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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Kolo Toure is a natural leader so should be a captain.....our captain!

(This post is written by a long-time Gunner and regular comments contributor to EFT: GunnerPete)

If any of you have long memories, you may remember a great Spurs player called Dave Mackay, well Kolo reminds me of him. So powerful and so determined to win and enjoy himself.

I really have believed for some time that we have the players, thanks to AW, to win a few trophies this year and for some time to come, but they are not necessarily playing in the correct positions. Henry for one, ( the worst captain Ive seen in 57 years ) it seems has become our wandering lone striker. This has been great until teams worked out a simple tactic to wind him up, so he starts to sulk. If we were playing a two up front system, with a powerful goalscorer (beside Thierry) who would have to be marked separately, TH14 would score more & make more for others.

Baptista may or may not be the answer to our need for a bustling old style centre forward but with skill to match. Who knows until he is given a run in the first team. This may work, but we have major flaws in our team that other clubs have noticed, and use against us. Henry being one of them. He gives the impression that he is doing us all a favour just turning up, and if he had not already signed I would say his body language is crying out for a move! He must be dropped to the bench now and again and made to realise that he is an overpaid player not a god.

I sat with my brother (a Chelsea Supporter) and watched the CSKA & West Ham matches. We both salivated over the beauty of our moves. In fact my brother said he wishes his bunch of mercenaries could/would play like AFC.

However, the fact that something is wrong within our camp is probably too mild a statement. You know when something is wrong when deep down inside you know we will struggle against much weaker sides. I have noticed two big flaws in Arsene's team tactics. Whilst we watched the W.Ham match the flaws became open sores and so easy to see we could not understand why others, especially Arsene, have not.

Flaw one: our lightweight midfield. Mainly due to injuries, but also a lot to do with AW relying on Cesc to much. This lad will burrn out long before the end of the season, unless AW gives him a partner who can potect him, and put fear into the opposition.

Answer = First make Kolo Toure our captain, then place him side by side with Silver in front of our defence, but with the freedom to attack when he wants. This mean bringing in Senderos to play alongside Gallas. He gives us so much more power in defence, and attack. I would also forecast that Kolo would score up to 10 goals a season from that position. AW, could then play a 4-2-2-2 system, which he did against Man Utd. This formation would be so powerful against any style, of any team, including Bolton & Blackburn. They wont bully that back 6 !

Flaw two = Zero / none / tactics at corners and freekicks. I counted 46 corners in the past 3 games and no shots or even saves produced! That is shameful! Answer = If AW was not so insistent that his way is the only way, I would suggest he goes through all the videos of our matches under George Graham.....Steve Bould could also teach him a lesson or Five about where to stand and how to vary, what should be an advantageous deadball situation. How come that I feel nervous when teams like Villa & Everton look dangerous at every corner, and 'The Arsenal' look like wimps? It all comes down to using our ability in the right place & at the right time ie; if AW cannot find a way for our tall men to win the ball at corners.....try passing back to draw the opposition out!

How has this come about? Well it seems to me that AW has decided that he want only one main goalscorer ( since giving away Pires) and rely on midfield to come up with the rest. Sorry to keep mentioning Man Utd, but Fergie gets a lot right with his buying, and one policy I love is that he always has at least two, sometimes three, top strikers in the squad. AW started like this with Wiltord being the 'other' striker but when he went the AW buys since have been woefully bad for that position.

I would like to end by saying that I have been a great advocate for playing reserve players ASAP like Eboue, who I campained for long before he was given the chance. I would like to see young guns like Bendtner & Stokes brought back in January and given a nice long run up front. If they are good enough, they are old enough, like Eboue. I will also forecast that Traore will be our leftside midfielder very soon, so re-establishing our power running left side.

The SAD & SORRY fact is that Arsene will (a) never read this (b) if he read it, he would ignore it! BUT perhaps if enough people press him by mail, he may do right by our KOLO!


Blogger T said...

I couldn't agree more with Arsene seriously working on our corners. I often feel that the ref might as well have given a goal-kick given our lack of threat from corners in the P'ship. I then look at Chelsea and the amount of goals they score from their set-piece routines and I wonder just why Wenger doesn't seem to put in the application in this area of the game.

The first thing that we need to do in this context is find a corner-taker who can actually cross the ball with precision and consistency. Who was the last Arsenal player who could do this?

As for Kolo playing CM- I was an advocate of this when Pat left but last season it was impossible to remove Kolo from the defence because we simply didn't have any one to replace him. Now with Gallas at the club to join the emerging Senderos and Djourou the scope is there for Wenger to contemplate trying Kolo out in the CM role as an alternative to Gilberto. I have a lot of admiration for Gilberto but he is showing signs of fatigue and will need to be rotated sooner or later. Kolo has the power and the presence to be great in this role... more so than young Flamini and Song.

And as for Kolo becoming our captain... I think he would be an exellent future captain but I would give Thierry more time. OK, he may not be the sterotypical captain... but he did lead a very young team to the Champions League final and a fourth place finish against the odds.

