2010-11 Season Review: Thoughts On The Attack

I am finding it hard to form any sort of a conclusive opinion about Arsenal’s attack.

Nasri, Walcott, and Van Persie have contributed significantly more than they did in previous years. Arshavin too made a telling contribution in terms of goals and, more importantly, assists.

Arguably, the loss of 11 goals from last year’s tally of 83 does indicate the attack struggled a bit. Fabregas, Vermaelen, and even Bendtner’s contribution was not comparable to last season.

I don’t know how many have noticed this but all the top teams have scored less this season compared to the previous one. United scored 8 less, Chelsea dropped a whopping 34 (they did have an exceptional year last time around), while City lagged by 13. Even the Tiny Totts managed to score a dozen less than their paltry 67 from 09-10. Arsenal’s 11 seems par for the course in this context.

There could be many reasons for this collective slump. Some observers believe the top teams were weak this season whereas others believe the League was stronger. Given the amount of money City have spent I’m inclined to go with the former argument. If the top teams had been weaker Mancini’s side should have run away with the title. The fact that they did not, and indeed struggled to perform against the smaller teams, suggests that the other teams defended well and fought harder.

Another common argument that I have read during the season and in the summer is that the Gunners don’t break at speed anymore. I haven’t found any such opinion backed by actual evidence. Usually it is based on the writer’s feelings which are often triggered by watching ‘highlights’ of the seasons past.

If we believe the WhoScored website, Arsenal scored only 3 goals from a fast break this season. In comparison, United scored 5, Chelsea 4, and City got 2. Now there could be a debate over the definition of a fast break but one thing is certain – the definition is same for all the teams. Why did a team that was assembled at a cost of nearly half a billion and was based primarily on a counter-attacking style score only two goals from fast breaks? Didn’t they score that many or more against Arsenal alone in one game last time around?

Once again we can compare these numbers with the 2009-10 season to get some perspective. City scored 10 goals from fast breaks last season. Arsenal had 9, United 6, while Chelsea managed 8. To me, that is further evidence that in 2010-11, the smaller teams tightened their defences.

Based on the above discussion, I believe it’s safe to say that Arsenal’s attack wasn’t that bad.

The development of Nasri and Walcott was timely and the manager deserves enormous credit for nurturing them the way he has. It is also important to acknowledge the contribution of a little Russian in the success of the Frenchman and the England international. Many of their goals came after excellent work by Arshavin.

The diminutive playmaker often frustrates with his work rate and body language but it’s hard to ignore the value of his contribution. Is it a co-incidence that Nasri and Walcott lost form in the final few months when Arshavin wasn’t playing regularly?

Unfortunately, Arsenal did continue to disappoint with their crossing and set-pieces. I am one of the first to say that both of these methods are highly inefficient ways of attacking but the Gunners seem to have regressed in this department.

This season Arsenal scored 9 goals from set-pieces (excluding penalties). The Manchester sides managed 13 while Chelsea knocked in 18. A year ago, Arsenal finished with 16, United 13, Chelsea 17, and City topped the list with 21. The loss of Vermaelen might have been more of a blow in the opposition box than our own!

Van Persie was unplayable at times but his free-kick delivery was poor. It could be a mental issue and he might have been trying too hard because last season he did excel at corners.

Wenger has to make the set-pieces more dangerous. Even if they don’t lead to goals, Arsenal have to use them as a form of increasing the pressure. These days the opposition finds set-pieces to be a respite against Arsenal’s possession game and are happy to knock the ball out to get a breather and reorganize. Arsene has to infuse more creativity and purpose into the way the Gunners approach free-kicks and corners. This can only come from rigorous and focused training.

Before concluding I want to briefly mention Chamakh. The Moroccan had a respectable start to his Arsenal career after an impressive pre-season. Unfortunately, his form dropped off around Christmas and he failed to make an impression after that.

I believe he wasn’t signed as a typical goal-scorer or poacher but as a player who could bring the others into play more often. The early form of Nasri, Walcott, and Arshavin did justify his style. But, in a long season, there will always be times when the midfield struggles or the wide players cannot contribute as much. In such games one would expect more from a striker. So far, Arsene hasn’t been able to get the best out of Chamakh. Better set-pieces and a change to a more traditional approach every once in a while can help the striker and the team.

To be fair, Arsenal do try going wide and putting crosses in but it is a style they haven’t mastered as a collective. The team lacks cohesion on such occasions. More often than not there aren’t enough bodies in the box or in the right areas for a cross to at least cause confusion/panic. Once again, training is the only realistic solution.

