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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bentdner should have played instead of Rosicky

Congratulations to Birmingham for their 2-1 win over Arsenal in today's Carling Cup final. An even match seemed like it was going to enter into extra time until a devasting mix-up between Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny gifted an open goal tap-in for Obefemi Martins to win the cup for the Blues.

For me, Arsenal lacked sharpness and composure today while Birmingham's players looked comfortable and hungry in sticking to their maximum-pressing game plan combined with hoping to pick up opportunities from long balls to Zigic. The Blues' style won't have them challenging for championships but they can be effective in cup football - as proven this season in their Carling Cup success this season.

From the Arsenal perspective, I was slightly disappointed before the match to see Rosicky start ahead of Bendtner for the final, and I was underwhelmed by the cup final performance of the Czech attacking midfielder. For me, Arsenal's playability shifts down gear when Rosicky starts matches - his movement, decision-making and execution of pass and final ball has not been to a high standard this season, and so it proved again today.

I would have much preferred for Nasri to occupy the Cesc central playmaker position and start Bendtner in one of the wide forward positions. Bendtner has his doubters but there is also no doubt that he more potential to be a goal-scorer and match-winner than Rosicky. In a cup-final starting as favourites you should go with firepower and look to close the contest early, but Wenger looked to choose otherwise today when putting Bentdner in the bench.

Moreover, Bentdner's height in the air would have been a useful defensive asset to be depoloyed against Birmingham's predictable set-piece tactics - which was the source of their first goal where the 6 foot 9 inch Zigic headed home.

Wenger will dwell heavily on this match and I hope he carefully considers whether his team selection was correct. For me, the team selection in the match against Chelsea on 27 December 2010 was the turning point for our season - it was the best team selection I had seen Wenger make in a long time and produced an immense result. On the other hand, this team selection looked to have a flaw in my instinctive analysis of it and in the end the team didn't function and flow as it could through the midfield and attack.

The cost of this was that we were vulnerable to being hit to a knock-out sucker-punch in the final few minutes. Martins landed it and Arsenal can have no complaints.

Well done the Blues.


Anonymous The Captain said...

Perfect assessment dude! I'm afraid Tom Rosicky is not up to speed nowadays and Nik Bendtner was well worthy of a start. You called that one wrong Arsene and it weakened us. I'd leave Tom in to have another work out on Wednesday, but let's get back to the hit squad for Sunderland. Come on Arsenal, let's get over this quick!

2/27/2011 9:57 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Captain, and ditto your come-back call!

2/27/2011 10:36 pm

Anonymous 5am said...

Thought exactly the same thing - TR not himself anymore, as the chance he had near the end just outside the box would have seen hi strademark blast but instead he wimpishly decided to try and pass, which was scuffed.

Don't agree TR should be kept in for the week game....whilst acknowledging Nasi better suited to the central role, also think Diaby would've been better use than TR - again, for ability and height reasons in dealing with Zigic. So I'd much rather see Diaby start against Orient, which should give Song the needed rest too.

Couldn't believe when VP gave TR the arm band, as dawned that AW would then never take him off!

Anyway, we deserved to lose - would've been too much to live down about the penalty and sending off that were due from the start.

2/28/2011 12:30 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont know about that - Arsenal had the player to out-think and out-play Birmingham and on paper you guys were to win, but you guys didnt count on Birmingham's passion, while you guys thought you could turn up without Fabregas and without Walcott, put in arshavin put in Rosicky, they're good enough and job done. You guys had the ball more than Birmingham and didnt want to know about any more than that really. Now youre blaming one player when you have a tool of a player in thqat Koscleiny, got more bookings than a london restaurant.

Think Wenger thought the same that you guys would pull it through, waited and waited waited waited and didnt make changes. Everyone thought it was game over on paper and just proves it aint like that, mate. On the day you guys didnt function like Birmingham did, bottom line. end of story, mate.

2/28/2011 6:28 am

Blogger Skipper said...

I haven’t seen much of TR to comment but I trust T’s judgement.

On the match itself – I think the Arsenal players involved in the winning goal will take this really personally. This will hurt them a lot. It’s a sad way to lose a game.

Arsenal have a great chance to win the title. United have a difficult run in, if Arsenal can stay strong I believe they can win the league.

They definitely have a good chance of returning to Wembley in May to put right the wrongs of yesterday.

I was so happy when Spain won the Euro and the World Cup – I thought at last the beautiful football has been rewarded.

Arsenal are the only premiership team who try and follow the Spain and Barcelona model of football. They have gone so long without a trophy, so naturally the doubters of this model will come out to criticise. As a neutral I would love nothing more than Wenger to be rewarded with the premiership title for his perseverance with his philosophy.

Come on Arsenal do it for Mr Wenger.

2/28/2011 2:10 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

rosicky yesterday seemed very isolated for me from the rest of the midfield, although you'd expect that this position employed off the striker would be his preferred role (his best performance this season was against blackpool in the same position where he seemed to be something close to his previous self) he just isn’t getting involved enough in the game. maybe im imagining it but ive been observing him closely the last few games that he has played in and it seems that his team mates just don’t pass it to him that often for some reason, particularly young jack, I hardly recall him completing more then a couple of passes to him all game (a stat would obviously help here). Maybe using him alongside jack as a 3rd central midfielder rather then as a practically auxiliary striker would help?
however there's no denying the very sad fact that rosicky is simply no longer the player he was before he was injured. after the match yesterday I needed to be reminded of how good this guy was coz I thought this simply isn’t the same player that I watched tear tottenham apart in the CC a few years ago, so i went and looked up a few old articles and videos on him, and the guy was really something else. people say 'whats the use of him' or 'why does wenger keep faith in him' well the answer simply was because he could run a game almost on his own when he was at his best and wenger hasn’t forgotten that. It was almost impossible to take the ball of him. the perfect pass and move player, strong in the tackle, had surprising pace to get past players, was everywhere looking for the ball to move on and most importantly broke into the box at a constant rate (something that rarely happens now, although he's playing closer to goal now then he was when he played at LM). don’t have to take my word for it, a few reminders of how good little Mozart used to be…

2/28/2011 3:45 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks all for your comments - all very solid opinions and great to have your input.

2/28/2011 11:44 pm


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