Saturday, August 09, 2008

Attack is not always the best form of defence.

It was an interesting game yesterday, one that perhaps summed up everything that's good and bad about this current Arsenal line-up.

The good? Well, even Eboue showed that he does have some worth, when he whipped in a very decent cross that was headed home by Greedy. Bendtner and Greedy then actually linked up to see nicky cooly stroke home, before Greedy knocked in the winner. He does take his chances, eventually.

Yet, not withstanding the positive points we should take from such a remarkable comeback, always having to score an extra goal or two due to our defensive frailties is not a wise way to go.

And defensive frailties we have, in abundance.

The essential problem is size and organisation. Individually our back four are all very good players. Indeed, I would even suggest that we still have the best set of full-backs in the Prem with Clichy and Sagna.

It's the centre-backs and goalkeeper that are the problem: none have the aerial dominance necessary to clear certain forms of attack, and it seems to be chaos every time a ball is whipped into the box.

And if I were to play against Arsenal at the moment, I would merely throw lots of long and high-balls into the area. Our opponents score a lot of goals because we cannot clear these balls adequately. The first Ajax goal yesterday, for instance, was a great strike, but one that came from a long-ball into the box which Kolo unconvincingly cleared, while Gallas looked on rather aimlessly.

Gallas and Kolo are not a good partnership, and never have been. They both play the role of the smaller, more nimble centre-back who relies on pace to clear our lines. They need a tall, aerially dominant player next to them.

This weakness is compounded by Almunia. He's a pretty decent shop-stopper, but instils no confidence in me, or our defence, when high balls are played into the area. Indecision creates more indecision and goal-scoring opportunities for the opposition.

Now, what makes this all the more galling is that Arsene openly recognised the fact we needed a new CB at the end of last season. Yet nothing has happened. The two big lads we have who Arsene is probably relying on are Senderos and Djourou, neither of whom has consistently performed to a level which suggests they'll be the type of player we need.

Further up the pitch, we still need a defensive holding midfielder, although, if reports are to be believed, Arsene is close to doing something about this in the form of Swiss international Gokhan Inler.

My overall point is this: going into a season with the attitude that 'it doesn't matter how many goals you score, we'll score more', as Arsene practically said in his press conference yesterday, is extremely dangerous. Always having to score an extra couple of goals per game will eventually take its toll.

Poor defending cost us the title last year, and it will cost us again this year, at this rate. Please Arsene, sort it out.


Anonymous said...

Arsene is to stubborn n wont buy a new defender. Think Wenger believes that Djorou mite step up his game and to be fair, he has

Mr Moy said...

i agree

Anonymous said...

I agree, but Senderos is not as bad as people say. Tour/Senderos or Gallas/Senderos looked quite good in games past.

Anonymous said...

The defence is being made to look worse due to the lack of a holding player in front of them. Flamster left months ago & still no replacement.

Anonymous said...

great post..drop gallas to the bench and go with toure/senderoua or toure/djourou