Archive for December 2nd, 2006

Arsenal 3 – 0 Spurs: The Importance of 4-4-2

112 comments December 2nd, 2006

Sometimes in football, you need a break.  Today, we got three, each resulting in a goal.  That’s not to say we didn’t deserve the victory: Tottenham were outclassed by a resurgent Arsenal.

The first break came with a brilliant decision from a linesman to allow Emmanuel Adebayor to run through and curl home the opener.  Ade was onside, but so often linesmen miss these close calls, or decide in favour of the defence.  Once through, it was the coolest of finishes from the Togolese front-man.  After the goal, Adebayor made a point of running to hug the injured Thierry Henry: particularly poignant in the light of these stories.

The second two strokes of luck were controversial penalty decisions.  I was at the game, so am yet to see any replays, but friends tell me that the fouls on Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie were anything but clear cut, and the van Persie may have hand-balled before being felled.  Either way, the decisions were made and captain Gilberto slotted both penalties superbly.  In Gilberto and Adebayor, Arsenal had two seemingly unlikely heroes.

It was much improved performance from a highly motivated Arsenal, the only downside beign an injury to Tomas Rosicky which means he, like Henry, will miss the tie with Porto next week.  Our start to the game had a tempo and verve that has been lacking all of this season, and I genuinely believe a lot of this was down to our choise of formation: playing 4-4-2 immediately establishes the team on the front-foot.  It is not cautious, designed to contain: it is designed to attack and score goals.

And up-front, we were excellent.  Robin van Persie, playing in a secondary striker role, was superb, the alleged handball being the only slight on an otherwise excellent display.  It’s worth noting that he has scored as many goals as Thierry Henry this season, seven, and seems to be improving his team-play dramatically.

Emmanuel Adebayor’s goal was the kind of confident finish that some feared he wasn’t capable of.  He was excellent today, and like van Persie, thrives in this formation: we wouldn’t have won the first penalty were it not for him hassling and winning the ball wide on the right.  Sky gave him the man of the match, and I hope another important goal gets people off his back for a while: at 22, he’s showing great potential.

It’s a real lift to get this win, and now we need to go to Porto and do the business.  Will Wenger revert to the 4-5-1? Possibly, but if we show the same passion as we did today then we should make it.


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