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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Denilson should play at Boro to regain Arsenal midfield initiative

At the start of the season when I saw Newcastle away was our second match I would have taken a draw. And with Newcastle under fire from the fans and the media and Arsenal taking a depleted side up to St James Park in an evening match I reckoned that it was certainly not going to be automatic three points (The good Arsenal Analysis site did an article yesterday predicting this too). Plus there was no way the Magpies could have surrendered like they did against Liverpool – that was a capitulation that you can only get away with once in front of your own supporters.

Contemplating a testing physical battle I think Wenger was right to go in with a defensive midfield pairing of Gilberto and Diarra. But there are clear limits to fielding this duo – neither has proven strength as creative or attacking central midfielders. They are both primarily anchor-midfield players – and therefore the attacking drive and creative spark of the team was always going to be more limited than usual yesterday.

I rushed home to see the last three minutes of play – turning on the TV with nice timing to watch four consecutive Newcastle corners! Yet the radio commentary and after-match opinion that I saw indicates that as predicted by the central midfield pairing Arsenal indeed lacked their customary potency, rhythm, control and flair.

To regain the attacking impetus in our central midfield I would like to see Denilson come in against Middlesbrough. For me he is the closest alternative we have to Cesc and with his presence in the CM the passing rhythm and flow through the midfield can by upped a few notches for the benefit of the whole Arsenal team.

For me Denilson has the all-round ability and character to become a very good player and I was with Bob Wilson at the start of the season thinking that he would be the one to watch. This hasn’t happened for the young Brazilian – simply because he hasn’t had much opportunity to play. When he started against Wigan and against Sevilla last week he did found it difficult to impose himself in both games. However, because of the ingenuity, energy, and fighting spirit that he would provide I still think he is the option to turn to at the Riverside in a bid to maintain the points push and therefore the confidence factor.

And then with any luck the likes of Cesc, Hleb, RVP (apparently unlikely) and Flamini can then return for the showdown with Chelsea the following week.


Blogger Skipper said...

It will be interesting to see how Arsenal cope with all their injuries. Borough tend to do well against big teams at home. Denilson has not played enough matches to warrant a start, if he does this will be a real test for him.

12/06/2007 2:01 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well if you only saw 3 minutes of the game how can you dismiss Diarra that much. I thought he was absoloutly fantastic, battling for everything and proved to me that he should be cesc's partner. matty f is brilliant dont get me wrong but i love having a combatitive midfielder like our no8. did any1 see when he evaded about 4 tackles and kept running through about 5 players. he was unstoppable. not to mention when he went for butt on numerous occasions.

12/06/2007 2:42 pm

Anonymous PG said...

I think Diarra was fantastic, but he performs even better as a holding midfielder. Diarra and Gilberto were not in sync with each other yesterday and that awkwardness created holes in our defence and resulted in some of the missed passes. Denilson and Diarra on the other hand have played well together and so I think that should be the midfield pairing against boro.

12/06/2007 3:35 pm

Anonymous RomfordPele said...

Don't think denilson is the issue - in the absence of hleb and fab we need rosicky involved as much as possible. If AW is gonna persist with this 4-5-1 then Tomas needs to go central, play off Ade and run things from the middle.

By all means stick denilson in on the left but SuperTom needs the ball much more than he saw last night and we need to stop Ade becoming isolated laike in the 2nd half

12/06/2007 3:35 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ye Diarra was one of our better players.

The biggest issue was that Eduardo was on the left way too often. I mean you can either play our most natural goal poacher in the position he's played and scored bucket-loads from since he was a kid, alongside a player fabulous at hold up play in Ade with our normal left winger Tommy on the left.....or put him on the left instead and play Tommy behind the striker. Regardless of if Tommy is a bit better there, he's easily good enough to dictate a game from the left and sacrificing Eddie's goal threat in thew name of a pointless 5 man midfield was throroughly frustrating. Why won't Wenger see that Eddie needs to play up front or not at all? He's just wasting his abilities.

12/06/2007 3:37 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks everyone for your comments - a lot of good points made.

I want to make clear just in case there is confusion that I like what I've seen so far from Diarra - he has more mobility and physical power than I remember seeing from him at Chelsea and for me a pairing of Denilson and Diarra has a better attacking/defensive balance on paper than Gilberto and Diarra.

Yes, the support striker role for Adebayor is problematic with RVP and Hleb out. Walcott, Eddie, Bendtner and Rosicky are all options and they are all capable. Rosicky is a player I really like and he can do well in the centre but it may disrupt the balance of the side because with Hleb and Diaby out (who is only a makeshift LM anyway) there really is no one to take his place on the left. Eddie may be able to play on the left but I agree with the last commentator - if he is to play he should do so up-front not only because this is his natural position but also because he doesn't look to have the mobility at present to do the extra work expected when playing in midfield.

12/06/2007 10:29 pm

Anonymous astamaan said...

Yeah Diarra was fantastic if you want to spend the whole game tackling!!!!!!!Well I don;t want to see the gunners play like that every week..Denilson is a far better option as he is a far more complete midfielder with some vision..Diarra has poor distribution and that will affect our game. As a defensive option he's ok but in this team it helps if you can pass accurately and even better if you can create or possess a eye for goal as all our other central midfielders can do, honestly Diarra has a long way to go (possibly as he is the newest) but for me he is at the bottom of our CM pecking order!

12/06/2007 11:12 pm

Anonymous GunnerPete said...

Hi 'T' good article but one or two points are up for debate. I really believe that Arsene has made a few selection clangers in recent weeks, but he is still the King.

I would have started the game against Newcastle with 4-4-2. Bentner to partner AdeB...a frightening duo and it would have shattered a suspect defence.

Secondly I would say tha Diarra was the man of the match definitely not Smith, and Gilberto was the dunmmy of the match. I have never been a great fan but he was very suspect throughout and I am very suspicious of Internationals who are upset about losing their regular place to younger men. He looke as though he was trying to lose throughout that first half...we counted 8 out of his first 10 passes (after others had broken up attacks) that went straight back to the opposition. This gave the illusion that Newcastle were playing well. In fact they were a bunch of hard running cloggers who lacked class. Gilberto also gave away two unecessary fouls on the edge of our box when there had been no danger.

Therefore my team for Boro would be:

Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy.

Eboue, Denilson, Diarra, Rosicky

AdeB & Bentner.

Subs to add any extra needed.

Jens, Walcott, Senderos, Hoyte, Eduado.

Yes no Gilberto. I bet AW will not play this powerful side, and instead he will play 4-5-1, and pray that AdeB does it again.

12/07/2007 6:54 pm

Blogger T said...

You were right GP! Just posted an article on the defeat.

I didn't see Gil against Newcastle but he struggled today. Again, Diarra got some good reviews against Necastle but for me today he was too rushed when in possession and did not pass well.

12/09/2007 10:11 pm


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