Archive for October 20th, 2010

“Wilshere is underused in holding midfield”

300 comments October 20th, 2010

Arsenal 5 – 1 Shakhtar Donetsk (Song 19, Nasri 42, Fabregas 59 (pen), Wilshere 66, Chamakh 69, Eduardo 82)
Highlights | Arsene’s reaction

I was surprised by how bad Shakhtar were…
All the talk before the game was of an attacking side with a strong South American influence.  Instead, their main tactical ploy seemed to be to knock the ball between goalkeeper and defenders in a desperate attempt to prevent an Arsenal counter-attack.  On a night where our front three were without the pace of Eboue, Walcott and Arshavin, it was a misguided and unsuccessful strategy.

They plotted their own downfall…
…with some Arsenal-esque moments of defensive sloppiness.  First their keeper inexplicably Fabianski’d, allowing Alex Song to score from close range, and then a missed interception from Srna was punished by an outstanding piece of control and finishing from Samir Nasri.  As for the foul on Johan Djourou for the penalty, it was pure stupidity: just moments before, the referee had warned the Shakhtar defenders about the risks of such blatant holding.

Arsenal’s first half performance was strangely subdued.
It sounds odd considering we went in at 2-0 ahead, but in the first period we never really gelled.  The main reason, I expect, was the rusty form of Cesc Fabregas.  Cesc played in the number 10 role, but didn’t have either the magical first touch or tireless energy we’ve become accustomed to.  An hour under his belt will be helpful preparation for the more significant test of Manchester City on Sunday.

Alex Song was the star of the first 45…
… with a goal and an assist to his name.  He did, however, get lucky with both.  His cross for Samir Nasri was deflected, whilst his rabona-style attempt at goal on our opener cannoned off a defender, hit Song again, and bobbled in.  Song’s fancy flick was a little symptomatic of a degree of over-elaboration creeping in to his game: he is at his best when he keeps it simple, and would do well to remember it.

Samir Nasri now has six goals in his last six games.
I think so, anyway.  Either way, that tally takes him and Chamakh clear as our joint top-goalscorers.  Nasri had an outstanding pre-season, and whilst he hasn’t been able to play in the central role he craves as much as he’d like, has been very productive in the final third.  His clipped pass for Chamakh’s goal was a repeat of the impudent flick he produced to allow Cesc Fabregas to stab home a similar goal last season.  That’s the mark of a great technician: the ability to consistently recreate moments that others could only stumble upon through improvisation.

Jack Wilshere is underused in holding midfield.
I understand why he plays there for now: when you’ve got Cesc Fabregas as your playmaker, others will of course have to shuffle in to less-than-deal positions.  However, within minutes of switching to a more advanced role, he had scored his first goal of the season, ending a precision move by dinking the ball over the keeper.  Doubtless Jack has the discipline and intelligence to play deep, but as time moves forward so will he: he can be decisive in and around the penalty area, and those players are rare.

Eduardo’s entrance and goal were touching.
I was slightly curmudgeonly about the whole affair yesterday – it was easier to be sentimental about it all when we were 5-0 up.  His finish was typically astute, but it’s worth pointing out the game was essentially dead by then.  The players’ minds were already looking ahead to a massive game at the weekend: Man City away.

More on that in the coming days.

Search Gunnerblog

Get your Gunnerblog t-shirts now!

get regular updates from GS with twitter

Top Gunn

Cesc Fabregas
The man in form.

    Retro Arsenal T-Shirts from - Bringing Back The Good Old Days!: Click Here!

Latest Posts

Sponsored Links


October 2010
« Sep   Nov »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker