Saturday, August 21, 2010

Should Arséne Wenger convert Alex Song into an outright center back for The Arsenal?

It is déjà vu for Ian Holloway and Blackpool, they must be seeing stars by now. Welcome back to the elite division guys - that was just our meek way of expressing ourselves at home hopefully you all will learn quickly from today's episodic treatment to avoid a recurrence of that nature against other members of the elders forum in the near future.

Arsenal thrashed Blackpool 6-0 at The Emirates to go top of the Epl log, albeit for a few minutes. The entire 90 minutes presented us with so many positives, everybody contributed in his own unique way to ensure our first Epl match at home this season was worth writing home about.

The encounter wasn't even, but there were a lot of differing characteristics from start to finish. A few minutes after Walcott's curtain raiser and the looming danger of an equaliser, I couldn't help but think should Alex Song be allowed to drift back into his natural position as a center half?

For the first time in a long while, our defensive frailties weren't exposed by an attack-minded opponent. I am very surprised because I admire Holloway's attacking philosophy, and it's common knowledge he instilled this particular style of play in today's enterprising Blackpool side, although they were basically outplayed and outflanked by us they still believed in their capability, but for the new C B partnership, their resilience could easily have paid off.

Generally speaking, we played very well and utilised the weakness (inexperience) of our visitors to the best of our ability. Anyway I am more concerned with the way and manner Alex Song alongside Thomas Vermaelen orchestrated The Gunners defence. The pair tied up loose ends expertly making it look so easy that Almunia had to go a full 90+4m without barking out unnecessary orders.

At 6ft 1in, Song is tall enough to challenge for a position I think is rightly his. For those of us who don't know him very well, our African star isn't shy, and he isn't the easiest of players to nudge off the ball or better still a feeble defender who fears close-contact challenges. He reacted very well to aerial threats which helped in no small way throughout the duration of the match.

Song did/does his job diligently. He dealt with threat from the wings as well as, the ever present threat from counter attacks. He was his versatile self not minding his new role as a center back, and with Diaby coordinating properly with Wilshere in the middle of the pack there was indeed no cause for alarm.

Despite their different hair styles Song and Vermaelen have one aspect in common - the seriousness in their eyes, whenever they don the colours of The Arsenal it can't be argued that they mean business. I still think our unsung Song has the potential to keep the bad guys from testing Almunia's resolve in the future. Another distinguishing feature is the pair's marking strategy, Song prefers the man marking option to the zonal marking idea which Vermaelen loves to adopt during games. They both share an uncanny knack of frustrating opponents by means of intercepting unfriendly projectiles at sight. In short, you must go through them to get past them, be it during set pieces e.g freekicks and corners - they are always equal to the task.

The only drawback to this dream pairing has to do with our defenders tendency to stray upfront in search of trouble, given our attackers inability to track-back regularly I think our defensive line will be encroached on a regular basis (I heard Koscielny loves being in the thick of the action too), apart from this obvious scenario I'd like to think our boys are good to go.