A successful team needs a dynamic midfield.
For every holding midfielder, there has to be a partner who drives forward, creates space and takes opponents out of position and out of the game.
Even when Patrick Vieira and Manu Petit were playing together, Paddy would drive forward while his ponytailed partner would sit back and break up opposition attacks.
Last season, Arsenal had it almost perfect. Cesc Fabregas was playing at the peak of his form and Mathieu Flamini was not only running around like a mad thing stifling the opposition, he was pushing forward and having shots from range that often hit the target...
International summer tournaments have never been good to Arsenal. Players come back tired and late and, as we’ve seen with Cesc, suffer in form and fitness when we need them most.
Our captain hasn’t been in great form this season but even so, when he was injured against Liverpool, Arsène Wenger should have realised that he had to replace like with like.
Cesc is a forward-thinking player, a creator and no one would deny his absence is huge.
But to replace him with another defensive midfielder is simply confirming a cautious approach by the team which means we hardly create any chances and if we score, it’s only once in a game.
Wenger laments the side’s lack of incision, nervousness and lack of forward-thinking but he is to blame for it.
He only has to look back at his past team’s performances to realise that for every sideways, ball-winning central midfielder, you need a playmaker of some sort.
Alex Song and Denilson are pedestrian, one dimensional, lacking the wit or the guile to know when to attack, when to sit back and how to cover each other. Presently, they present no threat to the opposition and I can't see that changing.
Samir Nasri has played a central role for Marseille in the past and when we face Fulham, Wenger MUST put him in the centre and give Carlos Vela a chance out wide.
Fulham will come to defend as so many other teams do and Wenger has to realise before it’s too late that in the Premier League, Song and Denilson just doesn’t work as a central midfield unit.
Ironically, that same central axis are almost certain to start tonight and I’d be happy with that. Roma have a few injuries but they’re still in much better form than us and stifling them is perhaps our best hope of getting through the tie.
Thye announcement taht Abou Diaby is back suggests to me that he will start the game - and I suspect it may well be as the supporting player in an offensive midfield position with Robin van Persie alone upfront.
These are tough tough times, but hey, there’s more than two months of the season to go.
Believe, fellow Addicts!