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Analysing Mikael

Many Arsenal fans are often perplexed that Wenger's perspective can be so different from their own. His attempts at rational analysis can drive those supporters for whom players and performances are either turd or legend to rages of frustration. It's a game that doesn't lend itself to such analysis, certainly not immediately after a game anyway. The result determines everything.

For that reason Chelsea can be an unbeatable powerhouse one weekend, only needing to turn up to games to stroll to an inevitable title, and then lose two away games by the following weekend to dent, if only slightly at present, the aura of invincibility so positively asserted by the footballing media only days earlier. Player rating systems will universally rate the players of a winning side higher than that of a losing side. Logic tells you that the best team doesn't always win but football logic is that the team that has won must always be better than one that has lost. Losing teams must been outplayed, out muscled, out thought and out fought even if they have totally dominated play, had the better chances and lost to a fluke goal that has diverted in off a beach ball.

Wenger's attempts to analyse the defeat against Chelsea leading to gleefully reported misinterpretations of his opinion of the team's physical limitations and Drogba's work rate were too much information for some frustrated supporters and too much ammunition for a sound bite hungry media. The analysis has to be done of course. The coaches have to have a much clearer idea of what the deficiencies are, where the game is won and lost how they might be rectified. They don`t usually lead to the same conclusions as a straw poll of internet blogs might. These would invariably conclude that a giant centre half stopper, midfield destroyer, 30 goal a season striker and wingers are essential. They would be unlikely to conclude that you could get within 4 points of the title by selling your star striker and buying a right back as Wenger did in the summer of 2007.

Not everything that Wenger says is intended to provide forensic analysis for the consumption of footballing scientists though. He has admitted that he will sometimes be less than honest if he thinks it will help protect a player. "A coach is there to help. He must think that if he helps in the correct way the players will respond." Arsene explained when asked if he sometimes claimed he didn`t see things he had seen.

There seems little reason to protect Mikael Silvestre. He is a back up player and the teams current Aunt Sally. Pretty well all teams have them and he follows a long line at Arsenal through players like Cygan and beyond. So what is the purpose of Wengers supportive description of Mikaels qualities?

"Mikael is a quiet leader. He is highly respected in the dressing room," Arsene claimed. "He`s a positive guy who helps the young players. The best help, of course, is if we can keep winning. For me, he doesn`t get enough praise for both his attitude and his quality. But he has a job of marshalling the team. He has an important role to play.

"He was absolutely fantastic in our match against Manchester City. His commitment to the cause in that game was absolutely fantastic."

It could be that he is just looking to publicly motivate a player that might become more important to the team, especially if, as is rumoured Senderos leaves the club in the next window while Song takes himself off to the ACN. On the other hand it could be a rational analysis and that Silvestre's performance against Manchester City behind a very young and immature midfield was indeed a very good display of the defensive arts.

I would guess that most would be cynical about Wenger`s view of Silvestre. It is very difficult to be heard to say anything positive about a squad player in the latter stages of a highly successful career elsewhere now content to play a backup role. Taking Aunt Sally away from fans risks their scorn. It isn`t likely to be universally understood and maybe a rational analysis of Silvestre's contribution will never be possible. In which case Wenger`s words are less likely to lead to enlightenment among bemused supporters than to frustration that he doesn't see what they do.



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 6 2009

Time: 5:52PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Anyone checked Naseem Hamed on SSN? **** me I thought i was Jimmy White with a suntan, wot a porker! Oh and sp*rs loooooooool 2-0 and they fecked it up, bottlers. Oh and Sylvestre?.......... meh.
nikolaijns
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06/12/2009 18:50:00

I thought he was good against City, especially considering his lack of match practice. But absolutely fantastic?.......... meh.
gunnerkid107
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06/12/2009 19:11:00

If we let senders go in January without a like for like replacement we'll deserve everything we get when gallas or vermaelen inevitably join the rammed annual club party kicking off in the physios office.
nikolaijns
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06/12/2009 19:32:00

Niko, please don't say it! it's been bated breath stuff for me thinking about that possibility; I have suggested the Manager must use the window to get a versatile defender as cover along the back line. As for Silvestre, he is a good old head to have around and I agree with Wenger on his likely dressing room influence; he's been there and done that, as they say and can only get better appreciated, the more games he plays.
Naijagunner
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06/12/2009 20:08:00

Great against City? Was hardly great when he fell over on the by-line for what should of been a regulation clearance and allowed SWP to square for Bellamy (who should've scored). Or when he and Traore combined to allow SWP space to shoot for their second. Or when he did his best in an attempt to get himself redcarded with a ridiculous hack at Adebayor, who, thankfully for Mikael, stayed on his feet and decided to fall over with no contact 10 seconds later.
Ozi Gooner
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06/12/2009 23:15:00

Basically, he's a donkey, but unlike Cygan or Senderos or Grimandi or Stepanovs or Wreh he's not even our donkey, he's a Manchester Unitedd donkey in an Arsenal shirt and so it's no surprise that his mistakes are often more vocally punished by the fans, Wenger may have been arguably making an attempt at being practical in bringing in an experienced and versatile defender for next to nothing, but it would also have been rational to assume he'd cop this sort of negative sentiment.
Ozi Gooner
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06/12/2009 23:19:00

Vermaelen is a cyberdyn 3000 he cant get real injuries so dont worry. Long John Sylvestre is a 4th choice defender and no more but the fact that Carrick looked better than him playing West Ham away is a bit of a concern!
iceman10
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06/12/2009 23:31:00

nikolaijns
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07/12/2009 01:33:00

He's just Belgian ;-) We're made of good stuff!
Fabby69
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07/12/2009 08:24:00

I like the line about selling Henry and buying Sagna, in fact, an example of that sort of thinking this weekend. Last week, Arshavin voiced the concerns of a lot of Arsenal fans when discussing the fact that we are missing some of our physically bigger players. So of course, Arsene fields a side where only Thomas Vermaelen comes in at over six feet tall (this against Stoke remember) and our smallest player plays as a lone striker. As it turned out, it worked a treat. As for Silvestre, I thought he was poor against City. He cost us one goal, would have cost us another were it not for Bellamy's miss and I lost count of the amount of times he had the ball under no pressure at the back and launched it straight back to Shay Given. For a player of immense experience (and someone who, prior to his troubling injuries at United, I rated very highly), he doesn't half panic at the sight of a football.
Little Dutch
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07/12/2009 09:17:00

We can criticise him, and fairly, based on his performance at Man City. But I wonder if the other half of Manchester might be missing him with 8 defenders in the medical room hahha: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/8400435.stm
GoonerLou
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08/12/2009 02:20:00

 

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