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.