Marouane: a versatile Fella ini? But where should he play?
This article will serve as a continuation with TA’s recent theme of exploring how rumoured transfer targets would fit into our starting eleven.
If you are a frequenter of this blog, it should come as no surprise that the majority of us here are desperate for a proper, beast of a Defensive Midfielder (DM). Not only would this acquisition ensure that our back four are properly shielded, but it would also unleash the creativity further up field. Players like Santi, Jack, Ox and Arteta would become the indirect beneficiaries and be given the freedom to take risks, knowing that they have a capable and dedicated defensive midfielder behind them.
However, the player we have been most strongly linked to recently is Marouane Fellaini of Everton. So, what if we bought him and were not able to acquire a proper, beast of a DM? Would he be a good purchase despite our obvious need for a DM?
For one thing, Fellaini is Premier League proven, coming off a great season in which he netted 11 goals and 5 assists in 31 starts. He is an established, physical player, capable of exerting his “Presence!” on a game, drawing in defenders and forcing the opposition to devise strategies to defend against or take him out of the game. Fellaini is versatile enough to play as a DM, a B2B midfielder and as a Shadow Striker (SS).
While he may not be a dedicated DM, he is assertive in the tackle, efficient in the air and has decent ball control and pace for a man his size. His passing success rate of 79.3% is not outstanding, but good enough to succeed in Arsenal’s system, as one must consider that the majority of his playing time came at CAM, where pass success rate is generally lower than when played further back in the pitch. His 1.3 key passes per game and 5 assists are further proof that he has some ability in setting up goals too.
So, depending on the price, Fellaini could be a good bit of transfer business for Arsenal. It’s difficult to come by PL proven talents, who have as much presence, steel and ability as Fellaini does.
But where would he play?
The first scenario has Fellaini in the DM-pivot with one of Arteta/Ramsey. He’s played here in his earlier Everton days and is a capable defender, with 2.6 tackles per game, 1.2 interceptions per game, 2.1 clears per game and was only dribbled 0.4 times per game. At the-DM pivot, he could form a partnership with Arteta/Ramsey similar to the one Arsenal was successful with in 2011-12 with Arteta and Song. The two players interchange between offense and defense to make our attack less predictable and to provide more options in the offensive end than we saw towards the end of the season.
The second scenario would see Fellaini play as the SS behind one of Theo, Giroud or Podolski. By starting Fellaini up front with Theo, Arsenal would have two more than capable goal scorers and Fellaini’s skills are the perfect contrast to Theo’s. If Fellaini and Giroud are paired together, Arsenal then have two target men to utilize through long balls, crosses and set-pieces. Fellaini and Poldi playing up front together is perhaps the most interesting proposition of the three, mainly because Poldi is our most clinical finisher and is as good at setting others up, as he is scoring them himself. Fellaini and Poldi up front together would mean that we have two capable finishers and two more players capable of setting others up.
Personally, I don’t have a preference as to which formation Arsenal would play in if Fellaini is bought; I would just like to see it happen and go from there! All the scenarios are tantalizing because it represents variety and unpredictability to our line-up – a luxury we were not afforded last season. Fellaini as a DM would give us better protection and attacking from central midfield, and as a SS, he would give us more goals and act as an additional target man (something some fans feel is necessary and missing when OG is not on the pitch).
Which formation would you like to see Arsenal play in if Fellaini is purchased? Would you prefer it if Arsenal bought a dedicated, beast of a DM instead?
Written By: Highbury Harmony