Italy wakes up to the Wenger Masterplan (and TW)
I put into words what I had been seeing Arsene Wenger develop at Arsenal for the last three years when I wrote "The Wenger Masterplan is key to the Henry question" back in June last year (Check out the article in the sidebar to the right).
Essentially the Wenger Masterplan is to build his best ever team based on a recruitment of the best young players he can find around the world and moulding them individually and collectively into his superb vision of football which is to play pure, quick, attacking and passing football. I described that three of the four stages of the plan were well in progress the final and most exciting stage was ready to be executed- season after season of real challenge for success.
With the determined and successful Wenger at the helm I had every belief that this young third generation squad three years in the making were about to explode in the football public's conciousness.
The Wenger Masterplan was not spotted by many of the English media's so-called 'football experts' who was predicting the decline of Arsenal this season - tipping us to fall out of the top four clubs in England. The only people I came across not affiliated to Arsenal who believed they would challenge for trophies this season was Paul Jewell (now the Derby manager) Graham Taylor (former England manager and now a good radio summariser) and the excellent football writer for the Independent, James Lawton. They were notable because no one else gave Arsenal a chance.
England have since woken up during the course of the season to what Arsene Wenger has been developing and many have complimented this third generation side (although it is clear from the analysis that I read or hear that many do not seem to realise the extent of what Wenger is developing).
What was especially great about Arsenal's 2-0 win over the Champions League specialists AC Milan at the San Siro was that if they were unaware beforehand Italy have now been put on full alert to the Wenger Masterplan. The way this young third-generation Arsenal side took control of the match against their more experiened opponents and produced the supremely co-ordinated quick passing and attacking football which is the Wenger template was truly fantastic to watch.
Cesc Fabregas is the tone-setter of the team and is a big-match player. He set the excellent rhythm and absolute composure for the rest of the team to emulate (as is his trademark) and it was fitting that the 20 year old who is near to completing 200 first class games for Arsenal was the player who decided the match with a decisive dribble and finish from 30 yards into the corner of the net. The celebration says a lot about the player - the passion and the desire was evident. He is a captain in performance if not with the armband and a true Arsenal great in the making.
Theo Walcott than produced a cameo that people should remember. The 18 year old Englishman who has been the subject of unreasonable criticism from supporters in this country who seem to overlook a guy with pure talent and an obviously good mindset produced a Henry-esque sprint to beat Kakha Kaladze to a long ball in space - and then produced a magnificent Henry-esque slide-rule pass across the six-yard box for Adebayor to slot home. This follows his first two goals in the Premier League against Birmingham ten days earlier - the second a demonstration of his running prowess and finishing potential - and hopefully those TW doubters will be thinking again.
He will not produce every game - but as an 18 year old this is to be expected. For me he has superstar potential and this is the bigger picture that should be focused on.
Finally, when reading the Guardian article on the Italian press reaction to the game I enjoyed this translation of a description of Adebayor:
'the extraordinary atypical monument to modern football'.
A fantastic tribute to the Ade who has gone from strength to strength this season and played another strong match on Tuesday when Italy witnessed at first hand the continued emergence of this third-generation Wenger Arsenal squad - which Wenger has specifically designed and aimed to be the best yet.