Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arsenal find their leaders but also a weak link

By 1970’s Gooner

I feared that Newcastle will provide very stiff resistance coupled with offensive capability. Demba Ba along with Ben Arfa and Oberton just behind provided an attacking threat in the first half that threatened to derail us.

They were supported by a very combative central midfield which included Tiote and Cabaye. Add to that mix their manager Alan Pardew who,due to previous history with Wenger, always manages to create problems for us.

And it looked like that when they got their goal. I knew then that we were in for a hard night.

The main reason for that was Kieran Gibbs’ positioning. He was way out of position when Arfa received the ball and when he did get back into position he made the mistake of allowing Arfa on to his favoured left foot rather than directing him to the other direction.

Gibbs has not been at his best since his come back from injury. His positioning in recent games has left a lot to be desired and the same has to be said of his attacking forays. He rarely gets round his man when he is forward and his rare crosses are not up to standard.

I hope that with more games he will improve but it has to be said that due to the brilliance of all the other outfield players at the moment his displays stand out so much more. He is the weakest link now.

And what brilliant displays we are all enjoying. Brilliant displays from new found leaders running down the spine of this Arsenal team.

At the back Vermaelen has, since his return to the team but more importantly in his preferred position in the middle of the defence, been absolutely fantastic. A real leader in defence but also going forward for the dead ball situations as well of course committing to attack when required.

In central midfield Arsenal have found their maestro. An orchestrator that this team has so obviously been lacking ever since Cesc departed and Wilshere vacated due to injury. Tomas Rosicky has provided determination, speed, forward passes and tenacity. A new leader in a very important area of the pitch.

And of course RVP has been a leader since this remarkable season started. He leads from the front and this I think inspires the rest of the team to follow suit.

If Theo keeps this level of performance then he will be another ‘leader’. And what a fantastic performance he put in last night. He was simply unplayable.

The quality of the display, the pathos and work ethos of all the players and above all the quality that this team contains make them as good or even better as the two top teams in the League.


Yuri Kostun said...

Agreed. I like Gibbs and think he can have a great future, but while watching the game yesterday I was thinking the same as you. He's not contributing much on the offensive end and is continuously out of position on defense. I am glad Santos is back. Not that he's a defensive stalwart but Gibbs HAS to have someone pushing him to start.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I agree with Gibbs being our weakest link, we have to remember he is not our first choice LB, Santos is, and for a back-up he's not bad. Also, I was quite impressed with his attacking yesterday, although once again defensively he lacked awareness.

Anonymous said...

Disagree completely about Gibbs. He had a good game yesterday. BenArfa's goal was all about skill and speed. Santos wouldn't have got near him as he's a snail compared to Gibbs.
Also Gibbs offers so much coming forward that we have sorely missed.
Top player.

Chi said...

i agree with Anon 2, apart from the goal which was quite superb, i cant see where Gibbs got it wrong... offensively, he was a constant thing, ripping people with link up play or by himself...hes the shit

Anonymous said...

Sorry I disagree as well, yes he got turned inside out but Arfa but you also have to give credit to Arfa for his skill. Gibbs is far from the finished article but I thought he did well going forward yesterday and defensively we looked decent. Wenger bloods players by playing them until they play themselves into form and he has a good record of this, obviously some never make the grade but players love to work for him as he keeps faith and is prepared to give a player lots of time until he makes the grade. I thought the whole team did very well yesterday

Anonymous said...

There were periods when Gibbs was exposed yesterday, is he "the weak link" as you are suggesting I am not sure. From my observation, a great percentage of our attack was down the right and AOC n Gibbs were almost lost in the first 45 minutes. Both lads moved up almost mirroring the right and on three occasions the ball was played behind Gibbs where it was a struggle to get back.

Anonymous said...

Not only is Santos a better winger than many wingers in the league, his (sticking a toe in) tackling was a welcome change from our usual Clichyesque backing away, backing away defense at the left back position. But Gibbs is young, has got a good attitude, and has tremendous potential barring injuries. I think there are games I'd prefer Santos to start, especially in Europe (not that it matters anymore this season), but Gibbs certainly still has an important role to play. If he remains injury-free, Gibbs in a few years is going to be one of the best left-backs in Europe.

Anonymous said...

If you replays of the goal you will see that Vermaelen was at fault for the goal,1st he loses the ball to Tiote 2 when Tiote picks out Ba he wasnt too ready for Ba and been that We were using the pressing when not on the ball tactics Gibbs had to close down Ba thats why it look like he was not well positioned,so Ba treads the ball to Hatem and Gibbs has to try closing Hatem down and with the speed he tries to do this it becomes difficult for him to stop when Hatem cuts in to shoot,3 sczcezny has to take part of the blame too for not closing down his near post from where the ball went in.

Anonymous said...

Gibbs does get caught out when defending in the penalty box-but he is also a dangerous attacker that you are not giving him the credit for he deserves. The chance he made for RVP in the second half against NU was such an example. If Santos is fit he will strengthen midfield coming forward- but lets not forget he too can look vulnerable defensively-as against Chelsea in the first half.
The truth is when a full back goes forward midfielders have to defend behind them-and it doesn't happen enough. Personally I like full backs who defend well but AW doesn't go for that type of player at left back.

Anonymous said...

Agree about Gibbs. His positioning in recent games has been poor and was highlighted yet again last night. Slightly disagree about Vermaelen who has made numerous defensive errors in recent games. For me, Koscielny is a better defender and his pairing with Mertesacker is better. That Saud, Vermaelen has a steely determination which we saw again last night and I love that part of his game.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 7:58 about Gibbs. He was covering Ben Arfa in the middle third but then had to come in to challenge Ba after Vermaelen gave away the ball and got caught wrong footed by Ba. Once Obertan made the pass to Ben Arfa, Gibbs had to track back to challenge Ben Arfa, who scored an excellent goal. Having had to come back at speed, Gibbs found it difficult to shepherd Ben Arfa to his weaker right side, but that is understandable. And have to agree with 8:28 about Koscielny. He's easily our best defender, and with his speed and at his relatively young age, I don't think I would swap him for Vidic at this stage. Does anybody else think he looks a hell of a lot bigger this season?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Gibbs was out of position many times. That partly is due to him trying to get forward (which helps our game) but he is still very inexperienced. Given his young age and the fact that he has been injured half the time he is still learning. Santos is our first choice left back and is great going forward but not as strong defensively (but before his injury his defensive game was getting better).

Im just glad we have our fullbacks back especially sagna. Is it a coincidence that theo is playing better now that sagna is back? Nope because Sagna is the best right back in the league - great going forward, defending and has a great engine.
Also gotta say how far Kos has come in 1 1/2 years since he arrived....he is like our new adams.

KC said...

I think it's a bad oversight not to mention Song when discussing the spine of the team. He's the most underrated player at Arsenal Football Club. I say underrated because he always seems to be given grudging due, mild praise, coupled with reminders of overstated faults.

He is an excellent d-mid who also can pick a pass and has a very strong balancing presence in the side. For all those who overlook/diminish his value, i.e. this author, I would have you imagine the team for a prolonged period of time without him in the side. Rosicky is playing well, but much of the freedom that he and others in his position are afforded is down to the work of Song behind them.

Alex Song is immense for Arsenal. Some time soon his contribution will be matched by fans' appreciation. But, at this point, people still don't get it.

jaylen watkins said...

Extraordinary one surely. Much interesting post.

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