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Sunday, December 03, 2006

4-4-2 Arsenal at home: now we're talking!

The only potential positive I could take from Arsenal's defeat at Fulham on Wednesday was that it may have shaken Arsene Wenger up enough to return to the 4-4-2 system for the reasons that I wrote about on Tuesday (You can check it out in the 'latest articles' section to the right).

So when I saw in the opening seconds of yesterday's match against Spurs that Van Persie (who had an excellent game and is getting better and better) was taking-up a central position with Adder and Rosicky was starting wide left I got a good feeling that we would put in a positive performance. And as it turned out Arsenal did look a lot more lethal and direct having two strikers in the central position buzzing around the centre-back pairing of Dawson and King, and the four Arsenal midfielders demonstrated that they have enough about them to not require a fifth man in the midfield to support them in home Premiership matches.

Captain Gilberto and 'perpertual motion' Fabregas combined well in the CM, Freddie was at his fighting best on the right and Rosicky was fantastic in the Pires left-midfield role that Wenger had originally stated he had been bought for. It's sad to see that Tomas picked up another injury yesterday - I hope it won't keep him out for long because not only is his creativity excellent but he is shows to me in his effort and demeanour that he is a leader.

The defence was solid too yesterday but I want to focus particularly on Johan Djourou. I wrote a post about the young Swiss centre-back back in August ("Johan Djourou has fantastic composure and acceleration off the mark") saying that the apparent ease with which Wenger felt able to accept Sol Campbell's departure was because he knew that Johan was ready for more exposure to first-team football and that I saw in him good qualities which made me agree with that assessment. Since then he has stepped-up effortlessly and gives me enormous confidence every time I see him because he exudes outstanding talent, athleticism, concentration and composure.

I am impressed with the way Djourou is so light on his feet in his anticipation to move quickly and his spring in the air is awesome. For me he has earned the right to displace the gutsy but less naturally talented Senderos - who has struggled on his return to the team in the past week - in the stakes for first-team football and is an excellent cover-option for either Toure and Gallas.

The 3-0 win was good and much needed after a demoralising week but equally important for me is that Wenger went back to the proven successful tactics of 4-4-2 for home matches. I feel a lot more confident about our ability to beat teams who look to retreat all players into our half with the system that has been so prolific for us in previous seasons under Wenger, and I'm sure the AFC players feel likewise. Well done Arsene for reviving it yesterday!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says.....As usual 't' you were 100% acurate with your report. I am still of the opinion that we can improve this team further by the better use of our best players. As you know I am a great advocat of a double strong pairing in front of our defence ie:
Back four of Eboue Gallas Djurou Clichy with Kolo & Silver taking it in turns to be stopper ( as per Makelele) and attaking. This would reduce the amount of midfield creativity but would be brilliant for us in Europe and big away games.

Playing my way would mean that some players would start on the bench until the pattern of the game has been established.Therefore I would like our creative pairing of Fabrigas & Rosicky would take care of the wide positions and buzz around the box to supply Ade & VP.

I really would love to see the look on teams faces coming out to face this team also knowing that the bench will have a lot of talent to call on :- Almunia, Hleb,Walcott, Henry if fit, Senderos.

Hopefully rumours of a bid for Nzogbia are untrue, but I would love to see us go for Bale of Southampton & Richards of Man City. The latter being a future England centre half I think.

12/03/2006 12:36 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Well done T - I think Arsene may have read a few posts on EFT!!

I would say Djourou is much more athletic then senderos but he has his moments when he is fooled by there is still much to learn...thankfully...he's good on his feet...and was it he who passed to Adebayour for the assist? It looked like it!

For me VP did a hell of a lot of chasing...and really did Ade...give them some credit...not goal machines....but really giving the opponents a hard time.

Say what you will...about Eboue's attacking play...he really does need to stay on his feet and defend properly..and stop moaning about being fouled. His dive during the Champs league is still inexcusable in my mind...and he need to get better...otherwise I feel Lauren would be far better.

Onto Porto...and this puts us in a great mood...may we be successeful and breath better in time for another derby with Chelsea on Sunday!

12/03/2006 1:31 pm

Anonymous Birkby Slim said...

