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Friday, February 03, 2006

Will Wenger decide that the best form of defence is attack?

Its official: the AFC defence is decimated! The whole first choice back four of Lauren/Toure/Campbell/Cole is out for various reasons; and there is confirmation today that Lauren is out for the rest of the season after having surgery on his knee (EFT wishes him well in his recovery!).

The excellent Gael Clichy has been out since the end of October, Emmanuel Eboue is in Egypt, and now 'the fighter' Kerrea Gilbert is out for the Birmingham game. With these seven defenders unavailable I've even got a touch nostalgic for Pascal Cygan… yep, its crazy times to be an AFC fan!

For someone who has just turned 19 years old, I have been very impressed with the concentration and composure of young Johan Djoruou. With Phillipe Senderos back in his specialist LCB position - Arsenal's very own Swiss guard will look to stand firm tomorrow against the power forward game of Sutton and Heskey.

The makeshift full back combination of Flamini and Larsson finished the game on Wednesday. And with no other full backs available I sense they will start in defence at St Andrews.

With such an inexperienced and makeshift defence, I hope Wenger doesn't place more pressure on them by adopting a defensive attitude tomorrow. In other words, I hope Wenger doesn't pick the - in theory - damage-limitation 4-5-1. In practice this system has, ironically, inflicted massive damage on Arsenal's results.

One goal in nine games with the AFC 4-5-1 says it all.

There is a lot of legitimacy in the saying that the best form of defence is attack. So I hope Wenger adopts the strategy that is undoubtedly our best: an attacking game in the 4-4-2 system.

I'd pick Bergkamp up front because his link-up play with Thierry is unmatched, and have Reyes raiding down the left and into the box. On the right of midfield I'd play Fabregas which is where he played a lot of good games at the end of last season, and he can come inside to support Diaby and Gilberto. The fantastic Van Persie would be my proven super-sub option.

4-5-1 has failed the team. It is a huge reason why our away record is so uncharacteristically terrible. Lets get back to playing 4-4-2 again and start creating more chances and scoring goals, which in turn will leave us less susceptible to receiving another away defeat.

Despite this crazy period in the history of the club the spirit and effort has definitely been evident in the last three games. Add the right strategy and system of play and I hope we can get a turnaround in luck and results. Here's hoping...!


Blogger RedsMan said...

I sympathise with you, T and other Gooners, and cant add much more to your article.

Regardless of what happens, I think Wenger, as well as the fans, will see this game, if not the current period, as a sound venue for bringing the newer players into players into play, excuse the pun.

Provided the midfield and forwards aim to cause 90mins of havoc, the Gunners defence could see themselves handling a sensitive time at the moment with Arsenal quite suitably. Following from the West Ham game, clearly Arsenal still have the biting edge to come at teams, doesn't matter if they are level, behind or in front. I think it's that kind of spirit Wenger wants to see, the continuous attacking.


2/03/2006 4:56 pm

Anonymous Sir Basil said...

Wholeheartedly agree with your analysis regarding the formation, but starting with Bergkamp against Birmingham ? Dennis has reached the stage in his career where he can't even provide the team with a 10 minute cameo anymore. Van Persie is by far and away the best striking option we have in fact the only STRIKING !! option, it involves nothing more taxing than putting your foot through the ball ( something that this Arsenal side seem to have forgotten)for too long this team has been set up to provide the perfect pass for the perfect goal for Henry. We are predictable almost a parody of the magnificent 49ers . Its been a season too far for the experienced players almost to a man Gilberto Pires Ljungberg Bergkamp Campbell and to a lesser degree Henry . The ties to Viera were mentally just to strong. Not one of them has stood up to be counted. Henry ? Great player. Inspirational captain he most definately ain't. This season is a writeoff And the rest of it should be spent productively, giving valable experiencing to the players who will constitute Wenger's next great Arsenal team. Wow glad I got that off my chest.

2/03/2006 11:15 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Good posts guys - this is commenting from AFTER the it puts a lot of it into perspective:

No.1 - T - changing your desktop background worked like a charm! We won...and away too!!

No.2 - Gritty, get-stuck in attitude + some luck helped us. Diaby increasingly showed that actually...he deserves to be around. From technically being able to dribble, go forward, fight for the ball...he's an even better version of Vieira I warrant, and with a bit more pace...he'll be tremendous.

