Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Dropping Robinho

This is a story we've heard about for a while, and it's in Thursday's Guardian courtesy of Daniel Taylor:
A final decision will not be taken until Friday when Robinho and Elano return from Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Peru in Porto Alegre and Hughes can assess any injury news before his squad travel to London for their overnight stop. Hughes is aware that dropping Robinho would be a controversial move and could possibly damage his already fragile relationship with the club's £32.5m signing. However, he and his coaching staff have been discussing for some time whether Robinho deserves to keep his placeconsidering his poor away form throughout most of the season. Their conclusion was that he did not. Robinho, indeed, would have been dropped before now had Martin Petrov, the club's left-winger, not been injured.
The alternative formation Taylor mentions is with Ireland on the left and all three holding midfielders: Zabaleta, Kompany and de Jong. This is the option I posited the other day:

I quite like the look of it. It wouldn't be pretty, but there's evidence this year to suggest that if you really get amongst Arsenal and shut them down it's possible to come away with point(s) from the Emirates. And our away form this year has been so shamefully bad that it is worth considering radical solutions. Just look at our away wins this season: EB/Streymur, FC Midtjylland, Sunderland, Omonia and Schalke 04. Of those five games, Robinho only played in one. No-one's doubting his fantastic talents, or the magic he's conjured up at Eastlands; but after his no-shows at Stamford Bridge, Fratton Park and the Britannia (to name just three) I do think there may be some merit in this solution. And what a player to bring off the bench!

The one possible downside (I don't think it would significantly decrease our chances of taking points on Saturday, which are low enough as it is) is that it could damage his relationship with Hughes so much that it would impact his home performances for the rest of the season. And if their relationship is as bad as I understand it to be, even this would not be a big change. But ultimately, none of us have the answers. For Hughes especially this would be a huge leap in the dark. To drop our talisman, our 'superstar', the man whom defines our football club globally - it's a fantastically gutsy decision. And, let's not forget, we'll probably lose at Arsenal with or without Robinho. But it would be a compelling piece of management nonetheless.


Gary Nolan said...

This Robinho being dropped thing just will not go away. Robinho is not our only poor player away from home, I'm not saying he shouldn't be highlighted for his bad performances, but others should as well.

I don't think we should drop him, if he is going to be in Hughes's long term plans like he said he is, then I think we should persist with him now for the rest of the season, so that he is ready to try and approach away games in a better way next season.

Anonymous said...

Drop Robinho. I like the look of this lineup and it will be good to try something new. I think with Zabs, Dejong, and Kompany, it would lock down the Gunners attack. We have nothing to loose and possibly a point or three if we can lock them down with our midfield.

tommytheblue said...

ireland is complete tosh on the left... he isnt very versitle and struggles to get into the game there.

He is better off in the middle.

Robinho is actually playing fine, it doesnt help when the likes of you and the gleghorn jump in as soon as he stops scoring. For his 1st season in the premier league he has done pretty well, and we would be well short without him. How about showing some support rather then trying to field some cake and arse aside that is imbalanced