Diangana can follow in the footsteps of Ward, Slater and Michael Hughes
Over the years there have been a few players who suddenly appeared in wide positions and totally looked at ease writing their names into Eastend folk-law. The likes of Tore or Jarvis he aint put it that way. Like many, my generation of hero’s include players such as Mark Ward, Stuart Slater and Michael Hughes. They all personify the character of Diangana albeit in different but paradoxically similar ways, by this I mean they are small, tricky wingers who could not only beat players but cross and shoot as well, however they have strikingly different methods of going about it and to date Diangana’s is by far the cockiest. Against Burnley the little drag back and leave it still on the line then in a flash retrieve and off again was an act of skill and confidence which really took the biscuit, absolutely brilliant and more to come I’m sure.
The key thing we need to look out for now is the opposition targeting Diangana by closing him down and robbing us of possession or worse trying to smash him early like Brighton did to Obiang and Yarmolenko. We must use the energy of Snodgrass and Rice to cover his runs and prevent any uncovered losses. The good thing is we have Anderson also who needs targeting for closing down the result of which could easily be a quick pass from Pedro or Nobes through the middle for Arnie or Hernandez to run in and exploit.
Return of the Jack?
Carrol and Wilshere seem to be the next two back. I doubt many of us are entirely convinced about the long or even medium term fitness of either of them but the fact remains they should be back soon and therefore need to be accommodated into the team one way or another as injuries and suspensions would dictate they have to play some part however little MP wants to change the team.
With Carrol we are mostly all agreed from what I can ascertain that impact substitute is the way forward. With Anderson, Zabaletta and Diangana whipping in crosses and chips Carrol can easily capitalize and generally create havoc. Also a possible but controversial tactic would be to utilise Carrol deeper allowing us to play the ‘not quite so long ball’ up to him which can be flicked on to allow Anderson, Diangana and Hernandez to feed Arnie or go themselves. From what I remember the Carrol Hernandez partnership never truly blossomed although on paper it looks good. Playing Arnie and Carrol up top is a bit of an excessive overlap of strengths so playing Carrol well behind the front with obvious license to pop up in the six yard box might serve us well.
As for Wilshere, I worry about the nature of the ankle injuries and I worry (albeit much less) about the spiel on Gooner websites suggesting some of their success is because Wilshere never put in 100%. This is to be expected from such outlets I know and I’m convinced the reason behind Wilshere’s subdued performances is physical pain rather than any idol mentality. However the question is how does he go forward from here and crucially can he go forward? If he can overcome the injury then I’m sure Wilshere will be an asset to the midfield, although when he played at the start of the season he wasn’t that much of an asset there were reasons as we played top class sides who simply overran us before any of his creativity had a chance to be applied.
The Cresswell Question and Joe Hart Flashbacks
I did notice a few missed passes and sluggish track backs Saturday but there were also a good number of convincing tackles and I can’t help thinking that Cresswell needs a run and a bit of confidence. If that’s the case and he gets it I’m sure he would be much more of a viable full back than Masuaku who is still not without a position as a left-mid depending on the strength of the squad.
The Joe Hart enigma continued to baffle as well, some confident moments, one good save in the first half and another with his feet along with a hugely spiced up tip round at a lovely height for the keeper in the second half. He flapped and punched anything in the six yard box and in reality I’m pleased he has gone although he did play well once against Chelsea. The one in the first half which he punched like a baby tries to grab a dangling toy had me in a state of panicked flashback as the suspended animation enabled me to relive all of those moments from last season. I suddenly came round like I had awoken from a terrible dream which wasn’t really true when I realised he wasn’t playing for us anymore. McKnightmare once had a game against Newcastle which defied the laws of sanity and David James had a good few moments which teetered on the irrational but overall Hart was the one keeper I think I had least confidence to save anything.
What we need to remember in the near future is to take games and teams as they come. We don’t want to let Man City destroy us even if they do in the match itself. We can ideally turn that game into a tough tactical battle which could be settled by one mistake. If it doesn’t happen for us then we look to the next game, we rebuild and we go again. It is clear there is a gulf in quality between the rest of the league and the bottom four or five which is more apparent than most seasons. Our points tally already suggests the woeful start to the season has been recovered and with so much quality to return along with the rapidly improving new boys we can give ourselves a fighting chance of the top six if we show the same sort of fight for the rest of the season as we did against Burnley on Saturday. COYI!