Morning, boys ‘n’ girls.
With names like Nigel de Jong, Yann M’Vila and many others being brandished about by the rumour mongers, it would seem Arsenal are in the market for a new holding midfielder. If such a thing is true, does it mean Alex Song is likely to be moved on to another club? Perhaps.
I’ve often said Arsenal’s midfield is as culpable as its defence when it comes to the amount of goals we concede. Too often there is a gaping hole between the back four and the players who should be contributing to prevention in front of them. Defending isn’t the responsibility of just the guys assigned to those positions. Defending is the responsibility of all 11 players on the field, so I wouldn’t think for a moment it’s fair to assign the blame to just one.
For all his excellent offensive stats this season – 46 appearances and 14 assists – Alex Song has, at times, been found wanting when it come to the defensive, holding element to his game. I don’t think he’s put on the pitch to simply cover the back four, as I don’t believe we actually employ that role any longer. The responsibility is shared between two, with the third midfielder – Ramsey or Rosicky – being the further forward. In the absence of the excellent Mikel Arteta, a player who does cover, Alex’s desire to get forward without offering cover has been all the more noticeable.
Arsenal need that steely element in the midfield that was once offered by Vieira and Gilberto. Although they played in a different formation to the hybrid 4-3-3 we use today, both rarely neglected covering the back four, and we looked a much more solid unit back in those days. I think that’s something we need back. We need an out-and-out holding midfielder.
If Arsenal are to sign Yann M’Vila, is there a place for Alex in the starting line-up? It’s certainly debatable. I think a central pairing of M’Vila and Arteta would be excellent, and we’d concede less goals from our defence being exposed. Scoring goals hasn’t been the issue with Arsenal, the amount of silly and preventable goals we’ve conceded in recent seasons is, and it’s the area that needs to be addressed above any other.
Of course, like I said; that’s a team issue, and one I certainly am not saying Alex is responsible for alone, but he is responsible. His contribution to our attacks is usually what enables folks to look past his faux-pas in the other third of the field. The question I put was whether we should sell him? I don’t think that is the answer, but I do think a new player in the holding role might see him relegated to a squad role.
Assuming we keep those entering contract negotiations, and we sign Yann M’Vila, I’d like to see Arsenal’s first choice X1 be like this:
But that’s just me, folks. Beneath today’s entry, the comments are lurking in wait for all your wonderful opinions. I’m sure some of you may disagree, and you’d prefer to see Alex continue in the same position. Whatever your thoughts, please feel free to share them as it’s always good to hear different opinions – unless you’re going to suggest I either die, or engage in deviant acts with members of my close family, that is.
Thanks for take a moment to read today, you beautiful bastards. You can keep up with my posts and other silliness on my Twitter account @_ArmchairGooner