There’s all sorts of stuff involving Arsenal going down at the moment so I’ll quickly summarise.
Saturday and Sunday saw the Arsenal boys play in the Emirates Cup and two wins over Atletico Madrid (2-1) and Rangers (3-0) meant that we picked up the trophy for the second year running time in three years. I must admit that I didn’t see either of the games aside from the highlights (part of my self-enforced off-season break) – but according to most papers and this very detailed player review by Goodplaya, we played quite well.
By all reports the most interesting thing about the weekend games was not the emergence of Jack Wilshere or Andrey Arshavin’s impossible angle goal, but the mounting evidence that Arsene Wenger will be employing a 4-3-3 formation this season. Almost every game throughout the pre-season has seen us utilise 4-3-3 and this continued in the Emirates Cup with Robin van Persie flanked by Tomas Rosicky and Nicklas Bendtner against Atletico and Eduardo receiving the same support from Andrey Arshavin and Jack Wilshere against Rangers.
I proclaimed my support for the formation shift after Barcelona’s win in the Champions League and I’m certainly excited about how it works out. It’s clear that we’re a bit short in numbers when it comes to the midfield and the change to incorporate more attacking players – of which we have in abundance – certainly makes sense. It looks like a midfield trio of Alex Song, Denilson and Cesc Fabregas will be favoured by the manager (I wonder if that will change when Samir Nasri returns?) but I still think we’re one body short and I would be very surprised if Wenger did not bring in another midfielder.
Interestingly the manager has not discounted the possibility of Patrick Vieira returning and – given his knees are up to it – I would certainly welcome our former captain back. People might call Wenger a hypocrite if he does bring Vieira back but I say sod that, he is an inspirational player who knows the ins and outs of the Premiership better than most and his influence could be immense in improving Song and Denilson’s game. He could be used sparingly to give the lads a rest every now and again and if we did get him on a free then it’s certainly not going to make our squad worse.
Moving to the defensive side of things it seems one transfer has already been completed (Philippe Senderos to Everton) while another is imminent (Emmanuel Eboue to Fiorentina). Both would have a big impact on the squad as it would leave us one centre-back short and without any decent cover for Bacary Sagna at right-back. Basically, if Senderos’ signing is confirmed (which it will be) then we absolutely cannot go into next season without another centre-half. Brede Hangeland has been bandied about a bit lately and there was a strangely convincing story about Werder Bremen’s Naldo earlier in the transfer window, but essentially it’s anyone’s guess as to who it will be.
What is bizarre, perverse even, is that despite the absolute need to bring in a defender and a defensive-minded midfielder it is a striker that looks the most likely arrival. Indeed, reports are that Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh is currently in London and Arsenal have already made a bid for the player. It could be nothing but it certainly looks like something.
Anyway, today’s post has turned out a bit more speculative and mysterious than I had intended so I might leave it there. Just a reminder if you missed it earlier but I did up quite a detailed post about my plans for the Arsenal FC Blog in the 09/10 season as well as the announcement that I’ll no longer be blogging under my pseudonym of Spanish Fry. You can check out all the details here and if you’re a regular reader of the blog, I strongly recommend that you do.
Cheers and enjoy your week.
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