I am sure that fans will be blown away by the news that Atletico Nacional’s Sebastián Pérez begins his trail with us on Monday. The defensive/box to box midfielder, who is 20 years old would cost around £5 million and should his trial be a success, we are expected to meet that valuation.
Ok, onto The Emirates Cup which kicks off tomorrow:
Last season we saw a significant change in midfield from the previous year with Arsene opting to deploy Arteta permanently at the base of our midfield with Santi playing as our most advanced playmaker. At the beginning of the season Diaby was deployed in the box to box role and was fantastic until he got injured.
We struggled to replace him in that role until towards the end of the season when Ramsey really grew into this role. We were fine with that midfield for the majority of our games but against top sides we really struggled which quite evident when you look into our record against the top sides.
I’ll take into consideration 3 games we played last season:
Bayern munich home, Chelsea home and Man utd away.
In all these games their no.10s in Kroos, Oscar and Rooney were instructed by their managers to intensively press Arteta who is our primary playmaker. Arteta as we all know is quite slow and isn’t agile enough to deal with that sort of pressing and as a result our midfield was rendered ineffective. We ended up playing hopeful long balls up front or passing the ball to marked players.
Bayern Munich at home we were the same, especially in the first half when faced wave after wave of attack. It was painful to watch as an Arsenal fan.
When Arteta gets shut down we really can’t seem to play. It’s king of similar to how Jurgen Klopp dealt with Madrid in the CL semis last season by shutting down Alonso. However, we really need to find a solution to this problem.
When Pirlo/Schweinsteiger get pressed intensively, they resort to dropping even deeper between their CBs to give them room to play. Italy even resort to playing 3 men at the back to give Pirlo an extra passing option when faced by such pressing teams. Dortmund deal with it quite well as Gundogan is quite skilful with the ball and can beat his man to proceed with the attack.
How do we deal with it?
When we last played Barca at home Jack Wilshere was our deepest midfielder and no matter how hard they tried to press him he always seemed to find a way out. This was clearly seen in the build up to AA’s magical winner. Oxlade-Chamberlain was excellent against Milan in the same role and as a result we were able to build our attacks from deep in midfield. I think deep down Wenger knows Arteta’s mobility is becoming quite an issue in the big matches and we need to find a solution be it internal or external.
In our pre-season games he has tried a double pivot of Ramsey/Oxlade-Chamberlain which has looked good in patches. This gives you a hint that we need mobility in there against high pressing sides and Arsene is looking at it. Jack may still be in the frame for one of those 2 roles when he gets fit.
Am hoping to see how a pivot of any of Jack/Ramsey/Oxlade-Chamberlain will work out during The Emirates Cup and maybe we will see how good it is against decent opposition. I believe Arsene wants to see if he can solve the problem internally first before buying.
We have been linked with Lars Bender and Fellaini so it is clear he knows we need a change in that zone especially against top opposition. I hope after the Emirates Cup it will become clearer how well we are shaping up in midfield.
Lastly i’d like to talk about Gustavo. He is an out an out DM.
Bar the odd long range shot he contributes very little in attack and that’s why they shelled out all that cash for Martinez. He isn’t very mobile although he is versatile. I think that is quite an issue to Wenger and as a result I can’t see us going in for him. Wenger likes universal players who can contribute both in attack and defence. Gustavo is quite limited in my opinion and I don’t think Wenger wants a specialist in the heart of midfield.
Arrigo Sacchi who built one of the greatest sides in Milan was quoted as saying:
“I see kids who are 14 or 15 years old who are already specialists. But football is not a sport of specialist. I was watching the under-15s the other day – 14 year –old boys – and the central defenders arrived and all they did was mark their man. They took themselves out of the game. This is suffering, this is not joy, this is not football. If someone does just one thing over and over, they will get better at that thing. But is football just one thing?”…
I bet you £1 that Wenger feels the same way…..
Written by K-TR7