Arsenal 14 Bolton 2: now we see the solution

And so we come to see the solution.  At least the handful of us left who do not occupy their time, supporting professional journalists, writing articles about “Meltdown” and calling supporters who believe in Wenger “extremists”.

I speak of the new process, forced on us by the incredibly awful run of injuries to Eduardo, Theo, Cesc, and Rosicky across the middle.

It is there for all to see, and I think quite a few people in the stadium saw it yesterday.  We saw it too in the much duller game against Portsmouth and it unlocked the stalemate then.  It did it again yesterday.

Put Nasri in the middle and play Vela on the left wing.

In my rambling notes in HIGHBURY HIGH this week I suggested that Vela was one of the ten reasons to be cheerful, but worried that some of his cameos didn’t work too well.  In fact over Xmas and again yesterday he was terrific.  The ball stuck to his feet, he wriggled through defenders and turned them inside out.

After a few seconds of seeing what he could do Bolton Notlob put two defenders on him, which opened up the space in the middle of defence that was needed.  It was reminiscent of something from the dim and hazy past… some guy who is known for scoring goals, going out left, taking two defenders, still finding his way through and then putting in a cross into the space…

Of course it is crazy to say as yet that this is Henry II, but we’ve now seen it work perfectly, twice.  Nasri in the middle is still not all controlling, all dominant, but he is getting the system going, and this system does work when he has Vela on the left to perform utter magic.

I have no idea how long it is going to take to make this something we can do for 90 minutes – and maybe that is not going to be an option, but it is one hell of a development – almost out of nothing.  If you imagine this approach with Eduardo in the middle, then you suddenly see an utterly different team.

Meanwhile the unity found between professional journalists who have built a career on knocking Arsenal, some writers in fanzines, and goodness knows how many bloggers, is something I find frustrating, annoying, worrying, and tiresome.    We are now well into a good unbeaten run achieved for the most part without the heart of our first team.   So clearly it isn’t the results that are causing some people to be so negative.

What it seems to be is that Wenger is doing it his way, not their way.  To attack Wenger so virulently because he is doing his thing, is a hell of an egocentric way to write about the club – to say endlessly, I know everything you know nothing.   Tony Adams could be excused perhaps when he said, on hearing of the appointment of Arsene Wenger, “he’s French.  What does he know of English football?”  After all it was an instant reaction from a man who was a brilliant footballer, but who lacked a global education.   But for writers of fanzines and blogs to join forces with professional journalists to attack every single action of Wenger, in the middle of a decent unbeaten run in the league, which includes matches against clubs from the top to the bottom, seems to me to be, well, daft.

What good can the endless attacks on Wenger do?  In the end it will drive him out, and we will bring in…. who?   One of those managers that the Tiny Totts find each season?

(c) Tony Attwood 2009.

7 Replies to “Arsenal 14 Bolton 2: now we see the solution”

  1. Another great post… You seem to sum up my feelings in a very articulate manner. What do journos or any of us know that Wenger doesnt? Absolutely nothing… How can we judge him when all he has done is impress? We can’t. The squad has indeed hardened and is now getting results without most of the creative players you mentioned… When they return we will be quite dangerous. Vela does indeed have to play more but like you said- I am sure there is a reason he is not that we do not know…

  2. fantastic analysis tony. It is quite uplifting to hear some postive comments about Arsenal. I thought that Vela changed the game for Arsenal. I think Nasri in the middle could be a good system – when our injured players start returning I think we will see the Arsenal that Wenger has been building, the one that has been obscured by injuries for too long!

  3. Nail. Head. Hit.

    The only caveat I would add is that I would bet my house on Wenger not starting with Vela until next season. I don’t think he feels Vela is quite ready to do his thing for 90 minutes, and possibly also that he doesn’t have the defensive nous? What might happen is that we might start with Nasri in the middle and Diaby on the left and then take Diaby off for Vela in the second half. A bit like how Eboue and Walcott used to “share” the RW spot last season.

  4. Good point FunGunner – a lot of people are saying we should play that system from the start, but I agree Vela and Nasri are not yet ready for that responsibility for 90 minutes. Also, the longer we play it gives the opposition time to counter it, whereas springing the surprise late on when they are tiring and space is opening up is much more effective at the moment.

    Tony, thank you once again for remaining positive in the face of such negativity. This place is a haven. I must say, I was a little disappointed with some of the negativity from some of your fellow writers on ‘Highbury High’. I did enjoy your articles though!

  5. agreed. i’m so sick of constantly reading about how angry arsenal fans are with wenger, how we hate bendtner and eboue and suchlike. rubbish.

    people need patience with diaby as well. he is young and very talented, but coming off the back of injuries and distruptions has been thrown in the deep end and is under more pressure than is fair.

  6. Hi Don’t Believe the Hype
    I agree that Tony’s article in Highbury High was a much needed dose of positive thinking.
    Highbury High is a forum for all Arsenal fans, and I am happy with the quality of writers that we have. When I give writers the deadline for the next issue and possibly a topic, you never know what is going to come back. As long as it isn’t libellous and is well-written I go with it. I hope it will be positive, as that is my outlook on Wenger and the club, but ultimately it is the choice of the writer.
    I deliberately approached Tony to write for the fanzine, as I love his approach to writing about Arsenal and also to ensure Highbury High was as doom-laden as another fanzine out there.
    I want Highbury High to be a beacon of optimism and I believe Wenger deserves better.
    Why not help me? (your posts are always interesting). I am always looking for new writers. If anyone reading these blogs wishes to contribute to Highbury High, please email me
    Thanks Ian (Highbury High editor)

  7. My last post should have said:
    I wanted to ensure Highbury High wasn’t as doom-laden as another fanzine out there!

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