Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, December 07, 2007

Rosicky Holds the Key to Riverside Lock

By 1970’s Gooner

Eleven days ago Arsenal faced a Wigan side that tasted defeat in its previous seven games. Absent from this game were two of the most creative midfielders Arsene Wenger has ever assembled: Cesc Fabregas and the Minsk Maradona, Alexander Hleb. Also missing was the magnificent Flamini.

What was evident during that game was that there was neither leadership nor forward penetration coming from the midfield. There was no one to take up the mantle and dictate play the way that Fabregas usually provides.

Both Denilson and Diarra, the chosen pair for the two central midfield positions, were content to win the ball and play it safe.

It wasn’t until Wenger moved a more forceful and creative player, Rosicky, into that area behind Adebayor and the midfield when things changed.

Arsenal suddenly had forward movement and urgency and as a result were circling round Wigan’s area pushing them back more and more. In the 80th minute Gallas stepped up to score and it was game over.

A week later Arsenal traveled to Birmingham to face a very strong and in form Aston Villa. The starting eleven however included two players that were missing against Wigan: Flamini and Hleb.

Flamini’s tireless and powerful display along with Hleb’s fantastic trickery and forward creativity make the difference and Arsenal’s brilliance and domination results in two goals in the first half.

It wasn’t until Hleb’s injury in the second half that Villa assumed the initiative. But Arsenal were already a goal ahead by then and only had to hold out for about 30 minutes.

At Newcastle four days later Arsene, had to choose a side that could not include Flamini and Hleb. Just like against Wigan, when these two players were also missing, he went again for more defensive and destructive players in central midfield. On this occasion Gilberto and Diarra.

Rosicky was, as for the Wigan game, again marginalised on the left wing.

The end result, as feared by many, including this site, was that there was no creativity again (other sites were predicting an easy win even with a “depleted midfield”).

There was no one to dictate play in the crucial central areas of the field starving the forwards of the service they deserved.

As Arsene Wenger said after the game:

“I feel that technically we did not find the right solutions when we won the ball back to get them out of position. That made their physical game easier for them”.

Newcastle are not Wigan. They played tenaciously and pressed Arsenal in all areas inclusive high up the pitch. Just like Aston Villa did in the second half. And more importantly Arsenal did not and could not be creative enough to score a second goal.

On Sunday Arsene has to choose a side to face Middlesbrough which again cannot contain Flamini and Hleb.

Will he still insist on keeping the only remaining creative midfielder away from the area where the team is clearly lacking?

An area from where he could provide the link between the forward line and the middle of the pitch that was so missing against Newcastle?

Football coaches say that a lot of the time they have to adjust their tactics and formations to suit the players they have available. And it looks that Arsene may now have to twig the formation a bit to accommodate Rosicky in a more central role.

And the system that will allow him to do that is a 4 2 1 3 formation with two central defensive midfielders (any two from Gilberto, Diarra, Denilson and Song) sitting behind Rosicky with three forwards in front of him: Adebayor flanked by Eboue and say Walcott (not Eduardo).

Middlesbrough are not the type of team nor do they have the players to pressure Arsenal up the pitch like Newcastle and Aston Villa did. And in ex Arsenal boy Alliadiere and the Turk Tuncay they do not possess a particularly potent strike force.

However Arsenal will still need to be creative and Rosicky can play a significant role in making it seven away points out of a possible nine.

Three reasons why Newcastle will be a tough nut to break

Six changes Wenger made this season are propelling Arsenal to the title.


Anonymous said...

playing Bendtner could help, he links the play well, would let us keep our formation Rosicky can play with a free role drifting inside to link up. I thought Bendtner made an impact when he came on agains the toon

Anonymous said...

if Rosicky does not play LM who would/ should play there

With no Hleb and Diaby and Eduardo not doing anything you have you ask the question.

I would say Traore and Clichy a long the left flank taking in turn to defend and attack.

Anonymous said...

farm boy I agree with you about Bedntner. It would be nice if he started.

Eboue was also poor so perhaps Walcott could get a run out.

Anonymous said...

rosicky's best game was against portsmouth and i want to see the same performence against boro who are beatable. This is our season to win and we need to take 3 points from this kind of games !
We are just too good for them.

Anonymous said...


bak kolo bill gael

theo diarra rosicky traore

ade bendtner

can u imagine traore's crosses (like his assist v newcastle) being met by bendtner and ade. fuck off eboue. lets brin theo back. playin tomas more centrally in a cesc role like he does for czechr epublic.

Anonymous said...

I think in the Wigan game and the toon game, it was Bendtner's introduction which made the difference. So I think he should start the game allowing Rosicky to do something creative in the hole behind. I think we played 4-4-2 well until the goal and then we changed shape to 4-5-1 which suited Newcastle just fine. So we should stick to the 4-4-2 formation until we have players like Hleb available.

Anonymous said...

Rosicky is not doing the business at the moment. He's forgot even his shooting boot in toilet. I thought he would be the natural cover of Hleb; but his current poor dislay is making Hleb the Gold we are missing.
We don't need Walcott in that game. We will simply put Sagna in trouble, as he was against Sunderland and Manu after Eboue was replaced by Walcott. He can come in the last 20 or 15 minutes to give him match fitness. He may start home games, but not away games. For me the worse player at the moment is Gilberto.
Gallas and Kolo need to pass the ball through the midfield channel though; they have being playing long ball to Ade; which, I think, is contributing to many balls chasing and unsetling the balance of play in general. They are top footballers and they shouldn't press too soon on panic botton.

Anonymous said...

Rosicky should play central midfield...put Diarra on the left,Eboue on the right, Gilberto defensive mid and have Eduardo, Bendtner or Walcott partner Ade. I think Arsene is being far too conservative given Arsenal's talents. Adebayor needs a strike partner. He alternates between brilliance and incompetence. He needs a partner and for long periods in recent games he has looked isolated or been guilty of poor decision making.

I also feel that Arsene is playing Eduardo out of position to frequently and it is destroying his confidence. Eduardo is not a winger. Diarra seems like a far more adaptable player and should fill that role nicely.

Arsenal needs to play with two strikers - I see no need to play so conservatively unless trying to preserve a lead at the emd of a game. The 4-5-1 may be too negative with Cesc and Hleb injured.

Anonymous said...

The team:


Sagna- Toure-Gallas-Clichy.


Eboue- Rosicky- Denilson.


Anonymous said...

Dear Arsene Check it out!

Before you laugh Clichy's no joke at LM as it is a position he's played before with Cole and Sagna is also an accomplished LB. Eduardo is fine and I'm sick of hearing our crap he's been playing- he's played well when he's been striker and he'll be the one for me to unlock a less mobile and tenacious Middlesboro defence.
That leaves us good impact /tactical options for subs.
And for god sake sub Eduardo before you decide to move him to an outside midfield role in the future cos its not working.

Anonymous said...

Astamaan's suggestion of clichy playing left midfield is interesting as the lad has played there in some preseason friendlies and he has impressed me too.

bal said...

rosiky needs to do the hleb role..behind adebayor...
and traore shudnt play...too much of a gamble..
like that..ideal formation would be..