Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lets have our best player back for Villareal Mr Wenger

By 1970's Gooner

There are those who maintain that in football management you have to choose the formation the team will play in to fit the players you have available.

Others say that you have to choose the formation you prefer and then choose the right players to man it.

In Arsenal’s case and especially for the Champions League Quarter Final game against Villareal at the Emirates, Wenger has to decide which it will be.

One of his options is to play the same system he deployed at Wigan (in the first half) and also in the first leg of the Champions League at Vilareal.

He slotted Fabregas in the hole behind the front man and kept the two central midfielders, Denilson and Song, restrained to their more defensive/ protective duties.

This is a slightly more defensive formation as there is always the protection given by the two defensive midfielders.

The problem with this system however is that if the opponents successfully man mark your “Fabregas” out of the game then you have a real problem.

Not only is the side starved of attacking options (there is one less “active” forward) it is more importantly starved of its creativity.

This is very true of Arsenal because the central midfielders, who are defensively minded and trained, certainly lack the art of creativity so they cannot fill in the role that the man in the hole has been forced to vacate.

Chelsea nullified Liverpool’s most influential player at Anfield and Torres and co were starved of their skipper’s dynamism, tenacity and creativity.

Essien followed Gerrard everywhere he went and Chelsea ended up 3-1 winners. The return leg looks like it will be a formality (I hope it is not).

Wigan similarly deployed Scharner to close down Fabregas in the league encounter last Saturday and the little maestro couldn’t get his usual game going.

He had less space to play in, his passing was restricted and therefore couldn’t stamp his authority nor dictate play as he normally does.

The result was that Bendtner was isolated up front and Arsenal’s attacking penetration impaired. The same happened in the away Villareal game with Adebayor for most of that game.

Fabregas could be much more effective playing a deeper lying role.

This is because if he is indeed man marked or closed down he can have two options to by pass this obstacle which are not that easily available when he is in the more forward position.

The first is that he can take advantage of the movement of his team mates around him and exchange passes with them taking opponents out of the game.

This is because there is usually much more space available to move about in the middle areas of the pitch than further upfront. The space simply is so much less in front of him if deployed in the more forward position.

The second equally important option is that if he is indeed closed down he can play the long ball to (one of the two) forwards thus by passing the close marking and also providing variety in Arsenal’s play.

This often catches opposing defenders out of position as they are not really conditioned to expecting the long ball from an Arsenal side that usually passes the ball on the floor. Adebayor scored at Villareal from just such a pass.

By playing Fabregas in the deeper lying midfield role Arsene can then have the option of deploying Robin Van Persie as the man in the hole (or indeed in a straight 4 4 2 formation).

In this way the whole system becomes more creative and attacking in nature as there are now two forwards up front (say Adebayor and Van Persie) as well as a creative midfielder in Fabregas.

The latter can also, due to his versatility, revert to being more defensively minded if Wenger wants to protect a winning scoreline, say…..

Let’s have Fabregas where he belongs Mr Wenger.


Anonymous said...

If you call yourself Arsenal Analysis, perhaps you should listen to what the manager says or visit from time to time. Cesc was played in that position to take the defensive responsibility from him in his first couple of games back because he was not match fit enough for the rigours of central midfield where he is expected to defend and attack. Arsene has said he does not see Cesc in that position long-term, but having the ability to play in that position could be useful for the team from time to time.

You might think you are very clever with your 'analysis' but anyone paying attention could work that out for themselves without having to give it too much thought.

geez said...

too techie!, maybe great analysis but I got bored reading it.

Anonymous said...

Spot on! Fabregas is much more effective & influential when playing in a slightly deeper role than opposed to playing more advanced (in the hole.)
+ I would definitely prefer to see 2 upfront. (ade & rvp)

gooner rez said...


Eboué Touré Silvestre Sagna
Walcott Nasri
Adebayor RVP

That will be the team, none of this Cesc in the hole business.

Anonymous said...

You really are trying to be too clever with your analysis. Barca play one striker and have done so for years. It's not whether you play one, it's how you play one.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the blogger never played football. More space in midfield?! No fecking way.

We all agree Cesc is not most effective in the Number 10 role. But really, that's not because of being marked out. It's because he doesn't know the role well yet.

Stone said...

I think this formation is the future of Arsenal but we will see Nasri and Arshavin play there, and Wilshere in couple of years (I see him, Cesc and Ramsey/Song as our future midfield partnership).

I think Cesc and Song will form a great partnership if given the chance. Lets all pray Silvestre doesn't get injured so we can keep Song in midfield, he is by miles our best defensive midfielder. I freakin love this kid.

soundplate said...

Im in total agreement here. Funny cos I was just making the same case in another blog. The 4-5-1 formation w/ cesc behing the striker is not something we should be using regularly but it does seem like Arsene only used it to give Cesc some time to get back into his groove. He should definitely be in the center of the park, fighting for possession, dictating tempo and starting off all our attacks. I think Nasri, Arshavin, RVP are all players who are better suited to play that "free role" .

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