A huge improvement shown by this trio.
If I hear another so called ‘footballing expert’ lament at how Arsene Wenger hasn’t effectively replaced Patrick Vieira then I will either a) pour the contents of the nearest septic tank over the misinformed fool or b) place a DVD of our last two matches to him. The choice will be entirely dictated on my mood at the opportune occasion.
You see I think Denilson has cracked it. Towards the end of last season I think Alexander Song did also, but his abilities are entirely different to those of our young Brazilian. The ever smiling 21 year old, hell I would be smiling if I was playing for the Gunners and paid handsomely for the privilege, has come of age in my opinion and that was never more ably displayed than at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The slightly built midfielder carries the ability to be both a defensive fulcrum and an attacking powerhouse that we enjoyed during the ‘Paddy Years’ when Patrick Vieira roamed the turf. I am not saying for one moment that the youngster from Sao Paulo is in the same league as our former Captain but I am saying that is showing signs of being able to push on and become a very valuable member of the starting eleven.
He kept the Everton midfield at bay for 90 minutes keeping the offensively minded Tim Cahill out of the game and perhaps more importantly offered Cesc Fabregas the protection needed so that the Gunners skipper could basically blow David Moyes’ side out of the water. Denilson has come back after the summer recess a hungrier player with seemingly more stamina and a little bit more beef about him.
In tandem with Song the pair do the dirty things that needed doing very well. Both players have improved their passing ability and are now far more likely to knock speedy balls around the park whereas at times last season you could count on flowing moves to stagnate when they were part of the attacking process.
Another player who impressed me greatly during our Merseyside demolition and our slightly streaky win at Celtic is Nicklas Bendtner. Now I will be the first to admit that about 12 months ago I had almost given up on the Danish forward but during last term he really showed heart, desire and passion, not just for the cause but also in an effort to prove his many doubters wrong. He improved steadily last term but in his two displays this term he has offered more.
Playing predominantly out wide seems to suit him more this season and he has used the ball intelligently and has severely cut back on wastage, opting far more sensibly to lay the ball off rather than run down a blind alley. Sure the position he is current adopting won’t lead him high up the goal charts but will prove a lot more use to the side overall.
All three of the 21 year old’s have in many ways upped their respective games and adapted their abilities and reduced their previously very apparent weaknesses to become players far more befitting Arsene’s playing philosophy. Long may it continue.