We’ve won our last two games, four goals scored, none conceded.
We’ve looked at these games to discover what the magic ingredient was that made the difference. Some think the defensive solidity was down to having Fabianski in goal rather than an out of form Szczesny, others believe that although Wilshere is a real talent, his presence somehow unbalances the midfield.
There is one factor that has not been considered but is something that has been troubling me for some time …… in both those games, the opposition had the greater share of possession. Bayern had 55% and Swansea 53% possession in those games. Our average for the season is 58.5%.
It’s an old saying that possession doesn’t score goals but with Arsenal I believe that prolonged possession also makes us more likely to concede. The pattern we’ve seen is slow build up involving over use of the centre backs and trying to get the ball forward via the wide players who often aren’t ‘wingers’ in the traditional sense and therefore we see the sideways and backwards passing that poses no threat to the opposition. The effect of this is to compress play on the outskirts of the opposition’s well guarded box and our back line gets drawn forward making us vulnerable to being hit on the break.
The result is that the longer we are in possession without creating chances, the more likely we are to concede – we’ve seen it many times. If you’ve got a Messi or Iniesta in your team you will have the guile to create chances even in the most densely packed defence – but we don’t.
The converse of this is that the team who have been starved of the ball are more likely to use pace and be direct when they get the opportunity to counter attack – just as we did against Bayern for the first goal.
Gone are the days when we delivered lightening attacks, when we were more likely to score after an opponent’s corner than our own. We have quick players but fail to capitalise on their abilities.
So what is the solution? Deliberately give the ball away to draw the opposition out of their tight defensive formation? Play more risky early balls through rather than the ponderous (tippy tappy) slow build up? Use proper wingers who can beat the fullbacks and deliver a good cross?
I don’t have all the answers, I suspect the remedy lies in the coaching – but maybe this hastily written post will inspire some ideas/responses even if you think I’m talking rubbish … over to you ….
Written by Rasp