I have to agree with the comments about Djourou - he has to be the first choice third choice CB. The guy is going to be the best probably better than Kolo which is saying something because imho Kolo is the best CB in the Prem bar none but JD is only 19! Obviosly you can't be the finished article at that age but what a prospect. He has all the qualities required and has the edge on Senderos who sadly still gets caught out of position too often and is waaaay too clumsy.

I believe the provider of the through ball to Ade was Kolo and it's that, combined with a deadly shot, pace and tackling ability that suggest he could be a huge presence in midfield. I agree with the guy who suggested putting him in there with Gilberto on occasion to add some muscle and control to CM however I don't think Cesc can be as effective on the flank as in the centre. In that situation we would be either playing a physical side like Bolton or trying not to lose like (maybe) against Porto next Weds. In that event we're probably going to play 451:

Lauren/Eboue Gallas Djourou Clichy
Walcott Toure Fabregas Gilberto Rosicky

Which makes us look very solid and creative with pace and guile on either wing plus any one of three strikers who can do a job.


12/03/2006 2:38 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Thanks for the correction Birky Slim on the assist! Well done Kolo!

At the end of the day...Gilberto is captain...and might be for a Wenger will not be dropping him for a while yet, or push Kolo up front.

With Gallas back would push Djourou back down...but he's got plenty of time on his hands to make it in the cup competitions. Senderos and Djourou don't make a bad pairing and as part of the Swiss Guard...maybe that's a good thing.

Henry looks to be out for a while though...hearing tha it could be the new year before he is fit again...that's difficult...but who knows....hopefully the remaining fit strikers take up some of the slack!

12/04/2006 1:46 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

pk, before you all get happy you played a SPurs side who didnt really play like Liverpool didnt and Sheff Utd didnt, plus van Perise handballed for the second penalty and Rosicky wasnt touched for the first, and Adebaoyr was offside. So laugh and be happy now and when a team plays you harder than SPurs did then you can behappy. You were very lucky.

Spurs til i die

12/04/2006 10:21 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says....Hi Spurs fan til U die...thats how it should be mate, but lets not get carried away with imaginary adverse decisions going against you.

The fact that the two old Liverpool ladies on BBC and of course SKY (say no more ) backed up your moans.

The truth is however that Rosicky was hit & fouled wether or not your mate touch the ball also. Adebajor was proved by TV that he was onside when the ball was played. And yes VP did touch the ball before being hacked down by the two carthorses beside him, but if you were looking through unbiased eyes, you would have seen that Jenas pushed his arm onto the ball so therefore it was unitentional handball. That means in eyes of the football laws mate, it wasnt deliberate, so no foul.

It would also have escaped your notice, but not the comentators that Freddy was blatanly fouled by carthorse Dawson long before the other three instances, and THAT was the most obvious penalty of the day.

Just thank Poll that (A) Henry was not playing and (B) that AFC were off colour otherwise it could have been a cricket score.

Sad but true, Spuds do not give us a good game nowdays so we have to wait for Chelski next week.

12/04/2006 6:33 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Hey, GunnerPete, whats your problem? Hansen and Lawrenson are former LFC players, their opinion has nothing to do with LFC, so why drag the club's name into every discussion where H & L give an opinion? It's their own individual opinion, and if you can prove the 'bias' they hold against Arsenal as a result of their connection with the club, then display it here for us to see.


12/04/2006 8:20 pm

Blogger EL said...

For what it's worth:

