What did the 01/02, 03/04 and 04/05 seasons have in common? Yes, there was a lot of silverware and a double in 02', but besides that, they each had a poor preseason.
When I say Preseason, I don't mean Barnet, Haladas or the likes of god knows what club. I'm talking about Inter, Rangers, PSG, etc.
It does not take a great preseason to have a great season. The purpose is to warm-up for the next season.
That being said, I would love to see the first-team in action. I've been aching for some good football.
Nonetheless, the preseason is for us to enjoy and for the boys to get warmed up and ready. Up to Columbia now.
Bendtner - Goal-scorer or Target man?
Well obviously Bendtner picked up form later in the season after January, when he went on a mad scoring spree and was Arsenal's top scorer for the second half of the season, with 14 goals in total. An impressive tally for the lanky striker.
He scored some phenomenal goals but had a couple of sitters as well. Goals against Kiev, Newcastle and of course West Brom capped up a fantastic 2nd-half season for the Danish hit-man.
But is he really a goal-scorer? Or is he simply a target man?
He takes shots with aplomb but sometimes he simply drags the ball pointlessly. The former is a trait of a goal-scorer ( Messi, Henry ) and the latter a target-man (Drogba, Adebayor).
A goal-scorer is one who finished most of the chances given to himself. The target man is very Adebayor-esque and holds the ball for a large amount of time. He gets a decent amount of chances but sometimes can fail to finish the easiest of chances.
A good mix of two would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Nicklas at times has too much of either.
So we take a look at the raw statistics. Nicklas is 191cm tall and has improved his goal-scoring each season. He is also only 6 goals short of van Persie's goals and scored only 1 out of 14 goals against any of the big 6.
He is moderately quick but not as fast as some of his counterparts. Slower than Adebayor and Walcott, but obviously faster than van Persie, Denilson and Cesc.
He is right-footed and his left-foot is weak. Being 21, this is not too big a hindrance but the goals he scored were pretty good.
He isn't the type of player to roam around (Nasri) or inside (Inzaghi) the box but spreads himself towards the wings and cuts in. Another mix.
Not a poacher he is, but he does not keep the ball for as long as a standard target man might. Yet another shady comparison.
But here comes the defining stat: Nicklas Bendtner often scores only when next to a Flamboyant striker like van Persie or Vela, not Adebayor or Eduardo.
This is exactly what a target man does not do. He does not poach the goals from his teammates. Rather, he lets the RVP / Vela get the goal. What does this show?
AW probably thinks of him as a Kanu. The guy with the interesting flicks who can play with any type of striker.
But for me, he is a profilic goal-scorer in the making. Comments?
How will Arsenal line-up next season?
I present 3 possible solutions.
van Persie roams outside the box freely with Eduardo passively in the box or waiting for the through ball while onside. Theo and Arshavin attack towards the centre. They take the ball and cut it in for the cross or cut-back. Cesc stays deeper while Nasri plays a free role, roaming around the park to take shots, receive and give killer balls. Cesc will as usual look for holes and passes.
Song or new signing
The idea is even simpler. Adebayor waits in the box, Eduardo roams freely outside. Arshavin and Theo attack right from the wings and produces the crosses to Adebayor, and cut-backs to Cesc. A very literal plan. Cesc gets to take as many long passes and long shots as he wants with an anchor behind him. Song can do the job in the smaller matches, but unless he improves drastically or Wenger transfers a very good DM, they'll have to convert to 4-4-2 in the big games.
4-1-2-3 ( Barca )
Arshavin- Eduardo / Ade - van Persie
Obviously this copies the exact Barca formation. Eduardo is the man who will finish off all the easy and moderate chances. Adebayor can also be used to add an extra dimension in height as long as he can play to his best, or at least with a heart next season. People question why van Persie plays out right. After seeing a recent game which Holland played, van Persie was cutting in from the right and taking shots with his left. This also gives him an advantage in the sense that he can have unpredictable cut-backs and crosses. Anyway, like in the case of Messi and Henry, Arshavin and van Persie run around like a bunch of gunmen, dangerously floating in crosses or cutting in for shots. Nasri and Cesc play the killer balls and take shots, while the anchor Song, or someone else stays behind. The only bad point of this formation is the lack of flank support and defence. Clichy and Sagna will have to sit back a little more and Gallas/Toure really has to sit in deep like Puyol, while Vermaelen ( Milito ) goes for the challenge.
What do YOU think Arsenal should line up with next season?
So anyway, after a moderately exciting season, we thank the people who have done it for us. Bogey prizes as well.
Goal of the Season: Emmanuel Adebayor ( Villareal )
Save of the season: Lukasz Fabianski ( Wigan )
Player of the season: Robin van Persie ( 20 goals, 15 assists )
Best Forward: Robin van Persie
Best Midfielder: Samir Nasri
Best Defender: Bacary Sagna
Best Signing: Samir Nasri
Most improved young player: Alexandre Song
Most improved senior player: Emmanuel Eboue
Young Player of the Season: Samir Nasri
Best match of the season ( Win only ): Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd
Best match of the season ( All ): Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal
Worst match of the season ( Draw ): Arsenal 0-0 West Ham
Worst match of the season ( All ): Stoke 2-1 Arsenal
Most dominant match ( All ): Arsenal 4-0 Blackburn
Scrappiest goal: William Gallas ( FC Twente )
Worst miss: Emmanuel Adebayor ( Portsmouth )
Worst Blunder: Kieran Gibbs ( Man Utd )
Funniest goal: Andrey Arshavin ( Blackburn )(1st)
Funniest own-goal: Johann Djourou ( Chelsea )