Josh's analysis of players in different positions

The web will be awash with Twentieth anniversary of 1989 stories and blogs today. So for those Gooners who wish to relive memories. I recommend the tributes on Arsenal official website here. However Arsenalinsider will this morning have an Anfield free zone. I am going to look at how Arsene Wenger plays players out of their natural position, The Walcott Factor, problems before the game on Sunday and finish up with a bit on the behaviour of Arsenal stewards.
Wenger really infuriates me when he plays certain people in positions where they do not want to play or in positions where they cannot play.  It has happened for a few years now and although I am fully behind Wenger, it does annoy me sometimes.  I know in certain areas that we have too many players for one position.  I am of the opinion that this makes the squad imbalanced, and rather than play players out of position, some people should go; not because they are not good enough but because it is unfair on them.
Sometimes I feel Wenger is trying to be too nice to certain players rather than playing players in positions which will help the team.  The best players should play in their best positions as that will maximise what we get from them.  I will address Arshavin’s claims to play centrally and the fact the Wenger seems persistent with Diaby in the role our magic Russian wants but here are a few other examples first:
Robin Van Persie on the left wing or as a lone front man.
This season we have seen Wenger deploy RVP in both the left wing position and as a lone front man.  Neither of these are his position.  Against Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, he looked lost out wide left as he was forced to track back more than he has ever done.  He was also restricted in his playing space and seeing as RVP’s greatest assets are finding space off the front and creating chances from clever areas, it stifled him.
I understand that RVP played as the lone front man at times this season and it worked a few times, albeit against the likes of stoke at the Emirates.  Against Man Utd however, it just did not work.  He got isolated and there was no real focal point to our attack.  Van Persie has excelled in behind a main front man and his tendencies are to drop off and link with midfield.  When he is asked to do the job of a target man, we lose that link to midfield.
That leads me on to Nicklas Bendtner
There have been times where I have seen Bendtner on the right wing and Van Persie up front on his own.  I understood Wenger’s decision to have Bendtner on the wing as he developed his game but I think at times he should be given the role as the lone striker.  He harries opponents a lot more and offers something else up front.  He can hold the ball up and link play much better than earlier on this season.  Anyone who has seen Van Persie on the right for Holland will know he can be devastating from there.  He can cut inside on his left and deliver good crosses or take a chance at goal.  Bendtner gets in the right areas and I think that is his best asset; he knows where to be to score.
He has learnt his trade on the wing at times this season, and I think it has made him more a more clinical player.  He has been arriving into the box late, particularly from the left wing, and has not had time to think about the chance.  He has had to attack the ball first time and it has made him a better striker.  I think he is ready to move inside as either the lone front man with the likes of Arshavin or RVP behind him, or in a strike pairing with Eduardo for example.
Now I will look at where to play Diaby and the Arshavin issue:
It is clear to me that Wenger is still trying to find Diaby’s best position.  He has tried him on the left but that does not work.  Although his dribbling is good, his lack of left foot and positive thinking means he should not play out there.  The play is too slow compared to the likes of Nasri, Walcott and even Rosicky.
Therefore, Wenger has tried him off the front man.  This is probably his best position in all honesty.  However, the question lies, is he a better option that those around him.  I am in no doubt that we have far better players to play there.  Therefore, Diaby is in a bit of a pickle because Wenger has better options.  However, he seems to be too loyal to Diaby at times.  I understand about balance to the side and therefore Arshavin has played wide left but I think there are other options to gain the full potential out of the Russian,
Arshavin has said he wants to play centrally and after his four goals against Liverpool I would not argue.  The first 3 goals all came when he moved centrally.  Even his second came when he anticipated the ball in an area where the strikers would be.  It is clearly his best position and I think he could get the best out of any of the strikers at the club.  His link up play with Cesc also suggests Arshavin could be the link between attack and midfield in the new 4-2-3-1 formation.
It may mean the end of Diaby in his favourite position but he has been too inconsistent to merit too many chances just yet.  The balance can be restored with Nasri on the left, or Walcott, Rosicky or even Vela.  The beauty of the 4-2-3-1 formation is that those behind the front man can rotate.  Diaby is too one dimensional for that whereas RVP, Theo, Nasri, Rosicky and Vela can play in each of the positions.  Wenger needs to play our best players where they play best and Arshavin plays best centrally.
That is just a few examples in detail but there have been things like Denilson on the right, Eboue on the left over the season too.  It just infuriates me.
Now to the Theo Walcott Factor!!!
Against Stoke we blitzed them first half.  There was positive and direct running from midfield as we looked to pressure them quickly and get in behind, almost like the Arsenal of a few years ago.  The catalyst of this was Theo Walcott.  Although he did not take all the plaudits yesterday, he got in behind many times and stretched their back line immensely.  I only really noticed his effect on the side when he went off at half time.
After the break we didn’t look in behind so much and played much more methodically and slowly.  Bendtner looked to come inside a lot and we did not get the width and directness that Theo brought to the side.   When he was out, people said we missed him, but I am not sure it was clear as to why Theo was such a big miss.  His skills and finishing might be a little rusty from the wing but sometimes a player can do so much more than score goals.
I was in the march of solidarity for Wenger on Sunday and I thought the support was tremendous.  Let’s be positive over the summer and look forward to next season.  Wenger will address what needs to be addressed and then I think we will be ready.
I do not know if anyone else suffered in this march when ridiculous Stoke fans went crazy and began throwing full cans of beer and bottles into the group marching.  While were hemmed in by police they were let loose to cause havoc.  It was awfully dealt with until riot police came and I kind of needed a rant against the lunatics from the North that started an incident with no real reason.  I hope it is reported to the hierarchy of Stoke and an apology comes out.  I know it will not but this is the type of thing that needs to be ousted from football.
Lastly…a rant at the stewards.  I was at  the Chelsea game, towards the back of the Lower Tier.  Everyone behind me was standing and no one had a restricted view, I specifically asked people that.  However, one steward came over and for no reasonsaid
“Don’t take the piss, we’re keen to throw people out today
This is despicable behaviour from stewards who are there to ensure people are safe and havoc does not break loose.  No one was harmed by me standing up, even those behind me told him it was fine.  Yet he had a power trip to try and make me sit down.  Then lo and behold, one guy stood up to cheer for the team and he was forcefully removed by the police.  At other grounds I have never seen anything like this and I think it needs to stop.
I encourage any fans who have been badly treated by Arsenal stewards to write in and complain to John Beattie , Stadium manager The Emirates Stadium, London N5 1BU.

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