Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hleb is top scorer, Robin needs a Batman and Fabregas is the real captain

By 1970's Gooner

There were three very positive aspects to come out of this tough encounter in Prague (apart from the win).

The first was the resilience and character to tough it out against very physical opponents. The second was the midfielders finding their goal scoring touch; at last. And the third was the vast potential that exists in this team when the proper centre forwards return to give it balance and extra scoring potential.


This attitude expressed itself in the game against Ajax in Amsterdam for the pre season tournament. We all commented on it but I think we put it at the back of our minds thinking that it was probably a one off.

Or at least we wanted to wait for more games until we were convinced. I am now convinced that this Arsenal team will be no easy push overs this season. And this augurs well for the tricky encounter against Blackburn next Sunday.

What in particular impressed me was Fabregas’s contribution. He has moved on this season up the ladder of what will eventually lead him to world stardom and star status.

This year he is more confident about his scoring ability thus he takes more shots at goal rather than passing the ball; it was usually to Henry last season.

Maybe the latter’s absence has forced him to look at other alternatives.

He has also added steel to his game. His tackle on Tomas Repka was the turning point of the game for me. It forced Repka out of the game and also gave the signal to his team mates that “we will not be intimidated”.

He is the real captain of the team.

The midfielders are finding their goal scoring touch

In the absence of Henry last season, goals were difficult to find especially since the midfielders were not chipping in with their expected contribution.

Well three of the four goals scored so far in have come from midfielders. And the other was a penalty which was not won by a forward player.

The difference this season is of course Hleb’s contribution which is in direct contrast to last year where he was afraid put his boot in and more importantly to shoot. He is in fact top scorer now!

The contribution from the midfielders is more important than one may suppose. This is because of the formation that Arsenal are deploying at the moment.

The lone forward up front is indeed lone and his primary task is first to bring other players in. So if the midfielders don’t score you are in trouble. As we were last year.

The return of a proper centre forward

This team is crying out for a proper centre forward. A tall, strong and physical player who can hold the ball and bring players into the game.

Robin van Persie isn’t that player. He is better deployed behind or next to a strong centre forward and not as a lone striker.

This was very evident last season when Henry was around and now with Bendtner in the friendlies. This is probably the way Wenger intends to deploy RVP when Adebayor returns.

My view on Bendtner’s utilization is that he is indeed ready to do a job for Wenger. As regular visitors to this site are aware.

Lack of support for RVP puts more strain on the midfield and defence as the ball keeps coming back. When this imbalance is corrected this team has the potential to increase its efficiency quite substantially.

And surprise a lot of people.

Bendtner should start every game. It makes more tactical sense

Arsenal look ready to hit the ground running, more so than the others

Strength in depth eases Wenger’s team selection worries for the coming season


Anonymous said...

Once again u hit the nail on the head. I enjoy reading ur views, keep it up! I feel this season is looking good for the Arsenal! With a bit of luck on the injury front i cant see why we cant challenge for trophies this season. C'mon Arsenal!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice words!
I also feel that something good will come out of this team this year. A little bit of the kids maturing and also a little bit of the liberation brought about by Henry's departure seem to have galvanised them.

The crucial period will be the Afica Nations Cup and how we cope with the absentees.

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