On the whole, I was impressed by some developments in attack but felt there is room for improvement and flexibility. Arrivals and departures will affect the possibilities for next season so I’ll revisit the topic just before the start of the season.


39 Responses to 2010-11 Season Review: Thoughts On The Attack

  1. arvind says:

    Hi Desi

    Nice post. I do think that a Hallmark of Arsenal’s potent attack in years past was the ability to break at major speed. We had the horses to do this. With our current team, we do not have the personnel, except for may be walcott that can offer any threat like this.

    I am a believer that our short quick passing game combined with a quick counter attack will lead us to more goals and a better scoring opportunity than crossing the ball to no one who really has the ability to head in or attack the ball. When we play 451 its a disaster watching cross after cross going to RVP when he is not the best player for this type of attack.

    IF we do get Chamberlin, Gervinho, and get rid of Cesc, we might be able to get some speed in the team again.

    Speaking of Cesc, he is slow. Sure he is a great passer and might draw a few penalties, but he is slow as Denilson. Im excited at the thought of having Nasri take the middle and see what happens.

    One thing that we need to work on is having players take more shots from outside the box and to put pressure on the goal and defense. We pass and pass to a point of having the opponent completely read our moves and re set their defense.

    Id like us to also try longer passes, instead of our short passing game. If we can do this, we might be able to open up defenses and get behind them faster than our normal passing pace.

    • G4L says:

      In the past we had an English defence and played a style similar to the other English sides. This presented more opportunities for counter attacks but we scored fewer goals in other ways.

      In the Invincibles season Arsenal scored 73 goals, just one more than last season. If there were a lot of counter attacking goals in that season (didn’t find the stats anywhere) we must not have scored as many from open play as we did this season (54!).

      It would be understandable because the team defended better in those days. It might also have reduced the opportunities from open play (as many players would have been in deeper positions) and increased the chances of counter attacks.

      The passing game and counter attacks can’t coexist because possession pushed the teams back into their own half. Wenger has to find a system that improves the defence and then build the attacking options around that.

      • santori says:

        Agree. You could run away with statistics (excuse the ‘pun’)

        I feel we tend to get clogged down with teams defending deep because we lack variation in our approach play.

        Part of the problem with our ‘quick breaks’ is we really only have one speed merchant in Walcott. When he’s shackled, then ussually what happens is a ball punted up to RVP or Chamakh is often played back or to the side thereby slowing the break down somewhat.

        It’s the extra step that allows the opposing defense to regroup.

        We need someone who can beat the last defender (other than Walcott) and someone who can play right up top or compliement Walcott on the other side of the pitch.

    • richie says:

      Desi I like the article but as you rightly point out “fast break scoring” as a term is subjective. I’d like to give a practicle imput. The goal scored by Shava against Barca sum’s up the Arsenal of years passed where the ball starting deep in our own half is moved at speed with one touch passes and ends up in the oppositions net in seconds. That goal had nothing to do with keeping possession gradual build up play or the final defence spliting pass. With the ball moving at the speed it did the defence was effectively bi-passed (passed around if you will). I submit that this is the type of fast break play that sadly has been missing from our game in recent seasons. It seems to have gradually been replaced by the slow build up possession game we now play. I like the idea of keeping possession thereby depriving our opponents of the opportunity to score, but whenever we win back possession, I like the idea of making the most of our accets especially the speed that Walcott has. Its why I like the idea of moving Theo centrally, his speed will scare defense’s thereby stretching them. Its the fast break goal of the type we scored against Barca that I would like to see us to return to.

      • santori says:

        Absolutely agree that we need a mix of approach. Sometimes patience is neeeded, Sometimes we need to kock the door down (with Chamakh). Sometimes we need to go direct.

        I am a little wary of being too Walcott dependent. Whilst Nasri has gained speed (of course we’ll have to see if he sticks around for next season), Walcott is our one true speed merchant.

        I am of the opinion that we could well benefit from another such asset (preferably out left or up top). Gervinho seems to fit the bill.

  2. venky says:

    Decent analysis, Arshavin was slated for his performances last season but I wouldn’t blame him instead I would say that it was Wenger’s fault. Advocaat was spot on when he said that Arshavin is being misused at Arsenal. He can give a killer pass as good as Cesc ( may be not as frequent as the El Captain ),I always thought when cesc was injured why not try him in the CAM role at least for once ?, if it works it works, if not we can always revert back.

