Arsenal Depot

A depository for musings on Arsenal FC

Shape Of Things To Come At Arsenal?

So Yann M’Vila is Arsenal bound – or to be precise, he’s 99% certain to join the Gunners this summer. They say there’s no smoke without fire – and if there’s 99% smoke, surely the entire building is up in flames?

I’ve rarely seen him play over the past year and You Tube highlights are capable of making Amaury Bischoff look like the next best thing since baked beans. But from the little I have seen and the glowing reports about the French midfielder, he certainly seems to be worth the £17m we are reportedly going to shell out – a handsome ransom indeed.

The 21-year old has admitted he likes to keep things simple and is not fond of fancy flicks and dodgy dribbles. He’s exactly the kind of disciplined deep-lying midfielder fans have been calling for, now that Alex Song has decided to try to fill Cesc Fabregas’ boots.

Arsenal have been vulnerable at the back all season with or without Mikel Arteta. The Frenchman would definitely provide more protection for the defense. But I feel the attribute Arsene Wenger admires most in M’Vila is his ability to find teammates with long forward balls, switching defense into attack within a split second. That quality may prove very useful indeed to Arsenal’s quick counter attacking play next season.

It also poses questions about how Arsenal will shape up next season. Ideally, the formation should change according to the opposition, but Arsene Wenger generally prefers other teams to adapt to our tactics.

There’s been talk recently of reverting to the 4-4-2 system, especially since we’ve found it difficult to break down Wigan, Chelsea and Stoke. My friend Dave Seager is convinced that’s the way to go, do follow his blog as he’s going to post a more detailed article on the topic soon.

For me, Podolski’s arrival actually signals Arsene’s intent to continue with three up front. The German is too similar to Robin van Persie to play alongside the captain and playing him as a left-sided midfielder would mean Arsenal are likely to concede possession in the midfield.

I suspect Arsene may only slightly tweak the 4-2-1-3 being played now to a 4-1-2-3 next season. Yann M’Vila would be the preferred deep-lying midfielder with Song, Arteta and Coquelin as back ups. For the two attacking midfield positions in front of M’Vila, it would be a competition between two of Wilshere, Rosicky, Diaby and Ramsey – although Arteta and Song would also be in that mix as both possess creative abilities too.

In yesterday’s article, Mean Lean of Arsenal Vision reckons the signings of Podolski and M’Vila are actually delayed actions from last summer. While the theory has some credence, I for one see this as a shift in Arsenal’s transfer mentality.

In the past we’ve waited until the last day to get the best deals – both for incomings and outgoings. It has always been questionable whether saving a million quid here or there is really worth the anxiety associated with deadline day deals. Last summer really brought forth the pitfalls of this strategy, the uncertainty and negativity contributing as much to early season results as the quite lengthy list of the walking wounded.

Therefore, I’m a bit worried about the reported price tag for M’Vila. While Podolski is a very Wenger-type signing at just over £10m and we will surely see the departure of one or both of Chamakh and Park in the summer, such a high transfer fee for a defensive midfielder indicates to me that we should brace ourselves for one or two high-profile departures in order to fund these moves.

Also, while all the talk has been about Robin van Persie’s contract extension, it’s easy to forget that both Theo Walcott and Alex Song also have just one year left on their agreements. If M’Vila is signed, we have to assume that the Cameroonian will be the one most under pressure to retain a place in the starting eleven. With a host of continental clubs interested in him, could Sunday be the last opportunity for Arsenal fans to revel in yet another Song-over-the-top-to-RvP-and-he-scores moment?

As the club is doing most things at a rapid pace lately, I think we won’t have to wait too long for an answer.

Back tomorrow with more thoughts on the Arsenal.


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14 thoughts on “Shape Of Things To Come At Arsenal?

  1. Bradster on said:

    I see Wenger holding the cards now in the contract talks. We have replacements for Walcott, Song and RVP, not that I think Wenger wants them to leave, but last season’s fiasco will not happen. Perhaps Wenger sees RVP in the Bergkamp role and have Podolski as a quicker main striker.

