Sunday, November 09, 2008
Silvestre and high balls a pleasant surprise for Arsenal
By 1970’s Gooner
A lot of praise has been hailed for this fantastic performance by the boys who when the chips are down they rise to the occasion and produce fantasy football.
It was indeed a joy to watch but when that 90th minute goal was scored we all had the jitters and were fearing that a déjà vu was about to materialise. This anxiety was even more compounded when we kept making the same mistakes during injury time as we did against Spurs.
Instead of keeping the ball and playing it to each other we went looking for the third goal and on most occasions this was with our defensive midfielders Denilson and Toure! Still we held on and the boost to the young player’s moral will I believe be massive.
There were two characteristics in Arsenal’s play that impressed me.
The first was the strong and ever improving performance of Silvestre.
He was very good in the air, attacking the high ball with authority and determination.
He is also a no nonsense defender who is not ashamed to kick the ball in row Z if he has to.
I think he may prove to be that strong and tall central defender that we have all been asking for.
Now who will be best to partner him between Gallas and Toure is another question but his partnership with Gallas yesterday was spot on.
Wenger will probably persist with it but I believe that in the centre of the defence you need one of the two to have a fair amount of pace; like Toure’s.
The other was the readiness of the Arsenal wide players to cross the ball into the United box much more often than we have been used to seeing from them.
Clichy in particular crossed at every opportunity creating at least two very good opportunities for Bendtner to head in. Sagna and Walcott were also putting the crosses in but their delivery was below par.
United especially Ferdinand and Vidic have been vulnerable as of late from high crosses coming in at an angle. They were exposed during their away game at Everton where they conceded an equaliser from a header by Fellaine and again they were found wanting against Hull at Old Trafford.
They conceded a goal from Cousin’s header from a dead ball situation that was eerily similar to the one that Arsenal conceded to Hull and the same player in our 2-1 defeat at the Emirates!
And of course our first goal yesterday came from a high ball into the heart of their defence from a free kick by Fabregas. Maybe Wenger had spotted this weakness and gave the necessary instructions.
Finally we cannot resist here at “Arsenal Analysis” to blow our own trumpet.
We received some criticism concerning one of our posts prior to the game: “How do you beat Manchester United?”
We suggested that we should press high up the pitch (so that Vidic and Ferdinand are forced to distribute the ball from that far back) and also that Clichy should not allow his attacking responsibilities to be restrained by Ronaldo’s threat.
Bendtner and Diaby aided by Fabregas kept pressing high up when United’s defenders had the ball. They were ruffled which disrupted United’s game and helped Arsenal perform the beautiful game in their half. Bendtner who had an average game overall did particularly well closing their defenders down.
Clichy was very impressive for Arsenal again. He ventured forward as often as he could and created a lot of trouble for poor old Gary Neville.
Along with Nasri they run the show on that side of the pitch but for Bendtner’s inability to head the ball into the net Clichy’s efforts would have received a lot more praise than they did.
All we need now is for the boys to play with the same determination and persistence against the “smaller” but more powerful teams whose first priority will be to stop you from playing; unlike the Manchester United’s of this world.
How do you beat Manchester United?