Congratulations to Ranveer for winning allArsenal’s first competition. As winner he has won the exclusive allArsenal.com t-shirt, as seen in the image, as well as having his article posted here on allArsenal.com. After some terrific entries, we narrowed down the comments and emails we received, and the winner, Ranveer, we felt showed great originality as well as legibility in his in-depth recommendations for the Gunners to succeed.
Ranveer’s analysis and recommendations for Arsenal:
We shouldnt focus too much on any particular formation. Arsenal play sexy football thats what we are known for, and now it’s gone, that’s what hurts the most. We used to cry about lack of trophies but now we cant afford such a luxury, our aim should be on playing good football, talk of trophies will naturally follow quickly after.
I dont think much should change physically in the team, just a bit of confidence, creativity and a clear vision of how you intend on making goals (through teamwork).
I do not doubt any of our defenders in 1 on 1 situations against the likes of Rooney, Drogba, Torres. I do doubt them when they come up against other defenders like samba on set pieces.
Between Cahill (Bolton) and Samba (Blackburn) I would get Samba. Why? We have enough technically good defenders such as Koscielny,Vermaelen, Miquel coming up and even Per Mertersacker is technically gifted for a physical defender. Unless we can afford to splash out on a multi-talented physical and technical defender, we should opt with a Samba-esq defender but perhaps get Cahill if you decide to sell Djourou and Squillaci.
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With the departures of Cesc and Samir, we have very few creative playmakers that can make the most of any given situation in a game with respect to the positions of other players on the pitch. So our midfield (who ever plays) will have to take it upon themselves to be creative as a collective rather than individually (again this is what arsenal are known for and this should be drilled in to players heads especially in times of crisis where players feel they need to do their best but do so under pressure individually).
Formations should change/be flexible to squeeze out the best of the selected players (Arsenal have the most versatile team probably in the world) and respond to oppositions greatest threats. I would like one more attacking midfielder preferably some one with a bit of pace, dribbling, awareness and a little more strength than were used to. Personally Nasri did it for me, I cant think of any better player to play that position in an Arsenal squad, but alas you had to go and break my heart. (I still keep him on the arsenal team in FIFA 11). I say a bit more strength cause it’s more likely to find such a player than one that is more technically gifted than Nasri. I do see Chamberlain having all these qualities but I honestly dont know where to play him, every role I think of is too limited for Oxo. Which gives more reason for Wenger and his team to go back to free-form positioning or at least flexing the formation mid-game a few times. If we buy another pacy player then i can see Oxo in central attacking mid, as well as a winger. Oh, and give Rosicky more playing time, he’s a gem of a player and you can see he’s up for it this season, as well as Arshavin (looks very motivated).
In the defensive midfield position, I think we are pretty solid and creative. Song and Frimpong are looking good while up-and-comer Coquelin is looking very good. He’s got good drive, tenacity and is technical enough. If you really want to win something this year then maybe get one more defensive midfielder to compete directly with Song for that position, I dont think M’vila (Rennes) is creative enough but he might be able to do the job. Actually someone like Fellaini (Everton) could be useful when we play more physical teams lower in the league or even Champions League games with his physical presence and good technical ability.
If you have bought a tall physical striker that offers another angle, you should use him to your advantage and not as a replacement for a technical striker. Chamakh’s technical abilities have impressed me on many occasions and clearly Robin van Persie on his own upfront without Cesc and Nasri to pull defense splitting plays is distracting the Dutchman from what he does best. He can only be lone striker if midfield is dominating and creative, otherwise think of pairing him with someone so he isn’t so isolated all the time.
An unconventional setup that could do wonders; take Arsharvin out of winger and play him as centre forward behind Van Persie or Chamakh, this could leave space for even more pace on the wings with Arshavin (who looks to be in his last season) having the goal on a platter for him.
Someone tell the Arsenal Players:
I’ve noticed that crosses come in for Van Persie even though he cant hustle for the ball, but when Chamakh comes on he doesn’t get enough crosses or they are not aimed at him. This is incredibly frustrating for me, let alone Chamakh. Players should be aware that putting Chamakh on demands a slight change in the way we go about doing things (I get the feeling this hasnt been addressed to the players or everyone assumes that they should be able to figure this out for themselves).
Ultimately I think wenger knows best so I’ll just advise on a plan B.
When we (if we) decide to play Chamakh and Van Persie upfront then we know we don’t always have to pass our way up the middle of the field. Crosses from Gibbs and Jenkinson/Sagna have displayed pin-point accuracy lately and Chamakh could either head for goal or knock down to Van Persie in space (thats if u can get everyone on the same page). As well as this Arsenal will also have more bodies in the box to contest, with Chamakh being one of Arsenal’s only genuine aerial threats. I think this is a good secondary plan i.e. At 60 mins if things aint working out then bring Chamakh on for one of the midfield trio and play 4-4-2, or for smaller games. With Park around, this is an ideal set-up because we know it’s a matter of time before Van persie gets injured. Therefore we should find some alternate means of getting goals (but still playing sexy and again everyone has to be on the same page). Unless of course Wenger pulls of another Bergkamp, but where are we going to find such a player?
With two upfront we should adopt two defensive midfielders with good passing and work rate (Song, M’vila, Fellaini, Coquelin). Along with two wingers in the form of Arshavin/Gervinho and Walcot/Chamberlain. Although in hindsight, I may consider letting Walcott go as without a Fabregas or Nasri to do the dirty work for him, he offers us virtually nothing, especially not as a striker. If we sell him we could get some money to buy a real quality player who has a quality final ball, I would say Hazard (Lille), but maybe Hulk (Porto) might be a more solid option.
If you don’t like the idea of Arsenal using long balls then your only option is 4-2-3-1. Two defensive midfielders (Song & Coquelin/Diaby), three attacking/creative/longshot mids (Oxo, Rosicky, Arteta, Benayoun, Arshavin, Ramsey, NO Walcott). Or otherwise 4-1-3-2 depending on how confident you feel your defence is. Personally I think these two formations are the future of Arsenal, due to the emphasis on the midfielders being creative to give oppertunities for the striker(s). I think these formations are mouth-watering given the type of players we have. You would love to see Arteta in a more attcking position with the likes of Rosicky/Arshavin/Benayoun/Oxo right alongside him for creative support, Song and Coquelin behind him for defensive support just in case they slip up and a clinical finisher ahead of him.
Great stuff Ranveer, especially the suggestion of a more free-form formation, with Arshavin coming in behind the strikers instead of being used out wide, which if I’m not mistaken he used to play in this position for Russia and Zenit. One thing that I must disagree upon however is selling Walcott, who is an irreplaceable player for Arsenal that makes great runs and has electric pace. I do however admit that he is not in the game as much as he used to be without Fabregas threading beautiful through-balls to him, but he is an asset that we must retain as he holds an ‘x’ factor that is hard to find, he’s a sensational impact player and is starting to prove his worth in the starting lineup in recent weeks.