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Interesting read ...

I realised that I had to take pride in our season when it became clear that we could not overturn Chelsea about 3 weeks ago. Pride after the injuries this season (Sol Campbell only playing 14 games in the Premiership and Gilberto 9 so far) with a 20 and a 23 year old in central defence and a teenager in midfield. When we lost a player we could only replace him with a debutant not some seasoned professional like Geremi, Kezman or Kleberson. Having comparative points now to last season when we were on fire. I can only be proud of the team this season. And that is not in conflict with the disappointment of not doing better at home and in Europe.

I am very satisfied that we would be a better team than Chelsea when our team is together and playing with confidence again next season. We are less compact than Chelsea but we make up for that with a fiery attack and ingenuity when we are playing confidently. The problem is that our reliance in this kind of football, which I love and respect because it is philosophy-based, can be fragile when confidence is not high. It means we don't know how to play if things are going wrong and passes are going astray. We spend 90 minutes just trying to fix it rather than varying it. We lose European games to inferior teams while Chelsea and Milan don't. I looked closely at Chelsea and Milan this season to see what was so different between them and Arsenal.

Arsenal play an extremely dynamic 4-4-2. More dynamic than I've seen even in Real Madrid. Players will move around. Sometimes Lauren is more advanced than Llungberg and sometimes Gilberto is covering on the right while Lauren is trying to feed passes in the centre of midfield with Bergkamp drifting to the right because Freddie is in the box.

Chelsea on the other hand play a static 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. Static because the midfield 4 stay in midfield and the defenders stay where they are when the ball is first played forward and only change when there is either a definite attacking situation or a clear defensive situation. The full backs rarely run forward as often as Ashley and Lauren do. Chelsea hit the ball forward early from the keeper or the back. Drogba jumps for it and usually gets something then the midfield fights for the rebound. If they get the ball the midfield, apart from Makelele, moves in and attacks in good numbers, generally without full backs. The defenders generally stay put at the back because there are 5 players forward and because the ball is usually quite close to the opponent's goal. Makelele forms the first line of defence if Chelsea loose the ball in attack and then they still have 4 in a strong defensive cover, pretty much stopping any counter attacks. If Drogba misses the header the opponents cannot counter attack because the midfield is still there and you have to go through them to start an attack.

Arsenal on the other hand pass the ball forward from the keeper or defender usually using the full backs as an outlet. Vieira moves forward and Ashley and Lauren also move forward to take the ball or to put themselves in positions to receive passes. So at that point the midfield is spread out and the full backs are advanced. If Arsenal attack then, they have numbers and that's what worked beautifully last season. But when that attack fails, Arsenal only have two centre backs in a defensive position so if they don't win the ball back immediately up front, they are extremely vulnerable. That's why Gilberto is crucial because he rarely goes forward and he's much better than anyone at blocking passing channels rather than blocking people. Lauren and Cole are rarely beaten one-on-one, they are more likely to be caught out of position.

Arsenal, Real and Barcelona don't have bad defenders, they just usually have only 2 defenders left when they attack. If you don't have a Gilberto or Makelele to support them then you concede. Luxemburgo has already shown which direction he might want. He's bought his own Gilberto in Graversen and has started varying the play since crashing out of the champions league - playing more long balls than usual which delivered success against Barcelona.

Next season is going to be about which of Europe's top teams keep or go for the Chelsea format. Italian teams have been doing this well for a long time but AC Milan does so extraodinarily well with more variation than most Italian teams. Chelsea is good at this but they have less variation than Milan and more than most. Which teams will refuse to change and decides to continue passing the ball as the most accurate, realisable and predictable way of playing. Real under Luxemburgo are already changing to the variation format. For Chelsea, the inefficiency of long ball is hugely mitigated by the fact that their midfield remains static during long balls to mop up or fight for any rebounds and thus are more likely to win what would have been wasted long balls. So the old argument in modern football that long balls are uncontrollable and unpredictable so therefore, undesirable is not the case with Chelsea and Milan. Above all Eidur Gudjohnsen is very good at dropping into midfield and supplying Lampard, Cole and Duff while Drogba is fantastic in the air. Milan have Kaka and Shevchenko who also influence their own variations of long ball and passing while Arsenal have just one way.

What will happen next season will be interesting. When I hear Wenger speaking, I get the feeling he's learned something this season. Something very important. We'll see. Alongside that will be a decision on how to use van Persie and what to do with Reyes. I am looking forward to all of that.

Just a few notes:

Eidur Gudjohnsen should have been selected for Player of the Year. He is the most under-rated player in the Premiership!

Fabregas should be the Young Player of the Year this season, not Rooney. Fabregas played the biggest team in the Premiership yesterday at the age of 18 and stood up to Gallas, Terry, Lampard and Makelele many times during the game. By the end of the night, he was competing on equal terms. It's easy to be a striker at 18, all you need is skill. A midfielder needs tonnes of intelligence. It generally doesn't come without the experience of age. Fabregas is a great promising talent and my Young Player of the Year.

