As Arsenal’s season grinds to a generally disappointing end, it seems to me that 10 years on Arsenal still have not grasp the fact that they need three deeplying central midfielders (a regista, a tackling defensive midfielder and a box to box midfielder) to perform the function that Vieira and Gilberto performed so effectively in the early 2000s. Whilst everyone focuses on Vieira’s physical presence and think Arsenal simply need a big body in the centre of midfield to compete, they seem to fail to recognise that Vieira was a rare complete central midfielder who could play make from deep, tackle effectively and charge up the field to offer a goal scoring threat. To compliment Vieira, Gilberto (and Petit prior to him) simply offered an additional defensive screen in central midfield.
Whilst Coquelin has been is very effective at fulfilling the specific function Gilberto used to perform, none of Arsenal’s existing central midfield options possess all three of the skill sets which Vieira possessed. Cazorla (regista), Wilshere (regista), Ramsey (box to box), Elneny (box to box), Ox (box to box).
This combined with Arsenal’s virtual non-existent wing options (maybe Ox) and surplus of strikers (Sanchez, Welbeck, Giroud, Walcott, Campbell, Iwobi, Gnabry) has made me think that Arsenal’s squad may be better suited to playing three deeplying central midfielders comprised of Coquelin (tackling midfielder), one of Cazorla or Wilshere (regista) one of Ramsey, Elneny or Ox (box to box), one floating attacking midfielder (Ozil or Ramsey in Ozil’s absence) and two strikers from Sanchez, Welbeck, Giroud, Walcott, Campbell, Iwobi, Gnabry.
With Arsenal possessing highly attacking full backs, maintaining width in that particular setup would not be difficult and Arsenal might finally be able to resolve their 10 year search for a Vieira’s replacement.
Share the post "The search for Vieira’s replacement continues…"