The former Gunner crunched the numbers and cast a tactical eye over every Arsenal performance in his role as our chief analyst on Friday Night Live. And he also dissected the season in four special shows on Arsenal TV Online - now available on demand.
这位老枪手作为Friday Night Live节目的首席分析专家，对阿森纳每一场的表现进行了数据及战术上的分析。他还在Arsenal TV Online的四期特别节目中分析了本赛季-有需要的球迷可以去看看。
We caught up with ‘Robbo’ to get his views on how Arsenal performed in 2009/10 – and who gets his vote as Player of the Season.
I’ve got quite strong thoughts about the goalkeeper. I think that Almunia is a much better goalkeeper than people give him credit for. I’m not one of the people who think that Arsenal would have won the Premier League with someone else in goal. Almunia, over the last three years, has not made that many mistakes. Some mistakes have been costly but I don’t think he’s made as many as 85% of the keepers in the Premier League.
Looking back at the Nani goal for Manchester United for example, he is very unfortunate because if he doesn’t get a touch on the ball they score anyway. He had to try and do something and he could only get his fingertips to it. The goal at Birmingham too, he was coming out to deal with a situation and the ball ricocheted, went like a bullet, hit his hands and went into the net. That is just unfortunate. He has not let one trickle through his legs, he has not come for crosses and dropped them.
Vermaelen has got great qualities. He’s aggressive, he’s determined, he is good on the ball and he steps out from the back that means he can overload the midfield at the right time. He’s got a good diagonal ball which he hits out to Theo Walcott or whoever is playing on the right hand side. I will reserve judgement on him because when I’m analysing the goals I often say Vermaelen could have done better in a positional sense. But I think he’s got all the attributes and he’s had a good season.
His partnership with Gallas was a plus point especially early in the season and a lot of that came about because Arsenal were defending so well all around the pitch. When they were pressing hard it was easier for Gallas and Vermaelen because they could see the ball coming forward and they could step in front of their centre forward. Early on they were outstanding because the opposition, under pressure, couldn’t pick out their passes forward. When Arsenal stopped pressing the ball so hard, any partnership at the back looks more fragile.
I think Gael Clichy had a poor few games but there are very few defenders in world football who close down as quickly and as well as he does. He struggled against Nani and Ashley Young when he was coming back from injury but in general I thought Clichy’s play was excellent again.
As for Sagna, his crossing was excellent at times and got his fair share of assists. I thought he had a good season and I think he’s the best right back in the Premier League.
Arsenal’s three-man midfield was set up for Fabregas to flourish and he did. If you only play with two in midfield and he left that area, Arsenal would be more exposed. But playing behind a main striker as one of two in front of a holding midfield player, it worked, especially early in the season.
I would still say Diaby has the potential to be a top, top player. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves. There are times when he changes from defence into attack with one twist and turn and then a driving run. And that’s what makes Arsenal dynamic. You can pass and pass and pass but you need dynamism with players running with the ball. What Diaby does is twist away from a player when they go to close him down and then drive forward with the ball. We saw it against Standard Liege when Arsenal were 2-0 down. He picked up the ball in a dangerous situation with his back to goal, went past the first challenge, went past the whole of their midfield and then set up Bendtner for the goal. He did that time and time again during the season. Yes he had his off days and he will want to improve that, but in terms of his potential I think he’s better than any of the other options.
Rosicky I thought got better towards the end of the season. It’s unfair to be harsh on him because he’s had a long time out. Everyone talks about Eduardo and Ramsey’s injuries but he was out for even longer.
Van Persie has been brilliant whenever he has played. He has all the attributes that you need. He knows when to come short, he knows when to run in behind, he can twist and turn, and that’s the key to attacking play. The key to Arsenal playing well, being penetrative and dynamic, is when players turn on the ball. When they’ve got their back to goal, suddenly they turn and look to play the next ball forward. Van Persie is brilliant is that, he can turn and run with the ball. He makes goals, he scores goals and with that left foot he is a constant threat.
Bendtner has done well. He started out in the wide right role and I thought it suited him quite well because I think he’s a better runner with the ball that without it. In the early part of the season when he was on the wing, I thought his combination play and understanding of the position was excellent. When Van Persie was out and he played centrally, he did a good job. He isn’t the quickest but he certainly has qualities that Wenger can use and Arsenal fans should appreciate.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON 赛季最佳
I would go with Fabregas. Van Persie didn’t quite play enough to be Player of the Season, Alex Song would be in contention, but Fabregas gets my vote. He was outstanding again – not just his goals but his passing, his timing of runs. He scored loads of goals and created loads too and that’s what makes him one of the Premier League’s finest midfield players.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER 进步最大
Alex Song. No one else has developed as much as he has. Eboue has turned the crowd around and that shows a lot of maturity and defiance because a year ago he could have been walking out the door. It must be difficult to get stick off your own fans and come back and perform. So he is in contention but he wasn’t a first-choice pick like Song. He has developed tremendously this year. His defensive play has been better, he’s strong and he’s won balls he might not have won a year ago. He’s also been better on the ball, his passing has been good, and his manipulation of the ball where he wriggles away from danger has been excellent. He is a much-improved player and I’m sure he’s one of the first two or three on Arsène Wenger’s team sheet.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL 高兴的理由
I think that some of the players we always felt were very good players are now becoming great players, in terms of Fabregas and Van Persie especially. In Alex Song we have a holding midfield player who I think will go from strength to strength, so there is a decent spine to the team. If everybody is fit, Arsenal have got a good side. Because I come from a coaching background, I’m not the sort of person who says that you should buy this and buy that. But I do think Arsenal need to get back to a defensive strategy that works; that will allow them to take the next step forward.
This article first appeared in the Official Arsenal Magazine. Subscriptions are available at www.cre8ingshop.com or by calling 0845 8800445
[Wednesday, May 26, 2010]