Arsenal’s Big Game – a Midweek Analysis
I know the big game is still a good four days away but I thought it was about time I put my managerial cap on and gave an in-depth tactical analysis. The importance of this weekend’s English Premier League game cannot be underestimated and we must get at least a point. To be honest, I would be perfectly happy with only a point the way Arsenal are currently playing. But, this analysis will focus on how I think Wenger should play to ensure he gives Arsenal every chance of beating the bully-boys from Bolton.
Let’s start at the logical beginning – with the starting line-up. In goals, Jens Lehmann is the obvious choice. No debates there I’m sure. When it comes to the back four – I think Wenger should change up his defence this week to include Phillipe Senderos at centre back and shift William Gallas to right-back in the place of Emmanuel Eboue. Eboue has not been in the best form for Arsenal of late, and although I spoke in length about the need for Arsenal to with the same back-four for the remainder of the season, I also think that it would be ignorant to ignore Bolton’s major attacking strength; height and power. Completing the defensive line would be the ever-consistent duo of Toure and Clichy – who have been two bright sparks in a pretty ordinary year.
My choice of formation and midfield players is again suited to countering Bolton’s strengths first and foremost, then allowing Arsenal to attack. I would definitely play both Gilberto Silva and Abou Diaby as well as Cesc Fabregas in a more attacking role in a five-man midfield. Gilberto is a must and I think that Diaby’s height and power will assist in nullifying Bolton significantly. Alexander Hleb would then play on the right and Freddie Ljungberg on the left. In order for Arsenal to maintain an attacking edge Fabregas must push forward as much as possible and Ljungberg and Hleb will have licence to attack as long as Gallas and Clichy remember that their job is to defend.
Up front at the point of the 4-5-1 I would have Emmanuel Adebayor. He’s currently our best non-injured striker and – as many experts have pointed out – does play well in a lone role. As long as he receives enough support from Hleb, Ljungberg and particularly Fabregas he can cause Bolton problems.
The key to this game will be to take a more cautious approach, much like against Newcastle. I believe that with this team line-up and a lucky break or two Arsenal has a very realistic chance of grabbing all three points at Bolton. This is my opinion, but Arsenal fans will have to wait to see what Mr Wenger thinks is the best way to get a result against his bogey side.