    Also Chamakh was not given sufficient chances IMHO to come out of his slump, if a player is not doing well that is the time he needs his manager’s support most. Wenger benched him for most part of the second half, in my opinion he was wrong to do that, a player who was so renowned for scoring headers in France – albiet in a weaker league – would not lose that quality overnight,we should have played 4-4-2 to accommodate him, even whenever we played him we didn’t cross the ball enough to use his strength to our advantage.

    Setpieces – we don’t know how to defend and as well have no idea how to score from it, absence of TV was a big factor,lets hope to improve this season,no team can be perfect in all ways of attacking but if we can improve from where we were last season it would be huge plus

    • richie says:

      Chamakh was played out of position as soon as RvP returned from injury. Out of position not surprisingly he wasn’t as effective as early doors when he led the line really well. Chamakh has much to offer but he’s not effective when played on the wing. I love RvP but i think he should be played where Holland play him slightly behind a lead man. His ability to link the attack to midfield is one of his main strengths.

      • santori says:

        You hit the nail on the head.

        Wenger played Chamakh for a time in the wrong position.

        As good as RVP is, we need someone like Chamakh to be a presence in the box and open up space for our attacking midfielders/RVP.

        Me thinks he might have learnt his lesson.

        More crossing practise to the Morrocan’s head please.

    • santori says:

      @Venky

      Completely agree that Arsharvin is not being fully utilised out wide. He may be better centrally as he has lost pace out wide.

      Also with regards set pieces, we really need more lethality with our free kicks. We should be shopping for someone-else with a killer shot (other than Vermaelen who’s shooting is more direct or RVP who has yet to find his range back in this department). Nasri was looking promising but his shots to me lack power.

  3. G4L says:

    Last season we missed the speedy counter-attacks there is no doubt about that. Based on those stats all teams struggled on that front in England so it’s hard to blame the manager or the players for that. Real had 24 and in general Spanish teams had more goals on a fast break. Even the likes of Valencia had 14. That definitely implies the English game is becoming more competitive.

    As far as crossing and freekicks are concerned, I was surprised Nasri didn’t take more as he showed glimpses of real talent at those. I remember watching Nasri walk up to the freekick spot on a number of occasions but Van Persie probably played the seniority card each time.

    Looking at the final three months I was wondering if Arshavin and RvP are compatible. What do you think? I thought both of them got in each other’s way with their freestyle movement.

  4. james says:

    As with a number of the recent seasons, I think we always seem to suffer from lack of continuity in our attack, we go through these periods when most people are fit (Cesc, Theo, RVP, Song and Nasri mostly) and we’re firing on most/if not all cylinders and most times, it changes for the worse especially when Cesc was unfit. I think one thing about our goalscoring over the past 2-3 seasons is the ‘time’ when we score goals and the number of runs we have when it seems as though our goal sources have dried up.
    Part of the problem lies with the tactic teams use to put 100 men behind the ball and form some ‘impenetrable’ wall while we pass, pass and pass without incisive movement into space by the players. Part of it lies with the fact we have too many players who are inclined to come into the middle and enjoy waiting for others to make wide runs or make runs that move from wide areas into the box. It could also be that the apparent aim of our fluid 4-3-3 is lost as a result of the players we have in the system.
    I guess the positive thing with Cesc leaving is that we may be forced to move to a much more direct form of attacking football although we lose his magical and almost peerless ability to ping the ball from our half to fast runners on relative counter attacks. I also agree that it’ll be nice to see Andrey played in the center at times beside someone like Chamakh or even RVP (who also works hard as the man at the apex of our front 3) and move to a 2-striker system. All in all, regardless of what the transfer window holds for or takes from us, it’ll be extremely interesting (and possibly frustrating) to see how things develop.
    One last thing I think is Arsenal players tend to ignore the fact that the defense controls the attack and this failure has pretty much led to a lot of problems we’ve seen. I believe that a more focused defensive team play would work wonders for our attack by forcing many ugly premiership teams out when they play us.

    • santori says:

      4-4-2 against teams defending deep makes sense.

      I think the problem with our attack drying up toward the end of the season is rooted in our defensive work.

      Score one, let one in is tantamount to one foot forward two feet back.

      Confidence issues surely play a part. If the team (note I am not solelycastigating the defense) starts letting them in, then the natural tendency is to sit back (midfield in particular) and be more conservative.

      I don’t think we will have an issue scoring goals once we solve our profound ability to self implode at the back.

  5. critic says:

    what’s up with this comment section??? why do i have to log in to comment. It’s an unwelcome addition….Please remove it.

