Archive for September 14th, 2007

Adebayor can play Heskey to Eduardo’s Owen

Add comment September 14th, 2007


Not so long ago, being compared to Heskey and Owen would’ve been deemed an insult.  The former was in International exile, regarded as a big money gamble taken by clubs trying to avoid relegation, whilst Owen’s injury enforced-absence meant him playing only a dozen games in two seasons at Newcastle.  However, as I’ve watched the pair carry each other through the rehabilitation of their reputations, my mind couldn’t help but drift to two of our own strikers: Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo da Silva.

Owen and Heskey’s resurgence has been based upon the strength of their partnership.  Together, they are worth more than the sum of their parts.  In contrast, what has struck me about Arsenal’s strikers this season is the lack of understanding between our front-men.  But by following England’s blueprint, could we create our own devastating front two?

Adebayor and Eduardo have more in common with Owen and Heskey than an adherence to the traditional “little and large” pairing.  Whilst Heskey is undoubtedly superior to Adebayor in the air, the Togolese shares his power and physique.  Indeed, he is more able than Heskey when recieving the ball into feet, as well as providing an option with his pace in-behind.  But his primary function remains the same: Adebayor is a fulcrum in the team; a target you can hit from any distance who can retain possession and allow runners to meet the second ball.

One of those runners could be Eduardo.  In the same way that Owen feeds off the scraps provided by Heskey’s hard work, Da Silva could prove the perfect parasitic foil for Adebayor.  Like Owen, the Croatian has an innate awareness of his position in the penalty box, and the clinical finishing to take advantage of his spacial intelligence.  He is not the second top goal-scorer in the Euro 2008 Qualifiers without reason.  Even his first goal for the club, an outstretched volley against Sparta Prage, exhibited a freakish degree of dexterity.  Eduardo has Owen’s goalscoring potential without the years of injuries that have taken away the Englishman’s blistering pace.  Like Freddie Ljungberg in his prime, Eduardo is lightening over the crucial five metres that enables him to escape from defenders and find space in the box.

On paper, it’s an ideal pairing.  But, just as Heskey & Owen put Wayne Rooney in the shade, playing Edu & Ade would raise the difficult question of what to do with arguably our most blisteringly talented player: Robin van Persie.  The Dutchman’s brilliance on the ball is tempered by a tendency to drift in out of games.  However, his occasionally inadequate general play is so often punctuated by moments of genius that it almost justifies his inclusion ahead of Eduardo or Adebayor.

It’s a difficult one for Arsene, but watching England this week may have shown him that sometimes it’s better to go with the most effective partnership rather than the most talented individuals.

As it is, I expect Adebayor and Van Persie to start tomorrow’s North London derby.  You can hear me discussing this and other things in this week’s arsecast.  Arseblogger was ill and I was exhausted, so I have no idea how it’ll sound to the rest of the world.

Bacary Sagna is fit to return at right-back but William Gallas, Emmanuel Eboue and Jens Lehmann all miss out.  Gallas’ absence, combined with a suspension for Philippe Senderos, leave us very light at the back.  Gilberto only returns from a Brazilian get together today, and if he is not up to it we may have to field Justin Hoyte or (gulp) Alex Song at centre-half.  Against Dimitar Berbatov.  Icky.

I had a nightmare we lost to Tottenham.  It was genuinely quite frightening.  This cannot be allowed to happen, however much I would enjoy my apparent powers of clairvoyance.

Finally, if you missed all the stuff about the new comments, read yesterday’s blog.  There’s still a fair bit of fiddling going on with it, so ignore anything crazy that happens and use the link on the homepage to access them.  Ta.

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