I’m not going to say too much about Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Portsmouth on the weekend for the simple reason that I didn’t get to see it.
I came home after a friend’s birthday party to find the score at 2-0 at half-time and struggled to stay awake for the rest of the game. The game seemed like a Sunday stroll in the park, especially with that weird camera angle that is used at Fratton Park, and I found the whole thing very uninteresting with Manchester United just around the corner.
We had a much changed line-up for this game and by all reports they did pretty well. Nicklas Bendtner grabbed a first-half brace and Carlos Vela scored a nice third as our youthful team game Portsmouth the run-around. It was interesting to see Johan Djourou and Alex Song paired together at the back and even more intriguing to see Emmanuel Eboue playing on the left side of defence.
Andrey Arshavin captained the side and I think that’s testament to the impact he has made in a very short time at the club. He lead by example too, setting up Bendtner for the first and winning the penalty for the second in a sharp performance. Other interesting selections were Aaron Ramsey and Denilson in the centre of the park and Theo Walcott getting a 60-minute run-out on the wing.
In truth the most interesting thing about the game was probably the comments made Arsene Wenger after it. He made some very intriguing statements about the formation that he could use on Tuesday night as well virtually admitting that the experiment to play Cesc Fabregas in behind the striker did not work. In his own words he said:
“We looked more comfortable with 4-4-2 and it looked more threatening, but it also depends on who is available. However, when you play Walcott on the right you play more 4-3-2-1. He is a winger not a midfielder, so you have to balance the side to be a bit more defensive. Also, when Fabregas plays behind the striker, the striker looks to be a little isolated so you have to get the balance of the team right.”
I think what the manager is getting at is the fact that if Robin van Persie or Eduardo was fit he would definitely go for 4-4-2. However, with the Croation injured and van Persie struggling for fitness, it would be something of a gamble to start Bendtner alongside Emmanuel Adebayor against United.
I think it’s good that he’s made a comment about Cesc’s inability to get involved last week and I also find the statement about Walcott being more of a winger intriguing. In saying all this, I would certainly be tempted to move Samir Nasri to the left on Wednesday and let Fabregas drop deep to partner Song in the middle of the pitch. The manager could then play Bendtner or even someone like Diaby alongside Adebayor and we would find the balance we need.
Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say on that today. As it is Monday, that of course means the latest episode of the Arsenal FC Weekly podcast is available for download. I’ve decided to include the podcast in a seperate Monday post and you can find that here.
Enjoy and I’ll speak to you tomorrow.
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