Afternoon all… it’s official, the International break is here and just as soon as we’ve got into our stride have some players have returned from injury… bang, the International break suddenly hits us… if I am correct after this series of games, the next one is in February, so we’ll have a full 12 to 16 weeks to concentrate on all things Arsenal before our players are taken away and injured again.
With Holland, Spain and England both having already qualified for the World Cup, the likes of Cesc and Theo and RVP shouldn’t be too hard pushed… but of course a few of the team are still not qualified, so I’d expect Arshavin, Gallas, Sagna and Rosicky to play this week and next, and we have to cross our fingers to hope they don’t get injured.
So today, it’s time to look at the 433 formation. And we all saw the formation in it’s full effect on Sunday as we absolutely mullered Blackburn. My dictionary doesn’t recognise the word “mullered”, so please do let me know, I hate those little red underlines, especially when the only alternative is “fullered”…!
There have been good times and back times this season, 5 wins (Everton, Fulham, Wigan, Blackburn and Portsmouth) and 2 losses (Man United away and Man City away). In all seven games this season, we’ve played the 433 formation and in principle it has proved that it has worked, even in the two games we lost.
Against Man United, we dominated the game and were in front, before two individual errors lost us the game – one from Almunia (albeit with a Rooney dive) and an own goal from Diaby. Against Man City, we were 1-1 with not long to go – we took off Denilson and Song, and that was the key factor that unbalanced our formation. Eboue, Diaby, Cesc, Rosicky, Eduardo, Van Persie and Bendtner all wanted to go forward in search of a winner, leaving no one covering the defence and the counter attack play basically undid us – I doubt we’ll see Arsene make that mistake again.
But looking at the five wins, with the exception of a very hard away game down at Craven Cottage – the games against Everton (6), Portsmouth (4), Wigan (4) and Blackburn (6) have seen us score a lot of goals… in fact with 24 goals in the Premier League this season, we’re the leagues top scorers and with 10 goals conceded, we’ve also got the best goal difference.
In some of my previous articles, we looked at Cesc’s opinion of the 433 and how it gave him more freedom to express himself and Theo Walcott also believes this formation will ultimately allow him to play some of his best football:
“I haven’t [set a target] really but I would be happy with 10 goals or more. We’ll see. I think this formation gives you more license to go forward so I should be among the goals a bit more this year. There is a lot of interchanging throughout the positions, which gives defenders problems because they come across a different player. It’s a good formation. In the Under-17s at Southampton we played this exact formation and I seemed to do quite well on the right side. Hopefully I will fit into it quite well again.”
All in all, it looks like we’re all agreeable to the new formation – thumbs up to Arsene… and whilst we’re talking about Theo Walcott – it was quite endearing to hear how he got Thierry’s autograph after the game, something you probably don’t think professional footballers do to one another, but in reality, it’s amazing to hear and an accolade to how highly Thierry is regarded by his former team mate.
“It was brilliant seeing him today. When your hero is here watching [and you have] his No 14 shirt on, it is a fantastic feeling. I got him to sign a ‘Walcott 14′ shirt so that’s going on the wall next to the one he signed when I first joined.”
And talking about former team mates, Adebayor has been in the press talking about his stamp on Van Persie, saying he shouldn’t have done it and that he regrets it… he then goes on to condemn Arsene Wenger and tell the press how Arsenal wanted him out… I’m not going to repeat myself about the whole Adebayorgate saga when he lied to all the fans and courted himself to all the European clubs – although I think I just did – something that seems to have been forgotten. Arsenal made you Ade, acknowledge and thank rather than swipe and kick.
Anyway, let’s not let that distract us from our otherwise awesome start to the season… more of the same boys!