Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

Following in Graham's footsteps

Following in Graham's footsteps

Reading former manager George Graham`s comments about the Arsenal players that have impressed him most this season prompted me to look up a comment I had read elsewhere in an old members magazine. By which I mean an old edition rather than a publication purely for more senior members - should there be any doubt.

The comment came from Alan Smith, hero of Graham`s league title and ECWC sides. Smudger was talking about the triumph in Copenhagen in 1994 when his goal, and a stoically sterling defensive display, won us the Cup Winners Cup. Two important defensive players, Keown and Jensen missed the game along with Ian Wright. Given the way the game panned out you might have imagined that we put out a fairly defensive side but Smith describes something different.

"I had Kevin Campbell and Paul Merson either side of me in the 4-3-3 that George Graham liked to play" said the former front man.

It seems odd to think, with the dour defensive reputation that Graham had, him being responsible for deploying three forwards in a side that defended so well.

In speaking of the current side Graham talks of his surprise at how well van Persie has done as a front striker and how impressed he has been with Bendtner`s performances on the right.

"The surprising thing in the games I`ve seen was playing Bendtner wide right and pushing van Persie right up the middle to be the top striker. Everybody`s always admired van Persie`s talent but, for me, he`s not played enough games since he joined the club.

"Van Persie`s surprised me - he`s done better than expected, but it remains to be seen whether he can continue that sort of form and play up front for the rest of the season" said Graham, adding "Bendtner`s done very well on the right side of the pitch, especially with injuries to Walcott and Rosicky, so there are players who have improved a lot more than the fans expected."

It`s a system that keeps the opposition full backs busy and allows a more forward defensive line. The players that Wenger uses in the current version of 4-3-3 are perhaps a little more artful and the choice more flexible than Graham`s players. Not that Merson in particular was without ability. Bendtner on the right has proved more effective than most would have been willing to accept but as Graham proved 15 years ago you don`t need traditional wingers in order to occupy defenders and attack can indeed be the best form of defence.

Restricting players to their 'natural` positions can sometimes rob the team of an opportunity to play with less predictability - and that can often be a very potent weapon - whether defending or attacking.



Join Vital Arsenal

Want to comment on this article? It's easy to register , simply click the link and enjoy getting involved (you can even win prizes!)

Message Board To visit the message board, click here. Get involved






Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Amos
Date:Friday October 23 2009
Time: 8:00AM

Comments

0
That's correct, Graham also converted Merson from a striker into a winger and played him on the left, despite the fact that Merse was the most comically one footed player ever (see his celebration at Selhurst Park in 96 when he scored with his left). I also recall from that night in Copenhagen that GG eschewed Paul Davis and instead started the untried, inexperienced Ian Selley in central midfield. Graham wasn't always as cautious as people's memories have allowed them to believe.
Little Dutch
23/10/2009 08:27:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Best of Vital Network

Vital Boxing - Ingle Talks Brook

Recent Arsenal Articles

Welbeck Gunning For FA Cup Glory

Winning the title, finishing top-four at least, and a Champions League run is the first aim. But, as the FA Cup is special, ex-Manchester United forward Welbeck's up for Chelsea.

Arsenal Announce FA Cup Screening Cancelation

Arsenal's planned screening of the FA Cup final against Chelsea at the Emirates is off as heightened security, following the Manchester attacks, has forced a re-think.

Mertesacker - I'll Be Ready For Chelsea

Per Mertesacker is set to follow up his 150th appearance for Arsenal against Everton with a place in Arsene Wenger's starting XI against Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Wenger - FA Cup Final Not About Me

Arsene Wenger has said he doesn't know if he'll remain at Arsenal beyond the FA Cup final with Chelsea but insists Saturday's game is about more than him anyway.

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Arsenal
Write For Vital Arsenal
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

FA Cup Final - Arsenal v Chelsea
Suggested By:
Arsenal win50%
Chelsea win50%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Chelsea 38 30 3 5 93 52
2 Spurs 38 26 8 4 86 60
3 Man City 38 23 9 6 78 41
4 Liverpool 38 22 10 6 76 36
5 Arsenal 38 23 6 9 75 33
6 Man Utd 38 18 15 5 69 25
7 Everton 38 17 10 11 61 18
8 Southampton 38 12 10 16 46 -7
9 AFC Bournemouth 38 12 10 16 46 -12
10 WBA 38 12 9 17 45 -8
11 West Ham 38 12 9 17 45 -17
12 Leicester City 38 12 8 18 44 -15
13 Stoke 38 11 11 16 44 -15
14 Crystal Palace 38 12 5 21 41 -13
15 Swansea 38 12 5 21 41 -25
16 Burnley 38 11 7 20 40 -16
17 Watford 38 11 7 20 40 -28
R Hull City 38 9 7 22 34 -43
R Middlesbrough 38 5 13 20 28 -26
R Sunderland 38 6 6 26 24 -40
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

May 27 2017 5:30PM : Chelsea (H)
FA Cup

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Naijagunner1
Vital Football Comment