Thursday, July 21, 2005

Life after Vieira...

So it has been a few days now since Patrick has taken his talents, leadership and fire to northern Italy to play for one of the most storied clubs in the world. What does this mean for Arsenal?

  • Midfield - I think that the midfield still contains a world of talent - Cesc, Ljunberg, Pires, Flamini, etc are all solid players. However, they lose a lot of intangibles with the loss of Vieira. Beyond being the captain he was the catalyst for the midfield, bridging defense with offense, and throwing in a crucial goal here and there.
  • The strikers remain solid, but getting Baptista, if possible, would make it down right scarey. With the "beast" teamed up with Henry, having Reyes, Van Persie (assuming he does not end up in prison) and Berkhamp would make this a lethal stike force. Arsenal have always needed a stiker that is a penalty box presence to compliment Henry (which is what the French national team has with Trezeguet, unfortunately that duo has struggled in international play, but I digress)
  • Defense, the emergence of Senderoos will allow the arsenal back 4 to stabilize. I have also read that Arsenal is giving former French international Christanval a trial. Christanval was a highly touted central defender, a few years ago it was thought he would be the natural replacement for Desailly anchoring the central defense of the French National team. But injuries have hampered his developement. This move only has upside for Arsenal, if he can regain his form Arsenal will have found themselves a solid if not international quality central defender who is still young - 26
  • Intangibles, getting Bentley back from his season long loan at Norwich is an overlooked "acquisition" Whenever I watched Norwich matches last season it was clear that Bentley was the best player for the team. Being able to play a full season wearing the number "10" and running the team will give bentley the experience and confidence to do some great things with Arsenal. I think he will play a major role for Arsenal this season.
  • Future transfers - the latest rumor is that Arsene is looking at Olivier Dacourt from AS Roma. Dacourt is a poor mans version of Vieira. He would be a solid replacement. He too is a French international usually lining up along side Vieira for les bleus. He has experience playing in england, having played at Leeds and Everton. He would be a good replacement, but more in the mold of Gilberto and Makelele. A defensive/holding midfielder. But unlike Vieira has limited offensive abilities.
The season officially kicks off in a 3 weeks...still lots of movements to come I am sure. If arsene can get Baptista and Dacourt, Arsenal might be able to give their London rivals and the red devils a real run for the Premiership title

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