The first goal was on side if the rules are based on where the players feet are rather than the torso or head but it was so close that on side is hard to argue with Spurs til i die. The first penalty was not a penalty in my view, as I'm led to believe that if the ball is pushed away from the path of the player in control of it before the tackler makes contact with the player's legs it's a fair tackle, unless the follow through by the tackler is deemed dangerous or wreckless which I don't believe Chimbonda's was. The second penalty was complicated by; the handball, the grabbing of van persil by Jonah and the fact that Poll can only see what he has a clear view of. But Jonah's approach was clumsy and I reckon it deserved the penalty.
In a sense all this is by the way because 3-0 without any doubt accurately reflected the wretched display which 'Tottenham Tottenham no-one can stop them' brought to this London derby. For me, big questions hang over all the Spurs players. Questions like; aren't you supposed to improve with games Assou-Ekotto? And do you know where the gym is Berbatov? And are you really fit enough to play Ledley? But the biggest question hangs over Martin Jol because I don't believe the arsenal players played the way they did because they just had it in them. I reckon wenger instilled it in them the same way maureennio or ferguson so obviously do with their respective teams. I can't help noticing that unlike the 3 managers just mentioned, Martin Jol has a habit of being extremely honest after matches and I'm begining to wonder if it's a sign of strength or weakness? Almost every time wenger, ferguson or maureenio lose they look and sound hard done by no matter how the game went and they seem to have a very self-centred perspective of things. Martin Jol has been quoted as saying "We're going backwards". So who's to blame for that then Martin? I hope he knows the difference between purposeful honesty and resignation because many more performances like this and I'll start expecting the latter.

12/04/2006 8:50 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For what it's worth:

GunnersPete is a old moany sag. We played crap so I agree with you there but the goals came from stupid decisons from the referee and vanpersie was not pushed to thathandball, rubbish. They got SPurs on a lucky day so they can smirk all you like. They put the arse into Arsenal. Why didnt Defoe and Berbatov
and Lennon and Jenas play better? Bad day at the office n lucky Gooners

Spurs til i die

12/04/2006 9:09 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks for the comments everyone... and its good to get the Spurs perspective from EL and Spurs till I die (but to the latter lay off getting personal with Gunnerpete).

My perspective on the three goals:

Goal one: The first was legitimate because Adder was level with Chimbonda at the time of the thru-ball as seen by the naked eye and Sky's graphics. The first goal was always going to be important in this match given the evidence of Arsenal's matches at the Emirates so to get our noses ahead was psychologically huge for us.

Goal two: Although I see GP's argument I would say that the fact Chimbonda got the ball first before the player would deem it a fair challenge and therefore not a penalty.

Goal three: there was a handball before VP entered the box but there is a definite question of intent because Jenas was flailing his arms too.

The first penalty decision may have been lucky but as Wenger said we earned some luck thru the manner and sharpness of our performance.

EL, on Assou Ekotto- I don't know why he was pushed ahead of Lee because I thought the South Korean was a good player at LB for you last season.... and why he did he suddenly get rid of another LB I rated, Erik Edman?

12/05/2006 9:05 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, you gona make me then? We played crap, simple as, nothing about Arsenal playing us up as your mate seems to think. Not getting personal but if he wants to throw it about like Arsenal played us off when we didnt even play, he s the fool. Wasnt cricket scores against Botlon and fulham was it? I jusdt hope Henry shifts off and then well see how about cricket scores.

Spurs til I die

12/05/2006 11:01 pm

Blogger EL said...

Cheers t.

Erik Edman was pretty good going forward but tended to get caught out of position when defending and had a terrible habit of giving penalties away when put under pressure around the box especially from taller/stronger players, which includes most of them.
Young Pyo-Lee is ok but like Assou-Ekotto is just not in the same class as Chimbonda, Dawson or King so our left side is a weak spot whoever we put there and has been for some time. Maybe Ekotto will actually improve in time but i'm not holding my breath.

Re: Spurs til i die.
Ahem.... we just saw what arsenal are like without henry. Remember?
And as for "Yea you gona(sic) make me then?" It looks like the Spurs team are not the only ones with a little growing up to do.

12/06/2006 12:18 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, against a side that didnt play?? Oh yeah they really looked tough then. Look how the pool were rubbish sheff utd watford, and look at everton middlesborough newcastle when teams play (and not behind the ball as the moaners like to say) they get a goal and the gooners can only score one back. With no Henry and with Defoe Berbatov and Lennon playing good we could have had them but we didnt play good, yeah?

As for growing up, lets hear when they do get played hard the gooners and see if they say anything about it here. They cant admit it they think their team is so good "really would love to see the look on teams faces coming out to face this team also knowing that the bench" yeah thats what one said the almight Arsenal wouldnt be so mighty if Henry left FOR GOOD and then they had injuries THEN we see how tough they are.

