Monday, September 22, 2008

Denilson, Song, Eboue, Bendtner: who is this year’s Flamini?

An excellent three-points at the Reebok against a team that used to intimidate us, and who managed to put us on the back foot in the early stages of the game.

Despite opening brightly, and comprehensively out-passing Bolton, they took the lead through a goal which, again, asked questions of our ability to defend from set-pieces.

Designating blame is difficult. It appeared that Gallas lost Davies, but if we were employing a zonal marking system, should that not take some of the blame? Toure allowed himself, again, to be comprehensively out-jumped at the corner, whilst Almunia, as at Fulham, allowed himself to be boxed in on his line, and was no-where to be seen. Rather than heap blame solely on Gallas, perhaps we have to think more about how the team as a whole defends corners, whether the Gallas-Toure partnership really works, and whether Almunia has it in him to dominate at corners.

Anyway, despite falling behind we then conspired to play some of the best football I’ve seen from us in a long-time, passing and moving at a quite dizzying speed which, simply, Bolton could not live with. First Adebayor, then Song both hit the post, before Eboue nipped in (slightly offside it must be said) at the back post to put us ahead.

A second goal came after a beautiful series of passes saw Denilson play the ball across the goalmouth, fining Bendtner who finished neatly.

After that, we continued to pass and move nicely, with Almunia pulling off a couple of nice saves when called upon. Theo’s introduction saw him burst through and past the Bolton midfield (it was particularly gratifying to see Kevin Nolan unable to even foul Theo), before playing the ball to Ade, who set up Denilson for another decent finish.

So, it’s been 4-0, 1-1, and 3-1 from three tough away matches. I, for one, would certainly have taken two wins and a draw before this set of matches.

One of the most gratifying things about the last couple of games has been seeing several players proving their critics (which have included myself) wrong.

Theo, Denislon, Alex Song, Eboue and Bendtner all seem to have grasped the opportunity given to them, and have all been fantastic.

Eboue was, for large parts of the first half, our best player on the pitch and richly deserved his goal. He looked dangerous running with the ball and made a series of passes which cut Bolton open.

Denilson has really come on, in a way I wasn’t sure he had in him. He looks stronger, more tenacious, and has a touch of class to his play that Flamini didn’t have last season. Song, after impressing for Cameroon and Charlton, has looked excellent: composed on the ball, often merely playing the simple, important, engine-room stuff, whilst also having the air of a hatchet man to him.

Nicklas Bendtner also seems to be growing with each game, and confirming the promise that I saw in him back in the Emirates cup in 2007. He’s a very unselfish player, extremely clever and incisive on the ball, and he scores. At the moment, he’s offering more to the team than van Persie.

So which of the four will be this year’s Flamini: a player who suddenly goes from being on the fringes of things to being a central part of our team? It could be any of them; but let’s hope it’s all of them.

22 comments:

redshirtwithwhitesleeves said...

I agree with your comments in the main...but could you explain your comment regarding Bendtner offering more to the team than RvP?

Gooner said...

1,1?

Siva said...

Does it really have to be one Flamini ? Why cant all of the have a flamini-esque season and go on improving.

You know last year when so many people said Arsenal punched over their weights, i say they are fuc*ing wrong. What Arsenal did was to raise the bar, they raised their game. And i hope what we are seeing is just part of that process.

joe said...

this year flamini, for a second I thought you mean - who will leave at the end of the season...

Anonymous said...

Have to admit how you can say that Bendtner has offered more then RVP. Who have you been watching. I hope he turns out to be as good as RVP, but for me he's our worst forward. Lets hope he gets better.

Sorry who was the 1-1 with, i dont seem to remember that game ?

Anonymous said...

who was the 1.1 with? are you being serious?

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't forget that Denilson has had a couple of really stinking performances this year to go with his more recent good ones. Bendtner had a great game on Saturday, but hasn't done anything before that. Eboue is the real revelation so far.

tim said...

I had to remember - Kiev of course. that's further away than Bolton or Blackburn so I didn't mind it as much.

Julian H said...

No wonder you're posting anonymously - the 1-1 was against Kiev, a whole five days ago.

Sometimes we play European teams from outside England, you know. It's called the European Cup, or these days the "Champions' League".

Keep up.

absolutelyfabregas said...

Its gotta be Song all the way, he's the only true ball winner and Defensive Midfielder who can provide the steel to match Cesc's class. Unfortunately for Denilson his style of play is far too similar to Cesc's and i fear they may cancel each other out. Song has to be the better option for the future..

