Dortmund Preview: Wenger’s new project takes shape
Tuesday, 13th Sep 2011 10:50
After years of building a team there is a sense that Wenger has now started over. The average age of the squad in Germany will be 25 and for the first time in years we are now well balanced with young talent mixed with seasoned international professionals.
Despite the generally underwhelming display on Saturday, Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta gave the team a much more solid appearance and the other new signings saw raw talent like Oxlade-Chamberlain banished from the bench. This is the right balance as our youngsters should be given a chance in less pressurised situations than matches against Liverpool, Manchester United or in must win games like Saturday’s. The manager may claim that the chastening experience at Old Trafford did not influence his transfer dealings but there is no doubt that it confirmed the fears that some Arsenal fans have held since our move to the Grove. Giving a chance to young potential is one thing but relying on it is foolhardy.
Worryingly Aaron Ramsey has joined Jack Wilshere in injuring his ankle so predicting Wenger’s midfield selection for tonight’s game is tricky. Had they not underperformed so obviously in the first half away at Udinese Song and Frimpong may have been the obvious choice to protect the back four with Mikel Arteta just in front of them but they both play a very similar role and got in each other’s way in Italy.
The other option may be to partner Benayoun and Arteta in the centre but again this is an untested partnership. In theory it could work well with Arteta slightly deeper and Benayoun providing the link to van Persie. It is certainly an experienced option and if they are selected it will make for intriguing viewing as the two comparative veterans challenge Wilshere and Ramsey as the first choice midfield pairing.
It will be good to see Gervinho return to action after his domestic ban to hopefully continue his impressive early form and combined with Walcott they will provide an intimidating counter attacking threat away in Europe.
Building momentum will be vital for this new look squad and an away win at the German champions, who incredibly are the fourth seeds in our group, will provide a huge boost ahead of a traditionally tricky game at Ewood Park on Saturday.
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Photo: Action Images
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