Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eboue: a natural in midfield

With the recent signature of Bacary Sagna, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has started playing right back Emanuel Eboue in midfield during pre-season. For my money, he’s a natural.

I don’t know much about Eboue pre-Arsenal, so maybe he has played as a winger before, but at Aresenal, I have only seen him in defense where I thought he was instrumental in Arsenal’s run to the Champions League final a couple of seasons ago.

Since then he continued to play in defense throughout last season but during this pre-season against PSG and Inter Milan, he has been very effective in midfield.

Eboue has moves. I recall a number of instances last season where I thought to myself “whoa, nice pass” or “great fake”. Having been given the winger role, he’s more potent than ever. In fact, during the game against Inter, he was driving the play for large parts of the game. At one point he drew 3 yellow cards from Inter players in quick succession, one being from the dirtiest player in Europe, Marco Materazzi. By the way, he was whistled at every touch of the ball… wonderfully deserved.

Whether this was an experiment or there is real intent behind moving Eboue to this position, I don’t know. But Eboue should stay and play there, and for my money, should start. Theo Walcott has yet to impress me. Eboue, while still a bit rough around the edges, has.

By the way, Arsenal looked great against Inter. Against PSG the first half was a stutter start, but since then Arsenal have been solid for that second half and for virtually 90 minutes against the Italian Champions. Passing was fluid, movement was good, van Persie was striking the ball well, youngster Kieran Gibbs looked lively, and of course Eboue was asking significant questions of the defense.

The Arsenal I saw will do better this season than the detractors think, and Eboue should be awarded the place in midfield on the right: he looked great going forward and can defend, a combination Arsenal have not seen since the Ray Parlor days, this time with pace.



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Anonymous Anonymous said...


8/01/2007 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he was a right midfielder before. Arsene thought he would make a good right back as he could drive the ball up well. He failed to be effective in defence though. Great skills, pace, crosses etc... So it is only natural he will do well here again. The Bac and mani right is well sorted for the season

8/01/2007 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair to Walcott, he is a striker and not a winger.

Eboue has a lot of pace and trickery, but let's not get carried away because he still needs to play against teams who will likely kick the sh*t out of him. It was only Inter, and their season doesn't start for about 2 months.

8/01/2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bang on...whilst I have found him an annnoying bastard - when sprawling himself across the park: he was great against Inter - as was Hleb, and for that matter: Sagna did well; combining well with Eboue.

8/01/2007 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eboue spent his first season for us playing right wing in the Carling Cup (and a couple of reserve appearances); anywhoo....

I agree, he makes a good winger

8/01/2007 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. From the sound of it, you lot didn't watch the last preseason game in Austria where Eboue looked completely lost. His passes were horrible especially when he had to play the receviing man on 1-2s and he dove a bit too much for my liking. While one game does not make a player, I must remind you that one of the main complaints last term was that we needed more scoring from midfield. Eboue has never been one to make runs and score goals, and his shot is much more power than finesse. To say that Eboue is a good winger is fine...to say that he is great and better than other wigners that are available is an overstatement.

8/01/2007 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah I was with you until you said, "Theo Walcott has yet to impress me. Eboue, while still a bit rough around the edges, has."

You're just judging on preseason, where Walcott has impressed just as much, if not more, than Eboue.

Don't get me wrong, Eboue has done well and I'm excited to see what happens with him, but I can't rate him over Theo yet.

8/01/2007 11:02 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

I think you are right in a sense. Yes, I am judging him on minimal evidence.

That said, Eboue has done enough to deserve a handful of games to prove himself, something Walcott has already had.

8/01/2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Eboue impressed me last season, him and Hleb coming on in second half with Arsenal two goals down against Spurs in FA cup. The two have changed the game, Eboue playing as a winger and Hleb just behind the main striker. It was amazing to watch. We equalized (2-2); we could even win the game. That day I new that we were wasting a great midfield with pace and a lot of trickeries at right-back. It's nice to see that the fans relised this.

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