Wenger Speaks… And so does Ade’s agent…

I won’t touch on the “Robin Van Persie has signed” yet as there have been been no official news from the club…

But there has been some discussion from Arsene on various aspects of the club, the formation, signings and plans for next season… He started off with the formation, so let’s take a look at what he’s been saying…

Next season we will play the formation and system that most suits the players and the balance of the team. That means it’s not rigid. It can evolve throughout the season, depending on circumstances and personnel. If you play with Theo Walcott for example, you are more tempted to go for three midfielders because Theo is more of a forward than a midfielder in a 4-4-2.

The thought of playing a 4-3-3 certainly springs to mind when Arsene discusses this – of course, it’s something that we’ve done last season – the only problem is that we’d did with the wrong players in the positions… and of course, we hadn’t really practised it pre season. I’d prefer us to master one formation that try and master two formations – it’s a known fact that if you ask a player to play in two different formations, he will not have a naturally formation, and therefore will be constantly adapting his game rather than getting on with the game itself.

For example, playing a 4-3-3 with VP, Arshavin and Theo “up front” and Diaby or Cesc behind the striker doesn’t work – Why? Because, Theo has been playing in a 4-4-2 since he’s played football, so when he plays on the wing, he plays too deep, changing the 4-3-3 into a 4-5-1 – as the wingers are deep, that means one player – that player being Diaby and sometimes Cesc being the “spare” man and moving forward, which basically means we end up with a 4-4-1-1 with the extra midfield player in the hole.

We’ve seen it many times last season and it really didn’t work – my view is that we either need to retrain our side to play 4-3-3 and that means changing the mentality of players such as Theo Walcott to play more forward – but it’s a change of style too and not something I think we can keep on changing week in, week out. Personally, I’d prefer a 4-4-2 with a real defensive midfielder in the squad, but hey I’m not the boss – but I do worry about Arsene’s recent remarks on the formation.

Arsene went on to speak about the forthcoming transfers…

Ideally I would like to bring everybody in before we start back in pre-season training in July. I don’t want to leave it until the end of August. I want to add to the squad and I have identified one or two targets. But identifying players and buying them are two different things. We lost Hleb and Flamini last summer and we have had to rebuild. We don’t want to have to rebuild again so I want to keep all the players together for next season. I don’t want to lose anyone.

And his statements are very positive. Having already brought Vermaelen in, it’s clear he wishes to add more players to the squad and also finally acknowledge the element of rebuilding that was evident this season. He mentions he has identified “one or two” targets and if the boss is to be believed then he’s not looking to strengthen up front, so you’d expect a defensive midfielder and another defender, which would raise questions on whether we will sell players as the boss does say “I don’t want to lose anyone” – but is he referring to any of his top players, and happy to lose players such as Silvestre and Senderos?

One of the top commenters (May and June will be announced together), AJ has recently taken the poll “If you were Arsenal manager, who would you pair with Thomas Vermaelen in central defence?” and there was overwhelming support for Kolo Toure… the results coming in (so far) as: William Gallas 25%, Kolo Toure 56%, Mikael Silvestre 1%, Johan Djourou 3%, Alex Song 2%, A new signing 14%… where was Senderos?

Arsene also spoke about Niklas Bendtner and the improvements he’s made last season:

“Nicklas has made big improvements since the start of the season. He has become an important player for this club. When Nicklas is really switched on and focused, he is a handful for any defence in the world. He has shown that in the second part of the season. People forget how young he is, but I am sure he has won many people over in the second half of the season.

And I’d have to agree with Arsene, I do think Nicky B has come along a lot since last season, but I also agree in the statement “when he is really switched on and focused” because we all know how frustrating he can be when he has one of his off days… more to come from the Danish striker next season, no doubt.

Back to transfer news and more news from Ade’s agent again yesterday when he spoke about Ancelotti, saying:

“He would like to work with Ancelotti, but Chelsea have not contacted us”

Still trying to get a move sorted – and it’s “much a do” about the same as last season when Adebayor attempted to court all the big European clubs without dividend – but this season he’s asked the fans why they don’t like him and reconfirmed his future to the club but then gone and asked his agent to find him a new club. Players nowadays, hey? What can you do?

  • Berth

    Adebayon————- His started again; but Dev try to be a bit lenient with the lad; be considerate.

  • zohaib

    Agree with every single sentence mate.

    Lots of times last season, I thought a 4 – 3 – 3 would be the right formation for the team, but as you said, we didn’t play with the right players in the right positions. Part of the reason was the injuries and part of the reason was the players (Walcott, Nasri, Eboue, Diaby all at wide positions) were too inexperienced to handle the responsibilities efficiently. Take Walcott for example – how many times have you seen him on the left wing ? Being right footed you’d think he might play more on the left wing, cutting in and having a go at defenders, like Ronaldo or Young etc.

