Arsenal getting used to physical tests?

Arsenal getting used to physical tests?

Arsenal celebrate their win over Sparta PragueClichy believes Arsenal are tougher than ever

Arsenal’s exciting left-back Gael Clichy has spoken of his belief that his side now have the physical presence on the pitch to match their technical ability. Arsenal beat a very physical Sparta Prague side 2-0 to all but book their place in the Champions League group stages. Following the match, Clichy was adamant that the Czech side’s approach to the game may not have been the best one against an Arsenal side looking to acquire a tougher edge.

“Maybe they think this is the way to play against Arsenal. We have to show that we are not the same team as before and are ready for the challenge. Every weekend, we play against a side like this in England. This season, we believe we have the football quality and the physical quality.”

I’m not sure I personally agree with Clichy, at least not at this stage. Arsenal have played two games this season – against Fulham and Sparta Prague – and whilst the results have gone their way on both occasions it was obvious their opponents still managed to trouble the side playing in a physical manner. Whilst the side has looked quite good out wide the central midfield combination of Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini has come under enormous physical pressure and not always stood up to the task. Fabregas is not the biggest of lads and whilst I like Flamini very much as a player I think he needs someone like Gilberto Silva or Abou Diaby next to him in the middle to bring out his best qualities. Blackburn this weekend will provide another major physical test and if Arsenal can come through it then I’ll be a little bit more convinced with Clichy’s statements.

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Cesc Fabregas doesn’t care so much about scoringAssists more important for Fabregas

After scoring his first goal of the season against Sparta Prague Cesc Fabregas has commented that it is more important for the team for him to provide assists for his teammates rather than get the goals himself.

“For me, the most important thing is to create goals really. My Spanish coach Luis Aragones always says the most important thing is goals and the feeling you get when you score is amazing. But I have been educated since I was very young to make assists and make the team play.”

I’d say that I’d prefer a little from both worlds. It’s obvious that Fabregas is right when he says that making the team play is the most important thing but I also wouldn’t be against him bagging 10 goals this season. He is such a brilliant passer of the football that he is always going to get assists from midfield but if he can add to that a reputation as a regular goalscorer then he will become the complete package. Personally, I find it difficult to take a coach like Luis Aragones seriously when he has previously used racism as a form of motivation and his comments that ‘the most important thing is goals’ just serve as a reminder that he is not the smartest manager going around in world football.

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Eduardo should make his full debut for Arsenal against BlackburnEduardo set to play against Blackburn

There is good news for Arsenal in the build-up to the weekend’s encounter with Blackburn Rovers with the word that new signing Eduardo da Silva is likely to make the squad after recovering from an ankle injury. Manager Arsene Wenger revealed that his side pulled up well from their physical encounter against Sparta Prague on Tuesday and that Eduardo – as well as young Brazilian midfielder Denilson – should be available for the club’s second English Premier League game of the season.

“The players who come back available could be Denilson and Eduardo. I don’t think we’ll lose anyone else from last night apart from that little question mark over Eboue. We have played two hard and physical games this season already so we need fresh legs.”

Wenger’s comments seem to suggest there will be some changes made for the game against Blackburn. I mentioned earlier that Fabregas and Flamini have taken a bit of a battering in their first two games and with Denilson available it wouldn’t surprise me to see him replace Flamini in the centre of the pitch. If Emmanuel Eboue is a risk then Wenger will either probably start Theo Walcott on the right. There is also the option to pull Alexander Hleb out to the right and play Eduardo in behind Robin van Persie but I would be very disappointed if this eventuated after the blistering start to the season that Hleb has had in a support striker role.

My personal thoughts are that Hleb should stay where he is and Eduardo should start on the bench. It seems that Emmanuel Adebayor is still unavailable and if Wenger decides van Persie needs a rest then I would love to see Nicklas Bendtner get a start up front. He did well against Fulham and his big frame would cause Blackburn a lot of trouble.

What do you think?

Have your say on Clichy, Fabregas and the Blackburn game by leaving a comment.

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16 Responses to “Arsenal getting used to physical tests?”

  1. tom
    August 17, 2007 at 12:03 am #

    i think they should start in a 4-4-2

    with eduardo and persie up front with hleb behind.

  2. Ryan
    August 17, 2007 at 12:57 am #

    I can’t wait to see Bendtner get some proper minutes to his name. I can see a hat load of goals coming from his direct and powerful style.

  3. Spanish Fry
    August 17, 2007 at 1:24 am #

    Yeah, I am a big, big fan of Bendtner so far. He’s just so brash and confident – he scares the heck out of opposition defenders and I love it.

  4. Spanish Fry
    August 17, 2007 at 1:26 am #

    “I think they should start in a 4-4-2, with eduardo and persie up front with hleb behind.”

    Does that mean that Fabregas or Flamini would be dropped to accommodate? I wouldn’t be in favour of that..

  5. Demetrio
    August 17, 2007 at 3:44 am #

    I also wouldnt be in favor, i would like to see Flamini start, since if someone was dropped he would be the one most likely to miss out, and he had a very good game against Fulham.

