Monday, September 03, 2012

The Arsenal Way

By Abdullah Al Refaie.

What is the Arsenal way?
Many have interrogated and many have queried what these lucrative words genuinely mean - 'THE ARSENAL WAY'

The Arsenal way composes of 3 main pioneers:

1) Transfer market.
2) Playing style on the field.
3) Youth development.

Transfer Market 
Arsenal have never been a sort a of club that throws £50million on a player like Man City or Chelsea. They do it invariably in the traditional Arsenal way, which is to buy the so-called bargain players such as the likes of Patrick Vieria (£3.5m), Kolo Toure (£150k), Nicolas Anelka (£500k) and the king of kings, Thierry Henry (11m). Arsenal and Le Boss have unceasingly kept Arsenal debts to a minimum. To rest my case, Arsenal's net spent in the past decade has been £-21m which places them 19th in the Premier League. This should tell a lot about the way Arsenal is managed. This kind of policy is also known as The Arsenal Way.

On The Field
We can all agree that Arsenal have been by far the most entertaining of sides in the last decade in the English football (biased maybe). In this pioneer I am going to analyse how the Arsenal way is influenced on the pitch. This involves a 4-3-3 formation or 4-2-3-1 formation that Arsene religiously loves to apply. The question is, how does the Arsenal way affect or differ than the traditional 4-3-3 formation that other teams apply? The first alteration is that the full backs push more further causing an overlap and hence creating a much more attacking influence in the opposition half i.e., more crosses to the lone striker, furthermore causing the center backs to play a little wider which generates a rectangular shape in defence. Another alteration is that the midfielders are constantly changing positions i.e., the defensive midfielder going to the left causing the midfielder in his position to go to the right and so on, which was visible last season where Alex Song and Mikel Arteta constantly switched positions; One attacks while the other defends. This sort of play can cause the opposition lots of problems, such as the difficulty to mark men and thus creating more space for the wingers and fullbacks to play on. Another variation similar to the midfielders is that the strikers and wingers are incessantly changing positions. This domain can also be called total football which I will not go into much detail as it would take me another article to write. 

Youth development
Throughout Arsenal's 125 years, they have predominantly produced great youngsters but more so nowadays, such as Cesc Fabregas, which symbolizes what Youth at Arsenal solely mean; or Alex song who couldn’t kick a ball in 2005, has earned a move to Barca, thanks to Arsenal academy; and first team starters such as Sir Chesney and Jack Wilshere, who have gone through the ranks. The other night I was watching the Next Generation competition which involves academies of the elite clubs in Europe face each other. Few have stood out from Arsenal in my opinion, such as Martin Angha, captain of Switzerland U-16, which tells you a lot about him. He has pace, power and height which makes him one of the finest center back prospects and no surprise Arsenal kept a clean sheet, thanks to his heroics. Other prospects who should have an honorable mention are Kris Olson, Gnabry and Akpom, all had a fine game against Marseille ending with a 3-0 win for the gunners. Now the question is, do you agree with The Arsenal Way?


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