    It was a very rigid formation and Wenger says it’ll be less rigid next season which is hugely positive. He’s got me listening ! Hopefully everybody’s had another year so HOPEFULLY they’ll play better in their positions (whatever they might be).

    I have a feeling you’ll be disappointed Dev, if you’re hoping we stick to one formation. Because as Wenger’s said, the formation will be decided by the players playing, which could mean everybody will play in their original positions. Maybe (and again hopefully) it’s a sign that we won’t see Diaby playing at LM.

    Personally I think we should have a side capable of playing at least the 2 formations – a 4 – 3 – 3 and a 4 – 4 – 2. And then come all the variations with the 4 – 5 – 1 and the 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 etc. It really helps when facing different kinds of opponents. We’d be prepared and not caught out. And in a way we do have a squad which is capable of playing in different formations. Our problem was that the experienced players kept getting injured and the youngsters that replaced them lacked experience. We just need a no-nonsense DM to make our 4 – 4 – 2 competitive. We have the squad for a 4 – 3 – 3.

    I think this is a step in the right direction. Finally we might see Walcott not playing so deep on the right wing. I think a 4 – 3 – 3 would suit us better, provided we have the right players playing. I’m not sure Adebayor is one of them but I’ve already said all I had to about the guy and why he’s not the right player for us. I’m sure some fans he managed to win back would be more than disappointed if what his agent says is true.

    Coming back to formation, I’m looking forward to seeing a 4 – 3 – 3 with one of Eduardo, VanPersie, Bendtner or Ade (not looking forward here, but sadly expecting) as the main striker. On either side, supporting the main striker, would be 2 players from amongst VanPersie, Vela, Walcott, Arshavin, Rosicky, Nasri and Eboue (back-up right side attacking winger). I don’t think playing Eduardo or Bendtner out wide is a smart idea. I think we should stick to playing them as strikers and let the players more comfortable with the wide roles play there. Coming to midfield, in the central position, one of Denilson, Song, maybe Nasri, maybe even Coquelin, a defensive-minded Diaby, pre-season Eboue from last season, and the no-nonsense 30 million pound DM that we’re about to buy (right ! but as is evident, we’re short in this area). For the remaining two positions either side, two from amongst Fabregas, Rosicky, Nasri, Ramsey (back-up), and Diaby. Ideally, I’d like maybe one more player to provide some back-up and cover in this position but maybe a more experienced Ramsey would be enough.
    And in defence 4 from Sagna, Clichy, Gibbs, Toure, Djourou, Gallas and Vermaelen. Ideally, I’d also like to have a better keeper than Fabianski as back-up but hopefully he can improve next season. Maybe it’s just a case of the first season being tough.

    Speaking of players, has anyone been watching the Confederations Cup ? Some really exciting football being played and some good players on show. The goalkeepers of Egypt, Iraq and South Africa have been quite impressive. As have some of the midfielders and defenders from Egypt and South Africa.

    Back to my point now – I’ve discussed a 4 – 3 – 3. For a 4 – 4 – 2 I’d choose 2 strikers from Eduardo, VanPersie, Bendtner, Ade, Vela, Walcott, and Arshavin. Wide-midfielders from Nasri, Arshavin, Vela, a better Walcott, Rosicky (reluctantly, because he’s a central midfielder, not sure he has the pace to go past people, which you need of wingers), Eboue (back-up), maybe Gibbs and Traore for left-wing but again as is evident, at least to me, we have a shortage of real wingers. We have midfielders who can play wide but a lack of wingers with pace to go past people and cause problems. At the very least we need 1 winger but ideally we need 2 because if I’m honest, we have almost no wingers. Arshavin’s a striker in a 4 – 3 – 3, so is Vela. Maybe Nasri is best equipped for the wing but I need to see more of him there to decide because it was his first season and we’ve hardly had our first choice 11 playing so maybe that’s affected his form on occasion. You could probably count Eboue as a winger but he’s more of a squad player than a player you’d count on for a starting spot. In the central role, 2 CMs from Fabregas, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Rosicky, Nasri and Ramsey. And the same defence as in a 4 – 3 – 3, no surprises there.

    Another thing I’d like to say is in response to Wenger’s ‘common sense’ comment –
    “We are at a stage were we need to convince people that this team does a lot of things right. It does not need to be transformed. When you go on a long unbeaten run in the Premier League and reach two semi-finals, common sense should tell you that.” –

    I’d like to ask Wenger – shouldn’t common sense also tell you that players like Silvestre need to be sold !? I don’t mind that you bought him in the first place because I didn’t like Senderos as a player, and we needed a replacement, and you bought someone who cost peanuts and should have given us experience. Instead he became a sort of ‘agent’ for ManUtd, making sure everything went wrong for us at the back. Maybe that should teach you not to be so miserly about money.