  6. Spanish Fry
    August 17, 2007 at 4:28 am #

    Agreed. His enthusiasm is infectious – he is always one of the most determined players on the pitch.

  7. gunnershabz
    August 17, 2007 at 6:08 am #

    eboue is out, so maybe walcott is going to play, but it would be interesting to see how wenger plays it on sunday.
    hleb has played full 2 90mins, maybe he will on the right hand side, see if he has improved even more.

    sagna, toure, gallas, clichy,
    hleb, fabregas, flamini, rosicky,
    van persie, eduardo

    well, i dont know the boss knows who is going to be in good form against blackburn

  8. Joshua Asante
    August 17, 2007 at 6:48 am #

    Arsenal to win 3-1 against Blackburn if only Bendtner start the game!
    I think Bendtner to start the game will cause them problems.He is strong in the air and can score,If he plays then I expect Rosicky to make way for him and Van Persie moved to the wing.
    Lehmann
    Sagna
    Clichy
    Toure
    Gallas
    Flamini
    Hleb
    Fabragas
    Eduardo
    Bendtner
    Van Persie
    Arsenal 3-Blackburn 1
    Gael Clichy created the first goal after a wonderful run that Ashley cole could never do in all his time at Arsenal.

  9. knightman
    August 17, 2007 at 7:12 am #

    i would prefer a 4-3-2-1 formation (a bit weird eh?)..
    lehmann/almunia as GKs…sagna, toure, gallas, clichy in defence…fabregas,flamini, rosicky in mid…. Hleb and van persie/eduardo plying behind a lone striker Bentdner/Adebayor.

    the idea being having a physical striker upfront to keep them defenders busy and to go for high balls while the likes of RVP/Eduardo and Hleb go for the kill as usual..sort of the famous 4-5-1 but with more attacks coming from all corners. what do you think?

  10. kamsykelly
    August 17, 2007 at 8:13 am #

    you cant be more right.that is a very good style give them strong opponent and skillful men behind just look at what didier does to defenders then lampard will pick up the crumb that will work at Blackburn or what do you guys think

  11. NicktheGooner
    August 17, 2007 at 9:31 am #

    We might well see a 4-4-2 with Hleb on the right. Or else it could be Hleb on the left with Rosicky drooping to bench after his relatively poor performances. But i’m not sure about playing walcott from the start. He still has to improve.

  12. sam nix
    August 17, 2007 at 1:43 pm #

    Funny how Fergie is maoning about refs not protecting “Falir” players.. jeez Fergs, bit late on that one. Youve been taking lumps out of us for years.. bit of your own medicine and you start moaning.. Also, Rosicky has said: “It was really strange for me because I grew up there and Sparta prepared me for my future career. I really did not want to play against them.” Now, I know he is a professional, but i cant help say that it kinda looked like he didnt want to play against them.. he picked up a slight knock against Sparta too.. could be an interesting lineup this weekend, possibly highlighting our shortage of true wingers..

  13. Jay
    August 17, 2007 at 3:04 pm #

    I think Bendnter is already a fan favourite and he hasn’t started a game yet. I think Bendnter will start against Sparta Prague which is good as its champions league football. Da Silav and RVP will start on sunday, here is my line-up.
    Lehmann
    Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy = star man
    Rosicky – Fabregas – Flamini
    Hleb
    Da Silva – RVP
    Subs: Almunia – Senderos – Denilson – Walcott – Bendnter

  14. Jay
    August 17, 2007 at 3:07 pm #

    rosicky is out of the squad therefore it will be 4-1-2-1-2
    Lehmann
    Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
    Flamini
    Fabregas – Walcott
    Hleb
    Da Silva – RVP

  15. India-Gunner
    August 18, 2007 at 7:01 am #

    The current formation of 1-4-1-3-1-1 is working. I see no reason Arsene wants to change the winning formula. With this formation the team spirit is high and everybody fighting for each other. If he switch Hleb to the right or left wing that send a very wrong message to Hleb that even though he is scoring, he still not good to the team as supporing striker. I prefer AW to start with below team. If Hleb is ineffective as supporting striker then he can sub Hleb with Bendtner or sub Walcott/Rosicky/Dudu and switch Hleb to left/right wing. It isn’t easy to build someone confidence. I’m really don’t want to ruin Hleb’s confidence and his scoring form now! I don’t want to see the mistake made by Rafa in Liverpool last season’s rotating policy when the players were performing well. If one player is performing then he deserves to keep his space. Change him out if he is out of form.
    Lehmann
    Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
    Flamini
    Walcott – Fabregas – Rosicky/Dudu
    Hleb
    RVP/Bendtner
    Sub: Almunia, Senderos, Denilson, Rosicky/Dudu, Hoyte/Eboue

  16. Jay
    August 18, 2007 at 11:09 pm #

    I would be happy just to see Walcott start a game. He is a talented player so i think he deserves to start.

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