The results against Everton, CSKA, and West Ham is not due to Henry's captaincy (as I have seen written elsewhere)- it is to do with being sucker-punched and facing a stubborn opposition (Everton), poor finishing (CSKA), and a mixture of fatigue and excellent tactics by the opposition (West Ham).

With the return of Adder from injury, hopefully soon followed by Baptista, Freddie and Bendtner, we will have more attacking options than we had in those games above... in particular being able to revert to a 4-4-2 at home which for me is a more potent system and one that gets the best out of Henry.

In fact, I tip Adder to start up front with Thierry on Sunday against Liverpool in a more conventional 4-4-2 with VP on the bench.

11/09/2006 9:43 pm

Anonymous Kalach John said...

Your comments are 100% perfect, I have also written that a number of times but no chance AW will read it. However, TH14 has been overloaded, he must be a striker without Captain's arm band, it is killing him, 2-he is not a leader naturally, give it to KOLO T. Bring SF4 out of the team to rest for 3 matches atleast, employ SILVER and KORO in middle, Henry+Julio as strikers, Sanderos and Gallas mid defence, Ebue and Clichy laterally, Rosicky and Helb on flanks. Sell Aliadier, Song, Fried. Bring in Stokes, Ribery, Young Brazilian, keep others competing, where neccesary drop TH14 for a rest for mental + Physical reasons. He's just arrogant, weak now, no motivation. I wish u bring in KAKA??? The bigest problem with AW he doesnt listen to other opinions, the midfield is technically & tactically gifted but physically out of the normal primiership range. Then teach them to shoot, find a goal, then the oposition will come out of defence, as a result AFC will have more goals from their style, do you remember Reading Vs Arsenal? that is the tactic needed. Teams make history not with styles & beautiful games but by Trophies won. For beautiful games without goals, no AFC fan is happy, but oposition fans do. Well why not establish a league where no goal posts but beautiful football minus shooting?? or invite fans to training grounds for such shows? 10 years AW in charge no Plan B!!! That is why all teams are able to kill off AFC style now, even foreign clubs now now how to do so!!!

11/09/2006 9:50 pm

Anonymous SamGunz said...

I totally agree, atleast now i know im not going crazy in my fantasy world of management, Toure could play anywhere, thats clear, but there is no better centre back at the club, i think if anyone is to replace his consistency in that position it will be Djourou, and only when he's ready will we be able to sacrifice Kolo from that position, but again i agree he would be awesome in the midfield, but do remember centreback is his prefered position, its where he started back in the Ivory Coast, and its where he plays for his national team, sometimes it just aint that simple, dont forget Diaby, Denilson and Baptista who can all play that position. and plz dont forget while henry has been playing in the clouds(upfront by himself) poor VP has been shafted out on the wing! which is blatantly not his prefered position, even Van Basten knows that now, so sort it out ARSENE!

11/10/2006 2:04 am

Anonymous SamGunz said...

Oh yeh and taking the captaincy off henry will solve 50% of all our problems on the field at the moment. Definetely.

11/10/2006 2:05 am

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Gunnerpete - that's a great piece of work. Maybe you can get it send to Arsene anyway...there is ALWAYS hope!

Now..the question comes about of whether we really need GILBERTO then...would it be a big blow to replace him with a more dynamic Toure? Arsene may be loathe to do that. To be honest...Cesc may need a few breaks...and when we get the teams like Bolton, West Ham...there's probably wasted effort in his Maybe Silva and Toure suffices.

For Sunday...we've got Rosicky is that a chance to test it out? I suggest...that maybe I try it in my footy simulation first!

I do hope Wenger does more with set pieces..we waste 90% of them...whether it is lacking belief...or just bad execution...terrible...

Again...great piece and thanks for sharing.

11/11/2006 9:16 am

Blogger T said...

Yep, to ditto Nturtle I want to thank GP for his article. It attracted 800 plus visitors to the site and if they're like me they would often have been nodding their head at your thoughts on the Arsenal game.

At the mo I'm rattling my mind as to how we are going to line-up. I really think it is time to use the 4-4-2 at home with Adder and Henry being used as a twin-strike force.

But with Rosicky out we are short of establised left midfield options what with Freddie's injury and the departure of Pires and Reyes. I can't work out how Wenger will play it: is he willing to go with the sheer inexperience of Traore or Walcott on the left. Or will he shift Gallas across to left-back and move Gael Clichy up to left-wing. Or will he shore up the centre of midfield with Kolo or Flamini partnering Gilberto and Fabregas moving to the right and Hleb starting on the left.

From the v little I have seen of Armand Traore I would be tempted to put him on left midfield because he is comfortable on the left, has dynamic speed that can be really useful on the big pitch at the Emirates, and he will be an unknown quantity for Liverpool. But maybe its too risky to give a full team debut to the youngster in such a big match?

Whatever way Wenger goes, it promises to be a really intriguing match given how importantly both team needs a win. Hopefully from the Gunner's point of view the Emirates will see its first victory against a significant team!

