Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wenger needs to switch players round and then we have a chance

By 1970’s Gooner

There were three negative and one positive aspect that were very apparent during yesterday’s uncharacteristically limp encounter against Bolton.

The first was the lack of creativeness and ingenuity

This was also apparent during the Portsmouth game which we also won in similar fashion (1 0 to the Arsenal). Portsmouth was also not very ambitious and paid for it by conceding late on under the pressure that inevitably mounted in the latter stages of the second half.

In both games Wenger had to switch a creative player in the middle and I think that is what eventually brought dividends.

Nasri was the player that brought this balance and creativeness and it is so obvious to me that he is the real alternative to Fabregas.

He should start games in the middle, not moved there when things are not working.

Against other more positive teams or when we play in more hostile surroundings eg away from home I fear we will struggle, really struggle.

The second but related point is the fact that the team lack tempo

Certainly in the first half the pace of the game was slow and a reason for this is because the midfield players are not driving forward with the ball. They were most of the time passing sideways and sideways and boring us to death.

When Nasri came into the middle he had drive and did move with the ball forward thus rendering opponents out of the game (just like Fabregas used to do) and therefore helping to decongest the space and create the chances that eventually came, culminating in Van Persie’s delightful cross for the otherwise ineffective Bendtner.

Until Fabregas comes back or even if he ever leaves Arsenal then I am not worried. I am convinced Nasri is that good.

This brings us to the third point which is the obvious lack of width in the team

I have gone on about this a lot this season and I think if this is corrected along with Nasri being moved into the middle then we will go a long way in correcting a major imbalance in Arsenal’s formation.

Let me repeat why width is particularly important for a team like Arsenal.

Most teams defend deep, putting 10 men behind the ball, closing the space and the route through the middle.

The best way to beat them is to stretch them by widening the pitch through the use of the wide midfielders or what I would call the old fashioned wingers. My favourite from the 70’s was Geordie Armstrong who would have been ideal for this Arsenal team.

At the moment Wenger’s stubborn refusal to play Vela form the off is almost suicidal in my opinion.

He is ready for it, he has shown that when he comes on he can stretch the game.

And his presence from the off will allow Wenger to switch Nasri to the middle.

It’s a win win situation really.

The one positive aspect that has been apparent in this seven game unbeaten run is that the defence has tightened up

One major factor has been the welcomed emergence of Djourou who has provided what the defence needed. Height and along with it attacking the high balls. I think he will be our centre back for a long time to come.

So we have not been playing well but we have hang on in there. If Arsene twigs a little bit more with the choice of personnel, adds more creativity and width in the team and Eduardo makes a successful return then we might be in there with a shout in the run in for the title.

Especially if Chelsea and Manchester United drop points when they meet today…


Anonymous said...

What chutzpah?....I know better than the manager....lets start Vela on the left and move Nasri in the middle. Voila...problem solved. Is Vela mentally ready to start a Premeir League game? Is Nasri comfortable moving inside? Hasn't the manager already begun the process of easing the players into these more responsible roles. Talk about a Monday morning quarterback.

Anonymous said...

Yes, by all means move Nasri into the middle. That does work and has been proven to work throughout a whole game. But there is little evidence to suggest that Vela can start a game on the left wing. If this is the case, we should start Bendtner on the right because he performs just as well.

Anonymous said...

A tad harsh there fella!

I'm well chuffed JD has finally been given a chance in the team and i agree he could well be our CB for years to come.

As for vela, i can understand the call for him to start, but he's still adapting and maybe him coming on as a sub has a greater impact than if he started at the moment?

Anonymous said...

How can you complain simultaneously of "sideways passing boring us to death" and a lack of width? The sideways passes were designed to stretch the game, especially by switching play from flank to flank. How can you have one without the other?

One thing I think might help is if Clichy and Sagna start crossing from like 45-50 yards out, with their weaker feet. Clichy with his right and Sagna with the left.

Just also wanted to point out that if Nasri were starting through the middle we'd be hearing you complain about a lack of width. You're ignoring the big problem. We're missing many midfielders.

Anonymous said...

Listen to you people Nasri in the middle is far better than Diaby. There is nothing Diaby can offer us at the moment so why not try something that works. As for Vela being mentally ready to start - why should he not be ready? Nasri came in and walked into the team so why should it be different for Vela. Lets be honest Diaby is crap on the side and in the middle so why persist with him. The less i say about Eboue the better.

Anonymous said...

culminating in Van Persie’s delightful cross for the otherwise ineffective Bendtner. quote.

Was this the Bendtner that came on and beat Shittu in the air for the first time in the game, the one who got our first headed chance on his arrival, the one that scored or the one that was asked to play wide right: out of position.Take your preconceptions out of your reports.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why some people are jumping around about Nasri starting in the middle. He's traditionally more used to playing in the middle and is starting anyway. Better to use him where we need him. I think that part of the article got it straight on.

