Date: 17th March 2010 at 12:03pm
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Left back Gael Clichy has come in for a fair amount of criticism for some sub-standard performances earlier in the season. In recent games he has shown much greater control and command and without wishing to tempt providence looks to be back to something like his best form.

In a web interview he attributes part of his early difficulties to the change of playing formation adopted this season. The difference between the 4-4-2 formation that he had become familiar with and the 4-3-3 we currently employ means that for the full backs the wide player is much further forward. This means, according to Gael, that it is harder to overlap him.

“You have to run maybe 40 metres without the ball to get anywhere near to him and by then he may have passed the ball or gone inside already” he explains “With 4-3-3 it`s all about choosing when to go and when to stay, rather than just going for the sake of it.”

The first few games with this system Clichy admits to finding difficult as he tells us “I`m the kind of player who always tries to give 100 per cent, even if I know I`m not going to get the ball I go because I can take a player with me and that will open space for the midfield.”

Overall the new system has benefits though as the left back now feels that as a unit they are stronger and more solid than when playing 4-4-2. He feels it has given him more to think about as now he has to take more care and is forced to focus on his defending to a greater extent than under the previous playing style.

Both he and Sagna won the PFA`s acknowledgement as the PL`s best full backs the season before last. The change in system since then has called for them to adapt their play somewhat but the greater experience will benefit them both. “Your qualities are pace, anticipation and left foot” he was told by Wenger “Improving those qualities will make you a better player”



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