  6. JJ Pittman says:

    Lots of stats appreciated. Some things remain intuitive. Chamakh is also good in the air defending set pieces! Walcott’s pace is great at even score or when we are ahead, otherwise, not so. Arshavin is a contributor when he fits the formation(not, as some say, when he sees fit) I am a huge fan. RvP is a great leader, always contributes when he is fit. Vermaelen was the best addition to the 09/10 team. The stats confirm how much we missed him in 10/11. Yes the whole league is better, especially when they “park the bus”. However, a win and a loss is better than two draws, got to play offense to be a top-flight squad.
    Szczesny, Koscielny, Wilshire were all big additions. Djourou also, despite debacle in Euro qualifier v. England. If Sami wants to go for more bucks, let’s hope he also leaves the Premiership where UK taxes will take a lot of whatever increase he gets. Same for Clichy; don’t think Gibbs is anywhere near ready. No more needs saying except that anyone who thinks they know the Cesc story, doesn’t, unless they have been immersed in Spanish history, especially since 1935. When you’ve been to Montserrat and watched and heard Catalunians sing the Virolai with tears in their eyes and know why in your soul, you can comment. Victoria Concordia Crescit!

    • santori says:

      I’ll disagree with you somewhat with Chamakh’s ability to defend set pieces. Tall he may be but he has lost his player several times to often. That could of course be remedied with more training and instruction. All in all, better to have the height I suppose.

      More tall players please Monsieur Wenger.

  7. Miranda says:

    I’ve thought since last season or even longer that a reliable striker was a priority. We create enough chances, more than any other side in Europe probably, but we don’t convert them into goals efficiently enough. Problem is, can we afford one? Looks from the rumours that Wenger, as so often, is focusing on attacking midfielders – Gervinho, Douglas Costa (would love that deal to go through), Oxlade-whatsit, Ricardo Alvarez…

    It would help a bit if Bendtner lowered his ludicrous wage demands which are helping to make him unsellable at the moment, so much so I doubt whether even a Bolton or a Newcastle would afford to take him on loan unless we agreed to pay half, which hopefully we won’t – not that he’d agree to go to a Bolton or Newcastle anyway. Nothing short of Real or Barc would meet his expectations. Sigh.

    Maybe this will be Vela’s season? He’s a cool finisher and not such a shrinking violet that he couldn’t score against some pretty thuggish teams in the Carling, as well as at Stoke last season, but I still don’t see him as loan central striker. Unless we play a 4-4-2, which is really what suits him, I just dunno where he’s going to fit in. Same with Walcott to a lesser extent.

    • santori says:

      We do have reliability in RVP. He has scored like clockwork this season.

      But when you let in cheap goals at the back allowing lesser teams to draw parity just as quick, it will affect you goiong forward as the doubts come in and the midfield will naturally try to sit back to help the defense more.

      Gervinho I believe can play right up top (Your quick break specialist ala Henry). He also has great utility out left (which will help negate the Nasri crisis somewhat not to mention supplement AA’s lack of pace currently)

  8. Miranda says:

    Has anyone else been watching the under-17s World Cup? I think Ademilson is the pick of the bunch but he’ll go to Spain, to which he’s better suited, and for more money than we’ve got. That tall, rangy Ivorian, whose name I’ve forgotten, would be a great Premiership player, though. England look dire from the skills perspective. It’s hoofball all the way – unsurprisingly since there’s not an Arsenal player in the squad; interesting that Liverpool’s academy, where a lot of them come from, is providing instruction in hoofball, rather than ball control, vision, passing and intelligence.

  9. alphie says:

    hi desi,
    super article.

    our attack is dependent on tactics based from the midfield.an example being if we decided that against teams which defender deep we take a leap of faith*(hold your breath) we dont use song. instead pick complete passing midfielder like cesc/wilshire/ramsey. then mix ahead with rvp and arshavin nasri and walcott drifting in and out will in my extreme opinion let us curve them apart. in addition the full backs will be more conservative e.g push up 15 meters from the half line maximum just to give width. i see it being done mainly in italy because their game is slower but tactical based on central attacks.

    option2: chamakh plus two or 3 more bodies for crosses.that is simple

    observations; i think walcott has really stepped up and he’s among the players we forget are actually young and are even yet to get to the sweet 23 or 24. there are goals he scored this season u would never picture him doing it although i have to say he’s been showing slow signs of masterclass far between but he’s been trying to be more consistent. i think he’ll even get better.

