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Flirting with 442 – plus thoughts, ramblings

It’s been a while since anything has been posted on this blog, in fact it’s been a whole season since anything has been posted on this blog. So this will be a stream of consciousness thing, just go with it. I’ll start like any great story, right in the middle with some random thoughts…

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Thoughts on…

Giroud

I was at the game against West Ham on Tuesday at the clock end, so my view of goal was a little distant (see the life like reconstruction above). I could see that the ball had been floated in by Vermaelen, I could see that Giroud had somehow got on the end of it and stuck it in at the near post. What I couldn’t see was the strength and balance it took to hold off the lumbering Andy Carroll, or the exquisite touch which allowed him to bring the ball under control without breaking stride and purity of that finish on the weaker foot.

It’s only until you watch the replays, the close ups that you can really appreciate the flawless technique which made that goal possible. The frustrating irregularity of these moments of genius is the very thing that irks so many people. I don’t think his ability can be questioned. When he is motivated, appropriately rotated and rested, this guy is a real asset to our team.

With that massive balls up by Everton yesterday (I still can’t physically bring myself to complement Tony Pulis), we really need a motivated Giroud, ready to fire us into that top 4 spot. These are exactly the comments which encourage me:

I am OK with my stats but I know the team will need me again for the last [four] Premier League games. So I need to score again and again.

Podolski

After a quiet few games recently and some tantrums, we saw angry Podolski return to the scoresheet with 2 really classy finishes. I liked the lack of celebration, I think it showed a different side to Lukas’ character. One that is focused and determined, which I think underlined his performance the other day.

Lukas is clearly at his best around the edge of the box, playing off a central striker and making those incisive runs into the box. He proved once again that given the opportunity he will convert. The problem is that he is also tasked with the job of being a winger, which isn’t perhaps best suited to his game. Tracking back and hugging the wing are aspects of his game which he has struggled with. Podolski prefers the ball to feet, something he made clear to Kim Kallstrom after another lofted pass went wayward.

Arsene Wenger spoke of this problem:

“He’s a natural finisher, that’s always why he’s difficult to position on the pitch because you would want him in the box in front of goal and as well wide,”

This brings us nicely to…

Flirting with 442?

The boss recently hinted that he has considered playing two forwards up top.

“I am tempted but I have so many offensive players, who all want to go in the middle, and Lukas is the only one who is really a wide player.”

Giroud and Podolksi do link up very well. They seem to have a very good understanding of each others game. I remember this partnership being particularly fruitful last season. I’m not saying for one moment that we should start every game with 2 up top, but as the Wigan game at the weekend proved, it can be effective in certain situations.

Tactical inflexibility has cost us many, many points this season. When you’re chasing a must win game, you need to keep your best finishers on the pitch. Hauling Podolski off after 60 mins in a game where you desperately need a goal makes no sense; at all. Pushing Podolski up alongside Giroud and moving someone over to the left, does make sense.

There are plenty of players who can cover there, Ozil, Cazorla, Chambo, Gibbs to name a few. I’m hoping we can show a bit of flexibility coming into the closing fixtures. It would be a shame to drop needless points just because we’re afraid to take and chance, gamble and roll the dice etc… Insert metaphorical image:

 

Here’s to that fourth place trophy everybody!

That’s all folks thanks for reading.

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