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Fish and Ships


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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting a little bit anxious waiting for the big ones to come around again in the Premiership goldfish bowl. Still, only a few more days until Arsene arrives and we’ll be able to swim with his young dolphins. The only blood in the water will be at the end of the game (if we’re winning) or maybe earlier if they persist with their unfair tackle allegations and convince the ref that our quota should be reduced. Either way, persisting with 4-3-3 will allow both sides to play pretty much as they did at the Emirates, so we will really will have a tactical game on our hands in this one. Much better than treading water against Sunderland though, or swimming with little fishes like Derby and the Hammers. That was all well and good, but where’s the excitement, the sharks and, more importantly for tomorrow, do we now regard Spurs as one of them after the Carling Cup debacle?

Avram is waiting anxiously too, because he knows that White Hart Lane is infested waters these days and the usual three points simply aren’t that anymore. Ramos expects (and will get) 4-3-3 on the end of our line because there hasn’t been any alternative bait since his opposite number schmoozed in at the Bridge - not even Anelka’s arrival could change the format. No blame should be attached if the end result sees us stay in contention for the title and I’m not one of those who criticises Avram for spinning us an entertaining football line, as he clearly wants a better spectacle and, without having his own players in situ yet, Total Football is but a step away once the summer clearout takes place.

There will be those who will think I’m being flippant here, but in all honesty it should happen and [if Avram stays] it must, according to managerial tradition, whether we win or lose in the run in to both major competitions. The ’my team’ philosophy is one that is used to both attack and defend our manager and it will be interesting to see which of the current batch of players he either regards as being not good enough or not part of ‘his team’. What will increase the fascination in any transition period is the fact that it will only come about [for him] if we succeed in winning one of the two remaining trophies up for grabs and, good bloke that Avram undoubtedly is, he’s hardly going to cut a swathe through the squad in such circumstances, especially amidst accompanying euphoria.

However, let’s speculate for a moment and say that he has the inclination and is given the time that one trophy will bring him to create a team in his own image - perish the thought, but you know what I mean. There seems to be enough evidence already to suggest that Didier will be on his way and Frank might follow, so here are two big names that, in a perfect world, Avram would not wish to see go, but, if they did, the opportunity would be there to replace them with equally big fish. Truth be told, the likes of Kaka, Messi, Ronaldinho (in the good years) and Eto’o were never attracted to the Bridge and it is unlikely that a Grant led outfit would change the situation, CL trophy or no CL trophy.

The upshot of it all, therefore, is likely to be a party line of little fish are sweet and young little fish from our own fish farm are even sweeter. Cushioned by a trophy or two, this policy would be acceptable to most fans, but if it followed on from late season defeats to our rivals both at home and abroad, resulting in an empty trophy cabinet, it would make the clamour for the purchase of at least one major star inevitable and also make the chances of such a star arriving slim to none.

Such is the importance of winning the big games at the moment and such is the pressure on you, Avram, to do what you do best…sit there and wait. Steer the previous incumbent’s ship as best you can. Steady as she goes. Don’t rock the boat and don’t, whatever you do, look like you’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when the Fergie Iceberg appears on the horizon.

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Good read Dorset, much appreciated.

As far as formation goes, I think that Grant has a few more options than what he has used so far.

A three man midfield is required against the Arse. At the moment, they have the strongest central midfield in the country. On paper, we should, but in reality, we will need a three man midfield to cope with Fabregas and Flamini (who is the most underrated player in the premiership in my opinion).

Which means a 4-3-3, as the only other option is to play three at the back - which would be a bit of a crazy experiment in such a big match (however, Grant has a track record in doing just that - Anelka as a winger, anyone?)

However, against Spurs, we really should be able to cope with a 2 man midfield. Any two of Lamps/Ballack/Essien/Mikel/Maka should be able to cope with Jenas and Zokora.

It would free up an extra man in attack (Drogba, Anelka and 2 wingers) and let us take the game to them. I am a lot more worried about the game ending 0-0 than about them outscoring us. We can always throw on an extra man in the middle once we are a goal up, or if we need a bit more control of the midfield.

I think that against a lot of the mid and lower table sides, a three man midfield is a bit of overkill.

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Good post Dorset.

Interesting to see that AG himself is no longer spinning the stylish football line either.

Quoted in the paper as saying he'd win ugly if need be and there is no point playing stylish football and lossing.

I think i've heard that somewhere before 300.gif

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