The last twenty-four hours have provided a massive hint as to the basis of Arsene Wenger’s next incarnation. I have to say there is more than a hint of back to the future about it.
I think one of the most oft-aired criticism’s of Arsenal in the last few years has been the fact that the speed with which defence was turned to attack has subsided significantly from the golden years of 98-05. Tippy tappy may have been easy on the eye for the purists, but many mourned the loss of those lightening two or three pass moves that so often ended in a spectacular strike from the likes of Henry, Overmars, or Anelka.
The signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and the granting of a work permit for Ryo Myaichi, adds yet more competition to Theo Walcott and Gervinho in the sprint stakes. I’m heartily in favour of anything that gives us more threat from genuine widemen, and releases those who have been press-ganged to play out wide in recent seasons to supplement our ‘Cesc-centric’ formation. It seems to me we are creating the conditions under which we can switch from 4-2-4, to 4-3-3, to 4-5-1, in a rapid and fluent manner. That is quite a mouthwatering prospect.
Now then Arsene, and Arsenal, I don’t feel the need to say there is work to be done behind those front positions, but the sense that things are starting to happen on the player movement front is a boost. Of course I’m speaking personally there, totally aware that not everybody is similarly assured. Sort the defensive shortages, offload the disaffected midfielders and sign a replacement, switch Arshavin inside to challenge Wilshere, Ramsey, Diaby, and Rosicky, and things will look much, much rosier.
Easy to say isn’t it? Only three weeks remain to pull off those deals, but I think spirits would be lifted both in the ground, and in the changing room if that is achieved.
Get the foot on the throttle, and get that bloody mythical handbrake off the Arsenal vehicle. We’re almost back!
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