Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wenger’s attacking formation pays dividends. Player analysis and ratings Vs Villareal

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger adopted an attacking formation by playing two forwards, in Adebayor and Van Persie and reistating Fabregas back into midfield.

Song was the only defensively minded midfielder as Walcott, Nasri and Fabregas were more forward oriented. Add to this the thrusts forward from Eboue and in the second half from Gibbs and you have a side that came out to win the game rather than play for a draw.

To ask the players to change the way they play would have been a very dangerous course to take.

Well where I do I begin? There were so many champions out there for Arsenal tonight but I would like to pick out just three.

The first and man of the match for me is Song. He had an immense game. The best of his career so far. He was breaking up Villareal’s attacks, winning the ball tenaciously and making forward and accurate passes.

He showed that he can be a leader and can now stake a serious claim for making that defensive midfielder’s role his own. 9

The second is Eboue. He probably did not have enough time to prepare for playing at right back for this game. He was disciplined, strong and went forward with purpose. A pleasant surprise for me. 8

And last Gibbs. I was worried after last Saturday’s game at Wigan. He didn’t have a good game and I wrote then that maybe Silvestre should play there against Villareal.

Gibbs proved all us doubters wrong. He is developing into another left back Wenger clone like Cole, Clichy and Traore. 8

Theo Walcott had a few doubters from commenters on this blog recently. I tell you this boy is the real deal. He has added strength and tenacity to his pace but has also improved his crosses no end. Most of all his finishing is getting lethal.

The coolness he showed when through against the keeper by chipping the ball over him was frightening.

No wonder Wenger fancies him as a centre forward because he has the two most important characteristics to succeed there; pace and finishing.

Capedevila, Villareal’s left back had a torrid time trying to keep up with him. Walcott had him in his pocket all game. 8.5

Fabiansky also played a lot better than he did against Wigan. He probably needed to get that first game in the first 11 out of the way. He was very decisive tonight, came out to sweep when needed and his positioning was spot on. 8

Toure continued to perform at the high levels he achieved during the unbeaten season. He was equally good in the air and on the ground.8

Silvestre offered experience which was very useful for young Gibbs but he did make a few mistakes which resulted in him fouling his player and giving free kicks in dangerous areas.

Hopefully he will get better as he gets more games under his belt. Let’s not forget that he has been out of first team action for a few months. 7

Fabregas himself is getting fitter and fitter with each game. He was much more mobile today, moving forward with the ball, tracking back too and of course dictating play in his usual manner. He was deployed in his usual central midfield role for tonight.

His assist for Walcott’s goal was an amazing back heel when his sight of the on running Walcott would have been impaired as he had his back to Villareal’s goal. He just let Eboue’s pass run under his legs and then helping it on beyond the defender for Walcott to run onto inside the area. 7

Nasri had a quiet game again. He kept himself to the left all night and his contribution were a few good crosses into the area which Adebayor failed to take advantage of.

He also on some occasions was slow or forgetful to track back and help Gibbs out as Villareal targeted their attacks on that side of the pitch. 6

Van Persie played that role of the man behind Adebayor in tonight’s 4 4 1 formation very well.

He dropped back into the midfield to crowd that area when Arsenal lost the ball but was also able to receive the ball and lay it off to a team mate. Provided a wonderful assist for Adebayor to score the important second goal and took the penalty very well. 8

Adebayor would have beaten Nasri as my less effective Arsenal player had he not scored the goal for he did nothing of any serious note all night.

He hardly got any headers when the ball was sent high to him, was lazy or too tired to get back into onside positions (which resulted in a number of annoying off sides being flagged) and proceeded to miss at least two golden chances to score.

He did however take his goal very well. I hope that he will improve as he gets more games under his belt. 6.5

Lets have our best player back for Villareal Mr Wenger


Clive said...

Harsh on Nasri, did a good job, protected Gibbs, ran like crazy. 7.5

Otherwise accurate marks and comments, though Fabregas didn't play that well, often gave the ball away, balanced by his excellence at other times.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I've just come back from the match and I think you are being way too harsh on Ade. He had a Villareal defender stuck to his back for most of the game, but when he got his one good chance he took it well like you would expect from a striker. I also saw him win headers and generally make a nuisance of himself. As for the offsides, some of them were not always down to Ade. If the midfield don't spot him quick enough he can get caught when the defenders step up.

Cesc did not have his best game, his passing was loose at times and he got some rough treatment from Villareal who were clearly targetting him as a danger man, but that was understandable given he is back in his position for the first time since his return from injury.

I think it would be better if you were fair in your analysis rather than talking up your favourites whilst knocking the ones you clearly don't like.

Anonymous said...

harsh on nasri as he didn't give the ball away as often as cesc.eboue was poor with his final ball and over rated at 8

cescy beast said...

yes i agree that ade wasn't bad at all
and also think that you have overated walcott again-
his (and eboue's) decision making still leaves a lot to be desired- though he certainly finished well- but compare him to arshavin who already never seems to put a foot wrong
true song was immense, but this is just the latest in a series of excellent performances from him

hunter said...

the sight of pires and toure having a long hug after the final whistle was very nostalgic... i hope toure retires at arsenal and then we can have a kolo toure testimonial match. i so want the 2001 team reunited!

and i can see why gibbs wanted pires' shirt so much... good on him...

Anonymous said...

Song the King! He has all Villareal midfielders in his pocket. Hope he can get this wonderful form to the last game of this season. If so, we can achieve something.

Bobby! I'm still missing him. A lot.

I prefer ManUtd to Porto. We all know that how strong Arsenal really is when they face a strong side, especially when we are underdog. Less travel, familiar opponent (which was beaten before), easy to predict( we certainly know that they are very good, but we don't really know how good Porto is. That may cause troubles as we think we are better than them).

Bhudhi Mukoma said...

A bit harsh on Adebayo I think. Eboue & Gibbs though they played well they often wondered out of position leaving their man.

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