Date:Sunday October 1 2006
Throughout last season and indeed, this season, we have seen that Arsenal are one of the best passing sides in Europe.
Last season we would spend 60 minutes passing the ball around our opponents 18 yard box, concede and spend the rest of the game banging balls up the park in the hope that Henry would suddenly learn how to head the ball. That was the story of the majority of games last season. It damaged our confidence and obviously, our points tally come May.
This season, however, we are passing the ball around like it`s our right to keep it but we have something that Vieira took with him when he left- penetration. I had a little to say about this last night but I'm going to say more today.
We all saw last season that Fabregas has great movement and great passing. Well this season he has applied that same class to his game but taken it further up the field. Every man and his dog knows that he has an eye for a pass. It`s usually his 60 yard, cross field passes that see praise heaped on the little star but in my opinion, it`s not those passes that are going to be vital to us this season. Its the little flicks, through balls and delicate chips on the edge of the area that put players like Henry, Hleb and Ljungberg through on goal that are going to be so vital this season.
Cesc's other great asset is his ability to make room for himself. Its something that goes largely unnoticed by the majority of people but I think that its what separates Cesc's from players like Carrick and Xavi, well that and bags of class. He doesn`t just move into space, it`s much more than that. He can send players in the wrong direction without using the skill players like Henry, Rooney or Ronaldinho would use. I dare say he resembles the legendary Bergkamp in that way.
The other player offering superb penetration at the moment is Eboue. With 3 assists in 3 games, he is playing the best football of his short career.
He is showing an ever increasing level of intelligence in his game. Last season he would bomb forward when ever the team was attacking. This season he knows that the time to go forward is when the ball is moving up the right, offering support to Hleb. I would go as far as to say that Eboue is one of the major reasons for Hleb looking so good this season.
That, combined with other players returning to fitness and form means that I have gone from the eternal pessimist to an optimist.
A month ago I thought that we were going to have most of the problems we had last season which led me to believe that we would be aiming for second spot at best, but now I'm sure that we can not only compete for the top spot in the Premiership, but also realistically compete for the Champions League and FA Cup.
To summarise, the future's bright, the future....you guessed it......is red and white.
Article submitted by simmy8_2000
Date:Sunday October 1 2006
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