Three is a Magic Number
By Sam Oliver
Arsenal’s midfield the best in the league?
Ed’s Note – This was written after the Man City game, but not submitted to us until last week. As offerings are a little thin on the ground during international breaks, we thought we’d run it anyway. Abou Diaby was still fit at the time of writing!
“Three is a magic number” sung De La Soul in 1988; how right they were, as Arsenal's trio of Arteta, Cazorla and Diaby certainly looks nothing short of magical. Now, chuck in Tomas Rosicky, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Emmanuel Frimpong (we'll forget about Denilson). Oh, and I forgot Jack Wilshere, who's returning from injury very soon by all accounts. Alex who? This current first-choice three has it all; the power and presence of Abou Diaby, the tantalising, tactical know-how of Mikel Arteta and the sublime skill of our other Spaniard, Santi Cazorla. These three complement each other superbly, and they've been a joy to watch so far this season.
Although it would appear that our first three is lacking a naturally defensive player, Arteta fills that hole very well; on his arrival, he was hailed a 'downgraded Fabregas' by some members of the press. For me, he's Denilson times 1000. He plugs in any gaps in our defence with great ease, is a top-class passer of the ball, and also knows when to take a yellow for the team, which is more useful than you would at first think.
We then have Abou Diaby, who only managed two league games last season to a cruel amount of injuries. Although I often think 'like a new signing' is an odd thing to say, he really has been. His strength in the tackle and when with the ball is Yaya Toure like and he can also pick a great pass too. One criticism you could have of the ferocious Frenchmen is occasionally he hangs onto the ball too long and gives away possession in dangerous areas of the pitch (Montpellier away was a perfect example.) However, I believe that once he stamps this out of his game, and providing he stays fit, he can become a world class central midfielder, as he really does have everything you want in a player.
Last of this glorious threesome is our new signing and already fan-favourite Santi Cazorla; the little maestro is quick, has great ball-control, can play unbelievable passes and can score from long distance. The reason that Cazorla’s and Diaby's partnership higher up the pitch seems to be developing so fast is that Diaby is so strong and powerful that Cazorla's lack of physical strength isn't at all a problem. They are both great threats going forward, with Arteta happy to play deeper and fill in gaps when needed.
The two other possible midfields we could put out are Frimpong, Rosicky and Ramsey or Coquelin, Wilshere and Chamberlain (I expect Chamberlain to play in a more central position later on this season; he played there a lot of pre-season and has always been impressive when playing centrally). Talk about strength in depth! And they're all good players as well. Clubs like Liverpool have a lot of central midfielders, but those players include the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson, who aren't the type of players a club aiming for the top four should have. Our midfield is the best in the league; I really do believe that, and with a world-class midfield like the one we have currently, trophies are more than possible - especially if our defence stay rock-solid, like they have been all season. Keep the faith.
