Arsene’s style : the components of tempo

By Myles Palmer


A HIGH-TEMPO performance beat Newcastle.

It was a 1-0 massacre.

Shay Given made two world class saves and other good stops.

Arsenal had 15 goal attempts and 57% possession.

Newcastle kicked off and has four touches and then Arsenal had 11 touches and almost scored in 30 seconds.

That’s what I call tempo !

Toure-Pires-Flamini-Toure-Vieira-Bergkamp-Reyes-Bergkamp-Henry-Cole cross-Pires header hits defender, Flamini’s shot from three yards hits Given and then rebounds off Flamini and Given grabs the ball.

11 quick touches – even Barcelona when they’re buzzing don’t pass the ball as fast as this.

After 19, Toure hits a 35 yarder from the centre circle to the edge of the box, Flamini takes a touch and flicks it inside, beyond Bramble & Boumsong, to Bergkamp, who is running inside right back Steve Taylor.

Dennis takes one touch and lets the ball bounce off his body and then stabs it past Given from five yards.

Given is the Premiership’s best keeper at coming out in in one-on-one situations like this.

But the move is too fast for Given and Dennis is in his face before he can move.

Dennis is no centre forward but he can score from centre forward positions and this was an excellent centre forward’s goal of a type he used to score ten years ago.

TEMPO can beat Man United. Only tempo can rattle United, rock them, split them, create the first goal.

This game was a GREAT rehearsal for next week

And that game might decide second place.

It probably won’t. But it might.

With the right tempo, Arsenal can win any big game, as they demonstrated when they beat Juventus 3-1., That was a very fast, physical game.

Arsene thinks that speed kills – and it does.

So what are the components of Arsene’s tempo?

Well, the components have varied over the years. Footballers do not duplicate each other. Each has different qualities.

When Petit had four lungs, and Parlour had three lungs, Arsenal played at a ferocious pace, and Overmars was as quick off the ball as he was on it, and Anelka was lightning when he wanted to be, and Dennis could see their runs quicker than anybody else, and Arsene’s raiders could slice defences to ribbons.

AGAINST NEWCASTLE, the components were (1) energy from Flamini (2) energy from six days preparation (3) experience of Lauren and Bergkamp coming back into the team, knowing how to play early passes, and the Vieira-Bergkamp link (so important, but I’m the only one who ever writes about it), and Reyes, who takes fewer touches than van Persie (4) appetite, a huge appetite that made you think : Why didn’t they play with this appetite at Bolton? And (5) Vieira playing as an Arsenal captain should.

It has to be said that Newcastle are a poor side.

If Stoke played Newcastle, Stoke would win 2-1 and Given would make five great saves.

A club that has Freddie Shepherd as chairman will never win anything.

It was Freddie Shepherd who signed Kluivert, not Bobby Robson.

Shepherd sacked Bobby Robson on August 30.

A bloody stupid time to sack a manager !

IF MAN UNITED is a football game on Tuesday night, Arsenal will win narrowly.

If referee Graham Poll allows a stop-start kicking match full of strategic fouls by Fergie’s hatchet-men, Arsenal will not win.

THE POSTMAN just came : only one letter, from a friend in Halifax.

Included, a notelet from her son, who is in banking and had his 23rd birthday recently.

The lad, growing up in the north of England, going to a private school in Lancashire, used to have a Man United duvet, and Cantona posters on his bedroom wall.

He writes : “Thank you very much for the shower radio, it has gone down an absolute storm ! Showering to Britney Spears in the morning helps me to get set for the day !! Hope everybody is okay and not worrying too much about Arsenal’s poor form !!! (Only joking)

All the best for 2005, Richard”

Cheeky boy – I would phone him but his Mum says he’s gone to France with four school friends.

Will call Richard on Tuesday night, after Arsenal beat them.