11/11/2006 9:55 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete Says...Thank you all for your comments. I will write a letter to Arsene, but I assume it will be ignored, like some of my others have. I just cant imagine how many fans write to him with advice every week, let alone year? Still I feel so strongly about this that I will try again. The last time I wrote to him (2003) it was to suggest that his scouts go and watch two players ( Tom Huddleston (Derby)& Robinson of Leeds ) that I thought would be good enough for AFC. I think the asking prices totalled £3.5 the two at the time. I think it would have been money well spent. I still think Tom will make the England grade soon.

As for Liverpool Sunday, I personally agree with you that Traore should be given the left back chance. Two reasons, One he reminds me of Eboue when he first arrived, and two because the Pool do not know him and would try to unsettle him, and that would be a mistake.

I fear AW will go for HLeb on the left & Van Persie on the right. This could work because we will have one less dribbler on the pitch, and VP is direct.

I also read today a rumour (again) that TH14 is regretting not moving,, and it shows on the pitch. Well sadly ive come to the conclusion that he is correct, he should have gone, and now will probably go asap. If so, you watch the kids blosom, and see if AW buys Huntellar, who for my money is perfect to play up front with Adder. Teams would hate having to mark us from all angles as against the Henry block they all use now.

We will see.

11/11/2006 11:55 am

Anonymous Reporter said...

Well, I feel that Arsenal at times have been too conventional in their style of play. That's what brought that this far, but that's what which will hinder their progress. Even newbies will know their style after watching two to three games. All the through-pass and no presence of other alternatives to net in a goal has definitely shown it's signs of a problem arising.

Reporter, SPN

P.S. To all soccerfans out there, please support and visit my blog. I'll be awaiting your comments. Thanks.

Soccer Prime News

11/11/2006 4:52 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Any who watched the Liverpool game will see that Gunnerpete was spot on about Toure!!!

A goal worthy of a striker...(adebayour missed his chance whilst Kolo did himself proud)...and also poise, and challenge of the ref when Alonso clattered into him and did not even get a card...a classic Toure moment...asking the ref why!

Fantastic play from him.

Henry worked damn hard...and even in was fated that a defensive mid-fielder + BOTH centre backs scored...when the forwards could not! I'm sure Redsman will write an interesting report on the game!

11/13/2006 12:57 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says..thanks nturtle. Yes I was so pleased to see Kolo prove our theories correct, but just imagine if other teams forwards were faced by him before they get to our defence???

Maybe Arsene has already shown us his'new' way of breaking down massed defences ie; by sending waves of goalscoring defenders through the middle etc. I hope so, but I also hope Arsene replies to my letter about Kolo.

It was also very noticeable that by reducing our ball players to two in midfield and replacing one with a worker / tackler (Flamini) just how great Kolo would be. Then when we are winning, by allmeans swap one lightweight with another to rest them....simple!

11/13/2006 7:30 pm

Blogger T said...

Yes, your article was so well timed! And we scored from a corner too... unbelievable!!

There are so many positives about the performance and result against Liverpool, and maybe the most important is clearing the psychological hurdle of winning a significant match at the Emirates.

I'll wait till Redsman's review to write more about the match and the rest of the weekend's action....

Breaking news is that Iain Dowie is no longer the Charlton manager having 'parted company' with the club. Dowie is an analytical up-and-coming coach who I have previously tipped to do well in management so I'm quite surprised that he should leave after only twelve games in charge. I wonder who Charlton have lined-up as a replacement?

11/13/2006 8:36 pm

Blogger T said...

By the way, good quote from Thierry about the total team effort of yesterday's performance:

“But the commitment today was more than 100 per cent. You saw everybody defending. It was pretty weird. Everybody was defending and we got a defender on the score sheet. That's a team for you.

“You saw everybody was happy with whoever put the ball in the back of the net and when we had to defend, everybody was doing it. That's what it is going to take if you are going to be successful. It's not that easy. This game was important to make a point against a good team. Liverpool played well but the commitment was on our side.”

11/13/2006 9:01 pm

Anonymous Tripping said...

I agree that both Cesc and Gilberto need to be able to have a breather. And yes, two season ago I think that moving Toure back to CM would have been a consideration (and I think it's a good idea here or there for this season). But not now. Wenger won't consider moving one of the best CBs in the world out of defense. But I think that yesterday demonstrated what he can do as a sweeper type of CB, with the DM dropping back into defense. Not exactly a sweeper, but like one. I think this fluidity, movement, and swapping of position suits our play more than simply putting Kolo in as DM on a long term basis. Who's going to pick up a CB marauding forward? No one. There are several in the pipeline who could take Gilberto's place - Muamba, Diaby, Song. And Cesc - Rosicky, Denilson, Merida. Again, I realize the problem is the present. But Kolo himself also needs a breather now and then.

Regarding the captaincy, I think that while Henry remains the nominal captain, Kolo has taken on a more vocal and active role in leading the team. Perhaps this will be the case. Titi the figurehead and Kolo a leader behind the scenes. Wenger won't strip Henry of the armband. It's the wrong move now.

Key comment about commitment, t. Reminds of Pires. I loved the guy, but after his injury, he would only put a foot in for the "big" matches. I'm seeing the same thing from Henry this season. Though it's already asking a lot of him to play as a lone striker.

11/13/2006 10:46 pm

Blogger T said...

Quality comments Tripping.

11/15/2006 10:34 pm


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