Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Let’s not get carried away

By 1970’s Gooner

This wasn’t a total performance as many pundits or even Robin Van Persie will have us believe. And I am not saying this just to be a killjoy or to sound different from all the other eulogizing journalists or blogs dedicated to Arsenal.

Yes it was a very good performance against a neat and skillful Sevilla side who were taught a lesson, as many teams who step up a league, usually are.

They paid the penalty of coming to the Emirates and playing in their usual attacking style.

This allowed a lot of space for the Arsenal creative players to roam in and display their undoubted skills. And when these skills are complimented with a shoot on target policy then danger looms.

But until Fabregas scored his deflected goal it was Sevilla who were the more attractive and forceful side (you can watch the goals by clicking on the Video window).

Ramos’s decision to rest their most important midfielder, Keita, so that another colleague could mark the “unmarkable” Fabregas deprived Sevilla the thrust they so badly needed from midfield.

It also curtailed the support to their main strikers. What is the use of playing in an offensive formation if you deprive the forwards of their supply line?

This was not really a complete performance by Arsenal although it gave promise that this feat is not far from becoming a reality!

A complete performance is when all the parts of the team function perfectly in their individual roles but also as a unit. And there were some individual performances that needed improving.

Senderos was still an accident waiting to happen and it almost happened on three occasions.

The most notable one was when he miskicked a clearance from a low cross from the right allowing the ball to run across the goal in front of Almunia. Only good fortune saved the day as the opposing forward missed his kick as well.

His positioning was again suspect. He lost his man, Kanoute, twice. His shot was saved on the one occasion and on the other he narrowly missed the header.

In attack Adebayor, who admittedly is improving in leaps and bounds with every game, still has to improve his ball skills and control. He also has to add finishing (in a consistent manner) to his other attributes of strength, forcefulness and aerial ability.

His position in the team is becoming very pivotal as his aerial strength and his ability to fend off defenders brings another dimension that was lacking before.

RVP apart from his goal was not his usual penetrative self. Also his link up play with Adebayor still needs to be honed further.

I am not nit picking; I am just trying to bring everyone back to earth.

When Gallas returns and the front two start getting it together then yes we will see a complete performance!

Now an area of Arsenal’s play I was really excited about was their defensive collectiveness. And by this I mean that the desire, positioning and defensive approach when the ball was lost was evident in all eleven players.

It was not just confined to the players at the back or the defensive midfielders. This was especially true of the excellent wide players, Hleb and Rosicky, who were not only creative going forward but doubled up pretty quickly at the back to defend against the Sevilla wing players.

It was also noticeable in Van Persie and Adebayor who were always tracking back to hurry and hassle the Sevilla midfielders often winning the ball.

The whole team played as unit. This is something that was very evident during the “untouchables” season.

Now, let’s not get carried away.

Selection dilemmas for Wenger

Fabregas is a more effective player than Scholes. The statistical analysis backs it up


Anonymous said...

I agree with the main pionts made here. There is a lot that needs improving and we have to get them right otherwise other teams will punish us.

Anonymous said...

Senderos needs to improve otherwise Silva should be preferred on these occasions. But lets not take away form the lads a fantastic performance. can we have more please!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful display of art and skill by almost everyone but especially the little maestro in the middle. He is now the most complete midfielder in the world.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful performance playing total football. Stop knocking it.

Anonymous said...

I agree totally with ur opinions. It was a good performance from Arsenal but 3-0 maybe flattered us a little. The first half was pretty even and the second half was more comfurtable for us. I know im gonna upset some Gooner's by saying this but Senderous IS always prone to make a mistake. He got away with it last night, i'd love to see him do well but it aint gonna happen. Wrighty 7

Anonymous said...

Senderos does make mistakes and if he does not improve by January then Wenger has a decision to make.

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