Arsenal - Denilson: 'I play Flamini's role'
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Denilson: 'I play Flamini's role'

There has been a fair amount of conjectured debate about the central midfield pairing and in particular the effect that the changes have made to Cesc`s game. I was interested to read an article in today`s match programme, in which Denilson gives his view on the role that he plays.

In response to the question as to whether he has more defensive duties than Cesc his quoted reply is "Yes, this season, yes. I am playing the role that Flamini and Gilberto had last season."

Apparently he is aware that he needs to work hard to develop the defensive side of the game with Wenger pinpointing marking as an area on which to concentrate.

"That`s very important for the team and the manager has said that I need to think about the opposition more, rather than just looking for the ball all the time" he says, adding "I need to improve marking and look at the man who is running"

So that`s it then. He is a defensive midfielder. Or is he? He also tells us in the same piece " I think it is important to score goals if you play midfield" as he continues "I need to score goals or make the final pass for the strikers as often as I can."

That attitude is also expressed when he says "I don`t always play behind Cesc though, sometimes I can go forward, he can stay back. We swap and can change. I think it works well for us."

It seems he is clear as to what his primary role is but having been described by Wenger as part Rosicky, part Gilberto he also seems keen to bring more than one dimension to his game.

"…I work on all parts of my game in training because I want to stay in the team this season and in the future."

He put in a good stint as the holding midfielder in today`s game. He has the class to add more to the role, which, in the game of Wengerball can be no bad thing.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday October 18 2008

Time: 10:19PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
You're right Amos, he did more of the defensive duties today, but judging by his comments, Denilson seems a bit confused about his real role, coz his actions dont exactly co-relate with his efforts on the pitch. Of course, its good not to be a uni-dimensional mid fielder, but he prefers to get forward far too often. He & Cesc need to work out something between themselves, coz I think Cesc offers a far greater creative threat than Denilson does, when they play together.
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18/10/2008 22:44:00

as good as denilson is, the kid needs some sense knocked into his head, i believe his style of play has detrimental impacts on fabregas' game. If denilson were to be given just one role, which is shielding the back four, i think fabregas would play better, as fabregas would be able to let loose, and wreak havoc in midfield with his menacing timed forward runs and killer passes.
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18/10/2008 23:15:00

Fabregas is off form. It has nothing to dow ith Den. I personally like the idea of Fab sitting back and orchestrating the games from deep but he has just been below par. Denilson has been great this season,
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18/10/2008 23:27:00

The first goal was mainly down to Denilson failing to track the running player. He causes a massive gap between the defence and the midfield, allowing the oppositions to filtrate easily. Has happened today in two occasions if I recall correctly, and it will continue to happen unless he stops trying to be Fabregas and try to imitate Flamini's play at Arsenal. He seems to have problems positioning himself correctly, and if he is to come up against the likes of Chelsea or Manutd, where every move has an effect, he'll cost us big time.
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18/10/2008 23:32:00

I agree Tom14 - Cesc was not at his best today, and that is not Denilson's fault. Denilson is not Flamini and it's time people got past that fact and let him get on with improving as a player.
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18/10/2008 23:54:00

Improving as a player at the expense of Arsenal's hopes of challenging for the title? Hmm. I could think of many arguments against that thought.
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So it was okay for Cesc Fabregas to do that but it's not okay for Denilson?
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19/10/2008 00:41:00

Let's be honest, this is the least effective midfield partnership in Wenger's reign, by quite some distance too. The players do not compliment one another in any way, shape or form and Denilson, talented player though he is, is no more a defensive midfielder than I am a Polish lap dancer. Both Fabregas and Denilson are detrimental to one another's games and trying depserately to shoehorn Denilson into this role is infuriating evidence that the manager wanted to sign soemone to replace Flamini PROPERLY in the summer, but got too cocky about doing his business on deadline day and now we're massively short. Every game is like a basketball game for us and whenever the opposition have possession we concede the fact that they'll have an effort on goal as a matter of course because we have nobody to break up the play. Factor in the fact that our defence is midtable standard on a good day and you can see why we generally have all the conviction of a *****head on the dacefloor when we don't have the ball. When we do have the ball, I'm not sure there's a finer side in Europe at using it and hurting opposition teams.
Little Dutch
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19/10/2008 01:19:00

It's not all about central midfield. Midfield balance is poor but in my view that has much more to do with the wide areas of midfield than the centre. By and large that does what it should do. Look at the goals we have conceded this season and few of them can be attributed to any clearly defined defensive failing in central midfield. If we want to improve our midfield play both offensively and defensively we have more problems to solve on the flanks than through the middle.
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19/10/2008 01:26:00

Passenal, the time of Fabregas improving as a player was before he was even considered a first teamer, let alone start for the club on a daily basis. As I could remember it, Fabregas ran smoothely in to the team when he came into the big picture, was sometimes rough round the edges but the pros to his game massively outweighed the cons, thus him taking the Vieira's role as if it was already his. Whereas this cannot be said about Denilson. Denilson to Wenger is his main man with Fabregas in the middle. And that in itself is a problem as he still needs seasons before he could be considered Flamini standards. Fabregas was simply magnificient as soon as the balls touched his feet. His talent and class was evident at first glimpse. This is the season we were meant to challenge for trophies in all ends, and finally deliver the product Wenger has been thinkng and constructing since his tenure started at Arsenal. It will annoy any Arsenal fan to see a player that is clearly a problem and not yet developed by the top four standards to become a regular in Wenger's XI. Refer to Little Dutch's comment.
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19/10/2008 01:42:00

