Adebayor and the full backs have important parts to play next season

The Confederations Cup showed just how important full backs are in creating late, unmarked threat therefore Sagna and Clichy will be crucial next season in breaking down defensive teams.

So what did we learn from the Confederations Cup? Not much new actually but if Arsene Wenger was watching, he’ll no doubt have picked up on some curious points.

Functional Brazil are strong candidates for the World Cup even if they are not entirely true to their previous teams and so are Spain despite losing to USA. The tournament gave the coaches taking part extended time to get to know their players and as such Italy will come out stronger although Lippi will need to be bold and clear with his direction.

Tactically, USA and Brazil in particular, have shown just how crucial transitions and set pieces are. Dunga says every team needs “piano-carriers”, his team in fact containing three (Ramires, Melo and Gilberto Silva). The two holding midfielders essentially pack  the central area making it more difficult for sides to pass their way through. Therefore transitions, where the ball is won and lost can define a game. USA deployed the same counter-attacking tactics against Brazil which they used against Spain. They left their two forwards high up the pitch and when the ball was won, broke quickly using the extra space afforded in the channels.

It is exactly the same tactic which Fulham used in their 0-0 draw against Arsenal where both sides should have scored five goals each. Spain draw parallels with the Gunners and their shock semi-final defeat to USA is nothing too unfamiliar to Arsenal. The Americans defended deep and compact, giving no space and it was their wingers duty to track back Spain’s wingers. As a result Spain’s best threat came from the unmarked Ramos and Capdevila. The problem was however there was not much to aim for; Torres kept on drifting to the right while many of Spain’s men are under 6ft (it also didn’t help later that Del Bosque brought on Carzola who hugged the touchline and took Ramos’ space).

After getting a shock to their system by falling behind in the first half (which seemed somewhat inevitable due to their over cautiousness), Brazil were faced with a similar prospect. The difference was Brazil had more directness and dynamism about them. Kaka set up the second while Fabiano has the close control and instinct in the box to finish chances when they come. The bulk of the threat however came from right; Maicon’s late running was getting harder and harder to track as the game wore on while Elano helped by crossing from deep and using his full back as a decoy.

Arsenal will no doubt be faced with not too dissimilar situations next season as they have in the campaign gone by. The month of February saw no league goals scored where crucially also, Adebayor was missing. His 30-goal season saw a number of headed goals scored and in one game two were set up by Sagna. It is no secret the crossing from the full backs was poor last season, as was the options in the box. This must change next season and as Brazil showed tall, mobile strikers getting quality service is the key to breaking down deep, defensive teams.


9 thoughts on “Adebayor and the full backs have important parts to play next season

  1. haha, that’s funny, cause i was thinking exactly the same things abt the tactics of both games.
    the reason the spanish lost their match was painfully obvious – so obvious in fact that i felt like i was watching arsenal-manutd all over again (the second leg of hte champions league). they kept a high line that wasn’t mobile(puyol=silvestre) and let the counter attack take them over. their patient passing game was also very similar. spain would hold the ball on the edge of the american box looking for penetrating runs, but hte compactness of the defense was too much for the free flowing football.
    i thought that the brazil game was a great demonstration of dunga’s observational strength – he changed the game completely in the second half. the back 4 and the midfield were much quicker to retreat and the american counterattacking threat was snuffed much quicker than in the previous half. this was not the only difference from the spanish game however. brazil are much more direct and that allowed them to keep their back 4 ready for counterattacks.
    i think arsenal need to play on the counter attack more often than not. an attack while the opponents are still in transition would yield us more goals. we also need, like you said, good crosses from the wings(we were missing clichy later in the season), greater presence in the box and more creativity from our midfielders. all this while we’re still thinking abt defence.
    i hope the story about karim benzema to arsenal comes true, it is not likely but it would be a great signing.(except that after this signing arsenal=the french national team)

    1. Arsenal’s style is to keep the ball so in theory we will counter attack less. However ‘The Invincibles’ were very good at it also, especially from corner kicks but because of the our height imbalance, everyone is back.

      We have countered more the past season but that was because we weren’t as good at keeping the ball. We can do both but the way we play (which I prefer, keep ball), we won’t counter more often than not.

      1. you’re right about keep ball . . . these height differences seem to shackle us in more ways than one.
        assuming we don’t counter attack as much, how do you think arsenal should exploit walcott’s pace? i’m starting to get worried that managers aren’t using him correctly – hence my counter attacking guess, haha.
        i would have comboed walcott and eboue on the right, but defensively it is not strong.

        1. Wenger thinks Walcott as a wide forward therefore seems inclined to play three midfielders (one as an attacking midfielder maybe).
          I think it’s more up to Walcott to try and get into the game more and use his pace. We use him quite well and so do England but the problem has been maybe him being a one dimensional at the moment.
          He can get behind defences and is always a goal threat although his finishing needs work. I rate Eboue as a midfielder, he’s just needed the confidence. Next season could be the making of him as he likes to support play.

  2. The only thing Arsenal need to change is their weakness when defending set pieces and their weakness in the air.

    That is it.

  3. If we are honest with ourselves, the reality is not much of our game will change this season. Brazil can use Maicon as a weapon as he has a lot of attacking ability in his locker and Brazil leave the entire flank open for him, Sagna doesn’t have as much in his armoury, his crossing is a disaster most times, even the French media get frustrated at it when he plays for Les Bleus.

    I think Wenger needs to seriously tweak the midfield, we have no holding players, we have a glut of central midfielders and gifted attacking midfielders, changing to a 4-3-1-2 or 4-3-2-1 plays to our strengths, we cannot interpret the 4-2-3-1 as we are a possession based team.

    Lets not forget AC Milan have won a glut in the last 7 years with no wingers and with central midfielders. Imagine having Nasri/Rosicky/Arshavin as the attacking midfielder, instead of on the wings!

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