Saturday, March 7, 2009

Who's The Killer At Arsenal?

"It's all right having a team that can pass but sooner or later you have to give the ball to someone who can do something, like Man United with Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez. They have got people who can suddenly kill you and that's important. Modric is that type for me, he is important."

- Harry Redknapp, about Modric's performance in the Carling Cup final

Apparently, Tottenham have a guy who can kill you. His name's Modric, Luka Modric. He likes his vodka martinis shaken, not stirred, his cars to be fast and armed to the teeth, and his women to be feisty, sexy and with exotic sounding names, like Juggy Jugs Galore or Ripponella di Chemisa.

I think 'Appy 'Arry's onto something there. A football team needs someone who can finish off a move. There are a lot of players out there who can pass sideways and can be drilled to move within a tactical formation, but there aren't a lot of players who can take the ball in the final third and make footballing babies.

At Arsenal, the choice of killers is pretty limited. We've got van Persie, who's injured a lot and who hasn't been that prolific anyway, and we've got Eduardo, who's still recovering and who, despite the hype, isn't proven in the Premier League. Adebayor's changed since he got his big, Henryesque contract, and Bendtner and Vela are still kids.

That's it, as far as killers go. It's a far cry from the days of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg.

At the moment, we've a bunch of really talented playmaking midfielders who love to pass the ball but who don't like to take shots. Arshavin's going to be special, but it'll be a while before we see him kill moves for us. Nasri, after those promising early games, is flickering in and out of form like the 21 year old kid he really is. Cesc's injured, and we're left with Denilson and Song as our central midfielders.

If you look at the recent Arsenal games, the problem's a lack of imagination in the middle of the park and a lack of inspiration. Denilson distributes the ball with a harm-minimization mentality. That's fine, but when he's partnering Song, it doesn't leave us with much. Song might have great hair, but he doesn't do creative, imaginative passing.

When a team lacks creativity like ours, you kind of need a killer in the side. Someone who can latch onto a long pass and score a freaky goal. Someone who can dribble past five players, side-step the goalkeeper, and tap it in. Someone who can do something against the run of play and pinch a win.

As Harry said, Man Utd have Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez to turn to when they need that special goal. We really don't. Which means we need someone like David Villa or David Silva. Or preferrably, both.

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