Arsenal: Should Alex Song Have an Offensive Or Defensive Role?
Alex Song, one of the first names on Arsenal's team sheet, has become more adventurous trying to improve his offense this season. He has been lucky with it so far, as his five goals are a career-high for him. But on the other hand, in trying to be more offensive he has lost his defensive solidity, which has shaken Arsenal's defense and led the club to concede 22 goals, more then any title rival.
So should Alex Song have an offensive or defensive role?
For me the answer is defensive, as Song is a defender with natural ability to defend and outmuscle any striker. When he attacks, then Jack Wilshere's attacking skills are restricted. Another reason is when he goes upfront and loses the ball, then Arsenal do not have somebody to stop the opponent's attack.
If Cesc Fabregas or Jack miss the ball upfront, Arsenal have Song to cover the attack but the reverse situation is not so good. In the current crop of players, Jack and Fab are not as defensively strong as Song and that leaves Arsenal vulnerable in the centre of the park.
I remember the Wolves' game away from home last season. Arsenal benched Song and played Ramsey as defensive midfield, Arsenal were getting steamrolled until an injury to Diaby caused Wenger to bring Song on, and it changed the game. Song was immense as a DM last season.
Arsenal plays better when they have a DM to support the back four. They don't have world-class centre backs (we all know that) so the need for a DM is essential in the modern game. The two-central midfielder strategy is understandable, but Song has looked more like a attacking midfielder than even a CM and Wilshere has done more defensively than Song. I would like it better if Song is left to the DM spot.
Gilberto partnered Viera when he was at Arsenal, and Viera made those runs knowing Gilberto was back to cover. Song is the best fit for Gilberto's role, good at passing and starting a move and that's that. Arsenal have enough quality to really dazzle up front.
Song has not forgotten how to play DM, that is pure bull. I think he is confused with what Wenger wants of him and that has contributed to his abysmal displays. Once his instructions are clear, I think his performances would return to normal. Arsenal wasted a whole year to prepare him as a DM and reaped the rewards last season.
Now, Arsenal are trying to waste another year to prepare him for a CM role and reap the rewards next season. This is a decisive year for Arsenal and I would like it if Wenger does not experiment with a position Arsenal have struggled with for about 2 years.
He can go upfront and be adventurous against weaker sides, but against top sides he must stick to his role. I know he has scored a lot of goals this season and against Chelsea as well, but he needs to be a CDM and stop trying to be a midfielder.
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