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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Wenger on verge of eighth successive top two finish

Mr Wenger never fails to impress this writer.

Approaching the end of his eighth full season at Highbury he selected a young team with a few older heads to take on the champions league finalists from Merseyside last Sunday.

It is a measure of Arsene's coaching quality that his team featuring many young and developing players were favourites for victory, and went on to achieve it with a strategy of total football that the Liverpool of the eighties would have been proud of.

Wenger congratulated Benitez and Steve Heighway before the match. After the match I'm sure Rafa was searching out Arsene to offer his respect for the style and manner of football that is consistently produced by Wenger's Arsenal.

Without the many millions that Mourinho and Ferguson has spent, Wenger is producing another team at Arsenal that is punching above its weight. Arsene's is the example that Rafa should follow.

The return to optimism at Highbury has been tracked on EFT.

The first article on EFT was a preview of the Bayern second leg. In it I focused on the importance of partnership's to the success of Arsenal football club. Since then I have written most of all on Vieira, Gilberto and Senderos. These players are at the fore to Arsenal's new found ability to keep the goals against record down whilst still retaining attacking strength.

In that first article and in subsequent ones I predicted (not a difficult prediction but one that Vieira critics didn't seem to be aware of) that for Pat to be at his rampaging best he needed someone he could innately rely on to deliver a defensive job alongside him, a'la Petit, Grimandi, Parlour, Gilberto, Edu. The return of Gilberto has proven this to be correct. With Pat and Gil at the centre, Arsenal's team is now geared to perform at the highest defensive and attacking levels.

Also in that first article I wrote that for the hugely talented Kolo Toure to be at his best he needed someone alongside him in whom he could have confidence in. Cygan gave him the shakes and consequently he self-destructed in Bayern. In contrast, the introduction to the first team of Arsenal's answer to Roger Federer- Phillipe Senderos- has boosted Kolo's game to the max.

Note the camera shots of Phillipe and Kolo in conversation before yesterday's match: Phillipe was issuing instructions and Kolo was responding enthusiastically. The body language between the two suggested they had complete confidence to rely on each other and that they were to be a team on the pitch. This has been the case game in-game out for the last two months. And they are getting better each game!

The result is a mass of clean sheets and Sol Campbell wondering when he can get a game. No one could have predicted this situation in those dark winter months of defensive frailty. But it HAS happened.

Springtime in London has coincided with the emergence of a younger Arsenal that is still capable of producing 49ers total football while looking more defensively solid than ever.

The introduction of- the just turned 18 years old- Fabregas onto the right-hand side is another key to the added stability. Unlike Freddie, Francesc never gets lost on the right wing. He is forever coming inside to support Gil and Pat in intercepting attacks and creating attacks.

Pat loves this! And the whole team is benefitting from Francesc's qualities. As a consequnce, Freddie will seriously struggle to regain his place on the right- especially in games against quality opposition. As stated in my last article- Francesc MUST play in Europe on the right hand side next season

Mr Wenger should take a bow. He is on the verge of completing his eighth full season: and each one will have seen a top two finish (subject to miracles for Man U in the last two league games this season) while producing total football. This is some accomplishment.

And the signs are that the Wenger mission is not close to its end just yet. His message to his young players after Sunday's match should have been this: If Liverpool can [reach a CL Final], we MUST.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really, like your post. It sums up brilliance. Wenger IS the special One. even when we all think that this season was below our recently aquired and percieved standards (I remember that we, were once happy with just one nil...) With Wenger there is alway's a Silva Lining. In saying, that next seasson is going to be a cracker!

We will see if Chelsea can backup there talk with the walk. remember with all that money there will always be pressure for Instant success. Were as in Wenger the board have the utmost confidence in his management. Manu and Chelski Boards might not be on the same wavelength with theirs - If the "Great one" (Why: One won the Treble - 5 Yrs ago, and the Other is Just special...") Managers don't deliver after 6 Games I predict that Fergie (1st to go) then the "Special One" (look I made so that he's a Diety) will be in the cooker, and believe me if manu don't win the premier next season fergie's a gonner (Shame)... The Special One Well he's young and special... We will see him at Madrid or AC Milan Next. He has no loyalty... Believe me if the shit hits the fan he will be out in a flash. Ok so nxt season "Wenga's babes" against the world. ("How do I think that, U Say?")

In December I thought that we needed a R/back, C/Half & a Good GK. Now I'm not so sure, the kids have shown that they can compete (Senderos Vs Bayern, Fabs the whole fucking season... UPoTY) and with where would be your experienced player playing? With Berkamp, Campbell & Lunberg loooking more and more like subs (Edu) I really can't see anyone coming in unless he's Ronaldhino "In desguise"or Sheva

Secondly I believe that you have to realize that we have Hoyte, Quincy & The guy we loaned to Norwich looking for places next season. Ali should really get a look in next year. I believe that Wenger wants him. he justs needs to play. (left Wing anyone?)

Man thats 5 Guy's, What about Lupoli 17 Yrs old and a scoring wonder!!! Ok you need to realize that we have young and talented players all under the age of 25. If I was an opposing manager I would be scared "shitless" over the prospect of facing Arsenal for the next 4 yrs.

Predictions: wenger will buy JUST ONE Player "some unknown Cunt" call him a superstar (Which He will be, abliet a few years.. in waiting.) The press will have a field day, call Arsene a wally, and predict that we are not going to win anything except a sink. Then we will go on to win the CL .... (For the next 3 Years ala FA Cup)


Buy, 6 role players and win the premier, Cl & FA Cup, (If he wins the treble then he wont win it again, the Treble I mean... It's way to divine intervention suff.)

