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