Song Key to Success
Arsenal fans have been crying out for a defensive midfielder ever since Vieira left this despite the fact that Vieira was not a defensive midfielder in the mould of Makelele. What Arsenal fans have really been looking for is a player to protect the defence and to dominate the midfield.
This season Wenger has realised that to give the defence the protection they need, we need to change formation, and we need to play 4-1-2-3. The duties of defensive midfielder have been assigned to Song.
For Song to be effective and the formation to work, Song needs to make a sacrifice. Song needs to play no further forward than 15 yards in front of the back-four. He did this against Wigan and was very effective. Very little got past the Cameroon international, so when people analyse the game they will say that Wigan had few chances, but that was because of Song.
We all know that Song is a player who can play further forward and attack the opposition, but if he does this, then we will be left exposed at the back. His happened against Manchester City and against Manchester United.
Alex has a job to do and that is protect the defence, if an opportunity arises he can go forward, but one of the other players needs to cover his runs.
The irony of Song’s position is that two seasons ago Wenger stated he did not see Alex as a central midfielder and to emphasise this point he proceeds to play him in a central midfield for the whole season until the last few games when he plays in defence!
Song will develop into a great midfielder, this being the play who was ridiculed by Merson when he played against a Fulham a couple of seasons ago and described his performance “like a fish up a tree”.
Playing in this “defensive midfield” position gives us the solidity that we have been looking for. Our problem will be in January and February when Song is away with Cameroon playing in the African Cup of Nations.