17th October 2012
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
chris dee 9:41am 17th Oct 2012
Arteta,Carzola,Diaby,Wilshire,Ramsey in whatever formation you play them are not a patch on Selley,Hillier,Morrow because Selley,Hillier and Morrow won Arsenal trophies just as Andy Linighan is better player than Vermaelon,Igor Stephanovs is better than Mertersacker and Oleg Luzny is better than Sagna. For me, only players who win trophies for Arsenal are great players. - Post No. 29470
Ron 12:08pm 17th Oct 2012
What makes it a 'World class' midfield? I ask the question as none are even international first picks, the midfield hasnt won a thing and lastly, it contains Diaby! - Post No. 29472
Al fernal 12:22pm 17th Oct 2012
What a load of old tosh. Diaby is prone, when arteta gets a suspension with have the hot headed, part time rapper emanul ding dong, no strikers if u classify giroud and chamakh as strikers, two injuries to the defence and we have the djorou or squiggles lining up, how after only half a dozen games u can say we will win trophies is beyond me, we re a small club and will finish in our ambitious 4th, board and wenger due to his naive tactics and stubormess need to go - Post No. 29473
Red Member 12:27pm 17th Oct 2012
when we had Denilson we at least used to challenge for the title. I still think that he could be a long term replacement for Arteta. Diaby a new signing? HaHaHa. The injury prone waste of space should have been sold years ago. At least we have another "new signing" Wilshere to return - Post No. 29474
tpm 12:37pm 17th Oct 2012
just goes to show how moronic many of our supporters are. - Post No. 29475
maguiresbridge gooner 15:46pm 17th Oct 2012
World class, magical, glorious, ? lets wait till they prove it before getting carried away the signs may be good but lets do what arsene is very fond of asking, that is judge me in may in this case judge them in may not on a handful of games.Hopefully they live up to your billing and produce where it matters with silverware we've all been here before so we'll wait a while longer before getting to carried away. - Post No. 29477
Bard 16:29pm 17th Oct 2012
Not quite sure I see the point of this post. We have nearly always had a strong midfield over the last 7 years or so. But a decent midfield doesn't win you trophies. We haven't won anything because we've had a crap defense; at best, an average Keeper plus the team have been poor tactically and have lacked the essential ingredient of any winning team 'bottle'. Incidentally my view is that sadly Diaby will only ever be a bit part player. His injuries have taken too much out of him. - Post No. 29478
billthered 16:31pm 17th Oct 2012
Well I think the midfield looks like being the best we've had for many a year although it's as you were with Diaby once again.Santi the magician is not afraid to put his foot in and I have not yet seen him hide in any away game so look on the bright side as they do seem more together than at any other time. - Post No. 29479
GoonerRon 17:25pm 17th Oct 2012
Whilst I won't say the midfield is 'world class' as I don't really know how that is judged, what I will say is our midfield looks far more balanced and disciplined than in previous seasons. Consequently we look slightly harder to score against in open play. If you take what is probably our first choice three of Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla and then consider the back up options of Diaby, Ramsey, Rosicky, Coquelin and Frimpong I'd say we've got very good depth in the central area. As for Diaby, he truly is an enigma but it cannot be denied he gives us something different with his (albeit, rarely seen) atheleticism and drive. - Post No. 29480
Jumpers 17:27pm 17th Oct 2012
Nice one Sam Feeling the warmth from a positive post. Although I have never seen Diaby as. "hard man" and although I agree he is a talent, sadly I have resigned myself that his brittleness will mean he never fulfills his potential! Time has come to write him off from any long term plans and move on. Cazorla however is a revelation has settled quickly and doing great things already. He is already proving to be one of the Premiership's buys of the season! Then Arteta - what a fantastic member of our team! Not only does he show great poise on the ball his distribution is great , his understanding and reading of the game is top drawer. He's not flash a true professional and great example to any aspiring youngster. He is very assured in his new role in front of the back 4 and gets on with his job. Arteta fits in so well at Arsenal and was under our noses for so many years. I can think of another 2 who could be snapped up on similar fashion and we would be getting back towards a team with the class we need. I'm thinking michel Vorm and Demba Ba 2ire right under our noses. Wishful thinking maybe, but with Jack nearing his return we look like a team that can challenge and push on, and I haven't felt that for a few years - Post No. 29481
