Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Monday, December 29, 2008

Vela makes the difference

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsenal were weak in three important areas against Portsmouth at the Emirates and their inability to break down a well organised defense got the crowd frustrated and sometimes angry.

Tony Adams chose to rest Defoe so that he could play a more defensive formation but Arsenal were so tentative and at times vulnerable that I think that if he had been more adventurous he may have had more joy.

The first of Arsenal’s weaknesses was the lack of creativity in the midfield positions; the second was the lack of co operation between the two forwards and the third concerned the obvious lack of width in the team.

The lack of creativity in midfield was very apparent until Wenger took steps to rectify the problem.

Denilson was his usual self, all running and passing but no real inventiveness. Diaby was once again proving Wenger right in not yet trusting him in the central midfield areas. He was frivolous in possession, kept loosing the ball and turning into blind alleys.

It wasn’t until Nasri was moved into the central areas of midfield that we saw some real creative play with someone trying to organise Arsenal’s game a la Fabregas.

At last we seem to have found a real alternative to Fabregas and I think with more exposure to this position Nasri can play that role really well.

But Nasri’s introduction into the midfield wasn’t enough by itself as the Adebayor Bendtner pairing failed to work once again. It has never worked between those two and I wasn’t surprised it failed on this occasion too.

On the one hand Adebayor looked lethargic all afternoon missing two glorious chances to score. His mind appeared to be elsewhere. Where I wouldn’t like to guess…

On the other hand Bendtner was a nonentity in again another match. Until he was moved to the wing he looked without purpose and I don’t recollect one successful pass he made to Adebayor.

Both of them seemed to be playing individually and did not make any combination play between them nor did they attempt to.

But the real weakness that really proved to be the most important of them all was the lack of width. And as soon that was corrected the whole team picked up and looked purposeful and threatening again.

Bendtner’s move to the wing partially corrected this imbalance and he did provide much needed thrust at first from the left and then from the right.

But when the team was given its other wing, by the introduction of Vela, it began to fly again and then we caught a glimpse of the “old” Arsenal we know.

The one that stretches teams in the wide areas of the pitch, getting by the by line, cutting balls in to oncoming midfielders and creating havoc in the opponent defenders.

It also gave to Arsenal’s central midfielders, as to all teams who have a viable outlet on the wings, the additional option of passing the ball away from the heavily congested midfield.

And Arsenal’s opponents usually do try and put men behind the ball and congest the central areas of the pitch, don’t they?

Vela had a very good game when he came on. He run at the defenders, put the crosses in and generally wakened up a slumbering and almost stuttering team that didn’t look like scoring.

He deserves to keep his place in the team and so does Nasri, in the creative role.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you
I've been saying this for weeks. Let's get the team going.. Nasri in the middle and Vela on the wing or up front!

Anonymous said...

Boooooooo!!!!! Better analysis can be found at:

This is amateur in comparison. Good try though!

Anonymous said...

Poor analysis mate. Very very amateurish

Anonymous said...

Sagna Gallas Djourou Clichy(c)

Song Diaby

RVP/Nasri Nasri/RVP Vela

... that is until cesc eduardo walcott rosicky return

David Leech said...

i was at the game, and think you were spot on... the game seemed to pass Bendtner by when he was central, but he did pretty well when he was moved away from Ade... Vela was the one that really turned the tide. I also thought that Ramsey added good balance... in the first half Nasri was both ball-carrier and creative outlet... once Ramsey came on, he could carry the ball out of the defence and let Nasri focus on creativity...

Anonymous said...

Okay it's not that bad but it could be better. I mean anyone could have seen what you have written. More analysis needed.

Anonymous said...

What are all these negative comments on your perfectly acceptable article about. Very uneccessary criticism.
I think everything you say is relevant.
What many have highlighted is the lumbering performance of Adebayor - worth £80000 a week ?? He should have received a good kick up the backside by being substituted. Why on earth didn't Wenger bring on Van Persie when it was obvious the Adebayor/Bendtner partnership was failing yet again.
The combination of RVP and the lively Vela would surely have tested Portsmouth more.
Before the match the discussion was how many we would score 4 maybe 5. I thought we were lucky to get the one and end up winning. It was good to see some real defending by Pompey - something we are incapable of doing these days.

Anonymous said...

This is good analysis. To 'I Look for good blogs:' I have got a complaint on my blog because your comments have been attributed to mine. Please don't advertise my site if you are going to be disrespectful to others.
Good work to you guys at Arsenal Analysis, you are one of the reasons I started an Arsenal Webblog so why I would have been thought to say this is unthinkable.

Anonymous said...

spot on!

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Football Highlights said...

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