Resident Blogger : SimonSEEZ
Growing up one of my favourite TV cartoons was Voltron – Defender of the Universe. Have a 9 month old son and sometimes I worry for him, what is the quality of cartoons is he going to watch when he grows up, can’t stand what I see on TV these days. You see Voltron was cool in his complete form and in his split units, made up of 5 lions (Black Lion, Red Lion, Blue Lion, Yellow Lion, Green Lion) that were individually strong and technical and when the going gets tough they come together into one unique force, Voltron
Hold on I am going somewhere with this, this post surely can’t be about Voltron now can it? You see the Red and Green Lions formed the right and left arms of Voltron respectively and they gave him the mobility he needed to fly and the force to swing his powerful sword to fight. Arsenal seem like we are going to games without our arms, in this case our wings or flanks. Our Red and Green Lions have been hurt; in fact they have been hurt for too long, there is so much our other three lions can do on their own.
The team has held up pretty well as damaged by injuries as it is but every Arsenal fan would agree that should we have had the compliments of our wingers in our last set of games we would have been far more comfortable. Walcott, Podolski and Oxlade are the Gunners tasked naturally to operate from these positions on the left and right of our attack and without them in the side we have had to field players in those positions who are not comfortable and are more inclined to drifting to the centre forcing our play through only one outlet, the centre and Giroud is more known for his link up play rather than any burst of pace. It means by the time the ball gets passed around, we would be relying on some eye of the needle pass to get him in a position to score rather than creating volumes of space if we had pacy Walcott and Oxlade running both wings.
Oxlade’s against Villa for the First Goal (Skip Ad if you please )
Dortmund home and away, Liverpool and the game against United would have been different encounters had we had Podolski and Walcott in the side, would Brendan dare start 3 defenders against us if he was going to be defending against Walcott and the Ox on the flanks, he wouldn’t have. Was it a co-incidence that as good as all Sagna’s crosses were against United the first real time we got any player ahead of Giroud in the United game was when Gnarby came in and was confident taking the ball past Evra? Imagine we had Theo doing that all day and I don’t know which commentary you listened to but the one I did, they kept talking about how Smalling was having the game of his life, he had to deal with just Gibbs down that flank. I would love to see how he would fare with Oxlade and Gibbs to contend with.
The Green Lion, Voltron’s left arm, our left wing seems to have suffered the most. Poldi our first choice left winger pulled his hamstring against Fenerbache in August and Oxlade who can also play in that position has been out since opening day against Aston Villa. Seems Arsene knew this hence his admiration for Real Madrid Angel Di Maria who can operate from that position after he let Gervinho go to Roma. Its common knowledge Santi doesn’t really stay there, you only have to check his heat maps for games he has played this season to see how more central he drifts. Wilshere had a couple of games out there too when Santi was injured and was not very good either, gave the ball away a lot at West Brom and was only effective when he came into the middle where he got his goal. Pulled this stat from www.whoscored.com
Premier League Positional Statistics
|Team||Left Side||Attempts from the middle||Right Side|
|West Bromwich Albion|
Source : www.whoscored.com
Table shows we are close to relegation zone with our attacks from the left side and to be able to stretch teams and create more room for Giroud or any striker we sign to work with we needs our wingers. Last season our wingers were in double figures for goals and assists , Podolski (17 goals, 11 assists), Walcott (21 goals, 14 assists), we would need those figures this term if we want to be challenging for titles as Giroud surely cant handle it alone. Ozil especially would benefit from us using our pace down the wings more as evident in the Sunderland game when he played with Theo in the side and created loads of chances for Theo and Ozil himself created Giroud’s opened with an awesome pass from the left wing.
Arsenal has always been blessed with Wingers and sometimes it seemed we had too much of them as against real dedicated Centre Forwards. Didn’t we all just love watching Pires, Ljunberg, Wiltord, Overmars and even Henry make use of those wings to beat their men and come right into the box or drop that inch perfect pass for Ljunberg to run into. We can recreate those memories again with our current set of Wingers, Poldi, Ox, Walcott and Serge and that’s something to be excited about going into the end of the year as word on the street says our Red and Green Lions would be back in full force and we can form Voltron once again. #COYG
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