Right after half time in the Last 16 stage of the 2005/2006 Champions League at the Bernabeu, Henry picked up the ball just inside the Real Madrid half, ghosted past several Madrid players before finishing at the far post leaving Casillas helpless…
In the 2007/2008 Champions League quarter finals at the Emirates we were facing Liverpool. The scoreline was 1-1 at this stage of the game. Liverpool seemed to have settled for a draw with about 15 or so minutes. Hleb picked the ball up outside the Liverpool 18 yard box facing several defenders.
He performed the skilful move known as La Croqueta in Spanish (Shuffling the ball quickly between the feet- Santi does it a lot) to beat 2 players and then he glided past 3 more before being brought down by Dirk Kuyt but the referee waved our penalty protests…
These two instances above all have one thing in common- The dribbler.
When we are faced by teams that park the bus, we end up just passing the ball in front of 2 banks of four hoping for an opening. No matter how much pace we have at that time it doesn’t help in such a case. Most of the time we end up over-committing more men forward only for us to get sucker-punched on the counter.
This past season exposed several deficiencies in our attack that have been well documented, from the lack of a clinical striker to lack of pace and movement…
In my opinion the lack of a proper speed dribbler(s) was also one of the reasons our attack faltered, especially when space is limited or when we are facing hard pressing teams like Southampton away for example.
In the 07/08 season we barely had problems with teams that parked the bus. This is because Hleb and Rosicky (the former moreso) would take the initiative and dribble past several players to create openings for the likes of Fabregas and Adebayor to latch into.
When that season ended, Hleb packed his bags for ‘greener’ pastures while Rosicky suffered from an injury that would keep him out for the best part of 2 years. We brought in Nasri that summer who only began to show consistency for us in his final season with us. He had the ability to play the ‘Hleb’ role especially when teams parked the bus against us. An example of this was that Fulham game when the commentator described Nasri’s 2nd goal as having ‘the touch of an angel…’.
We have been desperate for a while for such a player.
Last summer, the regulars here know I was desperate for Di Maria over Ozil because of this. I wanted him to come here and play as a no.10 as Ancelotti does with him at Madrid and its paying off for them.
This is not to say Mesut can’t dribble, Wenger last season said he is an excellent dribbler – even better than Zidane according to him. Wenger said Mesut needed to be selfish at times and take responsibility because he has the ability to do it. I can remember Southampton away when he took the ball just past the halfway line and made a 50 yard dash right through several defenders before taking a shot that was deflected onto the crossbar.
Santi can dribble quite easily but unfortunately he doesn’t have pace to make him even more dangerous. Wilshere can dribble very well but the issue with him is that he tends to over do it sometimes which leaves him susceptible to bad tackles. He needs to add some finesse to his dribbles like how Iniesta does, since it allows the player to be in more control of the ball. Jack I feel goes in all power which is not very wise at times in my opinion.
Ramsey is quite good actually but we shouldn’t have to rely on him to do it from such a deep midfield position, ditto Wilshere. This leaves us with the Ox. In my opinion if we are not going to buy such a player, I would fully back the Ox to be that player. In pre-season last year Wenger played him as the no.10 in some games where he impressed me with his dribbling ability. Having a player that can dribble at such pace and power from a central area of the pitch is invaluable especially considering how CMs are often the slowest players on the pitch.
At the Allianz Arena he completed 10 take ons he attempted. He was a nightmare for them in that match. I can still remember when he went past 4 of their players in 1 move. They had to hack him down at times to stop him.
Having such a player is invaluable. When Real Madrid faced Atletico Madrid in the CL final the latter often chose to sit very deep in their half. Bale and Ronaldo were very ineffective for most part since Atletico limited any space to run in behind. Real Madrid’s best player was Di Maria because he was able to beat several players in very tight spaces to create chances for his team-mates. He was excellent.
Wenger said we need to score more goals next season and addressing this issue will go a long way in helping us to achieve that.
The likes of Liverpool and City could carve apart even the best defences since they have players like Suarez and Aguero who can do it. Chelsea have Hazard, Madrid have Bale, Ronaldo and Di Maria, Bayern have Ribery, Robben and Gotze…and so on.
We need such a marquee player. Could Ozil be the man?…
In my opinion Alexis Sanchez would be the guy that I would pursue in the current market. However, I don’t make the decisions at the club but I hope Wenger shares my point of view.
Written by K-TR7
Laurent Koscielny has said we need at least four top signings this summer if we are to be competitive this coming season.
We allegedly had a bid for keeper David Marshall rejected by Cardiff.
Spanish newspaper AS is reporting Arsenal want to sign Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
According to the Metro, Arsenal will make a £17million bid for Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, should he impress at the World Cup.
According to John Cross in The Mirror, Arsene Wenger has spoken directly to Zinedine Zidane in an attempt to broker a deal for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
There you go, that’s it for this Friday….