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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Four more years of Gilberto is a big deal

Today, Gilberto has signed a four year extension to his contract with Arsenal.

I wanted him to sign for ten more years- but I'm not complaining.

His absence for six months last season was decisive for our fortunes in both the Premiership and Europe. The reason being that while Pat and Francesc are more offensive than defensive in the central midfield department- Gilberto is more defensive than offensive.

Gilberto brings balance to the team. Within ten outfield players he balances the team by ensuring we have five primarily defensive players and five primarily offensive players. Without him the balance tilts to being overly offensive and therefore more vulnerable at the back. We scored plenty of goals last season without Gilberto- but also conceded too many and this proved to be our downfall. His six months absence really hurt.

Gilberto has many qualities. A fine interceptor, good in the air, good physical presence, good engine, a willingness to stride forward (which has a touch of the Thierry's about it), concise passer, good spatial awareness. This all adds up to Gilberto being a fundamental team-player and a perfect cog in the smooth attacking Arsenal machine.

Gilberto is also a fine representative of the Arsenal: no dirty tackles, no swearing, plays the game in the right spirit (not that I don't enjoy Lauren's no-nosense attitude when directed at particular opponents). And look at his celebration last week after scoring a towering header from a Reyes corner against Thun: he was screaming. Under the quiet persona he has huge passion. He knew that the team needed a lift after Pat's departure and a stuttering start- and he was delighted to be the man to do it.

On the day Pat left, I wrote on EFT that the Francesc/Gilberto partnership has excellent promise. Francesc is a good hard tackler in his own right, but his super-quality-potential lies more in his attacking dribbling and eye for a forward pass. For the next four years Francesc can fully concentrate on supporting the attack without fear of exposing the defence, safe in the knowledge that Gilberto is anchoring the central midfield.

World cup winner Gilberto has been an excellent purchase for the Arsenal since his signing from Atletico Minerio in July 2002. For all the strengths he brings to the team, it cannot be over-stated enough that four more years of Gilberto is a big deal for Arsenal.


Anonymous ElGoonerino said...

Excellent Article, I always agreed Gilberto was a great player. When Paddy was here, I never really notice him, but recently I've had to notice him as he has been outstanding. He is obviously relishing the responsibility of the gap that Paddy left. We dont need a replacement for PV4 - we've got one already.

9/21/2005 7:20 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

umm... i still think we need a replacement for pv4. love gilberto for what he does, but he is not pv4. unless he is going to be a more vocal leader, then we dont need another pv4. but in the meantime, papa would not be a bad signing. i would have prefered davids though. how fast do u lot think it it will be before he is unsettled at mediocre totenham?
maybe we can wait for that to happen and get him. im sure they would love that to happen. we can offer attractive football and champs league. they offer ... ???

9/21/2005 8:45 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Gilberto strikes me as a comfortable centre mid and I agree that he is not quite the Patrick Vieira replacement, but alongside someone who has the other Patrick Vieira quality of attacking forward would complement the Brazilian and the team.

One player who does impress me is Hleb - watch him during a game. I found during the Monday night match that almost all of his passing was accurate. On the move he gets going with pace but never panics, never snatches, never feels cornered, stops and spots the ideal person to pass to, like Vieira. Vieira would stop and then analyse around before spotting the most available player, more times than not. Hleb is one to watch.


9/21/2005 8:57 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see Toure given a try at CMF alongside Gilberto. He's a good defender and also on the offense.
He's not hesitant to take a shot from outside the box. He took a killer free kick against Everton.

9/21/2005 9:12 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop going on about "he is not pv4" w"we need another pv4". There ISN'T another Vieira. Davids is past it and signing him would've been a step back.

Great article though. It wasn't long ago that i was a lone voice at Highbry supporting Gilberto. Now, finally, he's actually getting a few cheers instead of the jeers he used to get.

Gilberto's bvest work is done off the ball. hen Ash bombs foward, Gilberto will cover the vacant left back space. He does the same when Toure goes foward and the same for Ralph. He breaks up most of the opponents attacks and then starts our own.

He might not catch the eye like a Pires, Reyes, Henry etc but his role in the team should never be over looked....

altogether now....

"His name is Silva, Gilberto Silva
He is Arsenal's brazilian midfielder"

(to the tune of Copa Cobana)

9/21/2005 9:57 pm

Blogger Ced the swiss said...

Davids ? Let me laugh !

You should understand that the boss want young players to make their proofs in the middle. The last thing to do is to buy a 33 years old man...

9/21/2005 10:01 pm

Anonymous Baz said...

I like the idea of Toure coming into CMF but id rather see him RB, with Senderos and Sol in middle. Lauren can fill the midfield role when needed as he is infact a natural midfield player.

Hleb is quality tho...wonderful addition to the squad and we're very fond of him already judging by what ive felt at highbury, everyone loves him.

Im not so worried about defence, nor am i worried about midfield and attack...what i am worried about is the bench. We really dont have much on the bench as cover, our youngsters are already playin regular now, however inexperienced and esp with champions lg, fa cup and premiership its gonna get really tough.

Interesting season already tho....i just hope we can give highbury a send off with a trophy...

9/21/2005 11:01 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as Arsenal can pin Titi to an extension, at least they'll be set for the season without all of the distracting drama involving so many players (Ash, JAR, Sol, Lauren, etc.) last season. Pires contract is still in doubt, but he's become a much more peripheral figure this season.

Davids is no longer a force, and as always, gives the ball away quite a bit. Watching him for Spuds, he brought many an attack to a crashing halt. Carrick is the one who's been impressive. Bouba Diop would be a good replacement or back-up to Gilberto; unless Wenger changed to a five-man midfield, he would not be a good partner, as neither are particularly adept at initiating the attack. Keep looking, as anon 9:57 said, there just isn't another Vieira. Gerrard comes the closest, Parker can play box-to-box, but isn't quite good enough.

9/22/2005 12:13 am


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