Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Who should partner Robin Van Persie?

By 1970’s Gooner

For regular visitors to this site my views have been made clear. Robin Van Persie is not really a centre forward in the sense that he is not a strong physical front target man.

He is better deployed behind or next to a strong centre forward and not as a lone

I also believe that Wenger needs to sign another experienced forward. This is for both football and practical reasons.

Football reasons

The current squad consists of four forward players. Eduardo may be a goal scorer but he is not a front target man.

In a way his style of play is more like Robin’s. Playing them together will not necessarily offer them the environment they seek to score their goals.

Adebayor is a target man and so is Bendtner. Adebayor will do a good job but goals do not come that easily to him and Bendtner is not yet trusted by Wenger to start games.

Another aspect to take into account is the relative lack of experience in this area.

Robin Van Persie and Adebayor are only 23 and 22 respectively. The addition of Eduardo to the squad (aged 24) does not of course do much to increase the average age.

The practical reasons are equally important

Account has also to be taken of injury, suspensions, loss of form and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Remember what happened last season when injuries to Henry and Van Persie in particular deprived the team of its two most lethal forwards? RVP was also close to getting a second yellow card against Blackburn.

Taking into account that Adebayor will be away at the Africa Cup of Nations for about a month then it becomes obvious that the squad will lose serious depth.

Now if a premiership experienced forward with goal scoring ability was recruited (there is talk of Anelka again) then it suddenly gives a very attractive outlook indeed to this Arsenal team.

But assuming that Wenger does not recruit anyone else who should partner RVP?

To my mind it’s a straight race between Adebayor and Bendtner. Barring availability constraints I would opt for Bendtner because he is stronger and more physical than Adebayor.

In this way he provides a different option to Arsenal’s intricate but often predictable style of play. But this is my own biased view if you like!

As you may be aware, for the last week we run a poll on this site on this very question: Who should partner RVP?

In total 734 votes were cast. They would have been many more because the number of visits to the site during that period reached new heights but Google’s new poll facility kept breaking down!

The results are interesting. The player who played most in that position so far, Hleb, received the least votes with only 11%.

Obviously most of you do not think that he will be able to hold on to that position when other players get fit, as indeed was the case for the game against Blackburn.

Most votes went to Eduardo with 45%. Obviously a lot of Arsenal fans are pinning their hopes on the new recruit, trusting Wenger in his judgment.

This is so even if Eduardo did not really feature much during the pre-season and the early stages of the campaign.

The more surprising result is the close number of votes between Adebayor (23%) and Bendtner (21%). It seems that there is a lot more trust being placed on the young lad by the fans than Wenger is prepared to show.

If Wenger does not get the cheque book out then he may well find himself having to trust young Bendtner sooner than he thinks.

Who should partner RVP? Poll results:

Eduardo Da Silva 45%
Emmanuel Adebayor 23%
Nicklas Bendtner 21%
Alexander Hleb 11%

Total votes cast: 734

Thanks for your support, comments and votes!

Lehmann’s clanger hides Wenger’s and Arsenal’s sins

Bendtner should start every game. It makes more tactical sense


Anonymous said...

I too agree Van Persie plays best when up front with a big target man. However I don't agree Bendtner is ready to start most League games. Adebayor is my first choice. Those two have played together more and have a decent understanding. Rio Ferdinand singled Adebayor out as the stiker who caused the Man U defense the most problems last season. Bendtner is cover for Adebayor and Eduardo is cover for Van Persie but he is also an option on the wing.
I think Bendtner's main roll this season will be coming on as a sub to help bring a different dimension to our game. A bit like Crouch for England. I think he'll be a lot better than Crouch but he is still young. Until he improves and matures I would pick Adebayor and Van Persie and my front two pairing and if he's fit for Saturday I bet Wenger will start with them.

Anonymous said...

You may well be right. It certainly looks that this is Wenger's thinking too.

It's just that for me Bendtner provides a different alternative within an Arsenal team that likes to weave pretty patterns too much.

Anonymous said...

I agree with that but he just hasn't got the experience that Adebayor has. I think Wenger should start him against the weaker teams to see how he does. I get the impression Wenger thinks he's too much of a liability to start an important match right now. I agree Wenger should think about buying another striker thought. With Adebayor gone for the ACN all you need is one injury and suddenly we have only two strikers left. The only problem with buying a big name like Anelka or Martins is you've got a big ego you have to keep happy and we've just gotten rid of the big ego int he dressing room. Anelka "could" prove disruptive to the younger players if he comes and he would definately hamper the progress of the young strikers cos they wouldn't get enough playing time. On top of that Van Persie is top dog now, if Anelka cam HE would want to be top dog!

Anonymous said...

There is merit in what you say.

Surely egos should be left aside for the good of the team. And Anelka will probably improve this team by at least 30%, which is a lot really.

Adam said...

I definitely agree with anonymous. If you spend 60-70 minutes doing fancy stuff and trying to pass the ball into the center, or break the offside trap, and then bring Bendtner on, it suddenly changes the game and gives the defense a threat they may not have expected. It totally throws a spanner into the flow of the game, if you will, and any disruption like that can only benefit the attack. He'll be a great sub in a couple months when he has some more premiership experience, because I feel he's looked slightly intimidated when he has played so far.

Anonymous said...

He probably would but appart from Gallas (and that was a swap deal) has Wenger ever bought an old, experienced finished product? I can't remember any. It is annoying because he is talking about having enough players and not needing to buy any more, but already for the 2nd league game we had only 2 wingers and 3 central midfielders fit. Now Gallas will be out for a month and Senderos is the only real cover. And we are only 3 games into the season!!! We'll have more injuries and more competitions to play in. He should buy a player like Benitez did in Voronin. He was cheap but has experience and will score goals and not mind if he does not start evry match.

Anonymous said...

I've watched Adebayor as a lone striker terrorize ManU & Chelsea defenses while Bendtner was fading at Birmingham.Get Nico - if not partnership's Adebayor/RVP!!!

Anonymous said...

I also agree with Adam. First choice should be Adebayor with Bentner on as a sub if needed.

But i think bentner has a bright future

Anonymous said...

There is some merit in what the last but one previous unknown has said.
One factor against Anelka is that Wenger does not normally buy older players. He likes to develop them himself.
Also economics come into it. Anelka's price is likely to drop quite substantially the more he gets near 30. He is 28 now. So in financial terms it is a bigger investment than it first appears.

Anonymous said...

Without doubt RVP is now the main forward at Arsenal and will go on 2 be one of the best in the world. I feel that with the forwards we have we can use them 2 adapt to who we are playing. The forwards all have different styles and abilities which means we can switch tactics and formations all the time making us even more flexible. I have confidence in all the forwards we have. Wrighty7.

Anonymous said...

There is indeed a lot of flexibility in the squad; more than a lot of people think.

Anonymous said...

He wont buy another forward until he sees that Eto'o is playing regularly and is therefore totally out of the question (allegedly) thats January at the absolute earliest

Anonymous said...

Eto is out of the question. He is happy at Barca, he will cost too too much and Wenger likes to develop his own. So forget it!