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I have the answer - how to get promotion

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We need to start playing like Arsenal...


Now after you’ve picked your jaws up from the floor, please allow me to explain this further.


The key factor in Arsenal’s success has been the fact that they have played passing, possession football which utilised the full abilities of the players at the club, and then they signed players that will fit in with this style of play.


Distribution from our centre halves has been garbage for a long time now, with endless long balls being pumped forward in a ‘hit and hope’ manner. When was the last time you saw the likes of Gallas or Toure doing this? Simple answer – they don’t. Instead they play the ball sensibly and shortly to a nearby team-mate. Be this to one of the fullbacks or to the likes of Gilberto or Fabregas in the middle, they look to give the ball to a player who has the ability to make the correct pass forwards and concentrate on the key reason they are in the side – to defend.


Also look at their wingers, none of them regularly look to burn down the wing and then whip in a cross for the target man to head home, why? Because they haven’t had a true target man in years, instead they’ve had top class players who thrive on balls to feet and therefore the wingers cut inside far more, and play the balls accordingly to make the best use of this.


Now, whilst we clearly don’t have the same level of quality that Arsenal do, we do have very much the type of players who can play in this manner. Both Drury and Otsemobor can get forward in much the same way as Clichy and Eboue do, Brellier can be the link between defence and midfield in the same way the Gilberto is, all our wingers are far more comfortable and efficient cutting inside than simply pegging it down the wing to go for a cross – just like Rosicky & Hleb do, and our strikers also seem to prefer balls to feet in the same way that RVP and Adebayor do. Just because Brown, Dublin and Strihavka are tall players, doesn’t mean that we should simply hoof balls to them.


Where we are truly lacking in comparison however is in the central midfield role played by Fabregas. Smith appeared to have been signed to play this, then got injured. Fozzy was given the chance, played well, and got injured. Russell just isn’t this type of player. He’ll run all day, get the tackles in, and look to play it off, but he won’t give you that creative edge that can provide inch perfect killer balls to the strikers/wingers.


So going forwards what would I do if I was the manager with the current squad and current injuries?


Play a standard 4-4-2 diamond formation.


Marshall in the net, with a back line of Drury, Shackell, Spillane and Otsemobor. Why Spillane? Simple, because although he might not be as bad as he’s regularly made out to be, I just don’t rate Doherty, and Spillane possesses far more of the assets I’d be looking for in this style of play than Doherty does.


In midfield it would be Hucks, Brellier, Croft and Chadwick in a diamond formation. Brellier to soak up the pressure to defence, Hucks and Chadwick to attack down the wings, and Croft to provide the creative edge in the middle. Some may question this choice, but putting it simply, having seen Croft on a number of occasions for both Man City and England, he’s always struck me as being more suited to the central role than he has the wing, and until we get Smith in, or Fozzy back to fitness, he’s arguably the best suited to the job, although in theory he and Chadwick could switch around in games to really confuse the opposition.


Upfront, I’d be looking to play Cureton and Strihavka. Odd choice of DTS some would say, however, his style of football would fit in far better with the passing game than either Brown''s or Dublin’s. He’s not lacking in pace where unfortunately Dublin is, he has good technique and control, and from what I’ve seen and heard, has a stronger finishing ability than Brown.


So there you have it, my solution to our often lacklustre performances, look to utilise the strengths of the players we have by getting the centre halves to play it simple, the wingers to run at the players, cut inside, and look for appropriate passes, the central midfield to control the play and look for the creative ball, and the strikers to receive the balls their abilities best suit. And stop playing the unncessary and ineffective long balls.


In my opinion, we do genuinely have suitable cover for almost every area if we play to this system, particularly when we get the squad back fully fit – Smart, Eagle and Lappin to provide cover on the wings (or at left back in Lappin’s case), Russell or Rossi Jarvis as a cover option for Brellier or for when we have a comfortable lead and are looking to simply keep the ball and break up opponents play – Fozzy and Smith to provide the creative spark in midfield - Murray, Doherty, Dublin & Halliday to cover the centre halves – Cave Brown/Russell to cover Otsemobor - Lappin/Murray to cover Drury - Gilks/Lewis for the backup keepers, and Brown, Martin, Dublin, Ryan Jarvis and Renton as alternatives for the strike force (personally I think either Martin or Jarvis would do quite well in this system).



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