Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: Keegan Will Find out Just What Is Required; THE FRIDAY FILE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: Keegan Will Find out Just What Is Required; THE FRIDAY FILE

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN GIBSON

KEVIN KEEGAN is about to receive a crash course in the Beautiful Game circa 2008.

If he was the creator of The Entertainers 1996 vintage, then Arsene Wenger is the proud assembler of the modern version.

And Keegan, newly installed back at St James's Park to recapture a dream, is to be confronted by Wenger's Arsenal twice within four days.

However, such is Wenger's outlook that Keegan will face two different Gunners line-ups - the FA Cup team tomorrow and the Premier League championship chasers next Tuesday night.

Maybe the personnel will differ, despite the restrictions of missing Africans, but the method of play most certainly will not.

Let King Kev consult his close friend and former Entertainer Peter Beardsley should he wish a refresher course on just how potent and how exciting Arsenal can be in glorious flight.

At their fluent best - and that must be emphasised - athleticism, subtle touch, great pace, and wide vision abound to such an extent that Beardsley, a stylish performer himself and an admirer of genuine class, often takes to the road with son Drew to visit the Emirates and bask in his type of football.

There's no side in the Premier League who pass the ball to feet rather than space as often as Arsenal do, even if within the penalty box or the receiver is marked. Their touch play is built on triangles and owes everything to accuracy but Arsenal have added another, much more traditional, element to their play this season.

At 6ft 4in tall, Emmanuel Adebayor provides an aerial threat which the admirably gifted Thierry Henry did not. How far Keegan has to go to match the current United with Arsenal's Premier aristocrats could become painfully clear when Wenger puts out his strongest available side.

True, top performers Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue plus Alexandre Song are missing in Africa, as are some lesser lights from United, and Robin van Persie is injured, but still the challenge can be huge.

Significantly, 16-goal Adebayor isn't back home while Wenger still possesses the strike skills of Eduardo, sublime midfield presence of Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky, wide play of Alexander Hleb, and the guardian at the back William Gallas. …

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