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!