Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sometimes you need to HOOF!

By Danny Watson

Arsenal fans often feel sorry for supporters of teams that do nothing but hoof the ball up the park hoping that they can get a knock on and pick up any pieces that might emerge.

These supporters don’t know what it feels like to follow a team that actually knows how to play beautiful football. But even so the Arsenal players sometimes need to abandon their principles and learn how to hoof the ball out of dangerous areas.

I watched the game on Tuesday night screaming at the TV for us to hoof the ball up the park as we simply couldn’t clear our lines.

There is no one that loves the way Arsenal play more than I do but repeatedly passing out of defence 5 or 10 yards at a time when we have been repeatedly punished before for our slackness is plain crazy.

OK we didn’t have Adebayor up front but we had Bendtner whose best attribute is his heading ability.

Sometimes you need to just get the ball out of the area, regroup and put yourself in a better position. Our inability to just hoof it away led to us conceding 4 goals we really shouldn’t have conceded.

The only way we are going to win the league next year is if we can solidify our defence and the only way we can do that is to sign some good old fashioned centre backs that are not afraid to put their foot through the ball and get it away.

There is a simple formula for Arsenal to win the league next year which needs to respect the principle of “balance” and this is:

1 sturdy goalkeeper + 8 skilful players + 2 hardy centre backs = Premiership title.

When Arsenal were at their best a few seasons ago and winning trophies we had Adams, Keown, Bould and Campbell, all good old fashioned canter backs.

Alas we don’t have any at the club now so this must be our top priority in the summer.

Gallas and Toure are good on the ball but not commanding enough in the air and do get the ball away when it is clear that they just have to do that.

Don’t even get me started on Silvestre who has been a huge disappointment.

It is easy for me to say that this is what we need but harder for me to suggest possible players for the position. However two names linked with a move to the Emirates are Upson and Haangeland.

Haangeland has been on fantastic form for Fulham and has exactly the attributes we need; he also wouldn’t be too expensive. Upson is a player with bags of experience playing in the premiership so we could do worse than to resign him.

Whether we sign new central defenders or not our defence must learn to clear their lines otherwise we will just have to hope that Arshavin can score 5 next time.

By Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.


Anonymous said...

We certainly need to buy in the summer and we need new central defenders that will be British as they know the art of no nonsense defending.

Anonymous said...

Au contraire! Hoofing was the problem at Anfield. Teams that hoof can't keep possession. You hoof upfield and then you lose it, and then the opposition comes right back at you with full force.

The reason we were under so much pressure at Anfield in the first place is because we kept hoofing the ball.

The G Man said...

I totally agree with your comments. I was absoloutely furious with our defending and lack of long (diagonal ball) clearing, when needed.

Surely, Arsene must see what many of us do, we need stability in defence (primarily) and in goal.
We do need two solid centre backs (British would be nice) but not essential.
The problem is who? those you mentioned are good choices but Upson is injured too often.
I think Joleon Lescott would be a great addition but he looks bound to Everton.

If we can sort those positions out and fund them by selling some of those who are just not up to Arsenal standards, we will be true title contenders once again.

Great Blog.

Anonymous said...

Danny, you said you watched the game well i say you should watch the last goal again. you will notice Daiby, Nasri at the top of the D watching as Yossi attacked the space and scored. 2 minutes to go where was the defensive midfielder who are meant to protect the back four. None, let us not heap all the blame on the defence. that last goal just like the game against Spurs and Villa, yet we are told they have learned from it. i think not

The G Man said...

The defensive midfielder position is a topic that keeps surfacing amongst Arsenal fans.
We do need someone who can help to protect the back four, someone with presence and authority that will help the team to 'defend as a unit' when needed...but who is that player???
Alex Song will be, in another season (hopefully), Kolo can do it now but he is needed in who should we buy and more importantly who is available?

Anonymous said...

We need to get better and more efficient in midfield so that protection is given to the back four. Against Liverpool the midfielders kept giving the ball away putting the defence under pressure all the time.
Now who to buy only Wenger will know but does he share your views G man?

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