As for Vela, certainly he could look different starting than substituting. We've all seen that with many players as Arsene slowly brings them along. However, he IS pretty electric and was starting all last year in La Liga. It's a fairly crucial juncture to the season, and Vela does give us width in the last twenty that we sorely lack.

Ole Gunner: you can have sideways passing that stays in front of the defense, which is different than players penetrating down the sides in the last 20 ala Vela. I was watching older video yesterday - remember how Pires used to go down the left sideline and then punch it into the middle that was inevitably tapped in by Henry or Ljundberg et al? That kind of move will help breakdown a Bolton style defense. We currently don't have enough of that.

Anonymous said...

we somehow don't do well trying to play wide. the crossing isn't great and the the conversion rate's too low. we need to work on this before relying more heavily on wide play.

Anonymous said...

Denilson is currently playing like a mid-career Ray Wilkins - sideways and back but hardly ever forward. The three subs did not always get it right but they played positively and committed defenders. It was a shame that Van Persie was not feeding off of Bendtner's headers late on but in defence of RVP he had just played over 80 minutes with a centre-forward who didn't jump for the ball! Talking of Bendtner you are entitled to your hatred of the young Dane but do you have to have a sideswipe at him when he scores the only goal? Give him (and us) a break - Ramgun

Anonymous said...

Nasri plays the perfect ball 90% of the time, so yes he would be well suited for distribution from the middle. Does Vela fit the bill as the new Pires? Who knows. There is still a DRASTIC NEED for a central mid that will control the air(who, who, who is out there available?) and a winger on the right to fill in for Theo.
Once Fab and Theo are back, you have much skill in the middle but still no solid air man.

It looks like City have had their Arsh offer just waiting for the Arse to lo ball and then swoop in to send a message that they have money to burn. Really? 18 million?

Anonymous said...

You are talking complete sense. Take you rsentiments away and please do not attack me when i say this. Nasri is Better then Fabregas. The reasons are the following.
1) He dribbles better
2) He is faster
3) He can play on the flanks while Fab cant
4) He shoots more

Unfortunately we can not play them both at the same time in the middle due to the defensive inability of both. We will always loose 30 percent of Nasri's potential on the right side. If Fabregas ever leaves, Nasri will be his direct replacement. Did u see the difference and the spark when he took Diaby's place in the center. Man i am reallly disappointed with Diaby. i hate to say it but he has to go along with song and Eboue. I am pretty sure that all three will leave in the summer. By then we will have a new defensive midfielder along with a new winger and defender. I already know the names that are coming in(official) but i promised that i will not open my mouth. Believe me it is gonna be great

Anonymous said...

agree with the article completely. Nasri is very much suited to the central role and therefore we need to find a better alternative to the wing spot. Vela is showing he is by far the best candidate for that job.
Eboue looks shot of confidence to me and is happy just to keep possession. he gives the ball away so often - basically Vela is much much better than anyone else we have. personally I would like to see more of wilshere but I accept that a 17 year old can be a risk in the long run. can Ramsey do a job on the wing? Gerrard had to for Liverpool for a long time and they are the same sort of player.

Anonymous said...

Wenger should really talk less. As a life long Arsenal fan, I must say that his team is a very very poor mans imitation of a Barcelona wannabe team.

Just watched Osasuna try to defend and put 10 men behind the ball against Barca. They just ripped Osasuna apart. Pace, power, skill, resilience and mental strength. At one point, Barca went a goal down with 10 mins to go, after leading 1 -0 most of the game - I thought they would crack (as Arsenal would 1000% have done) yet they won by two clear goals, and made the opposition wish for the final whistle!!
That people, is football - and I dont see Pep Gaurdiola complaining about the tactics of other teams - he just gets on with the business of his own.

Anonymous said...

The person speaking of barca is correct. Personally I'm not sold on Nasri in the middle. As a second striker, definately, but as a deeplaying playmaker, not so sure. I think that Wenger has given up on the CL thats why he wants a cup tied Arshavin. As to the CM drop Denilson and play Ramsey he is more creative anyway. Denilson is so very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I think Diaby has reached the peak of his development. That's it for him. I feelthat his problem is his decision making. The defference between a good player and a great one is down to decision making. When to pass, move the ball, dribble track back etc etc. That's the hall mark of great players. sadly, Diaby lacks that vital edge. Nasri like Fab gives us the Ommp in the centre,hopefully the Boss continue to play him there.

Anonymous said...

Nasri can replace Fabregas just for solving the needed situation.he is good st finshing the score as second striker when Adebayor and Van Persie are not sharp. to be sure staying in top four arsenal must sign Arshavin