    Anyway, I think next season is when we’ll finally see a slight change in the philosophy of Arsenal where we felt (I certainly did) that it was becoming a club that would groom players in the top competitions without actually wanting to win it as bad as the other teams.

  • Yemi

    Great to know that le boss is looking at some more players and does not want to wait till end of august to bring them in. Just as i suggested that all who will come in should do so b4 pre-season. We are watching and waiting and hoping for the best.

    On another note, city now have about 10 or 11 forwards, how are they going to cope ? They have Jo, bellamy, santa cruz, benjiani, robinho, bojinov, caicedo, vassel, sturridge, evans and the possibility of tevez. Not forgetting the fact that they are still in the hunt for etoo. I cant wait to see how they will work it out.

  • Berth

    Great stuff from the formation Genius, Zohaib. Yemi, may be Man city will be the first team in the world to field eleven strikers.

  • Pete

    Just read this article regarding Ade.


    Emmanuel Adebayor’s agent claims a “very important team” has made contact about the Arsenal striker, but says there has been no interest yet from Chelsea or Manchester United.

    Tabloid speculation has claimed the Gunners have offered Adebayor to both AC and Inter Milan in an attempt to prevent the Togo ace joining Chelsea.

    The former tried to sign Adebayor last summer and former Rossoneri coach Carlo Ancelotti’s move to Chelsea has prompted rumours the forward could also head to Stamford Bridge.

    United have also been linked with a bid, but the player’s agent Stephane Courbis says Arsenal’s domestic rivals have not been in touch.

    “As of today, I have not even got evidence to speak of presumed interest from Chelsea and Manchester United,” Courbis told calciomercato.it.

    “It’s a given fact that Carlo Ancelotti likes the player seeing that last year he tried to sign him for Milan, although Chelsea have not contacted us.

    “We have not received any calls, not from Milan or Ancelotti. Another team has contacted us, but I cannot say anything, it’s a very important team.”

    Courbis also confirmed there has been no meeting with Milan and is confident Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not looking to cash in on the £25million-rated former Monaco man.

    He added: “There has not been any meeting with Milan for Adebayor and lately I have not received a call on their behalf.

    “This doesn’t mean Ade is for sale to resolve Arsenal’s economic problems. I spoke with Arsene Wenger this morning and he told me nothing of the kind.”

  • Berth

    Yeah, yeah, Ade should leave if he must. But we have to get a replacement. May be Huntelar

  • zohaib

    They do have almost a whole starting 11 of forwards, Yemi. Let’s get one from them ? I say Benjani. The guy has ability, is a proper striker, doesn’t drift into unneccessary positions, knows what offside means, is passionate, is experienced, has the right attitude, and he’ll be better than Ade, I’m pretty sure.

  • zohaib

    Pete – Great ! Somebody wants him. Finally. Thank God ! Now, can we get Benzema or Villa ? Please tell me we can …

  • Berth

    Zohaib and Ade; this lad is really killing you.

  • Pete

    Thought that might cheer you up Zohaib lol 😀

    This is the second summer in a row where Adebayor appears to be courting a big transfer. Either its true that Ade does want out, or if not then he REALLY needs to sack his agent. Wenger already has transfers in defence and midfield to sort out and doesn’t need any of this nonsense going on as well.

    If it is true and he does want to leave, then we’d need to bring someone in. Berth, I like your suggestion, Huntelar would be a good replacement.

  • Berth

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/?cc=5739 – a video on this site focused on Arsenals past seasons -its an interesting analysis I wish to share with you folks.

  • Arsefan101

    Man, I hope Ade goes… I am begining to hate him!!!

    With the formation stuff, I agree with you Dev – we need to practise these formations in pre-season and develop our understanding of them – if we do this, then we’ll be able to use them properly.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Has anyone noticed that no one of real class appears to want a move to Man U or Chelsea in the gossip columns they are all snubbing them for Real / Barca or staying put at their original club…hilarious if it stays that way.

    On the flip side this means that if Ade does go we will all be looking for a striker which is not good so I hope he stays until next season :-)

    This is completely off topic but i thought I would share it with you.

    “Hull manager Phil Brown has been fined £2,500 for making inappropriate comments about referee Mike Riley after the Tigers’ FA Cup defeat at Arsenal”

    Excellent news as I hate this guy with a passion and I for one am looking forward to thumping Hull both home and away this coming season.

  • Pete

    It’s actually quite a prolific transfer window, judging by how things have gone so far. I don’t remember seeing so many big players from so many clubs all wanting to sign for different clubs. Ribery looks like he’s opting for Real Madrid as his prefered destination.