By all accounts the player the manager wanted to properly replace Flamini was Alonso. A more experienced player certainly but - does Alonso play the role like Flamini did or maybe even more like Cesc than Denilson does?
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19/10/2008 01:42:00

No Alonso wouldn't, which is why I never felt he would make a good signing for us. Fair point that in wide areas we're not too hot at winning the ball back, but that's kind of mypoint, we don't have any ball winners, hence the basketball comment. Our build up play was painfully slow until Walcott came on because we do not have any energy or conviction in midfield, everything positive about today's game was in an attacking sense, everything negative was defensive and we seem to be taking on the Keeganesque tactic of "anything you score, we'll score more." It'll work more often than not, but it absolutely will not formulate a decent challenge for the title. I had the misfirtune to catch the Chelsea game in the pub before our match and we are so far behind them it is untrue because we are about as solid as an inflatable dartboard. There was a point in the first half when Yakubu practically walked past Denilson with the ball, Flamini would never have let that happen. In fact, I felt Fellani, Everton's midfielder, was quite a neat encapsulation of everything we lack in midfield.
Little Dutch
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19/10/2008 02:13:00

I remember Flamini used to play like a headless chicken in the earlier stage of his partnership with Fab. He wanted the exact role played by Fab & it was never gonna work. It took him more than a season to realise it. When he started concentrating on the donkey's job, I think even to his surprise, he was one of the best for that job in Europe. I'll reserve my judgement on Denilson. He array of skills is more than Flamini. Probably, he won't be as tenacious as Flamini but we never know what is in store for us just like Flamini until Denilson find out for himself.
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19/10/2008 03:07:00

Defensive midfield is 1 of the most disciplined and difficult roles to play in a football team. After gaining 83 points last year I was not expecting to see us give such an important role to someone still learning such a key position (And by learning I mean someone who has never played this position in his life). Wenger has worked his magic in changing peoples roles before i.e Toure and Henry and we will just have to hope it either works again or we can muddle through until January.
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19/10/2008 07:39:00

Never played this position in his life??? It is pretty much the only position he has played and was brought in by Wenger specifically for this type of role.
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19/10/2008 09:44:00

Yes Amos it was a bit of an exaggeration as I do remember him playing Defensive midfield about 4 times. As Ive said above DEFENSIVE midfield is a completley unique role and Denilson and a few games Denilson has never played this role. His best performance this year was Bolton away were Song held. Im sure there is some kind of statistic to proove other wise but on the pitch he isnt shielding the back 4.
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19/10/2008 10:13:00

should be barring a few games!
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19/10/2008 10:14:00

The concerning thing is that a struggling Everton side were able to cause us problems. Denilson and Cesc isn't working currently and there's a question whether it will because they are fairly similar in the way they want to play. Gilberto and Flamini were both happy to play 'second fiddle' to Cesc in terms of dominating possesion in the centre of mid. Lee Dixon highlighted on Match of the Day some of the problems in centre mid and two of them were from Denilson, including the Everton goal where he wasn't aware enough in tracking Osman back as a Gilberto or Flamini would be.
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19/10/2008 10:24:00

Im no big fan of Denilson but it is unfair to criticise him (not that you are LD) because he is doing a job that he would not really like to do for the sake of the team. He may not be brilliant at it but maybe he is not first choice. I am telling you, Song is the first choice partner for Cesc. he has just never had the oppertunity to play them together in a 442 because of formation and injuries. If Sagna was fit today, I am sure Song would have played in DM. Hopefully that is the case anyway.
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19/10/2008 10:27:00

Im no big fan as a DM that it.
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19/10/2008 10:29:00

I thought Abou Diaby was going to be our first choice centre mid guy when fit?
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19/10/2008 10:36:00

I too like Denilson as a footballer. Its a shame injuries hampered his progress last term. I dont blame him for our back 4 being exposed just as I dont blame song for being poor at right back. Im sure given time he can play this role but how many points will we drop before he is fully up to speed and the balance of the team is correct?
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19/10/2008 10:37:00

We may need someone to play Ces role if the news of the screws are to be believed. If this story is more bull **** there must be a way for clubs to sue newspapers who write such rubbish.
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19/10/2008 10:39:00

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19/10/2008 11:08:00

I was going to say Diaby but he is no DM. I rate him as a player but he is even less of a DM compared to Denilson. Perhaps he could play the same role with more authority (i.e, sit back and tackle players with prescence rather than skill) but I do not really see that working.
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19/10/2008 11:21:00

Worth a read,19528,11095_4356530,00.html
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19/10/2008 12:47:00

Good article Amos, yes Denilson was at fault for the Everton goal, but Arsenal were all poor the 1st Half
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20/10/2008 10:26:00


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