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Thoughts?
 

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Its going to be interesting. Author failed to mentioned the point that WHAT actually made him think that Wenger have learned something? I was highly disappointed that it took 80 minutes for Wenger to realize that we should throw in Van Persie against Chelsea. Wenger has always failed to make run time crucial decisions during the match. This is his major drawback.

Our signings will be very crucial this summer. If we buy Trezeguet, then I agree with the author that something is going to change now. It will be interesting in terms that Wenger will never play simple hoofball all the time. He is going to use his intellect over there too. We might see a total new dynamics of football but thats a really far cry right now.

We need a plan B. Anything a bit diverse than the way we play now. Just to give the opposition something to think about. I still remember we scored the first goal off a cross against Chelsea in 2nd leg of UCL QF last season. No one expected Lauren to cross. No one expected Reyes to get in the dirty zone and kick the ball in.

What I'll prefer is that we buy a fox in the box. Put him on the bench. When nothing is working, throw him in the field and start pushing the opposition with more aerial balls. No matter how many players the opposition put behind the ball, aerial balls are always a threat. So technically speaking, we will have two plans with opposite strategies. It won't be a simple 'kick em out' strategy to neutralize us then.

but then ..Wenger knows. I am just a fan sitting outside and simply observing things.
 

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thoughts are if we start playing like Chelsea i will stab myself through the heart with a rusty breadknife, we should be aiming for the RM philosophy of football not this defensive humdrum long ball game.

also note to the author, Fabregas isn't 18 yet, stop wishing his life away :pp
 

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play the same game, but WITHOUT DENNIS, its hard to hear, but he has to leave or younger players wont get the chance they need, if we get TREZ, i say we still change nothing we approach the game the same way, but we will need a new winger, hopefully SWP, and hleb to create chances.
 

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Question is, with most of the names being bandied about as possible transfer targets for next season, can you play the same type of football as you have for the last 2 seasons or so ?

Bergkamp is probably gonna see very little action if at all next season. This dynamic system that Arsenal play relies so heavily for its success on a player like Bergkamp, who is able to spot the runners and play inch-perfect balls for them to latch on to. If he is replaced by a static striker like Terezeguet, its going to be very hard to repeat this formula. In-fact, its hard to think of any other forward in the world with bergykamp's ability in this department.

SWP as a winger will lend more width, but will he able to cut inside and make the runs into the box a la Ljungberg ?

I'd really expect a very different style from you guys next year, not necessarily less attacking, but probably not as fluid as it is now when the team is playing well. It may be less attractive, but who knows it may turn out to be more successful.
 

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that's why i am against getting a static striker unless he just wants to sit on the bench and come on after 80 minutes and we can aim high balls to him in desperation like we used to do with good ol' Kanu :D

i think tampering with Henry's position is utter lunacy so no Trez for me, we need a striker that will fit in around Henry and definitely not one that will just stand in the area not even moving the CB's about.
 

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I can only think of Totti who could replace Bergkamp without significantly affecting Henry, and indeed, the rest of the side's style of play. But I think you guys would have to be dreaming to get him.:D I don't see him leaving Italy, ever. Never believed the rumours linking him with Real.

If Wenger wants to persist with a similar style, perhaps the answer lies in not getting a striker, but a very offensive midfielder with a deadly through ball and great vision, who can also get into the box and score some goals. Someone like Valeron at his peak would be great for you guys, but he's crap now. Or maybe Pires could play in the center in front of Veira and Gilberto/Cesc ?
 

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You don't have to be defensive to vary the way you play. You can play attacking football and still vary itby simply thinking of new strategies and methods to attack the opposition.

Coaches like Mourinho and Benitez like to change their formations and tactics according to who they are playing and to cancel out the oppsoitions attacking players. They are successful in doing this because teams like Arsenal and Barcelona are very predictable.

Mourinho was able to beat Barcelona because he had done his research and new exactly how Barcelona would play and exactly who would be playing for them and which formation.

Most football fans off the top of their head could name Wenger's first team line up, whereas Mourinho's changes from game to game.

The best way for an attacking team to match the likes of Mourinho and Benitez is to become more unpredictable and intelligent than them. You have to think of new moves and styles which the opposite manager could never expect of your team.
 

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The Merengue said:
I can only think of Totti who could replace Bergkamp without significantly affecting Henry, and indeed, the rest of the side's style of play. But I think you guys would have to be dreaming to get him.:D I don't see him leaving Italy, ever. Never believed the rumours linking him with Real.

