FanCast guest columnist Tim Penrice feels that Wenger
should look to move Vermaelen into a midfield role.
One thing that always surprises me about Arsene
Wenger is how freely he continually plays players out of position and yet it is
rarely of any detriment to the team and the way we play. Bendtner, Walcott,
Nasri, Arshavin and Eboue are just some of the many players that have filled in
at different roles in which their employment was originally intended.
As I say you can't argue as Arsenal get the desired
results, however the defensive midfield role is one that Wenger doesn't seem to
be able to fill, no matter who he plays there. Denilson, Song and even Nasri
have all been given the opportunity to play alongside Fabregas and yet neither
has really made a great fist of it, or dispel the common belief that it is one
area that really needs addressing in the transfer market.
It really is and for a long time I haven't actually
felt the real weakness has been the centre of the defence, as others have prior
to this season, but the fact that they are continually exposed by the lack of
cover in midfield. Saturday was another classic example and had it not been for
Vito Mannone then we would have come a cropper as Fulham continually played
through us far too easily leaving Gallas and Vermaelen to try and break up the
attacks. It is certainly not ideal and against other clubs it could end up
costing us dear.
The solution to the problem for me lay in our
central defence partnership and a certain Thomas Vermaelen as personally I
couldn't think of a better footballer to take on the midfield role and provide
that foil for Fabregas. Vermaelen has been in sensational form for us this
season, however as well as being strong defensively he has proven he has got
another string to his bow as an attacking force and he is extremely comfortable
with the ball at his feet and certainly can pick a pass. Although his loss to
the defence will be obvious, I just wonder whether the presence of a strong
player like Vermaelen in the midfield will provide that defensive barrier and
allow Wenger to move Song into the backline or give Senderos another chance
alongside Gallas. At the end of the day Vermaelen being in the defence is not
stopping teams opening us up and that is the real problem that Wenger needs to
resolve and moving up from the back four may seem an audacious move, but I
believe it will be one that will bring its rewards and hopefully bring some
much needed stability into the midfield.
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