Here’s a thought. It is taken from today’s Guardian. Clichy has intercepted more passes than any other player in the EPL – with 118 interceptions.
The only other player to have made over 100 interceptions is… oh, that guy who the Independent called “Lightweight” a couple of weeks back, what’s his name? Denilson.
It is just one stat, of course, and I know there are people who do a Scholari (“if the statistics say that then the statistics are wrong” he replied when being told his record was worse than the previous four KGB Fulham managers), and those who say that “interceptions” or whatever else is measured, are not important.
The fact is the line that I’ve been trying to follow with this little blog since it started 18 months or so ago, is that the Lord Wenger knows what he is doing. There are lots of different ways of playing and just because we played one way last year does not mean we have to do it again this year.
My point has been that Henry re-wrote the way a centre forward plays (ie he stayed outside the penalty area, and spent quite a while down the left wing). Lehmann re-invented how goalkeepers behave, but became the only goalkeeper in the entire history of the top division in the UK to play in every league match and be unbeaten. Pires rewrote the rules for playing on the wing – although it took him a year at Arsenal to do it – that first year was very ordinary, but then….
Now new reinventions are going on – and will continue to go on. If you saw the slaughter of the Even Tinier Totts on Thursday then you will know, from the last goal, what incredible new players we have coming through. If you have really watched Denilson you will see his extraordinary ability to be in the place where the ball turns up – he has taken the Gilberto skill and move it up to another league. Somehow these players know how to do it, and somehow the Lord Wenger knows how to find them and nurture them.
Indeed it is interesting to look back at the wild lunatic ramblings of the press through this year. The central theme is Arsenal have problems because they let Hleb, Flamini and Gilberto go, and couldn’t replace them.
In fact, as I argue in the current Highbury High (get your copy tomorrow if you didn’t get it last week), there is a lot to suggest that all three players needed to go because they were not able to sustain their abilities long term. Gilberto was a great servant of our club but it was clear he was coming to the end of his career.
Flamini gave us one year out of three, and there was good reason to suggest that year was the oddity, not the norm. His problems at Milan suggest that analysis is true. Hleb likewise gave us one out of three, and now like Flamini can hardly get a game. Both are likely to move again this summer.
So who did we get to replace these three?
One was already there: Denilson – captain of the Brazil at various youth levels, and undoubtedly soon to be in their first team. Nasri is to my mind a huge improvement on Hleb, in that apart from the twisting and turning, he is more inclined to shoot. And then we got Arshavin. OK it took a time – but it was worth the wait.
So, I hear you shout (as it were) if we are so blooming exquisite, why ain’t we winning stuff? Injuries are the issue. Just look at who is coming back…
- Theo Walcott
plus several others. Look who is coming through. Try looking at Murphy for a start. And Wilshere. And Merida. And even closer to a breakthrough Vela and Ramsey. And for goodness sake Bendtner – subjected to the most awful attack in the media and by Arsenal fans, but actually a youngster who is getting better and better and still able to get up and do the business.
Of course it would be great if we had not had those injuries and were top of the league. But I would sooner support a young team about to make it happen, than one clearly beyond its sell by date.
Speaking of sell-by dates and being beyond, I see that A Cole has said that it wasn’t his fault he screamed abuse at a policemen when utterly pissed out of his head at 2am. The journalist made him do it. Right.
And sorry if you’ve been put off by the strange colour changes of late. When the sites crashed several times in recent weeks some of the formatting got lost and I had to get out my quill pen and book of log tables to try and work out how to get it back to normal. Think it is done now. Don’t blame me, blame… oh well, blame me – its simpler.
(c) the meanderings of Tony Attwood 2009.
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour
- With Balogun will Arsenal be heading toward goalscoring records
- Everton v Arsenal this saturday lunchtime: just what are Everton playing at?
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?