Wednesday, 19 May 2010

What next for the Arsenal?

I read a reported comment from Jose Mourinho the other day which was essentially quite perceptive.
Referring to the 'Invincibles', he said they won it (Premiership) one way and now Arsene is trying to win it a different way which can't be done. The 'trying to win it a different way' is quite correct. As I see, the essential elements of the 'Invincibles' side and previous incarnations under AW were:
- solid back 4 and goalkeeper
- 2 primarily defensive central midfielders to shield the back 4
- high tempo counter attacking game
- creativity up the field particularly DB10
- outstanding striker
The Chelsea teams in the Abramovich era have most of the these characteristics whereas the current Arsenal side doesn't:
- the back 4 is reasonably solid but hampered by goalkeeping resources who are not of the same standard as Seaman, Lehmann (and Cech and Van Der Sar)
- Song is the only defensive midfielder
- game is low tempo which aims to maximise possession and consquently the time it takes to get from one end of the pitch to the other (though occassionally as against Fulham recently there are glimpses of high tempo)
- creativity is in midfield and relies on identikit highly technical but defensively suspect players - Nasri, Rosicky, Arshavin, Fabregas
- RvP keeps getting injured but his strike rate (I think) is not as good as Henry, Drogba or Rooney
So, horror of horrors, selling Fab4 and getting Yaya Toure as part of the deal will start to move Arsenal back towards the pattern of AW's successful teams. David Villa has also been mentioned though it seems he may also be Barca bound. But Villa would be lost in the current Arsenal's slow tempo game. Valencia are essentially a solid counter-attacking side that that rely on fast breaks that utilise Villa's pace. Selling Fab4 is not necessarily a bad thing as part of the reason for the slow tempo is Fab himself who does tend to slow the game down.

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