Song's Game Improved By Fitness & Brazilians
The Arsenal career of Alex Song has been a mixed bag since he singed for the Gunners over 6 years ago, the low point of which came at an away game at Craven Cottage where the Cameroonian (Is that right?) was roundly boo'ed by his own fans.
There is no denying now though that Song has completely turned his fortunes around and is now probably one of the first names on the team sheet, and according to Wenger, that's all down to his own hard work in training.
'He is now a good trainer but this was not always the case. That's why he has improved. Song has improved his engine. Before he was less mobile,' Wenger said.
'He has improved his mobility. He doesn't need a breather now when he goes and comes back. That has added something to his quality. Now, since he has more stamina, when we win the ball, he is on the move straight away and, when his timing is good, he arrives at the right moment in the box.'
It did seem to be a common sight to see Song doubled over blowing out of his arse after every forray in the centre of the park, but a fitter Song has seen him progress into a box-to-box Essien-style midfielder we've been crying out for for a long time.
This too comes as no accident. I was one of many Gooners who was becoming increasingly frustrated with Song as his seemingly abandoned his post as defensive midfielder whenever he saw fit, but as with most armchair managers, what I think I know about football tactics and what I actually know about football tactics are two entirely different things, and as the season progressed it became increasingly clear that Song was acting under instruction rather than willfully bombing forward of his own accord.
Wenger credits this to the more settling presence of Brazilian midfielder, Denilson.
'Song changes when he plays with Denilson because Denilson plays more of a holding role and he goes forward more," claimed Le Boss.
"I don't stop him because Denilson sits naturally. After the change with Samir Nasri, I was concerned that we could get caught on the break because Song kept going and Nasri goes as well. On two or three occasions we were a bit short in midfield.'
"Song wants to get forward. Sometimes defensive midfielders just want to defend but it's not his only role and he does [attack] well in fairness."