versatility and more importantly the quality of the depth of this squad is frightening.
Like a monster that grows in size and tenacity by the minute. It will soon be ready to engulf anything that lies in its wake…