Gobbygooner

http://gobbygooners.blogspot.com

Cape Gooner said...

I would be careful with the Flamini comparisons! Edu was also a player who had 3 ordinary years and then was great in the last year of his contract. However, your sentiment that we have four players who were very much on the fringe who are now playing very well is one that I completely agree with.
I have no idea as to what is our best team. I really like our line up against Bolton, but what of Theo, RvP, Rosicky, Diaby and Eduardo? Not to mention that I would like to see, surrounded by first team players, Vela, Wilshire, Ramsey and Bischoff.
We are light at the back – but I would like to see Djourou getting more game time.

Anonymous said...

Denilson is improving game by game, Song looks like he is finding his feet and looks solid, Nicky B looks awesome, you need 3 top strikers to win big competitions and the competition up front at Arsenal is spurring them all on to raise their games and we still have Eduardo to come back. Nasri in the few games he has played looks brilliant and gives a directness to our play that we laked last year, and Finally Theo he has exceeded expectations and has stepped up big time this year, So whilst we lost Flamini and Hleb I for one anre more than happy the way the rest of the squad has stepped up.

Anonymous said...

For me in that holding DM position it has to be Song. The question is if he is injured, who covers for him. At Kiev when he was removed the defence was in a shambles and we were exposed. If the Kiev team had been clinical in the third half of the field we would have been in trouble. I do not believe yet that our defence is tight enough. Set pieces is our greatest achilles heel. The defence is not as good as Chelski & Manure. Even Totem Spuds' defense is a shade better than ours IMO.

Steve said...

If we play as a team like we have been doing this season we dont need a holding midfielder. We can defend with 8 and attack with 6. Denilson has now made several assists where he made a power run down the left and cut it back. He is showing that he has a great engine as well as class - he has two goals this season as well which is a great bonus.

Regarding our corner defending - our centre backs get beaten too easily but the goal was Clichy's fault - if he stayed on the post he would have chested it clar.

Anonymous said...

you may have to take your comments back about spuds defence is better than ours...how can you even compare the two?..have you seen any of their games?..they keep changing their defensive line..evey game there is a new member..

Jess said...

Bendtner deserves his due, but he was playing against a lesser team. To say he is doing more than RvP is very unfair. And to use the Kiev game to make your point??? You can't blame just RvP for the outcome of that game. He worked his ass off. Bendtner is good. RvP is great.

Jess said...

Bendtner deserves his due, but he was playing against a lesser team. To say he is doing more than RvP is very unfair. And to use the Kiev game to make your point??? You can't blame just RvP for the outcome of that game. He worked his ass off. Bendtner is good. RvP is great.

Anonymous said...

I think this will be a fantastic year. I like the fact that most players can play in more than 1 position. It gives us so much more flexibility to play with. I really liked Eboues runs in the blackburn and bolton games. Think he is fantastic this season. I also like what little I have seen of Ramsey as the holding midfielder. I dont think we are lightweight anywhere except for a bit of experience. But then, experience in itself wins you f*** all. Just ask the experienced team of Spuds.

Anonymous said...

the thing with Denilson is that he cant play without Cesc as he needs hat assurance that he has somebody as great as him but he cant bear the thought of being the central figure. Never has he had a good game without Cesc alongside him. When Eduardo, Rosicky n Nasri are all fit then Wenger will have some problem

Oakland Gooner said...

Just today I heard some dweebs on 5Live say Arsenal didn't have the depth to go the whole way. No depth? All the comments show the depth. I'm glad Denilson plays like Cesc -- Cesc can have a breather. Its great Eboue is so versatile in mid-field: we don't suffer if Nasri is injured. Etc etc. This is depth in action, not problems when everyone is healthy

Connolly's agent said...

I really like the look of Song. We're so much more composed when he's playing. And I think we do need a designated hatchet man. Bolton aside, we get sliced up when we play Denilson and Cesc.

Oakland gooner, I think they meant depth in terms of experience. Song and Denilson aren't there yet; they'll have to continue to improve in order for us to succeed. I'd like someone with more experience come in in January. Remember how we faded towards the end of last year? And remember that we've got no real replacement Clichy at LB?

Connolly's agent said...

I really like the look of Song. We're so much more composed when he's playing. And I think we do need a designated hatchet man. Bolton aside, we get sliced up when we play Denilson and Cesc.

Oakland gooner, I think they meant depth in terms of experience. Song and Denilson aren't there yet; they'll have to continue to improve in order for us to succeed. I'd like someone with more experience come in in January. Remember how we faded towards the end of last year? And remember that we've got no real replacement Clichy at LB?