Friday 8 August 2008

Gallas and Toure are not a partnership

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to launch into a sensationalist critique of how terrible the first half against Ajax has been, it would be silly to read to much into one game and there have been many positives from the first half despite the scoreline.

Denilson has looked sharp again, Walcott is looking at home on the left of midfield while there are some encouraging signs from RVP and Adebayor, despite Ade missing a couple of relatively easy chances. Fabregas, Clichy and Sagna are class, we all know that. I don't think our midfield is our weakness.

The two Ajax goals were brilliant strikes, however one can not simply put these goals down to exceptional finishing, unfortunately the problem is far deeper than that. The problem is crack that extends to the heart of our defence, a crack that undid our title chances last year.

We simply cannot defend simple high balls into the centre back area, they are balls that big Tone would have had marked as his from the moment they left the laces of the opposition. There is no blame attached to the goalkeeper, the full backs or the midfield for this problem; the fault lies solely with out centre backs.
To be fair to Gallas and Toure, they are exceptional defenders in every other regard, they are both quick, strong on the ball and brilliant at defending on the floor. Unfortunately one needs to be able to defend the bread and butter, as leaking goals as a result of hopeful punts at our centre backs can be very costly indeed. Teams have worked out it is our Achilles heel, they now know to get the ball forward early in the air and that they'll then have half a chance. I am not sure how much could be remedied by better defensive coaching, I am just sure that things are not currently as they should be.
At 2-0 down another hopeful long ball was allowed to bounce, this resulted in no goal, but it was another needless moment of danger as a result of this lack of basic defending. It cost us against Chelsea away when Drogba scored from one of those hopeful punts into the box, and unless Arsene does something about it now, it will damn well cost us again. Arsene has even admitted this himself.
Ajax are an average side, and frankly I don't really care about the result that much. It's irrelevant that we should have scored a couple, this doesn't really matter. The fact is that our centre backs cannot defend bread and butter hoofs into our box and this is really rather depressing. We have all the pace, skill and technique in the world, while our football is majestic and a joy to watch; however at the end of the day, it will be a crime if we are to underachieve again as a result of such an obvious glaring weakness.
The good football continued in the second half, a couple of nice Adebayor goals and a well taken Bendtner strike gave us a 3-2 victory. Eboue wasn't as useless as he normally is, while Denilson had another outstanding game.


Anonymous said...

wenger is too nice to get a tall centre back mate...

Anonymous said...

sorry but your wrong gallas and toure are a strong partnership were for a lot of the season the issues we had were from kolo going to acon and sagna being injured and forcing kolo to play rb and playing senderos alongside gallas.

This was a bad decision and cost us the league and possibly the champions league and we do need better cover for gallas and toure. Todays game was the first time gallas and toure had played together for some time and kolo has only just got over malaria and will need a few games before there at there best

Anonymous said...

i have seen most of the comments but i have a feeling that wenger sh'ld stop the hard stace he has taken of notbuying some one with experience. the question is how will we be able to counter teams like pool totenham which have realy assembled world class . skill is good but also we need to look at the other aspect of experience wenger sh'ld style up or face the would be reverted catastrophy.

1979gooner said...

Gallas seemed by far the poorer yesterday. He was caught ball watching for both goals, while he missed several other routine headers.

Maybe it can be remedied by some defensive drilling.

However it's just more than a bit worrying these basic errors seem to be repeating themselves time and time again.

Ted said...

I've been saying for ages that neither Kolo or Billy G are great in the air. But I also think its pretty normal for some lapses in concentration in pre-season.

i recall we had a real weakness against crosses several years ago. That seemed to be eradicated. Hopefully the same will now apply to the long ball.

Anonymous said...

This team won't win shyte, weaknesses everywhere. We'll get thumped in one game and the youngsters will drop their chins and the season's lost. There's nothing coming from this group.