Sunday, August 22, 2010

We Gotta Stay Positive...

SO... is the presence of Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky, Wilshere, and Ramsey reassuring, in the inevitably impending event of the captain's departure?

Now, it is true that Fabregas is Arsenal's best player by a country mile, their only GREAT player. But he is most impressive in the creative sense and Arsenal do, at the moment, have a surfeit of creative players. Perhaps, when he leaves, this relieves Wenger of the nightmare of having to find a direct replacement.

In fact, I think that one of the foremost priorities when Fabregas leaves should be a free-scoring striker, because last season Arsenal started to rely on the skipper for goals as well as passes. Chamakh, Bendtner, and, because of his frequent injuries, Van Persie are unlikely to hit 20 goals a season; with th loss of Fabregas's goals from midfield, that could become a problem.

A fascinating question that I think last season posed was whether Fabregas, and by extension Arsenal, lost something for the deploymentof the captain further up the pitch. Obviously, it freed him up to do some serious damage in the final third and unleash his latent goalscoring prowess, but in the bigger games, Arsenal's central midfield looked rudderless without his metronomic passing, and control of the game was often ceded as a result.

I frequently look back on 07/08 as Fabregas's real golden period, as he formed a formidable partnership with the dynamic Flamini. The Frenchman covered enough ground to allow Fabregas to indulge every facet of his game. Unfortunately, Arsenal do not have a Flamini now, and Wenger has had to adapt accordingly.

Interestingly, in the wake of the Blackpool game, the boss did mention the prospect of Chamakh and RVP linking up in a 4-4-2, which might suggest a return to Fabregas's previous 'midfield general' role. I think what could be more likely, and more effective, is a 4-2-3-1, with Cesc and Song as the '2', and Rosicky or Nasri in the middle of the '3'. The million dollar question is whether Wenger feels that this could offer the defence the protection it needs. I think it could, if Fabregas can indeed return to his role as a classic midfield playmaker, while not curtailing his instinct to get forward at the right times.

It's just a pity Arsenal don't have a more mobile midfielder than Song to partner Fabregas- for all his talent, the Cameroonian does not cover the ground as quickly as Flamini did. And as for Denilson and Diaby....

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