Friday, 17 February 2017

Arsenal can't stop Robben, but who can?

Some things in life are certain; death, taxes and Arjen Robben shifting the ball onto his left boot to almost certainly score. 

Arsenal were the latest victims of the Dutchman’s unstoppable magic, as he opened the scoring at the Allianz Arena just eleven minutes into Bayern Munich’s 5-1 demolishing of Arsenal. 

The goal was a typical Robben goal, a branded goal that the footballing world has become accustomed to admiring – yet the problem of defending against him seems to be unsolvable. 

Three Arsenal players were heavily scrutinised for their role in Robben’s sensational 25 yard strike, Francis Coquelin the main culprit for warmly inviting Robben’s left foot into the game. 

Robben has been at the peak of European football for over ten years, putting his stamp on the game with his illusive nature on the flanks.  

Despite the subtle change of the role of a wide player in the contemporary game, Robben has never changed his style. When in attack, his intent is clear, yet still, at the mature footballing age of 33, he deceives the defences of the Bundesliga and the Champions League. 

Following a game in which Robben’s name features on the scoresheet, it is a usual occurrence that the opposing defence are criticised for being seduced by Robben’s left footed charm. 

Very few stop Robben, he has been playing his game the same way, whether it be at PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. 

Robben relies so heavily on his left foot, which is why team’s inability to stop him is sometimes regarded as a myth. 

While his one footed nature is so unique in today’s game, a few of the previous wave of Europe’s elite opted for the strong footed reliance, clinical play on the flanks. 
Ferenc Puskas was one of the best to do so, and aspects of his game are heavily noticeable in that of Arjen Robben’s. 

Hungarian frontman, Puskas, was regarded as one of Europe’s greatest of all time for his services to both Real Madrid and the Hungarian national team, yet he did it all on one foot. 

Like Robben, he was heavily left-footed, and unable to be stopped. Branded as the 'Galloping Major'Puskas split defences, and frequently crowned his skill with a goal. 
The time has come for it to be questioned whether defenders should be taking the blame, or whether we should be applying more emphasis on admiring the magic of Robben and his style. 

It would seem that fans instantly look for a point of blame rather than accepting mastery. Mesut Oezil was thrown into the criticism of the defending against Robben, the fact of the matter may be that no one in his place could have terminated the threat of Munich’s number 10. 

Arsenal aren’t alone in being victimised by Arjen Robben, but will the Gunners be capable of shutting down the winger in the second leg in North London? 

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