    arshavin is class for me. look at how we castigate him for such a poor season and look at his contribution. i believe the money question is: can wenger play him behind vp, or can we have a loopsided formation like barca or brazil…..where the left side is only used to return the ball to the centre or maintain possession:-D

    chamakh…he did good for me.and can build on all the stuff u’ve already covered.

    van persie….soft spot for all gooners. i cant even express words ….

    nasri….greedy but thats life(cheap shot) but nasri’s true contribution to the team is his individual brilliance. if he can do it consistently then he will be a super super player although i believe arsharvin is the true magician(super brain)

    bendtner…i am a very big fan of his its a shame he’s going but its football life.if we could play to his strengths,he’d be banging in goals left right and centre. plus i always thought him and van persie created a decent partnership without a run of games together,problem was one midfielder would have to be sacrificed.

    combinations…….rvp and walcott seem to work most supremely, chamakh and midfielders had great combinations. rvp and sagna too on crosses. nasri and arshavin really play well together because they are both individually brilliant.

  10. Miranda says:

    Slightly off topic, but having been told by the radio today that we’re absolutely certain to sign Cahill in the next couple of days (like we were certain to sign Schwartzer last summer), I’m struck by the way there are certain fixed cliches at work in the media mascarading as news:

    1. Arsenal are itsy-bitsy girly foreigners who lack a strong British spine and therefore have a rubbish defence.

    2. Bolton and Blackburn are combative British teams – polite word for thuggish: Bolton committed more fouls than anyone else last season – and therefore they know how to defend.

    But look at the reality: Arsenal conceded 43 goals; Bolton 56; Blackburn 59. So why would we be paying a fortune for Cahill (who is unproven at top level and has no European experience) to push Koscielny or Vermaelen to the fringes of the team – and into the bargain, as is being reported, giving Bolton Vela in part-exchange? Apart from anything else, I don’t think Vela would be willing to go.

    If anyone is coming in as new first-choice central defender for mega money, I hope it is someone of proven excellence – Sakho, for preference. I also hope we get a move on. Preseason training starts in less than a week and there’s the CL qualifier, which could be pretty tough, to start worrying about!

    • G4L says:

      Proven excellence and Sakho in the same sentence??

      PSG conceded 41 goals in a low quality league. Not sure what proves Sakho’s excellence.

      Completely agree with you about the media though. I have no doubt Arsene will not waste money on Cahill

      • Miranda says:

        Sakho, according to Philippe Auclair who watches him weekly, is the best player in Ligue 1, not simply the best defender. He won the young player of the year award last season, was the youngest ever captain of PSG, has captained France at various youth levels and has been called up to the senior team – all of which sounds pretty excellent to me.

      • santori says:

        Sakho is promising but not what we should be looking for.

        We need a really experience head IMO.

        I’m not sure if Cahill is the player either. I think we need a better senior man than Squillaci (state the obvious here)

        Prob a Lucio or even a relook at Haangeland. Both are/were full capitans for their respective teams. Plenty of time clocked.

  11. Yang says:

    Arsenal attacking is more than fine, the only lacking spot is Star attacker who can put fear on to opposition team like Henry, Bergkamp, Ronaldo etc.

    Need some luck to find such a player though.

    • santori says:

      If RVP doesn’t scare the opposing defense with his fantastic scoring record, I don’t know what will.

      That said, we could do with someone with frightful speed to compliment RVP and Chamakhs’ obvious other qualities.

      It will allow us to break more directly. The rumours of Gervinho may point toward this direction.

  12. Thats because mancini plays with 3 cdms not good enuf for a team built on so much spending u will see the bar raised points wise imo…

    • Typical Italian set up with no pace in the mids imo…

      • santori says:

        Sad to say conservative but it worked, they niked 3rd ahead of us.

        That said, I would never want to see Arsenal play the way they do, albeit I wouldn’t mind some of the defensive discipline.

  13. santori says:

    Hi Desi,

    1) Set pieces. Ditto. Is it just me or have we also lost some edge with scoring from free kicks? Me thinks we could well do with someone coming in to polish up this department (Denilson had potential in this area but unfulfilled)

    2) Quick Breaks. I think we can be a little too carried away with comparative statistics. Fact is our build up is slightly more laboured these days because neither of our front men are quicksilver. That leaves our outlets going to the flanks (Walcott or Nasri). When the ball is hit directly to RVP (or Chamakh in particular), it is often played back or to the side because neither of them can beat the lastd efender for pace.