No.3 I do wish Wenger replaces Gilberto with Diaby so we can have more strength down the wings. Bench him Arsene!! Teach him that half-hearted clearences and inability to pass or shoot into an open net is NOT rewarded!

No.4 Adebayour - just shows why Drogba is such a menance...with a bit more meat to the bone...this fella can do it as well! Notice the lobbed balls all the way to him!?!? Reminds us of the team across Hyde Park?! HAH! An extra dimension is good fun - a clear message to Bergkamp, VP, Lupoli, Bendtner - you need to get EVEN BETTER to earn your place!

No.5 - Reyes...pls. stay on your feet and just be a bit stronger! *sigh* the guy...but sometimes can't believe why he plays like that. Talent should be used...not wasted in falling over...

No.6 - Back to the points in previous posts....what a strange but resourceful defence! Larsson is getting there and obviously isn't a natural defender...but hey...what a great opportunity for him to practice! Also for Flamini - maybe this is a good time for him to show what he is made of...with several good tackles...and better judgement as the game went by...not flying tackles as he usually makes in mid-field - much more at stake when nobody is behind you! And the Swiss Guard...Senderos will need a bit of work with judgement...but Djourou really is finding his stride - I wouldn't be surprised to see him replace Senderos if it is needed. The back 4 will probably get one more game together at least...I can't see Wenger forgiving Sol that easily. The "worried man" needs to lose some weight first I reckon...

2/05/2006 8:05 am

Blogger T said...

Thanx guys, great comments as ever!

The great thing about Arsenal on Saturday was that we set up away from home in a 4-4-2... yes!

What's more, Arsene picked the midfield that I called for in my post on Friday... Reyes raiding with pace down the left and aiming to get into the box... while Fabregas stays on the right and is very able to support the CM's much like Ray Parlour used to do.

In fact, aside from the selection of Adebayor, Wenger adopted the tactics and team that I called for on Saturday... thanx Arsene!!

Adebayor was waiting around the six yard box when he scored.... fantastic! Wasn't this where Francis Jeffers was meant to be when he played for the Gunners! Definitely agree Nturtle that its fun to see AFC with a new type of striker up front- and you've got to love his hair too! Shame he's champs league cup-tied.

Sir Basil.. you made a lot of good points and I'm glad you felt better for it! My selection of Bergkamp was based on the assumption that Adebayor was unavailable... and on the fact that he is much better at linking up with Henry than RVP currently is. Also, with such a young team anticipated for selection I thought Dennis' experience and composure would help the team.

I still think Dennis brings a lot to the team when he starts.... but much less so when used as a sub.

Redsman, your supportive stance is very much respected!

Finally, Nturtle, I don't want to take anything away from Arsene or the team by mentioning my decision to change my desktop... so thanks for doing it for me!!

I also ditched Roberto Carlos and put a picture of Dennis as part of the EFT title- I wonder if that has an effect too?!?

2/06/2006 9:37 pm

Blogger T said...

P.S. To GunnerPete, I saw you posted a comment on Saturday about Arsenal's defence that I very much enjoyed reading.

However, for an unknown reason to me it disappeared from the site.

I apologise for this and I'll try to find out what happened. In the meantime, please feel free to re-publish the comments you made on Saturday....

2/06/2006 9:40 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

#3 - I wonder if Gilberto will look better now with a player similar to Vieira to partner him. I also wonder if Cesc and Diaby could work.

#5 - Couldn't agree more. He's a very good tackler for his position, and if he'd just get up and try to win the ball back, I think he'd win a fair few of them. That's the kind of stuff Freddie used to do and was one of his greatest assets.

#6 - I think this shows the value of Flamini, not as a starter, but as a squad player.

I think many of us predicted 451 would not work with Henry as targetman - I wonder if Wenger would ever try a real 433, not 451, with Adebayor in the middle, Henry on the left and RvP on the right. Then some combination of Reyes, Diaby, Cesc, Hleb, Flamini, and Gilberto in midfield. Would love to see it.

2/06/2006 11:18 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is Gilberto is a continuation player not a ball winner that is why he is struggling. He forces players into positions that they can be tackled and then collects the ball after a tackle to get attacks moving. Without a ballwinner he was fated to struggle and it is no surprise that he looks out of sorts.

2/10/2006 3:31 pm


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