Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Schalke 04 v. ManU

I watched the ManU game last night from the perspective of a compare and contrast with the Arsenal style of play post Sunday’s debacle at Bolton. Admittedly Schalke 04 were pretty poor  though Neuer had an outstanding game – it seems he’s committed to leaving Schalke at the end of the season so we will see ManU or Bayern splashing the cash to gain his services.

My thoughts on ManU:
  • Strong central defence around VdS, Rio and Vidic (though not really tested last night).
  • Pacy full-backs who are better getting forward than defending.
  • Central midfield without a recognised enforcer although, as Souness pointed out, the modern game is less about crunching tackles than positioning and intercepting. Carrick stayed relatively deep providing a Gilberto-like wall in front of the back four.
  • Pacy wide-men who are willing to take the opposition on.
  • Pacy front two who show strength on the ball with a willingness to take the opposition on and commit players.
  • Break from defence, especially after defending corners, with pace.
  • Not afraid to play the long ball either from defence or cross-field.
  • Get bodies in the box.
  • Great movement and inter-changing from the front two and wide players.
  • Disciplined defence and high work-rate from the front –six when not in possession.
  • Confidence and belief.
  • Confidence and belief.
  • Confidence and belief.

The biggest differences for me are the tempo of the game, the movement and willingness to take risks by playing the longer ball. In my opinion, there’s not a lot of difference on paper between the ManU first XI and ours, though their strength in depth is greater.

The problem for Arsenal is that, unless the approach changes, bringing in new players and outing a few won’t make a whole lot of difference. The new players will be inculcated in the Arsenal way and any proclivity to get in the box or shoot will quickly disappear.

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