When will Arsenal rediscover its beautiful football again?
It has been a while now since Arsenal played the sort of football that makes us all purr like a cat; the sort of football that makes the crowd go ooh and aah!
I reckon ever since Fabregas’ last season for us, Arsenal have been struggling to find their identity again. And when I say, Arsenal; I really mean Arsene. Last season we played more or less continuously Plan B: the ‘feed the Dutchman he will score’ scenario. We became very dependent on him, and despite my absolute loathing of the self-celebrating traitor now, it is fair to say that he played a big part in Arsenal finishing third last season.
This season, many of us will struggle with describing what our plan-A is. Arsene has tried a number of different player-combinations up-front, in midfield and at the back. We have seen glimpses of both effective and beautiful football, but it has been pretty ordinary most of the times. This season, I have been to Norwich and Wigan away and Blackburn at home; and last season I watched Fulham, QPR and Blackburn at home, and their was little beauty/ real quality of play to be seen in any of these matches: a far cry of how we used to play!
Whilst driving back through black and bleary motorways from London last night, I thought deep and hard how and when we will get our beautiful game back. Is it simply a matter of buying more quality players, as in players who can reach the heights of Bergkamp, Henry, Fabregas and Pires again; or is it a matter of getting a couple of solid, quality defenders/midfielders who will allow the rest to play Wengerball again?
Having analysed our recent games a bit, it is clear to me that both Wilshere and Cazorla are more than capable and willing to lead our game back to Wengerball. They are working their socks off to get this team going. However, their efforts have been wiped out by big, and mostly unnecessary, defensive mistakes. On top of that, with our strike-force still finding its feet and going through a big goal-lull at the moment, we have been unable to do a ‘Mancs United’; simply outscoring the opposition.
A simple answer to the main question in this post is to go and buy both top quality players and a couple of solid defenders. Like everybody else, I also believe that without adding these sort of players in the summer – as early as possible, ideally – we will not make much progress next season.
However, as Arsenal cannot buy any players until then, and we have still 10 games to play and with a top-four place at stake – and going with the answers in yesterday’s post, most of you believe we are still going to make the top-four this season 🙂 – let’s talk about what can be done NOW to get back to both beautiful AND effective football again.
Arsene has said on a number of occasions that his team has been playing with the handbrake on. I agree with him, but what can he do about it? For me, the answer lays with the ‘2’ of our 4-2-1-3 formation.
I would like us to play 4-1-2-3 for the remainder of the season. I cannot see us fix our defensive issues any more without buying a quality DM and CB, or at least one of them during the summer. I also cannot see us change to 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or even 3-5-2 during the remainder of the season; the change would be too drastic, whereas moving the ‘2’ forwards can be done without too many adjustments.
So I say, let’s focus on playing our game as much as possible in the opposition’s half and scoring as many goals in the process. Allow Arteta to play as our deepest laying midfielder; or maybe even move Vermaelen there. In the ‘2’ we can play Cazorla and Wilshere or Rosicky and Ox, or even bring back the Siberia working camp exiled Arshavin.
We have so many quality players to play in the double advanced midfielder positions, that we could see an instant, and much needed, positive impact.
Arsenal would be buzzing with attacking intent again, and the likes of Podolski, Walcott and Giroud would get plenty of service to start adding to their goal tally once more. In the process Arsenal might find its new identity again, and in the summer we can add the necessary steel at the back and in midfield, and add another quality flair player as well.
Let’s hope Arsene will be a bit braver now, and will try something different for the remainder of the season: throw the handbrake away and let the team go and enjoy themselves again. There is still plenty of quality in the team and it is time to allow them to throw the shackles away and dictate play again. Yes we are likely to concede a lot of goals in the process, but as recent games have shown to us, this will happen anyway.
So, we might as well go out there and play the sort of football that we are capable of and will bring joy to our Gooner hearts again. I also reckon, it is the best way to secure a top-four spot this season.
But what do you think Arsene should do to give us back our identity again; to start playing beautiful and winning football once more?
Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!!!!!!!
Written by: TotalArsenal.