Much less to say after this game than the freak Anfield game, which given the importance of this Wednesday was exactly what the Dr ordered. It was a comfortable 2-0, Boro never tried (which in itself I found embarrassing on behalf of the travelling ‘Boro fans) and I think (crosses fingers toes eyes and anything else crossable) we have not picked up any more injuries.
There were some interesting formational issues though. To my mind, and the esteemed minds of my matchday colleagues in the RedAction, Wenger was using this as a dry-run for Wednesday, so expect something similar in shape if not in exact line-up. We played a 4-4-1-1 for the first 70 minutes, again deploying Cesc in the hole. He did score his two goals, but I am still not convinced that it brings out the best in him. Nasri was played deep and central, under clear instruction to be simple in possession, but to keep the ball moving forward. He is actually quite a tenacious little fella, and he likes a tackle so this may be something we see him doing in the future – Le Boss says;
"Usually Fabregas plays deeper with Nasri higher. I wanted to test how it would work the other way round. It could be reiterated that we will do it again because it was quite convincing. But that is open; we have 48 hours to study that then make a decision"
Up front it was Nikki B on his own. Now I am convinced we will see Ade filling this role on Wednesday, but there were certainly elements in the Dane’s game Ade should not feel too aloof to learn from. He was not offside once. His movement as soon as we won possession saw him dragging centre backs wide to allow either himself to receive the ball, or for runners to move into the channels he’d created. He is not as good in the box as Ade, and certainly doesn’t have his firepower, but he understands some of the dynamics of the game that Ade doesn’t seem to. If the Togonator can realise that he can learn from his less esteemed team mates, I think we will have someone who can surpass the Drog as the best Bulldozing striker in the league.
And finally, Johann got 45 minutes to re-acquaint himself with his team-mates. And to my mind he looked no better than Silvestre on the day. I am not saying that he is not better (he is) or that he shouldn’t start against Utd (he should) simply that on Sunday he looked rusty. Hope that’s clear.
All in all, an ideal warm up, and just enough glimpses of our fluid attacking play to whet the appetite. Utd are not comfortable at the back as Spurs proved in their first half (I am sure there will be DVDs release at Shite Hart Lane of the first 45 minutes against Utd soon), and although we’ll be without Arshavin, we have more than enough to trouble them.
What a fortnight this could be…..
lineups for wednesday?
Offsides is a double-edged sword. Maybe if Nik was a little more aggressive towards being sprung, he'd do better as a striker.
I agree about the double-edged sword stuff.
Even when Henry was about, Arsenal fans moaned that he was useless in the air and that we needed a "fox in the box" because we often needed 80 mins of possession to score.
Bendnter MIGHT be better than Ade in 2 or 3 years time. If he is, then thats great. But for now, Ade is the best attacking striker we have.
Eduardo is struggling for a place with Wenger's reluctance to play 4-4-2.
The other thing is that Wenger does not see Theo as a proper midfielder, so in AW's mind, he is weak defensively at right midfield with Theo in the team, hence the reluctance to play 2 strikers as well.
I think we had similar sort of bullshit in our formation when Reyes and Wiltord were around. Plus nowadays, there is always the option of Diaby coming in with his "no formation" routine.
Its all a bit odd. Whats wrong with a good bit of 4-4-2 Arsene?
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