Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vela is ready for the Premier League Walcott not yet

By 1970’s Gooner

I watched the game between Sevilla and Carlos Velas’s team Osasuna last night as I am sure a lot of Arsenal fans did.

The game was played at a terrific pace with a lot of passion, hard challenges and high intensity from both sides. It was like watching a Premier league game.

I had made of point of watching Carlos Vela before so that I would be able to form my own opinion of the lad.

He was after all a relatively recent Arsenal signing and obviously any youngster who is spotted and signed by Wenger must have the special qualities of exceptional technique and skills (coupled with a good character).

When Vela signed a permanent deal at Arsenal at the beginning of the year Wenger was 100% convinced of his ability.

"He's top class. I like his intelligence and his pace. He scores goals but he can also create them. "He's a special talent and I believe 100 per cent that he will make it at the highest level."

So I watched him during the summer in the FIFA Under 20’s World Cup which took place in Canada but I was not that impressed.

He was not involved much during the games and stayed peripheral to the action. He was however deployed more in the centre forward areas of the pitch or just behind the forward rather than the wings.

He played in all five matches but Mexico were knocked out at the Quarter-Final stage by eventual winners Argentina.

He has since been loaned out to Osasuna in Spain (he was on loan previously to second Division outfit Salamanca) and has been almost a regular for Osasuna in recent games.

So I made the point of watching him in action again against Real Madrid last month a game which Osasuna lost 3-0.

I was very pleasantly surprised and hugely impressed with his performance as he was a constant thorn on Real Madrid’s defense who had their hands full to contain him. They more often than not reverted to fouling him. He was that quick.

On one occasion he nut megged Sergio Ramos from a very tight position on the corner line and left him wondering where the ball was.

He reminded me of a committed and energetic Reyes who was forever dribbling past his marker with pace and ease only to be felled to the floor unceremoniously. He looked like a carbon copy.

He was playing on the left hand side of midfield, as an out and out old fashioned winger. Osasuna’s counter attacking tactics suited his style of play very well. And he certainly ran the line with exceptional technique and skill.

He put in a similar performance last night again Sevilla. On this occasion it was the highly rated and much sought after transfer target, left back Daniel Alves who had to endure the young man’s pace and trickery.

Alves spent a lot of the game bombing forward and then trying to catch up when his team lost the ball which was reckless enough as Vela is quite fast anyway. It was no wonder that most of Osasuna’s threat and goal originated from the left hand side of Sevilla’s defence.

This game came after Arsenal had taken care of Newcastle in the afternoon. And since the Osasuna clash against Sevilla had a lot of the characteristics of a Premier League game I couldn’t help comparing Velas’s performance against Walcott’s inept showing which preceded it.

Ok Walcott played better than in his last outing against Spurs but still looked a long way behind in his development than Velas did against Sevilla.

The difference was obvious to me. Walcott looked shorn of confidence and on occasions was not strong enough to keep the defenders from brushing him away.

He also lacked good control of the ball (which as a result meant that Arsenal’s attacks kept breaking down until he was moved to the flank) and was not near as penetrative enough as Vela was.

In contrast Vela looked assured, full of confidence and trickery and was able to go past his defender with more ease.

In fact when he was moved to the middle of the attack late in the game he was strong enough to hold the central defender breathing down his neck and use his skill to hold the ball. In this way he relieved his team of the pressure they were under.

If he were with the Arsenal squad right now I think he would have been starting the games and not Walcott. He is that ready.

Both Walcott and Vela are very young boys but overall Vela looks far more advanced in his development and is able to cut it against the big boys.

Walcott is still a work in progress.

(Contrary to a lot of, what proved to be totally unfounded, speculation on the internet, Vela will not return to Arsenal now but in the coming summer. Earlier in this article I likened him to Reyes. Let’s hope when he comes back he takes to the English weather better than Reyes did).


Anonymous said...

Vela wont be an effective Premiership player until this time next season-you need 6 months adaptation period and thinking he can come in and do a job straightaway is naive to say the least.

