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A View From Oz: Post FC Twente

All in all tonights game was a decent enough performance. Four goals from four different scorers, two from the wings, can not be frowned upon but I can still only view this victory with reserved optimism. Yes there were positives, Theo scored, Nasri looked assured while on the field, Denilson was immeasurily better than on Saturday, Cesc got some match time and Gallas looked as if his winning mentality and concentration were back to normal, but there was also an equally long list of negatives that were evident against Fulham. RVP's confidence in front of goal must be as low as I've ever seen it (though he's involvement in the build up play was a positive), Nasri is another fragile body who looks certain to miss games, Bendtner was average at best, Theo's decision making must still be questioned at times and Almunia's inability to either stay on his line or come for balls, repeatedly getting caught somewhere in the middle, is a frightening prospect for when we play a team with genuine pace and finishing ability. Also one would have to doubt this twente sides ability to even hold Hull to a 0-0 draw. For mine, the best thing that can come from this performance is some continuity leading into the Newcastle game, get the feeling of the free-flowing football that is our trademark back in the players feet.

Another positive that may come from this game, more specifically from CL qualification, is that we may see the signing or two in midfield that so many of us believe is required. Wenger is as frugal and financially responsible a manager as there is in top-class football and I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if now that the 20 mil or so that comes guaranteed with group stage qualification is assured we see the signings we've been waiting for wrapped up in the next few days.

An issue I touched on in my last post, was that of not just signing a player to appease fans or for their reputation (eg; Alonso or Barry) but signing the right player/s. Since Vieira left Arsenal many Gooner's have been aching for the void he left in our midfield to be filled by a similar player, one of drive, leadership and genuine bite. Names such as Appiah, M'Bia, Muntari, Makoun and Yaya Toure have been touted about as players capable of filling that hole, Diaby was a man we all initially thought and hoped was the natural heir apparent. The problem with this line of thinking, that we lack something unique that Vieira gave us since his departure, is it ignores the significant fact that since Vieira left Arsenal our style of play has changed to the extent that it makes a player of his ilk redundant in a 4-4-2 formation.

Let us get one thing straight before the doubters begin to question this, Vieira was not a defensive midfielder. Vieira, in his time at Arsenal played with either one of Petit or Gilberto behind him in midfield cleaning up and intercepting when the dynamic Frenchman journeyed to far down field in a typical attacking foray. When it is considered in this way it becomes obvious as to why Wenger does not see Diaby as a central midfielder, because if he plays behind Cesc (the indisputable centre point of this side) then there is essentially no defensive midfielder. Granted Diaby is not of the same quality as Vieira, but neither are Toure or Appiah, and for any player such as these to work compatibly with Cesc in midfield it would require us to play with a constant 4-5-1. Take a look at how both these players clubs opperate. At Barcelona Yaya plays in behind Iniesta and alongside Xavi, a play making defensive middle in the Pirlo/Alonso mould. Together these two give Barca a sense of balance either on their own would leave a gaping hole. The same is true for Appiah in his time at Fenerbache where he and either one of Terici or Aurellio played in behind the attacking focal point, Alex. So although a player with similar power and drive to Vieira is clearly something admirable it would not work in our current set up unless this player was utilised alongside either Denilson or Song, with Cesc in the hole in front. A midfield of Cesc and Appiah/Toure has no more balance to it than a midfield of Cesc and Alonso.

On another note altogether I would just like to pay my respect to the Twente fans. Brilliant over both legs even though their team wasn't. This is the way to support your team when they are down, when all seems hopeless and lost. Staying behind your team no matter what, keeping the party going, keeping positive and sometimes hoping your vocal support will provide a minor mirracle, no matter how unlikely it seems.

Cheers for another day people. Much respect to the Twente travellers. Ozi!




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The Journalist

Writer: Ozi Gooner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday August 28 2008

Time: 11:31AM

Your Comments

Interesting to note that Wenger has said recently that Cesc could play in defense as a sweeper such is his footballing intelligence. Maybe the concept of CMs being a pair one attacking and one defensive is out moded as long as sufficient defensive intelligence exists within the overall midfield balance.
Amos.
nice article but feel you've been a tad harsh on almunia and bendtner. almunia came out once during last nights game, but the offside flag had already been raised. bentdner i thought didn;t have his best game but at least he kept at it and got his reward in the end. I thought we played well last night, and i'd say this twenty team, while not the best, are probably the same standard as fulham so it was a big improvement from saturday. 4 games now this season, 3 wins, and only 1 goal conceded. we'll sing a CM this week no doubt and then it's onwards and upwards
Labwam
Almunia was acting as a sweeper, due to the lack of opportunities Twente had. Bentdner made a lot of selfless running, and was only a couple of slightly too deep pass from getting on the scoresheet a lot earlier than he did. Song looked decent in the middle when he came on!
navydave
Is eboue improving or is it just mi!!!!!!
gunner24
Wasnt Nasri pulled of due to illness? How do you come to the conclusion he is another fragile body who will miss games Ozi?
Aussie Gooner
I was impressed with Eboue when he came on, showed some good dribbling skills and passing. I thought Denilson and Bendtner were both poor except for when they combined for that goal. Maybe they need more games together, but I don't think Cesc and Denilson will work together in midfield. Like what i've seen of this De Guzman, wouldn't be disappointed at all if he was brought in. He's only 20 but seems to be mature in the way he plays rather like Cesc and Nasri.
jubair
Yes Nasri was pulled of because of a stomach upset, he also missed most of last season at OM due to illness not injury. I don't think he looks fragile at all.
jubair
The De Guzman rumour is pretty strong - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1050137/Arsenal-beat-Everton-Feyenoords-12million-enforcer-De-Guzman.html - i think he is too young tho..ut i wldnt really be surprised
number14
No, matter of fact, i would be surprised..i don't think another 20yr old is what we need.
number14
I was at the game last night and Almunia was immaculate apart from one mad dash off his line. Harsh comments on him and clearly inaccurate i'm afraid! Nasri isn't suceptable to injuries, last season he had meningitis for christ's sake and last night he had the squits, hardly makes him 'suceptable to injuries' does it? Bendtner ran his nuts off last night and nothing quite worked for him but he deserved his goal for pure perseverance.
LondonGooner
I partially agree with Ozi. The point he's making about Almunia is in general, and he does not look as commanding as he should. Uncertainty rules far too often, when it comes to deciding when he should come off the line. Unles he improves that aspect, its only a matter before someone punishes that.
prits
Almunia worries me in general. He is a steady keeper, could be first XI for most PL teams but is not in the Lehmann, Cech, Casillas bracket of being a championship winning keeper, and he never will be. As for Nasri, I wrote this before the info that he was sick came out and so I retract the fragile body statement.
Ozi Gooner
decent performance but this was a very inexeprienced side who had never played at this level ever before hence nothing to get overly excited about - almunia is a decent keeper but he is far from ideal, his decision making has always been suspect and yesterdays rush of blood is just 1 example of that - sagna and clichy have started slowly this season and sagna especially has looked a bit ring rusty - denilson is really not the partner for cesc and i feel of all the players that have left, flamini will be the most difficult to replace - on the wings, nasri looked assured and a fantastic crunching challenge early doors which is something hleb never did in his arsenal career - theo took his goal really well but still needs to show that little bit more - maybe expectations are too high but he still blows a bit hot and cold - up front VP had a bit of a nightmare, couple of wild shots and one sitter whilst Bendtner didnt have his best game, looked a bit off the pace but worked hard and got his goal - encouraging but 3 points at the weekend and a midfield signing to partner cesc would go down well
u-man
 

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