Santi Cazorla believes Arsenal’s lack of natural wingers means forward incursions by the club’s full-backs are vital to the club’s attacking philosophy.
Speaking to Arsenal Player in an interview recorded before such forays freed space for Borussia Dortmund to break, score and win on Tuesday, the midfielder touched on how creating space on the flanks for the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna adds an element of surprise to the Gunners game.
“I believe that full backs have a pivotal role in our team. We don’t have pure wingers.
“Perhaps Theo Walcott is the most natural winger in the squad. He likes to be on the wing to make use of his speed, but apart from him we don’t have natural wingers.
“Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky or myself are not sticking strictly to the touchline. Therefore we open up spaces so our full backs have a corridor where they can go up and down.
“Our ball possessions are long but they can break through by surprise. That’s why full backs are really important for our team. You can see that every game.”
In other ‘news’ (it’s quiet, indulge us) Patrick Vieira has spoken of his best and worst moment in English football selecting the 97/98 Double as his greatest memory and Neil Mellor’s last-gasp strike for Liverpool in November 2004 as the one that gives him nightmares.
“[My greatest time] was the ‘98 double with Arsenal,” he told the FA.com.
“I remember the atmosphere at the stadium at every single game we went to, and the way the home and away fans responded.
“The stadiums were packed. The response from the fans was unbelievable and that is why I enjoy every single game I have played in this country.
1998 was really special, we had of course a fantastic team and that was the first time for me to be at a really high level and winning things. This is the time when I really fell in love with the English game.”
Reflecting on Mellor’s famous strike, which came a month after the end of the Invincibles 49-game unbeaten run and condemned the Gunners to their second defeat of the 04/05 season, Vieira continued.
“I remember in 2001 [he means 2004] we lost 2-1 and we conceded in the last kick of the game.
“Mellor just took the ball on his chest, let it bounce once and just took it.
“Obviously David Seaman [he means Jens Lehmann] couldn’t do anything. We conceded the goal and then the fans started to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.”
“I was completely out of the game. It was a bad time because we lost the game. On the other hand you look at the fans passion and the expression on their face and that was the time when you realised what the win means to them.”
For the last nine years Arseblog News has hated Neil Mellor with a passion, then we Googled him (mostly hoping to find out he was playing for a pub team) and found out he had to retire last year at the age of 29 due to a bad knee injury. That’s pretty sh*t in anyone’s books. Sorry about that Neil…still at least you made your mark on Paddy.