Wenger's "size matters" to be tested against the Hulk
My thesis is that the lack of inches on the Arsenal defense bemoaned by Wenger and Toure is a convenient excuse for the generally brain dead defending that sunk us so badly against Hull. In short we are freaked. Seriously, I hope this nonsense is not being internalized by the club players because it does not bode well.
Defending the near post is lesson 101. Making sure you collapse the space near a striker is lesson 101. Cutting of passing lanes is lesson 101. This has every thing to do with sound defensive instincts, little to do with size.
Anyways, Wenger's size theory will be put to test tomorrow when Porto arrive. In their arsenal, they have Givanildo Vieira de Souza, a 5' 11" striker who looks like an action figure hero and goes by the name Hulk. Seriously. He must have had his way with the more diminutive J-League defenders in his stint with Tokyo Verdy with his 44 goals in 55 appearances.
If Arsenal's size theory is indeed true, the ball will be lofted time and time again in the direction of the Hulk. To counteract, Toure will catapult onto Gallas shoulders and dispense of the Hulk with a Petronas charm. After the 20th time neutralizing the threat, Toure's legs will seize up from a lactic acid overdose and dawdling up to the next Porto player given the ball fails to stop him from banging it home. Or Gallas, spent from carrying Toure, awol from the near post, looks on impotently as a header or a tap in runs up the score. Wenger will then immediately hold a press conference and bemoan the lack of inches on his defense. The 2008 season will draw to a close as undersized Arsenal lose to Mark Viduka, Amr Zaki, Peter Crouch, and Daniel Cousin.
A frenzied Wenger signs on Yao Ming and induces Dennis Rodman out of retirement. Håvard Nordtveit, all of 6'2" and on loan to Salamanca, is handcuffed and brought back for the next season. The combined size for the starting back four reaches 26' and Arsenal wins the Premiership.
You have to laugh. I seriously hope that Wenger is not injecting HGH into Toure. Rather he is stressing the importance of smart defending. Enough of this nonsense.