Arsenal - Kolo can't switch his twitch
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Kolo can't switch his twitch

In our search for a defensive midfield player many have proposed internal solutions. Moving Kolo Toure forward from defence has been one such popular suggestion but it`s an idea that has had cold water poured on it by Wenger who said recently "He`s more a guy with big explosive power but he`s not a long distance runner. Physiologically he`s not a central midfielder."

Others have asked why Wenger sees Song as more of a central defender than central midfielder. It`s a position that Song has played but Wenger questions his long-term suitability for the role saying, "He can play in central midfield. But can he play 60 games there? I am not convinced"

Some have taken this as simply a question of stamina but stamina is a characteristic of aerobic training that can be improved. Wengers application of sports science isn`t quiet so simplistic. A more compelling reason that sports scientists will cite is principally determined by genetics. It all depends on the type of muscle fibre you have.

The composition of our muscles and the proportions of each fibre we have are determined predominantly by our genes. Slow Twitch (Type 1) muscle fibres 'fire` slowly and, as they also fatigue slowly, can be found in endurance athletes. Fast Twitch (Type 2) generates short bursts of strength or speed much better than 'slow` muscles but fatigue much quicker. Though there is some evidence that training can change muscle fibre composition only to a limited extent it seems this can only be from 'fast` to 'slow` and not the other way around.

Olympic sprinters will have in the order of 80% 'fast twitch` while marathon runners will have much the same proportion of 'slow twitch` muscles. Central defenders are called upon for quick bursts of explosive activity. Sprinting short distances, leaping to head the ball, sliding into tackles while central midfielders are required to cover a lot of ground in more or less continuous movement. Its here that muscle composition can determine which player physiologically best fits which task.

At the highest level footballers are elite athletes and a variety of factors go into determining performance not solely physiological make up. Psychology, nutrition and conditioning all are part of a complex mix. Training programmes are designed to improve every aspect of a player`s physical make up but understanding the basis which you work from is key to maximising natural ability.

Sometimes it can seem that Wenger is just being obdurate when deciding he knows what is best for a player but usually there is a scientific basis for such thinking.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 1 2008

Time: 1:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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If Wenger doesn't believe Song can play there for the duration then he needs to dip into the transfer market sooner rather than ...... well, sooner, because there is no later at this stage in the season. Lol
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01/09/2008 13:14:00

Very interesting article. I wonder what position I am suited to based on my physiology!
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01/09/2008 13:15:00

Calm down lads, weve got weeks left....oh!
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01/09/2008 13:23:00

I know my position Vin .... The Bar holding a pie and a pint!!
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01/09/2008 13:27:00

If Song has played in the middle before he came to Arsenal then surely he is capable, whatever the science tells you. having said that he now plays at the back for cameroon so maybe that is his strongest position. I think if den gets injured then Song is next in line but thats just my opinion.
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01/09/2008 13:35:00

I am a Dennis Bergkamp or an Alonso. Not a lot of movement, but a great passer.
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01/09/2008 13:45:00

we really need someone in that position, even if he's not going to be in the starting eleven..... WengerStyles=Total football
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01/09/2008 14:22:00

I'm a Van Persie. Mediocre pace for a striker, but I'd like to think when I move, I move wisely. (Unfortunately I don't posess such a sweet left foot).
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 14:24:00

I'm like any Spurs player...pure rubbish!!!
Bradys Chips
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01/09/2008 15:10:00

Rocky - yep, me too, daydreaming that I'm actually like Thierry Henry!
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01/09/2008 15:24:00

Im William
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01/09/2008 15:50:00

except i play the real football..none of that nfl crap, ahaha
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01/09/2008 15:51:00

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01/09/2008 16:27:00

I am like a Joey Barton. I like to see how many convictions i can rap up each season on and off the pitch
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01/09/2008 16:56:00

I am like a Joey Barton. I like to see how many convictions i can rack up each season on and off the pitch
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01/09/2008 16:56:00

Whoa, very interesting. I think I'm like Cesc, a bit slow but intelligent when I move! lol
Lou the Gunneress
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01/09/2008 16:56:00

I''m a goalkeeper so what muscles i have got doesn't bother me. not much running around see! lol!!
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01/09/2008 17:31:00

Yep, i have to be a goalie as well, as i'm not that fit, so pacing about in goal would be about my limit. Also i could use my best muscle my mouth, to shout at the rest of the players!
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01/09/2008 19:31:00

Very informative stuff. I have a learning disability called dyspraxia, which is like a mild form of autism. But even though it's an almost entirely neurological condition, it also has muscular implications, dyspraxics and sufferers of autism tend to have very, very low muscle tone and suffer fatigue very easily..........sometimes it's nice to have an excuse for being a lazy, athletically challenged wastrel!
Little Dutch
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01/09/2008 19:43:00

Good insight into why some players' positions cannot be changed. That said, with the lack of activity so far, it does look like a defender like Djourou or Song may have to cover the Dm at some point of time during the season.
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01/09/2008 20:51:00


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