He has already proved that he can adapt to a new country, but not a new culture; a Spanish speaker in Spain is nothing new-however, Im convinced he can make it Arsenal.

Theo divides opinion but the more judicious fans know that he has the ability to make it at Arsenal. Only the impatient, living in a Sky hyped bubble demand instant success and panic purchases following a bad performance. Earlier in the season he came on as sub and terrorised teams, making a vital impact to turn games in our favour. Im sure if he was at a mid table club like Vela, he would shine alot more. Vela would find it difficult to get as many starts at Barca or Real.

I think they will both come good, and thats good for Arsenal but not for anyone else

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 70's vela is the real thing. He is quick and tricky. he will be a revelation in the Premier league.

Anonymous said...

If vela has held his own against teams like Real madrid and sevile then i am sure he can perform well against the more mediocre English teams!

Anonymous said...

Vela was terrible against Seville.

If he can't hack it Liga where there is no marking he won't stand a chance in the prem.

You obviously write from Singapore otherwise you would know what a good game Walcott had against Newcastle.

Anonymous said...

Walcott was very average against Newcastle.

Anonymous said...

Walcott was not in the hands of good care before he came to Arsenal. He general play has been too one dimensional. That is why le Boss put him in the wing and let he to develop his technical abilities.

On the other hand, Vela was raised, football wise, properly. Give them both 3 years and they will be immense.

Anonymous said...

I personally believe that both of them will make it at Arsenal. It will then be very exciting to watch both of them in the same team

Anonymous said...

The second anon. at 8:37.....what the fuck were you watching???? Anybody with half a brain can see at 18 Vela is a much more complete than Walcott...Waclott can make it.,but I just want to know which game you were watching!

Anonymous said...

I am genuinely curious about what qualities Arsene saw in Walcott to make him want to sign him.

Anonymous said...

Walcott is English, and for me that is the main reason he was signed. He plays like he just started playing a few weeks back, without direction and football brain. A player with such blazing speed can do a lot if they have a good technical balance, which Theo doesn't have. He may still turn out a superstar, but at this rate, I seriously I doubt it, hey, Spuds beat us 5-1, so anything can happen in football.

Anonymous said...

well, Reyes was apparently amazing in Spain - after all we paid more than 10 million pounds for him, yet he didn't cut it in England... the two leagues are different, and lots of players can't survive the switch (Morientes and Baptista also come to mind)

Anonymous said...

I disagree that Reyes "never cut it." That is nonsense.

Sure, he didn't become christiano ronaldo, and he didn't fulfill the potential that a lot of us saw in him. he's thick as a plank and couldn't cope with being away from home. Ultimately, though, it was Henry that really limited him (and we can see the 'Henry effect' empirically this season -- look how much Henry limited Hleb and Cesc, for starters).

But nevertheless Reyes was a key contributor to our league success for several years, only rarely a passenger. He was at least as important as Overmars was for us. More important than Wiltord. And you can't say that these two "never cut it."

I am not saying he was great. But he wasn't a waste, either.

Anonymous said...

Vela has the confidence, Walcott doesnt. Its that simple. Maybe some time on loan would do Wlacott a world of good.

Anonymous said...

I agree that more patience should be shown with Theo Walccott and believe he will come good eventually. The trouble is that when he does play at the moment he is a liability. So many moves break down because he runs into blind alleys, is so easily brushed off the ball or quite simply gives the ball away. The corner that produced the goal Birmingham scored at the Emirates started upfield when Walcott lost the ball.
A loan spell with a lower club is the only answer as far as I can see. We just cannot afford to ruin our lovely free-flowing football with a square peg in a round hole just to give him experience

Anonymous said...

Reyes had tons of ability and when the sun was out could be unplayable (that 5-3 v Boro when we equalled Forests unbeaten run springs to mind) but 'at least as good as Overmars'?!?! Bizarre comment - Overmars was one of our best ever players. In '98 he was up there with Limpar '91 and Pires '02.

