Sunday, September 12, 2010
Arsenal-Bolton: A Few Things to Think About After a Top-Notch Performance
How Things Turned Out
In front of home crowd, basking in the tranquil September sun, Arsenal continued their winning streak on their quest for Premier League glory.
Arsenal clashed with Bolton, a team in which current manager Owen Coyle has tried to implement an Arsenal-like style of play.
Owen Coyle has planted a good seed in Bolton. Their football was joyful to watch, with plenty of movement and passes. This meeting though, resembled a master giving a lesson to his disciple.
It was pretty much Arsenal all the way.
Four goals scored, once again reminding of the firepower in the red-and-white attack. I, for one, was amazed at how easily they passed the ball among the Bolton players. The cutting passes and through balls were beautiful to watch and painful for the opposition, and if it wasn’t for luck, the result might have escalated to four or five much earlier in the game.
After the somehow dubious dismissal of Gary Cahill, it was all over. Don’t get me wrong, it was all over even before that, but a 10-men Bolton was no match for the masterful team work of Arsenal.
The crowd was enjoying the football and urging their team to continue their passing spree. It was in one of those perfectly executed one-touch football displays, the ball reaching almost every member of the team clad in red, the fifth and final foal of the match was secured, 4-1 to Arsenal.
A symphony at its best.
Things to Think about
While the attack was on the right track, there was an air of unpredictability about the Arsenal defence.
And how couldn’t it have been? The pivotal stone of the defence, Thomas Vermaelen, was out injured.
Laurent Koscielny made a costly mistake in the match against Blackburn before the international break. And Sebastein Squillaci was making his debut game, experiencing English football for the first time.
Worries were confirmed after another misjudged intervention by Laurent Koscielny led to Arsenal sustain an equalizing goal. Squillaci, on the other hand, did well, despite the pressure he was put under on numerous occasions by the Bolton forwards. He showed that experience can compensate the lack of speed. Let’s hope that would be the case for his future games.
So, all in all, nothing major to twist here, but just as a note, why not give Laurent a nice retrospective one-match break and put Johan Djourou in his place?
Another man to think about is Tomas Rosicky.
The ever-so-influential Czech did well to distribute the ball to his team-mates, and not that his job is to finish the Arsenal attacks, but once again he was found lacking in that aspect.
As in the last match, he once again found himself absolutely alone against the goalkeeper and missed the goal. Of course, that can happen to anyone, but Tomas could improve his finishing game.
Going further down, why not give Carlos Vela a chance?
He is still very young, but for the little time he participated in the match, he managed to score a goal and captivate with his enthusiasm. With a smile on his face, he showed deadly accuracy and speed to secure Arsenal’s fourth goal.
For a 10-minute display, I would say it was pretty well done. Why not give him some more playing time now that the speed of Theo Walcott is missed up front?
Andrei Arshavin, much like Rosicky, was quite ineffective in front of goal.
He could have definitely done much better. On several occasions, he just couldn’t find the frame of the goal when faced only by Adam Bogdan, the Bolton goalkeeper. Although we have seen how inconsistent Arshavin can be, he is definitely an integral part of the first team because of his flashes of inspiration that can surprise any opposition. We couldn’t ask for him to be put on the bench.
Another thing to think about is the use of rotation.
It is a proved effective way to save the energy of players and protect them from injuries. It’s known that fatigue increases the chance of getting an injury and if this problem is solved, we might at last see Arsenal not crippled at some point later in the season.
Seven new players started against Bolton as compared to the last game. Keep rotation going, Arsene.
And finally, the captain, we couldn’t help but notice the form of Cesc Fabregas, the captain who was linked with a transfer to Bracelona this summer. He was raging free with defence-splitting pin-point accurate passes.
Against an open team like Coyle’s Bolton that may have come easily to him, but keeping this form further on, and especially against harder opposition, will prove to some suspicious fans that he is totally committed to the Arsenal cause for the new season.
With season’s dawn just passed, the time has come for the manager to keep analyzing and for the players to keep believing, so in the end, they might finally reach the sunset crowned as champions.