Jonanthan Brown wrote to me directly, rather than via the blog, on the issue of Denilson, and I would like to pass on his thoughts.
To declare my position: I think Denilson is a sensation, but that he suffers as Gilberto did in the fans’ eyes. If you remember, Gilberto was often thought to be the weak link in the team – until he had a year out with the back injury. When he came back the roar was huge – everyone suddenly realised what we had been missing. The “invisible wall” really was fundamental to the way the team worked.
So it seems to me it is with Denilson. But now it is not just my word for it.
Jonathan has searched the Actim Index stats page – the stats used by the Premiership to grade players. Under the midfielders tag we find Denilson lying in 6th place with 230 points, behind Lampard, Ashley Young, Gareth Barry, Stephen Ireland and Mike Arteta.
As Jonathan says, “By my reckoning this makes Denilson the second best defensive midfielder behind Gareth Barry.”
This is confirmed by the Guardians Fantasy Football stats that has Denilson as the best Defensive Midfielder with 277 points. Played 19 games with 3 goals, 5 assists, 71 interceptions, 11 clearances, 56 tackles won.
I am not suggesting anyone who is a convinced anti-Denilson person will be persuaded – but for anyone who has watched the game and thought, hang on, there is more to Denilson than meets the eye, you will find the stats are with you.
Which raises the question – given that the Lord Wenger has said he will buy someone to play in midfield, the issue is, what will the new midfield look like? My suggestion is that Denilson will stay, and we will have someone in who can play alongside him, or replace Denilson in the event of an injury, thus giving us the midfield of Nasri, Newman, Denilson, Diaby or Eboue or Walcott or Rosicky.
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