There is always a football hangover when a top footballer is descending into retirement or is gone.
Because of that, there is usually a temptation to quickly get someone filling in their boots as their heir apparent. So many Pele replacements have been talked up, yet all that has turned out to be futile.
Now, with a host of Arsenal fans still clinging onto the 2003-2004 season in which their team went unbeaten, as the most glorifying moment enjoyed over the last decade, many are in thirst to see Thierry Henry, the chief architect of their success then, found an heir apparent to.
Of recent, it has been suggested that Danny Welbeck, following his hat-trick against Galatasaray in the Uefa Champions League is on his way to becoming the new Henry. Well, in life they teach us never to say never. And Welbeck is 23 so, he still has at least three years to dismiss the doubters.
If anything, even Henry wasn’t mind-blowing at 23. If he had been so, Juventus wouldn’t have been so willing to let go of him, yet Arsene Wenger was too willing to give him a chance because he was simply potential. Enough said of Welbeck. However, the true Henry heir apparent is Alexis Sanchez.
It is not just because of the goals he is banging in now, something that Manchester United should be very wary about going into this weekend’s tie with Arsenal, the man is technically gifted. Just like Henry, the way Sanchez dashes from the wing to finish off moves, brings back fond memories of that spell when the Frenchman was domineering and etched his name into the Premier League folklore, as one of the best players to grace it.
So much just appears to fall into place to give the Henry and Sanchez comparison a realistic element to it. Both are good dribblers fast on the counter shoot and are deadly free-kick executioners. Lately, Sanchez has also been drafted in as the number ten, central striker, a position from which he has scored many goals.
The only difference between the two men is that one is really meek, while the other had airs around him – a bit of arrogance. Well, may be Henry became cocky because of the time he had been at Arsenal and the success he had enjoyed.
And if Sanchez also experiences the same, he will change. But I doubt that. Sanchez, even at the time he was at Udinese, right before he joined Barcelona, he never behaved as though he was bigger than Antonio Di Natale. But with all the attributes in Sanchez’ game, he just looks the real deal that will be eulogized the same way Henry was.
Yaya Toure and Man-City
Such eulogies made the headlines so many times over the last two seasons mostly directed to Man-City’s Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure. But this season, he has looked off the pace. Of course at 32, he is running out of gas, and his manager, Manuel Pellegrini, needs to make some tough but important decisions.
From now onwards, Yaya should be played in the half-nine role behind Kun Aguero. He is no longer effective playing box-to-box attacking and defending like he used to. His legs are giving way, and in the process, it’s killing Man-City in the midfield.
Fernando and Fernandinho should play as the two defensive midfielders and relieve Yaya of tracking back always. This will enable Yaya even score more, as his game has evolved since leaving Barcelona, but so has his tank waned.
Man-City’s Champions League problems (they face Roma next week), have sprung from the fact that their midfield has been light-weight whenever Yaya has been one of the two central midfielders in a 4-4-2 expected to do the blocking.
And unless Pellegrini tweaks that, Man-City will continue to be overrun in the middle but tactically astute teams.
Source : The Observer