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[sport] Arsenal 2007

Looking at Arsenal’s activity in transfer market, I might not be the one who worry about their chance in the upcoming season.
The departure of Pires, Campbell, Lauren, and Bergkamp last year, is followed by the departure of Henry and Ljungberg this season.
This practically ends a golden generation who won several cups and went through a memorable unbeaten season.

But Wenger is still a visionary manager.
Like Ferguson, Wenger has distinctive football style and believes it with all his heart.
In the last two years, he has actually been successful to find some reincarnations of his previous golden teams to continue his style.

Who can deny that Van Persie is the new Bergkamp with his stylish and clinical finish.
Adebayor is the new Kanu : strong in the air, good flair, not easy to lose possesion.
Rosicky is the new Pires. Both of them has a good passing, good long-range shooting.
Hleb is the new Ljungberg with the agility and fighting spirit for the ball.
And I really hope that da Silva is the new Henry, high probability to convert chance into goals (well, his statistics in Zagreb is quite amazing).

In central midfielder, Gilberto and Fabregas are more solid.
Fabregas is not exactly copy of Vieira.
While Vieira is more balanced between attacking and defending, Fabregas is purely attacking playmaker.
But Gilberto, at his best, is a rock. FOr me, he is the rock of Arsenal because in front of him, there are five players who are practically attackers.

In the central defence, Wenger has good options for Toure’s partner : Gallas for experience, Sanderos for dealing with tall opponent strikers.

In wing back, I think both Eboue and Clichy are better than Lauren & Cole.

So actually, the first team is quite solid. They can defeat any club in the world.
But still, I have several reasons to doubt Arsenal’s chance this season.

1. Quality of Substitutes

Except goalie, all subs are teenagers!
Armand Traore, Jourou, Sagna, Walcott, Denilson, Flamini, Diaby, and Bendtner are nothing compared to Chelsea, United, and Liverpool substitutes.
They are either young talents like the Arsenal’s first team (Kalou, Babel), mediocre club’s first team (Sidwell, Ben Haim), and senior players (Zenden, Solkjaer, Pizzaro).

2. Converting Chances

THis is the biggest issue. And still in warm up games (Amsterdam and Emirates), it’s shown.
Last year, Arsenal should’ve not lost to any club if they have higher probability in converting chances into goals.
If they still have Henry-Pires-Bergkamp in their best, we would see what Mourinho referred as ‘hockey scores’.
In almost all last year’s defeats, except from Bolton, they had amazing numbers of shot on goals.

They will have serious problems if they do not fix this. Remember Henry (who has very high efficiency in converting chances) is gone.

3. Ultra-defensive and Physical
Two things Wenger hates most.
But hey… no club (even MU and Chelsea) can stand a chance to play attacking football against Arsenal.

So, when playing against Arsenal : keep your defence tight, use a little bit of physical strength to get the ball.
And all clubs know this now, and really will exploit this.

———

So some predictions for 2007/2008 :

SEASON’S ACHIEVEMENT :
EPL : Struggling for 4th place (watch out for Newcastle and Everton)

EMERGING HEROES : Rocisky

TRUFF : Theo Walcott

SURPRISE STRATEGY : 4-5-1

NEW BAD BOY : Lehmann (please behave when dealing with corner-kick hehehe)

TOP SCORER : Van Persie

UPDATE  (Result) : 3rd place Рtop scorer : Adebayor РWalcott (play 39, goals 7) РRosicky (injury again, play 24, goals 7)

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