Josh's post Emirates reflections

After the Emirates Cup, a few things stuck out in my mind.  Firstly, Arshavin and Eduardo are crucial to any title hopes we may have.  Next, the balance of the side is so important and may well enable the better players to play where they are, at their best.  Lastly, Wenger really is stubborn sometimes regarding certain players, especially the defence!
Arshavin and Eduardo were brilliant on Sunday; their link up play was a joy to watch and the way they gelled with Fabregas was very promising.  If Wenger can get those three ticking we may well see attacking play that compares to that of Pires, Ljungberg, Henry and Bergkamp in their prime.
Eduardo proved that he is much more than a goalscorer as he dropped into spaces in between defenders and was able to bring midfielders into the game.  His hold up play was decent, his runs were very astute and his finishing clinical.  His ability to beat the offside trap was refreshing now that Adebayor has moved on.  Wenger may well see Eduardo as the man to replace Ade and this may well lead to a different type of build up play; one that is more effective.
Against Rangers, rarely was a ball pumped up in search of a target man and this encouraged the likes of Arshavin and Fabregas to get on the ball and look to move the ball quickly.  This enables the likes of Arshavin to dominate games and stamp their mark on events.  Arshavin has been acknowledged by Wenger as the man to make the difference and the more fluid style of play means we can see the best of him once more.
Eduardo is able to find space and his ability to be one step ahead of defenders means that things will change in and around the box.  Last season we became too static in the final third at times and although he scored goals, Adebayor’s movement was too slow to allow those around him to find space.  Eduardo gives defenders no time to settle and demands the ball before his space is shut down.  This means defenders are dragged across and out of position which provides the room for midfield runners to exploit; this also means Eduardo is able to compete aerially. Torres is not the biggest striker but his timing of the jump and his awareness of defenders around him means he is able to win his fair share of headers.  Eduardo is the same in that he can get in front of defenders and beat them to the ball and this cancels out height advantage of many defenders.
We then have Fabregas who is one of the best at seeing the right pass and playing it.  With Arshavin playing off this supply and the likes of Van Persie and Nasri able to come in and provide a similar attacking threat, the new Arsenal looks promising.  The key to this attacking prowess is the balance of the midfield.  Against Rangers we saw Song sitting in behind two central players.  It worked a treat as Merida and Fabregas combined to help Song as well as feed those further forward.  It became a 4-3-3 formation which made us compact in midfield when we did not have the ball, but also more explosive when we gained possession.
Tomas Rosicky could be crucial to this set-up once he is fully back to health.  It was great to see him back during the Emirates Cup and against Atletico Madrid, it almost seemed as though he had not been away.  He was keen to get on the ball and was able to provide a bit of pace and directness to the midfield.  He puts in a fair share of work defensively but more importantly, his game is similar to Cesc’s in that he can carry the ball, open up space and find the right pass.  Too often Fabregas has been stifled in a 3 man midfield with Song and Denilson because he is clearly the focal point.  With Rosicky alongside him and Arshavin another option out wide, the opposition will find it far harder to shut down Arsenal’s game.
The beauty of the 4-3-3 and the way Wenger has sent the lads out to play is that it is so versatile.  Players can interchange constantly which allows Wenger to bring out the full range of their creative skills.  People like Arshavin can never be kept out on the left as we saw when he drifted in field to initiate the move for both goals against Rangers.  Being forced to work our way up field at pace means Arshavin’s best attributes – dribbling, pace, creativity and shooting – are used to their full effect.
The energy of his attacking players could be a reason for bringing back Vieira.  Within an exciting, positive team, there needs to be a powerhouse.  Vieira may not be able to get around the pitch as easily as he once could, but he can still put in a tackle and provide leadership in the centre.  The likes of Cesc, Rosicky and Arshavin will provide the legs around him and allow Vieira to work as a shield for the back four.  He will not be full season player but his experience in the centre of the park may help to ensure we are protected when we storm forward.  Song can learn from him as he is the natural foil for our attacking talent; it may be one of Wenger’s most astute moves; just like it might have been Ferguson’s when he signed Michael Owen.
Wenger can also ensure he has the right balance in every game because of the depth of attacking options.  If a Plan B is needed, Nicklas Bendtner provides a different option as the focal point of an attack.  He has also shown that he can play out wide in a front 3 also.  Adebayor did not have such versatility and this may have been in Wenger’s thinking when he let Ade move on.  Van Persie can also play in any of the front 3 positions which gives Wenger the chance to allow freedom on the pitch reminiscent of that of the Invincibles.  Add to that the pace of Walcott on either flank, the flair of Nasri when he returns, and we look exciting as an attacking side.  Now we just need to make sure we are balanced elsewhere and this could be a fruitful season, despite all the negativity in the media.
It seems Wenger understands the massive importance of this season to Arsenal and he is doing all he can to ensure that the balance of the side, the system and the attitude is perfect in order to get the best out of his players going forward, but also to provide a new solidity at the back.
One thing I worry about though is his stubbornness about his defence.  He said we have 8 centre backs (now down to 7 as Touré has gone) but if you look closely this is very vague.  The list is as follows:
Gallas – 1st choice
Vermaelen – must be 1st choice after 10m fee
Djourou – showed he can make the step up
Song – versatile CB/CM but cannot be counted as both.
Silvestre – poor season and is he really good enough should likely injuries occur
Senderos – on his way out
I can only pick 6 serious contenders and it is likely that will be down to 5 shortly.  Song is currently our best DM in the side so cannot be counted as a serious CB unless someone is signed for the midfield.  There lies the answer.  Wenger cannot go into the season with his defensive options as they are.  If he decides Song is a CB then a defensive midfielder MUST be brought in; if he decides he is a DM, then a centre back must come in.  Wenger seems to be stubborn on Silvestre; although the guy tries hard, he is over the hill.  He was never more than a fill in at United and I am worried about him as a 4th choice CB.
Whether Wenger’s comments are a cover up I will never know but it seems that he is determined to prove he was right to sign Silvestre.  Reports claim that Silvestre was simply a quick fix after other transfers were not concluded and that is all he should be.  He should be moved on for the balance of the squad and the q uality of depth.  I will never doub t his commitment to the side as I support any player wearing the red and white shirt, but sometimes players need to go.  Senderos would be a better option IMO as he has proved a run of games brings the best out of him.

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