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Found this article on Soccernet all about Le'Bob and his roles within the team, and the change of position for Jose Antonio Reyes.

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The top of the Premiership scoring charts is normally the preserve of strikers. It is unusual to see a midfielder there and still rarer when he boasts the best goals to starts ratio in the division. But Russell Hoult's error at Highbury on Saturday gifted Robert Pires an eighth goal of the season. He has only started seven games.

But the fact that five of Pires's 12 appearances have been as a substitute is revealing. Is the Premiership's most prolific midfielder in danger of losing his place? It would appear an unlikely upshot of 56 goals in little over three years - a total few strikers have bettered - but Pires has already been deemed surplus to requirements by France coach Raymond Domenech.

By his own admission, Pires has been weakened by a kidney infection this season. It certainly explains why he has had a bit-part role for much of the campaign. He is also an undeniably effective substitute with a particular aptitude for applying the coup de grace against tiring teams.

Squad rotation can explain many team selections. However, before Pizzagate, cathartic penalties and questionable refereeing, Arsenal's trip to Manchester United was also notable for Arsene Wenger's interpretation of his strongest 11. Edu was unsurprisingly preferred to Cesc Fabregas and Jose Antonio Reyes, rather than Pires, occupied the left wing.

The young Spaniard may regard that as a mixed blessing. A bruising encounter with Gary Neville only encouraged the United full-back to continue in the same vein in last week's Spain-England friendly. But it was an indication that Wenger regards Reyes as the first choice in his favourite role.

Wenger's record buy is more of an orthodox left winger, though there is little orthodoxy in the way Arsenal attack. But Reyes also shows greater devotion to his defensive duties and, especially away from home, his willingness to chase back provides a contrast with the often peripheral Pires, his perseverance in adversity a comparison with the sporadic anonymity of the Frenchman.

After his £17 million signing from Sevilla, Reyes was seen as the heir apparent to Dennis Bergkamp. After early outings up front, he has become increasingly apparent to Pires as a rival for the left midfield position. It has necessitated a new role for the more experienced man on Arsenal's trips to Rosenborg and Panathinaikos.

However, the incomparable Dennis Bergkamp has made the position of deep-lying striker a specialist task. Pires has mastered the perfectly-timed, angled run to meet Bergkamp's passes, but looked altogether less convincing when deputising for the training, driving but non-flying Dutchman for away games in Europe.

Bergkamp has seen off several supposed successors in his 10 seasons at Highbury so perhaps it is no surprise Wenger is considering extending his contract. Pires, too, has talked about ending his career at Arsenal though, at 31, he has rather longer to go.

But in what capacity? In the short term, Wenger has options in an otherwise decimated squad, perming three from four of Pires, Reyes, Bergkamp and a reinvigorated Frederik Ljungberg for the wide midfield roles and the position behind Thierry Henry. But when Chelsea visit Highbury on December 12, it will be telling if Pires is again the benched member of that quartet.

The enchanting Reyes and his clone, Robin van Persie, appear the future on the left. Ljungberg was out of sorts last season but is showing a renewed hunger on the right of midfield. Which leaves the Bergkamp role, and a battle with a host of pretenders from Arsenal's junior ranks.

The cocksure David Bentley, the injury-prone Jeremie Aliadiere and the Italian prodigy Arturo Napoli offer rich promise but lack Pires's pedigree and his record of scoring goals at senior level. His strike that decided the derby against Tottenham was extraordinary, a result of touch, confidence and impudence, embellished with a soft-shoe shuffle to deceive Paul Robinson.

But it was an exception. So, too, was the audacious lob that left Aston Villa's Peter Schmeichel flat-footed and highlighted Arsenal's artistry in their double year of 2002.

Reyes: Has ursuped Pires in his favoured left-midfield role. (Empics/Empics)

Pires plays a prominent part in the sweeping, one-touch moves that can take Arsenal from box to box in a matter of seconds, but the majority of his goals are the product of his predatory instincts, positional sense and calm finishing.

Those who bemoaned the absence of a traditional centre forward in the Arsenal team ignored the evidence that Pires was doing the striker's most important job: scoring goals. Without playing in attack, he rendered Francis Jeffers redundant.

And in the process, he epitomised Arsenal, playing with skill and a swagger but, his critics would suggest, hampered by his fragility. As the English champions attempt to navigate their way out of a blip caused by their Old Trafford upset and avoid another early European exit, Pires, like his team, is under pressure to show a tougher side.

If he does not, his future could be as a feared substitute or even a second striker - but not a first-choice midfielder.
 

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khimik said:
Found this article on Soccernet all about Le'Bob and his roles within the team, and the change of position for Jose Antonio Reyes.

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Pires plays a prominent part in the sweeping, one-touch moves that can take Arsenal from box to box in a matter of seconds, but the majority of his goals are the product of his predatory instincts, positional sense and calm finishing.

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this quote desribes PIRES totally, and i hope wenger keeps him in the future, but with fabregas, and van persie appearing on the scene it is difficult to choose between old and new. Pires is scoring the goals and that is wat Arsenal needs so keep him on :stuckup:
 

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he should be playing every game in his favoured position, Reyes as the newcomer should be moved around, also it's obvious to anyone Reyes is far better as a No.10 than Pires, if Pires is played as a No.10 tonight i will throw my telly out of the window. :rolleyes:

as for his supposed defensive weakness, we didn't let in too many last year when he played LW every week did we ? he covers very well, the main thing is though his effect on Cole and Henry, he brings out the best in both with his crisp passing and great running off the ball, this is the best left hand side on THE PLANET. :proud:

also what is the writer on talking about van Persie ? he hasn't played on the left once yet. :googly:

and the writer is also jumping to some sort of conclusion that Pires is better as a sub, why ? he hasn't had much option this season has he ? and even in years before when he has been sub he is always a player that gets into the game quickly.
 
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