If Wenger wants to persist with a similar style, perhaps the answer lies in not getting a striker, but a very offensive midfielder with a deadly through ball and great vision, who can also get into the box and score some goals. Someone like Valeron at his peak would be great for you guys, but he's crap now. Or maybe Pires could play in the center in front of Veira and Gilberto/Cesc ?

our style will change obviously, i think Wengers idea is the mobile winger/striker to play with Henry, he first tried it with Wiltord and now with Reyes, for a bit of variety we have RvP, perhaps he will develop his passing game, as we all know Dennis wasn't this passmaster when he was 21 either, he was more of a goalscorer then.

so for me, someone mobile who likes to get involved in the game, show in midfield and on the wings, like Aliadiere only more experienced and proven, if Anelka wasn't such a mentalist he'd be perfect.
 

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Yeah I think you mentioned Cassano somewhere ? He'd be brilliant if Wenger can control him.
 

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Aimar will most likely be on the market. he is a very good player, has great pace and passing skills..he can dribble..i could see him fit in Arsenal nicely.

Regarding Trezeguet, i think that is what Arsenal needs. henry does score loads of goals but i still believe he is a support striker who should have someone in the box who he can create for. Also, it would be good for henry because it will take pressure off him and the goal supply wont be so reliant on him.

im not sure if Wenger has learned something because its been a few seasons where he hasnt done well in the CL and each season there is a thread just like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll beat myself up if we get Aimar. It'd be like Reyes only worse and even more injuries.
 

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Aimar is better than Reyes. but his injuries are a problem. maybe a change of environment can change that side to his game.
 

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CUG said:
Aimar will most likely be on the market. he is a very good player, has great pace and passing skills..he can dribble..i could see him fit in Arsenal nicely.

Regarding Trezeguet, i think that is what Arsenal needs. henry does score loads of goals but i still believe he is a support striker who should have someone in the box who he can create for. Also, it would be good for henry because it will take pressure off him and the goal supply wont be so reliant on him.

im not sure if Wenger has learned something because its been a few seasons where he hasnt done well in the CL and each season there is a thread just like this.

Henry isn't a support striker, he's the main man, getting someone like Trezeguet would basically just turn him into a winger. ;)

for me Henry HAS to be the main striker, it's his movement from centre to left that creates all the space in our team for the likes of Freddy and Bob. :thumbsup:
 

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I agree.

Striker sitting in the box would spoil our Plan A but Trez is for Plan B :D
 

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nEEbz said:
I agree.

Striker sitting in the box would spoil our Plan A but Trez is for Plan B :D
lot of wages for a plan B :D

hey, i've got a good idea for a plan B, how about Kolo doesn't head the ball up in the air and then not mark a striker six yards from goal ? that would be a top plan B and we might be still in the CL if we'd used it. ;)
 

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Jern Lizardhous said:
lot of wages for a plan B :D

hey, i've got a good idea for a plan B, how about Kolo doesn't head the ball up in the air and then not mark a striker six yards from goal ? that would be a top plan B and we might be still in the CL if we'd used it. ;)

Nah ... haven't worked for the last 7 seasons :sigh:
 

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nEEbz said:
Nah ... haven't worked for the last 7 seasons :sigh:
well i don't think we have tried it tbh, even with Tone in the defence we allowed Carew a free header in the Mestalla to send us out, that year it was for the taking with a semi showdown with Leeds promised.

Sendo is our new plan B :proud:
 

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Jern Lizardhous said:
thoughts are if we start playing like Chelsea i will stab myself through the heart with a rusty breadknife, we should be aiming for the RM philosophy of football not this defensive humdrum long ball game.

also note to the author, Fabregas isn't 18 yet, stop wishing his life away :pp
same here Jern
this style is our SOUL, what make us Arsenal

we must keep it with some changes
by doing more crosses to a target striker, no more


The Merengue said:
Bergkamp is probably gonna see very little action if at all next season. This dynamic system that Arsenal play relies so heavily for its success on a player like Bergkamp, who is able to spot the runners and play inch-perfect balls for them to latch on to. If he is replaced by a static striker like Terezeguet, its going to be very hard to repeat this formula. In-fact, its hard to think of any other forward in the world with bergykamp's ability in this department.
of course we rely on Dennis in our attack system
but i see our main system depends on the cross-cuts from the wings and the overlaps from the full back with our strikers draft aside (in case of henry) or deep ( in case of bergkamp)
this system need accurate passes and fresh legs and fresh minds
that's why we always play a perfect first have of any season
we always drop in december-january- february

we just need more substitutes to be fresh in all season
and need more courage from Wenger to make early subs in the game not to wait untill this BLOODY 70 minute to make his first sub

also as i pointed above
need to play a little more crosses and score more from the headers
i like this time of goals
cross-headrer-goal
we need someone like Owen really very dynamic and mobile and pacy also and won't disrupt our speedy game
 
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