Anonymous said...

JD: You have given me cause to think this through a bit more. (I am doing this all from memory, without reviewing Season DVDs, OPTA stats, etc.)

Firstly, though, I didn't say Reyes was as 'good as Overmars, I said he was 'at least as important'.

But then you say two things which aren't necessarily the same thing. You seem to say that Overmars was a better player. Then you say that Overmars was brilliant for us (and presumably you mean more brilliant than Reyes.

The former I disagree with - Reyes in a vacuum is (easily?) the better player. (Unless my memory completely fails me, Overmars was a washout in La Liga and would not have made the Spanish national team ahead of Reyes.) But the latter point makes more sense on the face of it - if by 'brilliant' you mean productive: that Overmars made more telling contributions in '98 than Reyes did in '04 (trying to compare like for like). I would agree, but Reyes wouldn't be far behind.

I am not sure this matters, but also compare the team Overmars was in and the team Reyes was in. Overmars had Bergkamp at the height of his string-pulling powers and no Henry, and most of the incisive play came down the left (Parlour wide right). Petit was a great passer of the ball to release wingers. Reyes had to cope with Henry clogging up the space on the left and abusing him psychologically, and Pires and Ljungberg were equally important wide right, and Gilberto is a pretty woeful passer of the ball (Eduardo better, but no Petit).

But Reyes still made important contributions. If we had played with a striker in the box those contributions would have been greater, or if we ever scored from the free kicks that Reyes constantly won for us.

Anonymous said...

just leave out the faux analysis of players in the current team. what you're actually doing is slagging the team off, which we certainly don't need to do. we might just have a brilliant, title-winning side here, and Man U have a string of tough looking fixtures ahead of them so I expect us to be top again by March. All the cnuts who think they can criticise Walcott. or ANYONE ELSE in the current squad can p*ss off as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I watched an interview with Carlos on a Spanish website and he said that his English is coming on well so I don't think he'll do a Reyes (who, according to Guillem Ballague can't even speak Spanish that well lol!).

I hope Wenger keeps playing Theo upfront for the next few games, remember in his Southampton pomp he was making burly weathered centre halves look silly. He just shouldn't play alongside Bendtner, who never seems to pass to Theo.

Anonymous said...

Sanga adapted to premiership football straight away, so its is NOT true that it takes 6 months adaption period!!!

Anonymous said...

Vela looks like a class player, and when he starts to play for arsenal, i am sure he will be one of arsenal's biggest assets. With regards to walcott, he is good but he needs games and more time, one day he will be another thierry henry.

Anonymous said...

anyone remember the month Reyes took over with henry injured. He was pretty much unstoppable. I agree with the previous comment about Henry impeding Reyes's game.

Anonymous said...

maybe walcott hasnt lived up to potential yet in the Prem, but please cut out the negativity. The guys not tall like Ade or physical like Rooney so one cant expect him to just blitz through defenders on pace alone. Just give him some time. Food for thought though: with vela coming in summer, our carling cup(and possibly FA Cup) front 2 would probably be Vela+Walcott. Does that have a nice ring to it or what? Probably get 40 goals b/w them, and in the process get better till they can finally go into the 1st team.

Anonymous said...

Iis nw tend of the season, and both Walcott and Vela hen puttng in god performances. I have seen more of Walcott and think he is going to be realy big for us, Vela may tke one season to adapt to the phyisical side fthe prem, bu heshould be an impac player next season.

benbenben said...

Hi there/ I agree with you , Vela is developing faster than Theo. But lets argue this out. Vela plays more often that Walcott. Vela plays for a team that dont have much presure compare to Walcott. I know both players have big pontelial given the fact that both of them are playing out of position yet there natural position is central strikres. Lets hope Theo will be given much air time then we can be able to judge him from there. Give him more playing time and he will not disapoint. Next season if we have both players playing in the same team and the fielded at the same time, will have deadliest forwards ever.