Predictions: Alright I'm putting mine in now...

" It's always the first impression , that Lasts... ask my wife :-("

(Top 3 - to hard to call order wise but it will take 82-4 Points to win with no less than 3 losses - No way that anyones going underfeated next season no matter what J T Say's (Because of what Chelsea has brought to the table... Bought it!! Don't deny it..")

Champions: Arsenal, Manu, Chelsea

Contenders (Top six- UEFA):
Liverpool (Benitez, 2nd to Wenger)

Bolton (Aldyce - Poker faced playing Cunt = brilliant Manager)

Spurs (Jol = success, finally)


middlesborough (if they can keep players.)Man-city (If they keep SWP and by well, Shit this will be a good team, a shore bet to be ManU at least once nxt season.)

Also rans Big expectations (Dreamers):

& Chelsea maybe..

Need a reality check (One Hit Wonders): Everton (OHW),
Chelsea(whislt no one was looking...) Blackburn (need to by talent or will struggle nxt season)

Will improve:
Middlesbrough - Stability, Y/players Good manager.
Spurs - Good management team, Good players. Competition: London team rival Big 2.
Nwcastle & Fulham (Got to or will be relegated

Footballing Wives: - Don't bet on these teams.

Fulham (Crazy... period)
The Brum(No Tal-went)
(no money)Aston Villa
(Curbs needs new job)Charlton
(Crazy Chairman)Portsmouth
Promoted teams & the team that beat the drop.either WBA (sorry Dave)
Norwich (If they are in the premier nxt year, put under inproved)
S/Hampton (Utter Crap, Rupert is a moron - for losing Strachan.)


C/Palace (I like Dowie...)


JD - Gunner 4 life

5/10/2005 1:18 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks JD for your enjoyable comments and preview for next season. For sure there is time in the summer to add to your predictions.

I too also rate Jol and Dowie- Spurs have needed a quality coach for some time now!

Keep your comments coming to EFT- minus some of the severe language, thanks.

5/10/2005 11:08 pm

Blogger Skippy said...

I rate Wenger as a manger. He showed his true sportsmansip on Sunday before the match as he shook hands with the mangement of Liverpool FC.

I also enjoyed the way Arsenal played in the first half, the speed in which they can turn defence into attack is a great sight.

I have been disappointed with some comments coming out of Wenger in the last week or so. His comments regarding the Champion's league format and who is the best team in the premiership was surprising. It almost tempted me to write an article on the subject.

5/11/2005 9:55 am

Blogger Skippy said...

I have been very impressed with Senderos. I know this player was first spotted by TS.

Drogba may have disappointed :) but Senderos certainly hasn't.

5/11/2005 9:57 am

Blogger T said...

Didier received plenty of stick after the second leg last week, and my bro had pleasure in reminding me of my support for the Drog.

But I stand by my tip of nearly two years ago that he would have been a quality squad player at Highbury. He was available at £3 million when I first pointed him out.

He went on knock out the Pool and Newcastle out of the UEFA- and Mourinho saw the same potential as I did by investing £24 million in the man.

But OK- he is not pulling down trees at the mo. I can accept the stick coming my way because of that.

5/11/2005 10:20 am

Blogger Abdul said...

Skippy, are you sure that TS spotted Senderos before Europe's top scouts? Wow!

Wenger's record in the Premier League is phenomenal considering his limited budget. Not sure about Fabregas on the right side of midfield though - he's a playmaker and should remain as such in midfield. He's doing a good filling in job at the moment though.

Thanks for your comments JD.

5/11/2005 3:01 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next season we should be seeing Didier Drogba in better form, unfortunately. As is often the case with big buys, people tend to forget that players often need a season to settle when they come from a foreign league.

5/12/2005 7:09 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next season we should be seeing Didier Drogba in better form, unfortunately. As is often the case with big buys, people tend to forget that players often need a season to settle when they come from a foreign league.

5/12/2005 7:09 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

The belief that Arsenal had allowed to wane this season has emerged back stronger again in these remaining moments. A tad too late but it helped shape the team back into character. They went on to show Liverpool that we are still sleeping. that nothing is to be taken for granted and hard work with diligence helps a long way. 90mins+ of it.

However, after seeing their utter domination last night, again the question arises: were Arsenal that good, or were Everton that poor? It was the former. I read Wenger didn't want to make a decision on Bergkamp's produce last night, the Frenchman looks further down the season than that, so I understand why an extension has yet to be offered.

However, when you have a player who passes, shoots, tackles, heads and helps out like Bergkamp, 36yrs count for nothing. The Dutchman can play where many in their 20's fail easily. The man is superb to watch, much less have in your side.

With Henry and Campbell coming back without any flaw (was Henry actually out, he played as if he'd hardly been away), Fabregas and Van Persie brimming with youth and confidence all the more, Vieira and Pires forerunning the midfield, Lehmann looking to establish between the sticks (adequately so far), Wenger is preparing well for next season's campaign.

I mentioned before how Arsenal v Liverpool would be difficult to call, since Arsenal's home form took a turn for the better. And how right I was. And after last night's play, Bergkamp surely must be staying for another 12 months, especially if the fans say so, including my esteem friend ts.

How I yearn for something of that calibre to emerge plenty at Liverpool.


5/12/2005 2:46 pm

Blogger SKG said...

Arsenal were like a steam train at the start of the season. They were scoring goals for fun and looked like they would cruse to another title. However injuries and a dip in form mid-season have had their effect. I'm not saying that Chelsea would not have won the title but if you look at the fact that Arsenal could end up with 86 points this season, one wonders just how many points they may have achieved but for the injuries and the dip in form they had.

5/12/2005 6:07 pm


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