the january window just got more interesting…

Bloody hell.  Three months! Three months lost because of a lower class team that can’t compete with us.  And Platini wants more smaller teams involved? This man has no sense, none whatsoever.  Why is this man in charge of anything???  Moving on!  The Liege game was a good reminder to Arsene and the rest of us: tactics matter and Denilson points the way to victory over the russian mob.  Just as important, Sunday will tell us what Arsene is going to do in the transfer window.

I said it and I don’t regret it: Arsene’s tactics threw off the sunderplace game.  Even Arsene admitted as much when he said we didn’t take them as seriously as we should have.  The truth is, Arsene didn’t take the team seriously enough and that carried through to the players.  Although, in hindsight, the sunderplace debacle might have been the Gallic slap we needed -insulting but fleeting.  Arsene was cocky, then he got desperate throwing everyone but Walcott’s future unborn son in, but at no time did he actually play the game.  Balance the team!  Luckily the professor learned his lesson and the Liege game showed it.

Our lineup in the Liege game showed the right balance of beautiful football, a desire to win, recognition of our weaknesses and the reality of injuries.  We don’t have RVP or Bendtner, so no matter what we do upfront it’s going to be a bit on the short side.  Fine.  If we’re going to be short, then lets go with short, pace and extreme technique.  Lets pass.  Putting Vela in the middle and “supporting” him with Arshavin and Nasri?  Magnifique!  This lineup played to the Arsenal’s strengths.  Essentially, we had a chel$ki diamond located in the upper third with Vela at the point and Fab controlling from the back.  And why? Because we had two players sitting back, a ridiculous potential future combination.

It’s so simple, Denilson was back.  The young player with so much potential, Denilson is why Wenger refuses to pay too much for Matuidi.  Denilson is the potential battle-space ball winner and long-distance shot taker we need.  People go back and forth on the kid, I hold out hope.  I don’t think the Liege game has solidified his coming of age, but I think it’s interesting that every game he’s in, he adds a calmness that belies his age, brings that missing element: balance.

Happy playing off of Fab, Denilson’s game is the missing element for Arsenal.  If he wasn’t hurt and had developed along with Song, who knows how our midfield would operate now.  I still think Arsene might look for a battle-space DM this January, but if Denilson shows his quality on Sunday, I think we’re in for a surprise signing, someone like PSG’s Clement Chantome.  Someone low on the radar, cheap and can be rotated in to give Denilson and Song some respite as the season wears on.  Oddly enough, even with the young guns, we have space for DM backups.  The next question is whether this lineup and Denilson are what’s best for chel$ki.  The answer is yes.

The back four are pretty easy, even Traore is likely to play given the curse we have going in the back left position right now.  But with chel$ski’s injuries upfront and in their back four, the quick passing goal oriented team of Vela, Arshavin and Nasri looks to be the right combination.  They enjoy playing together (side note: has anyone noticed how everyone always celebrates with Eboue? Everyone loves him).  Anyway, fast and fearless, this group is likely to go right at the thugs in blue and punch right back.  Even better, they are likely to move fast enough to put the smurfs on their backheel and draw the fouls to keep their midfield out of rhythm.

Sunday is going to be physical and tough.  So two defensive minded midfielders, Song and Denilson, are perfect for this game: hold against any counterattacks, link the ball with Fab and let Fab push the ball up.  Plus Denilson can exploit the holes with that long shot of his -something Song avoids like its the police at his door.  Now, whether Denilson can impose his will on the chel$ki midfield of Eissen or Obi or Deco or whomever, I don’t know yet.  But I like to think of every game as potential for the youngsters.  Ramsey didn’t rise to the last one, but if Denilson rises on Sunday, we have our midfield and a surprising January.

the student


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