Spurs til I die

12/06/2006 9:27 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says....well said 'el'. In the fifties my 'Spurs' uncle to to take me ( a new Gunner) to watch a then great side with Ditchburn, Bailey & Robb ( who I trained under as a kid in Finchley) naturally he was biased as we all are, but the friendly atmosphere there was great. When did it all change to the hatred thats at every ground now?

Redsman....did I offend the 'Pool' ? I dont think so. All I said was that the two old ladies on BBC ( who were Liverpool players of repute) backed up the naturally biased moans of the Spuds. They did ! Anyone who has played the game at any level could see (a) At real speed Poll could only see what I could see, and that was Rosicky through and Chimbonda legs carrying right a a penalty. VP was being fouled from the moment he entred the box and yes the ball hit his hand but anyone who did not have a personal slant on the game could see that Jenas's tried to put his arm across VP but only succeeded in assisting the ball being touched.Therefore unintentional handball....therefore no foul.

The fact that H&L had the chance to pre empt these discussions but decided to blandly dismiss the obvious is the very reason I believe they are past their sellby dates. Liverpool are the only North Western club I have any time for, but too much importance is given to their ex players. That is my opinion too. What I cant understand is why the BBC have to have two old stars from one team only as 'analysts' any way? We all need a panel of mixed supporters to give their views on big matches like local derby's. For this match two old Gunners & two old Spurs would have been my opinion.

12/06/2006 9:35 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson may well have their individual agendas dictated to them by BBC personnel, is my speculation. They pass opinion on all the teams, I'm sure you are aware of that, and have not just been critical or praising of Arsenal, of the other teams too. It seems they are not allowed their opinion as al of us here are, particularly in relation to T's article of previous. Whether criticism or praise is earned is a question of subjectivity rather than objectivity and there is no winner. Many hold one view, many hold a contrasting one, others may well sit on the fence. Yet you mentioned 'Liverpool ladies' with yet again the Liverpool reference incorporated into their views, and I have mentioned before in T's article that this was wrong.

Your final paragraph is fine, they could be considered overdue in their current TV positions, and the BBC have also used Alan Shearer, Garth Crooks, Ian Wright and Lee Dison (last week Sunday I believe). Yet I haven't and wouldn't lambast Lee Dixon or Nigel winterburn had I felt they mentioned something wrong about Liverpool on account of their connection with Arsenal, simply no proof of it. That's the case with any former player or personnal connection to a club. If I felt the view was wrong, I say or state so and why.

Having an opinion is one thing but we use credibility to seek further in that direction to comprehend how much of a rumour or a fact an opinion is.


12/06/2006 2:19 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks El re your views on the Spurs left back situation. I noticed that Lee played against Boro and I think at this time with Ekotto struggling that this is the best selection.

Re Hansen and Lawrenson: they are no match for Andy Gray!

12/07/2006 9:32 pm

Blogger EL said...

Oh dear god! Andy Gray's complete pants! He's sky's version of Johnathan Pierce when he was with Capital radio. Completely over the top all the time and really aggrivating. I seriously don't need a commentator to indicate just how exciting a game is throughout the match, I can make that decision myself without being bludgeoned with enthusiasm.

12/08/2006 11:11 pm

Blogger EL said...

Mind you, at least he can spell 'aggravating'.

12/08/2006 11:13 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I think some of the analysis on TV by the pundits have been OK, if not suspiciously or potentially choreographed before broadcast. I've found Andy Gray on the whole interesting to listen to, though there can be a wide divide in theory and practice when it comes to football. Some in the business believe the pundits are not there at the time to experience how it is in a given situation, why it is easier for the pundits to give opinions from a little leather seating.


12/09/2006 3:58 am

Blogger T said...

Lol, EL, it seems we couldn't be more different when it comes to some of our likes in football!!

Seriously, Andy Gray is sharper on analysis than any of his BBC counterparts!

12/09/2006 10:16 am

Blogger EL said...

t, I agree that Andy Gray is sharp and knows his stuff, just as Johnathan Pierce did at Capital radio but I find his gruff, overtly enthusiastic style really annoying. And why does he always shout? At least when J. Pierce moved to telly he calmed down a bit. Andy's still Tom Waits on hyperdrive.

Horses for courses eh!

12/10/2006 5:16 pm


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