After the FA cup semi-final game against Wigan I was critical of both Cazorla and Podolski. I felt they did not do anywhere near enough to justify the trust Wenger put in them, their seniority in the team and the wages they collect every Friday afternoon. But yesterday, against the Hammers, they both performed significantly better, powered on by the veteran playmaker Rosicky behind and around them.
Cazorla played with a lot more zest and invention, even occasionally taking on defenders in and around the box to make things happen. He added another dimension to our attack yesterday, benefitting from Rosicky’s drive and willingness/ability to motor on our attack.
The other big positive yesterday was the Pod’s brace. We all know that if there is a chance in the box, Lulu is the man who should be at the end of it. His hammer of a left foot is absolutely deadly, especially in the box.
This has made me think again about what to do with the Pod: should we keep him and where should we play him in our formation/team?
The problem with him is other than a great finisher, and the occasional attempts to go past his man on the left flank and get the ball in the box, he does not offer much to the team. Wenger does not appear to like these sort of players: we only have to think about Arshavin, who although a different kind of ‘left winger’ – let’s face it, neither of them really are – also had special individual attacking qualities but was neither blessed with great stamina and team spirit.
Without Theo, Jack and Ozil, the Ox still learning and Rosicky unlikely to play each and every game till the end of the season with the same vigour as last night, will Wenger opt for what looks like a 4-4-2 formation during the last games of the season? With Giroud (or Sanogo) our main target man and the Pod feeding off him with the same hunger and deadliness as he did against the Hammers?
Could this be Arsene’s new Plan B?
I thought it looked like we did indeed play more or less in a 4-4-2 formation, albeit with the full backs providing most of the width. Rosicky helped the DM-pivot duo of Arteta and (the growing on me) Kallstrom in the middle to keep things tight (and we have been looking a lot better defensively over the last two games, despite the two goals conceded), whilst Cazorla seemed to revel in his free role behind the two central attackers (with Rosa adding thrust and creativity).
I have little doubt that a 4-4-2 formation could be a safe way towards gathering as much points as possible till the end of the season, especially with Ramsey (and soon Ozil) coming back to full fitness and Kallstrom and Flamini being available too. But will it mean a lot of crosses into the box, with both Pod and Giroud attacking them, and with Cazorla lurking for any scraps?
Would this formation suit Pod best?
And finally, would Wenger really go back to such basic formation, even just as a temporary measure to keep us above Everton?
Over to you, FFGs 🙂