    As for Ade, all I want to know is what happens if no one wants to buy him and he has to stay with Arsenal next season, what form will he show for us? Thats my only concern. If he does actually want to stay, knuckle down and play well, then I’m happy for him to remain a Gunner. But, and this doesn’t just aply to him but all our players, anything less than 100% commitment to the team wont be good enough I’m afraid.

    In recent weeks we’ve had the likes of Clichy, Cesc and Sagna commenting on their desire to go forward with this club, which goes along way in reassuring supporters.

  • Vazy

    i couldnt agree more pete! this seems less like real life more like the first season of football manager! it looks like there will be a few more big moves on in the next couple of weeks by the sounds of it too as every major star being targeted by someone or another

    im in 2 minds about ade myself, i really like him as a person, but still since his interview i have started to feel sorry for him but at the same time, i dont really want us to have a striker that succumbs this much to pressure.. ah well!

    also been reading this site for about a year, thought it was about time i put in some comments here or there!

  • Pete

    Cheers Vazy! And welcome to the blog mate 😀

  • Pete

    WOO!!!! Fabregas is starting for Spain tonight against USA! C’mon Cesc!!!! 😀

  • Pete

    Whoa!!! USA beat Spain 2-0. Didn’t see that coming.

  • Debs

    I’m still not over that shock defeat, Pete! lol

  • zohaib

    That was sad.

    I missed the first half, but based on the second half I thought their manager made some strange decisions. Just as Cesc started to become more active, he took him off and replaced him with Cazorla who hardly ever got a touch.
    I thought Torres should’ve been replaced by Llorente or Guiza. Villa looked dangerous but Torres was having a bad day. Alonso didn’t look too involved. Xavi and Riera did. And Ramos refused to pass to Cesc on several occasions when he was in space.
    I thought one or more of Torres, Ramos and Alonso should’ve been replaced. Defensively Ramos is a liability. His pace helps him recover, much like the Arsenal defence. But unlike the ManUtd, Chelsea or Liverpool defence, they lack the anticipation and fail to PREVENT getting into trouble, in the first place, so that they don’t have to rely solely on pace to scamper to RECOVER.

    Ramos made a huge mistake by charging at the USA player (no.22 Fielhaber) who passed him with ease and created a chance, which eventually fell again to Ramos’ feet but instead of clearing it first time he tried to act extra cool and take a touch, a hugely careless attitude specially being a goal down already, and effectively ending any chance they had of winning the game with the amount of time left.

    Other than that USA were lucky to get the first goal. Casillas nearly saved it. I wonder if that equates to poor keeping. I didn’t have a very good look at it but it looked like nothing special and something that should’ve been saved.

    But this really stinks. I was hoping for a Spain v Brazil final where Spain thrash Brazil. Oh well, hope Spain win the World Cup ! OOoops. sorry folks I’m just a huge fan of Cesc and most of the other Spanish players. No offense meant though.

  • zohaib

    Cheers for sharing the soccernet video Berth.

    And thanks for the almost good news about Ade, Pete ! lol

  • Yemi

    USA came with a game plan against spain and it worked effectively. That is the joy of being an underdog. Nobody would have predicted a draw let alone a win for USA. They relied on the counter attack and it paid off. They had 7 men in defence, 2 upfront and one in defence. They midfield was left for spain but 2 or 3 men were always on xavi, torres and villa. The nigerian born american(or american born nigerian) Onyewu was outstanding in defence. USA were throwing themselves at every ball. It was a shocker. I am sure people would have lost money in bets. Just goes to show that it was no fluke they beat egypt who had just beat italy in qualifying.

  • http://www.arsenal.com Sekagya Vincent

    Let Arsene sell off Adebayor and bring in Jan Huntealer and Dentinho to bolster van persie’s high rated potential
    And a DM may be Canna and we shall surely see our driving one Arsene to a silver ware next season 2009/2010. Am a big fun of Cesc, Toure, Walcott, Denilson. Its good not to lose many players but we need someone who is a winner than Adebayor’s loss of touch last season. We luv u Arsene, sekagya vincent- Uganda

  • http://www.arsenal.com Sekagya Vincent

    Let Arsene sell off Adebayor and bring in Jan Huntealer and Dentinho to bolster van persie’s high rated potential
    And a DM may be Canna and we shall surely see our driving one Arsene to a silver ware next season 2009/2010. Am a big fun of Cesc, Toure, Walcott, Denilson. Its good not to lose many players but we need someone who is a winner than Adebayor’s loss of touch last season. We luv u Arsene and lets stick on a 4 3 3 and 4 4 2 formations to build and hav confidence in our team, sekagya vincent- Uganda