Flexibility is the Arsenal key word

Last updated : 06 March 2003 By Nicosia Gooner
Yes, of course we have a large squad of tremendous players but when you consider the different positions that these players have played so well for the sake of the team, then you will realise this is so important.

Lets have a look at some examples:

One of the most difficult position to fill in the premier league is the left hand side of midfield; can anyone name more that 2-3 good left sided players? The only ones that come to mind are Duff, Giggs and perhaps Barry and Le Saux; are there any others that you would consider could do a really good job for us in that position? Isn't this the position that England have been having nightmares over the last few years?

Well, isn't this position possibly one of our strongest points? Yet, this has been continuously occupied by right footed players, mainly Pires, Wiltord and Ljungberg; and haven't they done great? Can anyone really come up with a name that could have done better than any of them?

Left back is another good example? How many different players did we use in that position last season? Six? I remember Cole, Gio, Upson and Juan who are of course left footed but then when we went through that patch that this position was cursed, in came Luznhy and Lauren and both performed miracles for the Arsenal course.

We have players that in the last 2 years played in so many different positions; again Pires, Freddy and Wiltord played everywhere across the front line i.e. Left, centre and right and even behind the main striker in Pires and Freddy's case.

We had Bergkamp playing on the right side of midfield, Luznhy at centre half and midfield as well as both full back positions, Lauren in defence and midfield , Toure everywhere but goalie (although I would like to forget his time at left back v PSV), Vieira at centre half and Kanu as a defensive midfield v Liverpool. Lets not of course forget Henry who has terrified defenders down the left, middle and even the right at times.

I really believe that this flexibility has made tremendous difference to Arsenal, and it becomes even more obvious when you look at the problems that clubs such as ManU, Newcastle, Chelsea and Liverpool had because they couldn't move players around in the way we have; Ferguson tried Veron and Scholes on the left which was a complete disaster, tried Solsjaer in Beckham's position but apart from a couple of games it didn't work out, tried Giggs up front but that only seems to work in Europe etc.

As soon as these clubs got a few injuries they were in deep trouble because they just couldn't replace the injured players with ones of equal ability and flexibility.

Of course a large talented squad also helps and could you have imagined in the past that we could have played against ManU away and afford to rest players such as Henry and Bergkamp? Last Saturday we played against Charlton, the form team of the premier league who had won their last 5 games; it was a “must” win match and you would have thought that Wenger would play his best 11, especially as there was no midway game. To everyone's amazement his makes 6 changes from the previous match (v Ajax) and we played as these players have been playing together all season.

This is what makes this team, this squad so great and I feel so happy and proud that they are my team; credit must go to everyone of these players that have worn the red and white shirt this season but most of all, to Mr. Wenger. He has done so much for our club in the time that he has been here, that I just cannot imagine him not being here; if ever there was a man born to lead our club, Wenger is the man, why else would he have been christened Arsene?

Finally, lets all keep our fingers crossed and hope that with our skill and a bit of luck, we become champions again; the rest (FA Cup and Champions League) would be a bonus!