    I think we could well benefit from someone quick right up top who can go through the gears and scare the daylights out of the opponent’s defense. With Neymar possibly moving to Real, a watch on Benzema seems reasonable. If Gervinho signs, it will also give us this better option.

    3)Chamakh : Wenger was beginnning to get the measure of the Morrocan before he decided he had gone off the boil with the return of RVP. We were starting to get our crossing range (Sagna and Nasri) and Chamakh was being utilised for what he is, a battering ram in the box that can knock things in with the head.

    All the pity he was left to rust (particularly with Carling Cup matches). That said, we have yet to see a meaningful partnership develop out of Chamakh/RVP giving us the option of a 4-4-2 (against teams parked tight). I’m not sure if the two are on the same wavelength but surely, a presence in the box with RVP drifting is what we need against the bus.

    4) I hope we keep Nasri.

  14. santori says:

    On Arsharvin, with the possibility of either of Fab and/or Nasri leaving, I think it will be imperative for us to keep Andrei.

    My thoughts on him is that he remains a relevant playmaker with his assists but that he may have lost pace (age) and is struggling out wide. A switch in field may be the tonic.

    Whatever it is (and for what it’s worth), he should be assuming the mantle of senior midfielder if Rosicky is moved on (as he should be).

  15. Sam says:

    I dont know if this has gone above people’s heads with all the superinjunction madness but the reason Chamakh has not been playing well is NOTHING to do with how Wenger has plaed him and EVERYTHING to do with the player’s own head. But while he is usually a chatty fella when the press come calling.dont expect him to spell this out out for ya.

    Wenger played the guy in the exact same role from day 1 to the end. All that changed was Chamackhs playing time and his end product. With Van Persie in hotter form than a Shell drilling platform Wenger was surely left with no choice but to keep Chamakh benched in the 2nd half of the season. And in any case, Marwane clearly had other things on his mind and had lost form long before Van Persie returned.

    I’d expect Chmakh will be more consistent this season, unless of course external matters intervene again.

    Anyway we need reinforcements next season. Gervinho in already and from what I hear Adel Taarabt mooted as a possible new entrants to the Arsenal dressing room. So Chamakh will have plenty of help next season and wont have to carry his load alone, as that seems to be difficult for him.

    • santori says:

      But that makes a lot of diff.

      Playing time is all important. Admitedly he had a slight dip in form but he was left under utilised for a long spell.

      Wenger correctly used RVP but incorrectly chose not to use Chamakh for (in particular) cup games. Carling Cup was given (IMO) too much priority and RVP was played ahead of Chamakh which I felt should have been kept sharp at very least (in the event of any injury to RVP)

      Also Chamakh/RVP could have been an interesting combination (as mentioned) when trying to knock down the door with teams sitting deep but yet again, this wasn’t given any time to develop.

      When Chamakh was played, Wenger did not utilise his obvious strength in the air quite enough. In many instances, Wenger elected to introduce Chamakh too late into the game.

      Hopefully, we will try and further develop Chamakh’s strengths next season to the advantage of the team.

    • Zion says:

      Chamakh was used correctly when he played – his head just wasnt in it, as I have explained. And that is why Wenger sat him.

      If you were expecting a press conference on the off the field reasons why Wenger wasnt playing him, well it aint gonna be forthcoming.

      Also very important you underestimate Chamakhs strength on the ground. He provides fantastic ability to retain possession. he collects reliably and moves in on to the optimal choice among the incoming midfielders. This vital in Arsenal’s style.

      The aerial stuff is speculative and low percentage stuff. Look at the stats. Thats why all top teams use it as a last option, not the first. When you consider how Chamakh is good on the ground it would be wasteful to relegate his usage to low percentage speculative action. He is a top quality center forward and you will see this for the full 38 games next season. With him ready Van Persie will be able to get rest and sometimes a partner up front.

  16. Alvarez signs for Inter what the hell is going on this summer

    • Sam says:

      Utterly vapid article by Martin Samuel.

      I cant believe the guy gets paid to write articles and yet he does not recgnize that Arsenal under Wenger has NEVER signed so-called genuine superstars. Wenger has always signed promising young players, and good players who needed some polishing (or re-polishing) to become great. Sometimes a veteran who has topped out. Wengerhas NEVER signed bonafide superstars as they are too expensive.

      This is how Arsenal managaes to compete while still balancing the books on a smaller budget than the likes of Man U, Man City, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

      What a twit Martin Samuel is – and the Daily HateMail even dimmer for actually signing a dolt to write newspaper articles and then not even having an editor with a clue enough to reject this dross when it came though the editors desk!

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