By 1970’s Gooner
Arsenal’s performance against Partisan Belgrade was so typical of late. Play was dominated, possession was around 60% throughout and the opponent was down and almost beaten when the first goal went in.
But yet again we manage to gift them a goal.
Do you remember Aston Villa’s first goal at Villa Park? Clichy decided to switch attention away from the opponent who was ready to shoot and backtracked to cover someone else.
Sqillaci who is a far more experienced defender did exactly the same last night. Instead of marking the goal scorer he backtracked to mark someone else. The first rule in defending is surely to stop the opponent from scoring isn’t it?
I was worried throughout last night’s game. Our defending was far below of what can be characterised as average. The two new defenders brought in this year appear not to have jelled together, don’t cover each other well and lack communication.
I think that unless they play a blinder against Manchester United we will be leaking goals right left and centre. I really do and if you think I am being overly pessimistic then you are letting your heart rule your head.
This weakness in my opinion can only be mitigated by selecting Djourou in the starting 11.
Not that he is not prone to errors but he is obviously much more battle prone and hardened in the rigours of the Premier League.
And he has been very impressive this season showing positional awareness and strength, both in the air and on the ground.
Unlike our French pairing in central defence, Fabianski has not been giving me the jitters. He has impressed with his very competent all round display and has been keeping us in games recently.
The save from Fulham’s Kamara at 1-1 was as crucial in my opinion as Nasri’s winning goal. And I have a suspicion that Almunia would have been found wanting last night when that shot from outside the box, when the score was 2-1, looked goal bound.
The other weakness that was very obvious last night was the absence of a playmaker.
Song and Denilson are defensive midfielders of course and we shouldn’t expect that they will take up playmaking responsibilities. The decision to play van Persie in the hole behind Chamakh did not work in my opinion.
He was much more up field than dropping back to pick the ball and direct play. This meant that Denilson and Song had more responsibility placed on them to do the playmaking.
When Fabregas returns then indeed van Persie and Chamkh could be paired up front with Cesc dropping back to his original role of dictating play from a deeper position.
Rosicky would have been ideal last night. And I insist that he should start at Old Trafford on Monday with van Persie dropping back to the bench. He is not yet 100% fit and it’s better to bring him on late in the game as an impact substitute rather than having to sub him.
In this way we gain a playmaker and a stronger bench.
And we maximise our chances of victory against Manchester United and the title…