Arsenal to model midfield on title-winning Juve; Arteta the new Pirlo?

 We are officially in the silly
Season, a period that I can confidently say is my least favorite with so much
transfer bullsh*t everywhere, filled with multiple rumors linking multiple
players with moves to multiple clubs.

I
have to admit its usually pretty tempting to talk, discuss or even write about
them as the rumors come thick and fast but the trick people mostly miss is
leaving it at that, we usually go overboard with it, fantasizing about Wayne Rooney
scoring a screamer in red and white, Marouane Fellaini anchoring the midfield, Gonzalo
Higuain’s pending  pending , pending
medical? etc you name them.

It’s
fun to speculate, we all love gossiping , especially the good shit, but I think
the best strategy is to completely ignore /avoid (the latter worked for me in
the last few days) any sort of transfer news until mid August.

The
media is often harangued for making up stories, and rightly so, we know this
yet we fall for their stories. Celebrate the positive stuff gently nodding in
agreement and vehemently opposing the negative, that’s how we roll. Every year
we forget their scheme and believe what they report only to remember a few
weeks later how it all works. The media can make you believe what they want,
making up stories is part and parcel of them, its what they do, it’s in their
DNA. There was in fact a research made on this and was published in the journal
Human communication Research sometimes back, they suggested  that nuggets of ‘misinformation’ embedded in a
certain program , whether written ,audio or visual , can seep into our brains
and lodge there as perceived facts. What’s more though is this troubling
dynamic seems to occur even when our initial response is skepticism. It asserts
that immediately we hear, watch a video/read an article containing a
‘questionable’ piece of misinformation , we are aware where it came
from(source) and we take it with an appropriate grain of salt. But this all
important skepticism diminishes over a certain period of time as our memory of
where we heard/seen a fact/story/falsehood in question dims. It actually makes
more sense and you can relate to it if you contemplate it for a second. I think
its important, and to some extent, we (should) consider this during this
off-season. Every time I come across a certain ‘ self proclaimed’ ITK in the
internet/social media, more often than not a certain quote of Saul Goodman (played
by Bob Odenkirk) in the Television Series Breaking Bad pops into my head ;   

“If you are committed enough, you can
make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, it worked because
I believed it”

Watching
the beautiful game and discussing the football part of it is one thing, but
immersing ourselves into the transfers (mostly prematurely) is absolutely
ridiculous in my opinion, even worse is discussing, constantly debating and
differing, calling each other names simply because you disagreed on a transfer
story that in practical had absolutely zero truth in it. I give up.

The
fact remains that despite being linked with nearly all the top  players in Europe we haven’t signed anyone of
them at the moment (yeah I know about Yaya Sanogo) ,so that basically leaves us
with the same squad that we finished the season with bar Thomas Vermaelen, and
that’s what’s more important at the end of the day. I am a strong believer in Arsene
Wenger ball, I think we played some breathtaking stuff in last five months of
last season while at the same time being solid at the back, we sort of found a
way to balance our game and that eventually aided us stability which was very
much evident in our performances, the defence got plenty of plaudits, and
deservedly, but one department that was equally consistent but massively
underrated (and I think it’s performances in the upcoming season will be
the  key to us mounting a serious
challenge for major honors, not Suarez etc) is the midfield.

The
Mikel Arteta/Aaron Ramsey partnership was in particular impressive and greatly
contributed to our unbeaten streak that ultimately clinched fourth spot. I’d certainly
like to see those two, joined by Jack Wilshere in the middle of the park for
the beginning of next season. I know Jack 
wasn’t very impressive when given the responsibility to be our main
creative force, but as we know the boy is special, and I believe he’ll thrive
in that role if the right personnel are deployed next to him. Arsene Wenger is
still a superb tactician , watching his teams over the last 15 years or so, if
there is anything he loves more than technical players, it is flexible players
(often signs many for that reason). Players who can adopt to different roles
while still putting in top notch performances: Yossi Benayoun, Arteta, Ramsey
and Santi Cazorla are a few examples in recent past who have allowed  Wenger to indulge his ideas, their
versatility allowed the team to switch shapes and tactics with relative ease.
Something am greatly anticipating Wenger to explore in Wilshere-Arteta-Ramsey
for next season. Now, before I come to how that will work, I would like to
examine the midfield of another team that I ardently supported over the years –
Juventus. They play with three dynamic central midfielders that compliment each
other in many ways more than one, albeit in a different formation. I believe
that the three players I suggested above can form that sort of understanding,
cohesion, and compatibility by performing similar roles that will allow us
utilize their qualities to the maximum e.g. Arteta being deployed in a deeper
role meant that he can’t go forward as much as he used to and that has
completely minimized his attacking threat etc

