Santi Carzorla and Gareth Bale. Two extremely influential players, both considered the engine and creative spark for their respective teams.
Their teams also happen to be two of the most fierce rivals in football history in Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, so naturally the bickering and banter from their supporters is bound to intensify as the season continues. But who will wind up being the more successful player by the seasons end? We look at the strengths, and weakness of both football sensations.
- Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur
Since signing for Tottenham in 2007, Bale has had to work his way up to become one of the star midfielders for Spurs. At one point he was considered a curse for them as he played an incredible 24 games without being on the winning side. Since then however he has gone on to become a player often considered a target for the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. So what makes the Welshman such a sought after player?
Bale is almost an athlete disguised as a footballer, his remarkable pace allows him to skip past nearly any defender in the world before they even realise it. Anyone who remembers how he dismantled Macion in the Champions League match at White Hart Lane (Taxi for Macion!) will remember just how quick and energetic Bale is.
A winger is automatically supposed to have a decent crossing ability at the least. But for Bale, who was originally a left back, throwing deadly crosses to the likes of Adebayor is second nature to the Welsh Wizard, and it’s a nature he fires off at a constant basis to throw off the opposition. His left foot seems to magically guide the ball away from opposing defenders, and onto its intended target.
Unlike many who ply their trade on the wings, Bale has a remarkable physical presence about him. Standing at just over six foot in height, Gareth is able to use his pace in combination with his height to out muscle opposing defenders, and keep hold of the ball in the final third, allowing his teammates to support him in the attacking movement.
Like all players though, Bale does indeed have his fair share of weaknesses:
For a former left back, the defensive approach of Bale is rather lacking. There is a reason his performances at White Hart Lane weren’t noticed until his conversion into a winger, he simply wasn’t good enough to backtrack and keep a decent defensive marking of his opponents often letting them slip through to have an opportunity on goal.
When Bale is up for a game, he is almost unstoppable as a player, but what if he is lacking in confidence or is frustrated at some right backs? For a man of his size and agility, the slightest touch from an opposing player seems to shake the fight right out of the Welshman. With his style of play in running at defenders relying on a large amount of confidence, it’s easy to see how he can quite easily be taken out of a game through some rough tackles. Ask Charlie Adam.
So let’s look at Santi Carzola, a player who has so far, turned out to be a revelation at the Emirates so far. At just £17 million, Wenger may have acquired a bargain in the form of Carzorla, who has orchestrated the midfield in a way not seen since Fabregas left. What exactly does he bring to the table for the Gunners though?
As shown in Arsenals recent 2-0 win against Liverpool, Carzorla has the ability to create something out of nothing. With his incredible vision, and an eye for a move three steps ahead. The Spaniard is able to seamlessly go from creator to finisher, as shown when he and Podolski teamed up twice to each score a sublime finish.
Unlike many wingers, who are switched across each flank to alter their style of play. Carzorla is able to play on both sides of the pitch without any issues at all. Wingers such as Bale will have to cut inside with their strong foot if they are playing on an opposing side of the pitch, but with his ambidextrous skill, Carzorla can easily terrorise both left/right backs with simple ease and precision.
As demonstrated many times with both Villarreal and Malaga, Carzola has proven himself to be lethal in free kicks. With his ability to use either foot seamlessly, the Spanish international will prove a viable asset to Arsenal with his potential to unlock defences with a set piece anywhere on the pitch.
Carzorla indeed has many strengths that will prove vital to Arsenals quest for trophies this season, but with every players strength, a weakness is there to counter it:
While some of the best players in the world are notably short in stature, the Premier League is a very physical league, where challenges are certainly not held back, more so by other players. (Cough Charlie Adam) Standing at a rather diminutive 5ft’6 in height, Carzorla could be very likely be muscled off the ball on a regular basis by some of the more imposing Premier League defenders.
Despite his explosive start to the season, Santi Carzola has still arrived in a new country, and into a new league with a very different style of play. He certainly won’t be given as much time on the ball as he got in La Liga, and will have to quickly adapt to the fast paced, physical nature of English football in order to avoid becoming another Reyes.
So which player will be more successful come the seasons end? Both players are similar, yet also very different, it may wind up coming down to who is actually in a better team, rather than individual skill. It’s for this that I believe Carzorla will have a more successful 2012/13 season than Gareth Bale. The Spaniard has arrived at a team with a long term manager in charge in Wenger, someone who has instilled a football philosophy that has not changed in nearly a decade.
This will allow Carzorla to streamline into a style of play alongside teammates who have long since adapted to such a style. Meanwhile, Gareth Bale is now playing under a new manager in Andre Villas Boas, who is eager to stamp his mark at White Hart Lane with his own brand of football.
For Bale, who is used to the style of Harry Redknapp, this may be a season of transition for him and the club. He may still be the catalyst for a successful season for Tottenham, but it seems far more likely that it is Carzorla that will have the pundits foaming at the mouth.
Who do you think will be more successful this season? Leave your comments below