Written by Mean Lean on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:37
A jolly good evening to you all, well we all know that it isn't as jolly as it should be but like I said yesterday, I am acting like our new shirt motto and that is forward. We have a big game tomorrow, one that I might add, feel a little wary of but nevertheless we have another 90 minutes to attempt to correct any wrongs that happened over the weekend.
While the team prepare for the Champions league match against Schalke 04 there isn't a great deal of news to talk about so I would like to discuss the make up of Arsene Wenger's new part creation.
I say part creation because like all Arsene Wenger teams, you feel he is still smoothing a bit up there and chiseling a section down there. This is usually how it goes until the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona or some such, come along with their sledge hammer and crack a chunk off and poor old Arsene has to make that trek back to the shed to drag some new cement back to his sculpture.
The turnover of players in the last few years has been quite remarkable. As Wenger Boy once explained, team building is similar to using a rubik cube, Arsene Wenger must be on the verge of arthritis on the hands, such is the constant switching and clicking of old and new players.
Arsene's formula isn't always the same when it comes to building teams, he doesn't buy one type of player to play a particular system, yes they for the most part have to be technically excellent and have a good attitude but he will readdress, rebalance other areas of the team to compensate.
The Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri team was blessed with creativity but perhaps lacked experienced discipline and we saw that with the many collapses especially at the end of that horrible season post Birmingham City *shudders*
When Cesc and Nasri were sold we changed to a more direct approach, attacking from wide areas and supplying van Persie to produce goals in his first full season in an Arsenal shirt (thanks)
Last season we had missed a player with exceptional quality to create chances from midfield but we had a goal scorer on top of his game. This season in Santi Cazorla we have that quality in midfield but have strikers who are still finding their feet.
It has been the same for some time now. In the whole time we had Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie together, we never had one season of them both fit together for the whole campaign, that is quite remarkable and such a shame.
Finding the correct balance is always the aim for the manager and we haven't quite found that as yet. In the early part of the season we noted how the team had a much better defensive shape, players seemed to have a plan and were working towards that plan. We have the best defensive record along with Chelsea to date.
Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta have given us some possession back from last season. Both keep and distribute the ball better than Song and Ramsey did last season in the same positions. Arsene switched the team last year to give us not only more bite but also greater possession. Better support for our creative players.
Theo Walcott and Gervinho in the same team made us weaker in midfield, less creative, less tenacious and less fluid. They are players who run away from the ball, players who want to latch onto passes from the midfield.
Yossi Benayoun came into the side against Tottenham in THAT game and our season turned around. In the first game of this season Arsene started with Gervinho and Walcott once more this time either side of Lukas Podolski and once again we lost a creative spark so Sunderland held firm and shut us out.
It has been noticeable that some of our better performances this season have been away from home, playing more on the counter attack and not having to bang the door down to score a goal. I think of games against Liverpool and West Ham only recently. Against teams that have sat back we have struggled to play well.
Sunderland, Stoke City and Norwich, to think of a few, all teams that are of lesser quality to ourselves yet we were unable to beat all three. Our organised, hard working (Norwich aside) team have run out of ideas when asked to break down a team with only defending on their minds.
I have watched the brilliant Santi Cazorla almost carry the creative burden single handedly since he joined the club and it is clear to me that he is missing a player on a similar wavelength.
He has played with driving players such as Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby as well as deeper passers such as Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin but in my mind, we are missing that extra spark, that player who is always showing for the ball and playing give and go's in and around the penalty box.
There has been a lot of excitement about Jack Wilshere's return to this Arsenal team and that is understandable, Wilshere is a fantastic all round player and could become an Arsenal great in time but I think the one player who we have missed a lot this season is last season's Tomas Rosicky.
Rosicky came into the team in the second half of last season and was one of our best players. His ability to knit the midfield and attack helped us to another level. He wasn't always able to find the decisive pass and his direct assists tally should have been higher but he almost always played a large part in our goals.
Rosicky would have a field day with one of those Cazorla's reverse passes in the final third, allowing him space to drive into.
But for me I think Tomas Rosicky would fit the Benayoun role perfectly, but on the right side of attack.
That would allow us to have an even more creative team, allowing the likes of Diaby or Wilshere to join Arteta and Cazorla in the center of the pitch. The wide area may not be Rosicky's strongest position but he would have licence to come inside opening up spaces for Jenkinson or Sagna to exploit, it would also allow Cazorla to switch and drop into wide areas.
If we were to play that type of team then I would hope that Lukas Podolski would be given more freedom to get into more center forward positions rather than covering his left back at the half way line.
We would look something like the following team
Depending on your preference of personnel . That is more of a combination team who should be more inventive in their passing, is stronger defensively and has greater flexibility. The one absence though is pace. Without Theo Walcott, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or indeed Serge Gnabry we would miss the speed to get in behind full backs, however that wouldn't be the case if we had Gervinho playing as central striker but playing across the width of the pitch.
Arsene Wenger has said that Tomas Rosicky is 2-3 weeks away, the trouble is that he has been saying that for the last three weeks so we have no idea what is going on there. When he does return, he will be way off the pace and will need at least a couple weeks to get back to match fitness let alone sharpness. We also do not know if he will return as the same player as last season.
I am crossing my fingers and hope that both Rosicky and Wilshere come back to form soon because Santi needs their help.
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