Footballing Clichy’s From Gael & Bacary
A quiet weekend, one where Arsene must hope that the unlikely occurs with Blackburn beating Manchester United at Ewood Park. Some may draw comfort from their recent match with Chelsea where the points were shared but don’t hold your breath too much as (a) United tend to do well there, (b) Chelsea battered Blackburn, especially in the first half and (c) Fat Sam wouldn’t want to upset his drinking buddy. Oh and United have won seven of the last eight meetings between the two sides. But this season has shown little sign of ending its ability to spring surprises so we shall see.
Arsene gave the media some transfer fodder this week following the defeat at Barcelona and it was duly lapped up with around a dozen centre backs already linked to the club. Some pundits went further, Glenn Hoddle telling everyone that Arsene could go for David Villa which he may do but is rather like me saying that I may go for a curry tonight. A nice to have but not one you would bet your shirt on especially as Valencia’s financial position is improved since the raft of stories linking him to every major club in England and Spain last summer. The Chamakh transfer seems to be the worst kept secret in football, even more so than the Real Madrid getting a new manager next season, which is saying something.
Gael Clichy jumped onto one of Arsene’s favourite hobby horses, the winter break.
I don’t want to hide behind anything but when you are having two weeks off during Christmas you have time to recover, but we are playing game after game every three days and so of course you are going to get injuries.
The Premier League believes it to be unworkable, the football calendar too crowded for this to be manageable. Which is bureaucratic bullshit. Spain has a similarly sized top flight and manages to incorporate a Christmas shutdown so there is no reason for this not to happen. Oh hold on, they don’t have any equivalent to the Carling Cup.
Well, perhaps the Premier League needs to put pressure on the Football League to have this competition over, done and dusted by the end of November, allowing all fixtures to be rescheduled before the festive holidays. Such is the paucity of competition it is not hard for this to happen, the majority of clubs competing in the Quarter Finals can be guessed before the first round kicks off. Move the FA Cup to a midweek competition after the Winter Break and there is the solution since asking the Premier League clubs to vote for a reduction in their number to 18 is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.
A glance at the injury list in the two weeks over Christmas and New Year shows how the break might benefit Arsenal in particular. The list of players who go missing at that particular point in the season indicates just how damaging it can be. William Gallas (2), Denilson (2), Arshavin, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Song, Adebayor and van Persie have all reported injuries at that time of year. More relevant is the number of strains which account for twice as many absences than any other category and 60% overall. Quite simply, the players display the wear and tear at this hectic time of year and that cannot be acceptable.
Critics of such changes point out that the squad system should accommodate such eventualities but this would require thirty or forty players to be available for selection, something the Premier League will not allow since they are limiting squad sizes through regulations. A vicious circle for managers and little wonder that all of the top coaches want such a break.
Bacary Sagna believes there is an absence of a Plan B at times:
Sometimes I think we play too much. We just want to do that and do not think about what is good for us – sometimes we just need to cut out the football, stop playing for a bit and just consider what will help us achieve what we want
There is an element of truth in that but it is too simplistic a view to take overall, although Sagna was talking to the media and it is quite understandable why he kept it on a basic level given the inability of some of them to understand anything vaguely tactical. This has been one aspect that has changed this season, the ability to mix the game between short and long passing.
Too often the long pass in the English game is derided, no distinction given between an intended longer ball and the hopeful punt. Derision, based in the nightmarish influence of Charles Hughes, is a powerful inhibitor yet international class players need this ability. Arsenal players possess it and Arsene holds no aversion to it being used in the right circumstances. Intelligent players know when this situation is at hand and should not be fearful of taking this route.
The truth is that Arsenal are getting used to having an outlet for such a pass. Adebayor for the first season and a half was not providing such an option but did so in his prolific season. Circumstances though mean it is not always possible for such an option, little point in the long pass that requires Arshavin, Nasri or Walcott to outjump the typically English centre back from a static jump. Using this option requires thought from the players, something they are more than capable of. Perhaps it is a confidence issue, more comfort required in retaining possession, the bedrock of the current formation.
Posted on April 10, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Rumours. Bookmark the permalink. 78 Comments.