Arsenal In Nigeria
Supporting the Pride of North London
Before writing my article, i would like to say something about our game against Sunderland and it’s all about Santi Cazorla. Monsieur Wenger is changing his philosophy of winning with the kids to winning with a balanced team and he needed someone to orchestrate the team and who else in the world is available and realistically better than SANTI CAZORLA.
No matter how talented and gifted a team is, if it hasn’t got dynamics, it couldn’t perform at its maximum. Against Sunderland, one thing was clearly missing and that was TEAM DYNAMICS. We had a midfield that hadn’t played together at all; Arteta was the only recognizable midfielder in the team, Diaby felt like a new signing, while Cazorla was surely the new man in the block. The attack was virtually the same. The truth is that the team needs time to gel and they need games to get the dynamics back into the team. Once we get this, the Arsenal of ’98, 02 would be back.
Santi was a joy to watch and behold Monsieur Wenger has found his replacement for Cesc , right now, Arsenal have a man who would create, score, run the show but most of all bring the champion’s mentality to the arsenal team. One thing I believe Wenger is trying to do is to share the goals among the midfielders and attackers.
Replacing a 30 goal striker is difficult and so he decided to bring players like Podolski and Giroud who can score between 10 to 20 goals a season each in the league and who else is better to help such players in scoring these goals than Santi Cazorla.
STOKE – ARSENAL – Sunday 26 August 2012 | Britannia Stadium | Kick-off 13:30
In the last four years, this fixture has been filled with drama and suspense. From the towels to the long throws to the leg break and to our only one victory, it has been full of intrigues at the Britannia.
4 games played – 2 losses -a draw and a win. 6 goals for – 7 goals against.
This Sunday, the Gunners go to the Britannia, a place with little or no good memories. These are two sides with different footballing philosophy.
Arsenal began life without Song and RVP with a frustrating home draw against Sunderland. It brought back memories of same old arsenal – dominating possession, controlling the pace of the game with final ball or finishing touch letting them down. There was two positives though – Santi Cazorla’s performance and a clean sheet. The question after the game, is it a lost point or a gained point, we would know at the end of the season, because we could have had an early lead from Manure, Spuds and the pool.
Monsieur Wenger has come out and said that he is looking to add a defender and a midfielder to the squad before the end of the transfer window. It would be interesting to see what new additions the Gunners end up with – Nuri Sahin, Yann M’Vila, Etienne Capoue, Jesus Navas, Clint Dempsey and so on. Either way, Arsenal will have to be more proactive and clinical in front of the goal to get a positive result at Stoke.
Arsenal have won just once in their last four visits to the Britannia stadium, that win came back in February 2010. In their last visit, the game ended in a 1-1 draw as Peter Crouch and a certain RvP scored. Goals have certainly not lacked when these two sides have met with 19 goals scored in their last six meetings.
AFC top the table in the injury list section with six first team players out – KOS, OX, Mozart, BAC, FRIMPONGED and JACK10. I believe Wenger would use the familiar 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 formation. The back four should be the same as that against Sunderland and unlike against Sunderland where they were hardly tested, the stoke game shall show us what Steve Bould has been doing in the training sessions.
Wenger will be hoping to use Per’s height to defend against Stoke’s high balls, throw – ins and of course a certain Peter Crouch, Captain V should be able to marshal the defence along with Gibbs. A major weakness could be in right back where Carl would be. Hopefully Theo and Arteta would support him.
In midfield, it would be ABOU, ARTETA and SANTI orchestrating the play. Arteta would be our DM, while ABOU and SANTI play offensively. I seriously can’t believe ABOU would be starting another game, well guess his luck has changed. ABOU and ARTETA would have to be STRONG in midfield and PROTECT the back 4.
A little headache for AW, would he go for a trio of THEO – GIROUD – PODOLSKI or THEO – PODOLSKI – GERVINHO or GERVINHO – GIROUD – PODOLSKI. I would seriously prefer the third option where THEO would come in as an impact player. I do not believe that POLDOSKI should be played in a centre forward. In Koln and Germany, he has always been utilized as a wide player. Giroud would pose a different threat due to his aerial ability and due to the fact that our best crosser of the ball (JENKINSON) would be playing. Giroud would be useful in both attacking and defending side of the game.
My only fear is WHICH ARSENAL TEAM WOULD SHOW UP @ the Britannica, hopefully it would be a team with PASSION, HUNGER, STRENGTH.
Stoke City 1 (Walters) Arsenal 3 (Giroud, Cazorla and Walcott).
The first major test for the Arsenal and hopefully they shall pass with flying colours.
The Arsenal Lives On