A combination of Easter-related obligations and a difficult family situation means a very brief analysis of Arsenal’s 4-1 win away to Wigan. Here goes:
(+) The jury is still out on Lukasz Fabianski. In my last post I asked if the Polish goalkeeper was ready to step up but the evidence from Saturday was fairly inconclusive. At fault for the goal, Fabianski was also fortunate to be saved by a Kieran Gibbs goal-line clearance after rushing out on Mido and failing to make contact on the ball. In the Pole’s defense the back four should not have allowed either chance but he will still be disappointed with his overall contribution against Wigan.
(+) The injuries to William Gallas, Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy and now Johan Djourou have pushed our squad to the limit. Although it would be easy to criticise Kieran Gibbs for his jittery performance (more on him in a second) I do feel the imbalance in strength of the right-side of our back four and the left-side was a contributing factor. While Bacary Sagna is a nailed-in starter and was supported by Kolo Toure, a man who knows our system inside-out, support for Gibbs came from the unfortunate Djourou and Mikael Silvestre. Add to that the relative inexperience of Fabianski behind the back four and Arsene Wenger could do worse than to switch around Toure and Silvestre on Thursday night to get the balance right.
(+) Alan Wiley’s decision not to send off Gibbs was spot-on. Fabianski would likely have reached the ball before Antonio Valencia to at the very least smother it and deny Wigan the scoring opportunity necessary to make a sending-off the correct course of action.
(+) Alex Song is really starting to look the part and his goal was testament to the new found urgency and dynamism he has added to his game over the past two month. But while questions are starting to emerge regarding whether Song is a better option to Denilson alongside Cesc Fabregas in the middle, the reality is that Wenger is likely to keep starting the trio for the remainder of the games this season. 4-5-1 is most certainly the flavour of the month and if we are to win a trophy this season then that is the formation that is going to make it happen.
(+) Emmanuel Adebayor is a cut above Nicklas Bendtner at this stage of their respective careers. As much as I like Bendtner and have praised his recent efforts in the absence of our other strikers, Adebayor’s performances since returning from injury have been outstanding. Two goals against Manchester City, a wonder-strike and tireless effort against Villarreal and the thrilling late cameo against Wigan have illustrated his immense value to the club after his difficult (some might say lazy) start to the season.
(+) Marcos Senna’s injury has put us in the box-seat to make the Champions League semi-finals. He was their best player and scored in the first leg and while you should never cheer an injury to a football player, the loss of Senna will surely have been greeted with smiles in the Arsenal camp. Now it’s just up to Wenger and the boys to finish the job.
Anyway, that’s about it. I’ll be back tomorrow with some pre-Villarreal thoughts and a comment on our defensive situation. Until then, enjoy yourself.
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