Rocky RIP 22:45pm 17th Oct 2012
Chris Dee - I assume you are joking? I really hope so, or our obsession with winning a trophy has gone utterly mental. The author asked the question is it the best midfield in the PL? It's not as far-fetched as people are making out. The trio of Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta has the potential to be the best in the PL. All magnificently gifted players, with technique and a reading of the game Morrow, Hillier and Selley could only dream of. Many Arsenal fans slated Pires in his first season. Anyone with a footballing brain could see what a talent he was. I'm guessing Chris Dee was pining for Hillier et al back then too. Hilarious. Or maybe it was meant to be. - Post No. 29482
Orson Cart 7:43am 18th Oct 2012
I thought this was a joke article YaYa.Silva and Nasri are better than these 3 and YES they are WINNERS!!!! and our back up is Diaby (always f**king injured) that headcase PingPong and Ramsey!!!! What next Giroud is the best striker in the league and Mert is the best CB.Get real. - Post No. 29483
Chris dee 8:54am 18th Oct 2012
Rocky etc. Carzola,Wilshire and Arteta are magificently gifted players. So what? Until they add another date around the Emirates to signify a trophy they might as well be David Hillier,Ian Selley etc. But hang on a minute, Hillier,Selley were part of trophy winning teams,so Hillier, Selley etc are magnificent trophy winning players. Let's hope our 'magnificently gifted players ' can emulate those run of the mill journey men Linighan,Stephanovs etc. - Post No. 29484
Gee 13:15pm 18th Oct 2012
It is more the mentality of our players. They all think 4th and champions league is great as that is what Wenger tells them. He doesn't single them out for mistakes (even in private) so they continue to make amateur b@lls ups, like kos and vermaelen v chelsea and vermaelen flying in in every game. No one is held accountable so they think its ok to carry on as normal. You already know the outcome of Jack wilshere and Oxlade's careers. Their best years will be at another club like United, chelsea or City where trophies will be handed out every year. The players maybe good to watch and skilful but they are not winners by any stretch. We all hail Arteta but he has spent the majority of his career at average clubs winning nothing at Everton at all. Carzola wasn't even playing for a top 3 side in spain and Diaby is total garbage. Gives the ball away non stop has half a decent game once every 2 years and is a total crock. As ever Wenger has bought an average frenchman to lead our line. Well done you scored 15 goals in the french league which is total rubbish by the way. And wait there is no back up either, so well done for making £££m of profit whilst diluting the quality of the squad. - Post No. 29485
Rocky RIP 13:35pm 18th Oct 2012
Chris Dee - your point is obvious and we'd all rather a winner than a very talented also ran. David Ginola was seen as gifted, but won very very few trophies (1 Worthington Cup?) However the players I mention haven't been playing for us very long at. ie. not serial losers at AFC. Cazora - 1st season; Arteta - 2nd; Wislhere - Arsenal career still in its infancy - Give them a chance. As a trio they can stand up to the very best midfields in the PL, so the author doesn't deserve the kicking he's getting from his fellow supporters. - Post No. 29486
John 16:20pm 18th Oct 2012
You say Arteta is Denilson x 1000 but surely Denilson is Arteta's most natural replacement and should be at the club learning from him? - Post No. 29490
chris dee 9:24am 19th Oct 2012
Rocky. I agree with you, they have only been at Arsenal for five minutes. All the more reason for not saying after 7 games 'we have the best midfield in the league '. - Post No. 29501
Joe S. 21:53pm 20th Oct 2012
I hope masterbation fantasies like this post and all those '"faithfull" who responded glowingly to it have gotten some kind of reality check. Get used to the present premierr league standings because this is where we'll be come seasonns end. I really can't believe the crap positivism sprouted by the likes of Simon Rose, Gooner Ron, Mandy Dodd et al. The fact that some people even see the return of Deck Chair Denilson as a future option tells us everything about how in denial some fans have become. Look: like Canada Gooner I can live with our present position because this is all Arsenal have and this is what we have become but please don't delude yourselves that this team are going places. - Post No. 29511
Frankie 22:01pm 20th Oct 2012
The best midfield in the league outplayed,out muscled by the superstars of Norwich - Post No. 29512
Barry 22:45pm 20th Oct 2012
Joe S. the worse it gets the worse the AKB's get.The same fans who say we wont miss RVP!! Simon Rose is at this moment writing his next article titled "is this the greatest Arsenal team ever" - Post No. 29513
20th May 2013
Online Ed: 4th place trophy and CL qualifier secured