Juve’s
midfield is a very solid midfield with players who build up the engine of the
team. Andrea Pirlo is basically the engine of the team and offers very much
needed creativity and flare. He is, in my opinion, one of the most graceful
players to play the game and with his impeccable passing range and accuracy, he
can set up an attack from virtually anywhere. He plays the ‘Regista‘ role which
is to simply dictate play from deep, he’s partnered by Arturo Vidal and Claudio
Marchisio, hence why many refer to the Juventus midfield as MVP (Marchisio. Vidal.
Pirlo.). Marchisio and Vidal , on paper, are positioned in
front of Pirlo as ‘attacking midfielders’ but in practicality they play a sort
of box-to-box tandem on either side of Pirlo to give him much space and time to
make things happening from deep, while at the same time they offer support to
the strikers.

I
think Wilshere, Arteta and Ramsey, just like the MVP, could perform similar
roles and to a great effect. Arteta has generally been the metronome in our
midfield, made us tick and basically kept things going while at the same time
offering an adequate cover for our vulnerable back four, one thing that was
clearly missing has been the creative part of his game and that was mainly due
to deeper, more defensive role that he had to perform in the last season which
in turn made him sacrifice his attacking threats. I believe that if the right
players are deployed next to him (i.e. Ramsey and Wilshere) he could rediscover
the creative side and combine well with tireless defensive work that he has so
well adapted to.

Ramsey
showed great character last season to bounce back and finish the season brightly,
this was partly due to playing in his favored position of central midfield,
playing a key role in the unbeaten streak and deservedly picking up the fan’s Player
of the Month award along the way. His no fuss attitude and incredible work rate
makes me believe that he can perform similar role as Vidal does for Juve, the
latter runs himself to the ground every match topping the ‘distance  covered ‘ charts. In fact it was Vidal’s love
for horse-riding that convinced the Juve hierarchy to sign him, he would
horse-ride into the early hours of the morning to tire his body so he could
sleep. Not even a full day of training was enough to exhaust him.

Wilshere’s
availability will be of utmost importance to Arsenal next season, I still
believe that in his creative midfield role he is unsurpassed at the Emirates (bar
Santi, perhaps?). Other than his massive talent, I think its his influence on
the rest of the team that is his most recognisable strength, there are a few
players in the league who are able to grab both the game and the players together
by the scruff of the neck, he can be compared to Steven Gerard on that regard.
Just like Wilshere, Marchisio also played wide before Antonio Conte ditched
4-4-2 and the 3-5-2 emerged and I believe they have got more similarities than
differences.

That
completes the three midfield piece, it has experience, creativity, flare and
very much needed energy to be a match for anyone in my opinion. In this new set
up Arteta can still contribute to attack from deep, with Ramsey and Wilshere
just ahead of him (or on either side of him depending on when we are attacking/defending)
he’ll be holding the centre and spraying passes left, right and centre, playing
the playmaker kind of role (from deep) which allows him to have more time on
the ball and supply passes to attack, this will be a perfect weapon against
teams who play with a highline or congest the midfield.

Ramsey
can play a ‘dynamic box-t- box’ role, he is very energetic and has an
incredible work devotion which can work to our advantage. He is a runner,
capable of covering kilometers on the pitch, who would fortify the defence  and contribute to attack  whilst never tiring , those are amazing
qualities that makes him such a natural midfielder and perfect partner to
Arteta . Wilshere can play in front of Arteta with Ramsey and can/will offer
creativity and flare in an attacking sense, hence supplying assists for the
strikers. Arteta may have the creative juices flowing from him in centre of the
midfield, but Wilshere offers his creativity right in the face of the
opposition defenders.

In
conclusion, the three men will use their technical ability to run the midfield
through the centre, it’s these differing qualities and innate abilities to boss
the midfield that compliments them so well. This rigid midfield base will take
our pressing to a whole new level and make us recover possession quickly, it’ll
in turn form a solid platform for likes of Santi to take better positions when
attacking by acting as a second forward due to minimised defensive
responsibilities. Here is to hoping Wenger declares WAR (Wilshere. Arteta.
Ramsey.) from Day one of the Premier
League season, if it works out well and becomes a success like am greatly
expecting , am going to go out on a limb here and say its been known to happen.

Born Gooner


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2 Responses to Arsenal to model midfield on title-winning Juve; Arteta the new Pirlo?

  1. John Weeraga August 11, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    And yet we still have The Ox who I think will see more playing time this season. A part from defence and striking role, the Arsenal midfield is more rounded. we will see more variation which is good. In one match, we will see Giroud on the bench, Podolski striking; in another, Theo will be loan striker, The Ox or Gnabry will play right wing; Rosicky will help Wilshire very well.

    So We might very well see one more signing, a holding midfielder who can play cetral defence. That’s why FOR ME, Gustavo is more important than Suarez.

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