Friday, November 7, 2008

Wenger, Adams and the Masters Cup

I have always been of the opinion that a team can be successful without playing a conventional defensive midfielder in the Makelele or Gattuso mould. However, a central midfield combination does require balance and amongst other shortfalls, Arsenal are missing a solid midfield arrangement at the moment. Cesc Fabregas and Denilson are too similar to be paired in the middle of the park and Arsene Wenger certainly missed more than a trick by failing to sign Xabi Alonso for the sake of a few million pounds. Alonso has been Liverpool’s player of the season so far and his ability to dictate play from deep positions in midfield has been the driving force of most things good about Liverpool. Having failed to secure Alonso’s signature, Wenger did nothing to correct the lack of stability in Arsenal's midfield and that has led to calls for Wenger’s dismissal in some quarters, which is unthinkable for most Arsenal fans and unfair in my belief. However, I am of the opinion that Wenger needs to amend some of his ways, if Arsenal are to enjoy any success this season. His obsession with beautiful football is no doubt laudable and produces wonderful entertainment for both the Arsenal faithful and the neutrals, but his side’s inadequacies need to be corrected in the January transfer window (which, admittedly is not the best time to do business) to ensure that they are up there with the rest of the big four.
Tony Adams’ appointment as manager of Portsmouth has been greeted with an equal measure of optimism and cynicism. I think the English game deserves a greater number of home grown managers and Adams’s appointment should be welcomed. They say that great players don’t make the best of managers. Players such as Bryan Robson, David Platt, Glenn Hoddle and several others before them have somehow failed to carry their footballing prowess into the world of management. But that’s not always the case. Roy Keane has made a very good start to his managerial career with Sunderland and Laurent Blanc has been highly impressive at the helm of Bordeaux where he has got his team playing some extremely attractive football. The likes of Kenny Dalglish, Johan Cruyff and Vicente Del Bosque have all been successful as both players and managers. So I think to suggest that Adams would be a failure merely because he was a fabulous player is preposterous. Adams has completed all the required coaching badges and is as serious about the job as anybody can be. Being a natural leader of men, Adams should be given a fair chance to prove his coaching credentials before he is judged.
The Tennis Masters Cup which begins on Sunday should be exceptionally fascinating considering the openness of the competition. Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal due to a knee injury has no doubt removed some of the gloss from the event, but I still expect the tournament to produce some great contests. The result of the Masters Cup has always been difficult to foretell and this year is no different. Roger Federer enters the tournament as the defending champion, but he is by no means assured of success. Andy Murray is in fine form and so too is Gilles Simon who only makes it into the tournament because of Nadal’s absence. The only worrying feature of the competition is the fact that the players after a long and gruelling season would be quite drained and exhausted, which could somewhat diminish the quality of the tennis. But, the format of the competition and the fact that making predictions is as hard as it gets, makes the Cup almost as enthralling as the grand slam tournaments.


Rahul Saha said...

*cough cough* the match *cough* yesterday *cough* was awesome.

A Couch-side View said...

The match actually was awesome. It was a fantastic game of football and I will not deny that.

ayan said...

Arsenal won...finally....yay!

A Couch-side View said...