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Gunners Need to Add Steel to the Silk

Posted on | May 5, 2010 | No Comments

It is without doubt that Arsenal play some of the most attractive attacking football in the Premier League. This season, the Gunner have on many occasions, given us some wonderful displays of flowing, inventive soccer that has left experts and fans alike reeling off the superlatives.

However despite their brilliance with the ball, their problems in defending without it have played a key role in the club finishing just third in the title race and also their rather humbling exit at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League.

These problems were once again brought to head at the weekend when the Gunners traveled to Ewood Park to take on Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn in a game which was predicted to be a tough encounter. So it proved, with Arsenal once again succumbing to defeat against technically inferior opponents and Arsene Wenger again complaining at Blackburn’s approach to the game.

So is it time for Arsene to swallow his pride and take a leaf out of the book of another legendary Arsenal manager, George Graham, and add a little steel to the Arsenal side, to accompany the silk?

Certainly it is a recipe for success. Most of the great attacking sides in history have a blend of attack minded flair players, and the players who play behind them to add steel and resilience to the team. Manchester United have the angular power of Nemanja Vidic at the heart of their defence and Darren Fletcher’s bite from midfield. Liverpool have Carragher’s tenacity and Mascherano’s work rate allied to Torres and Gerrard. Chelsea have Didier Drogba who encompasses both qualities of skill and tigerish power in one all-powerful package.

In contrast, Arsenal have no comparative player to fulfill this role. The nearest they get is William Gallas, but he is hardly a powerhouse. So my biggest sports betting tip this summer would be for Arsenal to address this pressing need, by signing somebody…but only if Arsene Wenger is ready to compromise a little in his beliefs.

It is a credit to Arsene Wenger that he is true to his soccer beliefs in this way and that he refuses to bring in a “water-carrier” to allow his more creative players to flourish and yet to maintain a degree of defensive stability in the team. However it is a belief which seems to have cost Arsenal time and time again this season.

For example, if we take the current Arsenal side and place Nemanja Vidic in defence, Javier Mascherano into midfield and Didier Drogba in attack. Could you think of a team capable of beating them? I can’t.

Arsenal face a big summer in 2010. Wenger has plenty of money to spend on players and hopefully for Gunners fans, he won’t be shy spending it. However if Arsenal are to really move on to the upper eschelons of the English and European game, they need to add strength, power, bite and grit to their team. The problem is of course, these are the very attributes that Wenger seems so angered by when his team faces the likes of Blackburn.

So if Wenger has the money available this summer to bring in players, I am sure most Arsenal fans won’t mind if Arsene just for once, thinks less about flair, creativity and the future and brings in someone like Frank McLintock, Tony Adams or Martin Keown.

For as beautiful as Arsenal win at times, sometimes at the highest level you need to win, and win ugly and it is here where Arsenal have failed at times this season.



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