Vardy is 5ft 10ins. Perez is 5ft 11 1/2ins. Vardy is right footed. Perez is left foot. Vardy is at his best motoring the left channel. Perez is at his best motoring the right channel. Discount these mirror differences and you couldn’t tell one from the other in terms of playing style. Same pharmacokinetic data, different trade names. To Wenger, Perez is what the doctor ordered. He tried to sign Vardy but it did not work out. No hay problema as he crossed over to Spain and bought Lucas Perez.
What does it all tell us. Well, well, well…..Wenger’s mind is very crafty and we might all still miss his point, but to my inquisitive mind he seems to want his team to be the king of the quick transition, like his teams of the invincible era. Giving more credence to this belief is the fact that he has installed in deep midfield a bloke called Xhaka who pings accurate 30yds plus passes several times per match. In the Bundesliga he was second to Xavi Alonso in long accurate passes last season.
To fortify this belief even further we have to remember that already in the team is a Mesut Ozil, the best through ball provider in Europe. Apart from Perez, Òzil also has the trickery and pace of Sanchez as well as the exquisite off the ball runs in blistering pace of Walcott, all to feed.
All these, however, is hearing one side of the story only. If we don’t hear the other side, our logic would land us in dreamland.
Last season there was a disproportionate number of matches in the EPL that ended in favour of teams with less possession than should normally be expected. Leicester City won the league with 44.80% possession sitting at the 18th position on the possession table. Epl teams have learnt how to sit deep, frustrate and counter. I really wonder if our Invincibles wouldn’t have found the proposition a lot tougher now.
Do we begin to sit deep? Sitting deep is essentially a tactics fashioned for neutralizing superior fire power. Arsenal is a highly technical team, one of the best in the league. It stands to reason that its philosophy must be hinged on the utilization of its superior weapons i.e. to attack and dominate games, of course without prejudice to being committed to defending as a team.
With our superiority, it is inevitable that we would dominate most of our matches. That means that most of the teams would pack buses against us. With teams parking buses when they play us, where would we find the spaces for the quick transition machine that we have assembled? Where do we find the spaces for the fleet-footed anchor legs, except when we are countering the opponents’ counter?
Countering the counter, equipped with this machine that he has diligently contrived, must be making Monsieur Wenger salivate. But expect them to come few and far between. We, however, should not forget that there are teams and situations where toe to toe would be inevitable. Xhaka, Òzil, Sanchez, Walcott, Perez…….that’s awesome. Something tells me that a great number of such teams would live to regret. Still there remains this big task of the unrelenting parked buses teams. Stubborn, dogged, unyielding, well organized.
Giroud is a denizen of the box, both ends. His mailing address is ‘The Box’ and the boxes are where the goal posts are. Got that? In the box Giroud enjoys air supremacy. He’s got wonderful box flicks and box knockdowns. His box positioning is second to none. He is a right box bully. Ask defenders. A bulldozer for the buses.
Herein lies Wenger’s dilemma. Giroud the box bulldozer versus Perez the fleet-footed anchor leg. We wait to see what the wily old fox will do. I will give you a tip. He might do all. Giroud now, Perez then, Giroud and Perez also.
An exciting season awaits us. Bring it on!
By Pony Eye