  2. Kunle the analyser. on said:

    If wenger buys another player and changes their position….. it will be the first time I start calling for him to be sacked. What I mean- koscielny was a rb at his old club for many years and was then chucked in at cb leading for his first season to be hard and quite poor. Now he has adapted it’s safe to say he has been our best cb. Then gervinho who was a striker at Lille, now playing left wing…. I know he’s finishing has been poor but let’s stop buying and changing them. The reason I am writing this is about podolski being bought and moved to left wing position also

    • shagx on said:

      When are people going to realize that when you play for Arsenal, you don’t just play one position. We play as a team and play where you’re needed. I don’t hear people complaining about Henry being a winger and played as the main striker for us. Lauren was never a RB before he played for us. Petite was a CB turned CM and a damn good one too. He started every match for French when they won the world cup and Vieira was often a sub. The list goes on. Leave that to the expert – Wenger, he knows what he’s doing. For your info, Podolski plays on the left for Germany as well.

  3. Wenger should try to keep both song and his exellency captain Vp to remain in Arsenal. And make all the big signing you want to make them have the hope again. Gunners for life

  4. Song should extend contract, n also vanpersie to make maturity in the club.

  5. Olu-philip on said:

    That’s all we’ve been craving for!

  6. Robin and song have not completed their own assignment,they need to extend contract.

  7. Ugo Amasike on said:

    It would be most un-wise to sell Alex Song; it wud bother on stupidity. I do not believe Wenger will sell one of our most experienced and reliable players in order to provide a place for a new talented player (with no experience in English football).

  8. Zinc on said:

    Song will leave within the next few years, his agent has taken loads of Arsenal players away from North London over the past half decade – Song will probably end up going to Real Madrid for £25-30 million in 2 years time. M’Vila will act as his long term replacement.

  9. John Odhiambo on said:

    I think Wenger is working on having a strong bench and a strong cover up incase of injuries. Remember injuries to our key players have had a negative impact on our season.

  10. arsenal1again on said:

    4-2-1-3 = 4-3-3

    4-1-2-3 = 4-3-3

    Like you say, formations should depend on the opposition. Some managers are pretty good at changing the formation from the touchline using his arms to transmit code during the games … Avam Grant was one, Mourinho dabbles, Eriksson was good at it, but Wenger doesn’t change much during any game, even when we’re losing, lol.

    If M’Vila is postioned as the DM in your 4-1-2-3 and Wilshere and Ramsey.Arteta play behinf the attack then I’m all for that. I’m fed up seeing Ramsey and Arteta playing so deep. With Ramsey in his natural attacking role or Arteta in a more forward role, either of them partnered with Wilshere, I can’t see that failing providing M’Vila really is the forcc to be reckoned with (providing our centre-halves quit thinking they’re attacking midfielders).

  11. I like the writer’s comment that Song has taken Fabregas’s place in the team. We therefore need another holding midfielder to cover for Mvila. We need a creative midfielder to cover for Rosicky too. I like Oxlade too much! He always brings urgency with the ball. Gervinho is alright too.

  12. arsenal-steve on said:

    It seems to me that this club is now the equivalent of a disfunctional family. Arsene Wenger, to me, has OCD over money. Gazidis suffers from being the most boring man on the planet…..grey. Oh how I long for, the larger than life, David Dein. Hasn’t time proved that he was the man behind our successes. Stan Kroenke has proved why make a football team anything more than a business. “Business is Business”. How many times has that been said to suggest buisinesses can be outside the morality of normal life. Bloodsucking “Business”. At least Abramovich and Sheik Mansoor in their search for glory have been charitable, offered money for free, and made their fans happy. Yet we are seen as being some sort of example. We are just a disfunctional football club.

    • Steve, do try to rise above the pettiness of judging people by their appearances – talking about how boring Gazidis is, is certainly not a basis for discussion.

      Regarding your views on how ‘chartitable’ Chelsea and City owners are and the ‘free’ money they are pumping into the club, isn’t that a little too naive? I mean do you really think there is any such thing as ‘free money’? Do you honestly believe the main reason Sheikh Mansour invested in City is because he enjoys the wonderful warm sunny weather of the north east?

      Both Chelsea and City owners are very much into their clubs to make money. They have decided to invest into creating a brand value but will certainly expect it to make money in the long run – when the initial investment stops, City and Chelsea will have to survive on their own revenues, just like everybody else. Do read my post last week on this matter, if you’re interested –

      Also, you seem to be suggesting that living within ones’ means is immoral but at the same time, making a loss of 200m in a single year is something to be proud of?

      While everyone is entitled to their opinion, do try to present some well thought out arguments so we can have a debate. Calling your club dysfunctional is certainly not a sign of the true fan you claim to be.

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