This comment, in response to yesterday’s post, was put on the blog late last night by GoonerB. As it was unlikely many would be around to discuss the points raised so I’ve lifted it to use as today’s post. ED
The ref on Saturday was awful but I really can’t go along with this being the main reason for losing the game.
The performance is actually hurting me more than the loss as I think it points to a far bigger issue. I can accept a 2-1 loss if we have been a bit unlucky but, I hate to say it, we were largely dominated and Spurs fully deserved the win. We literally did what we so often accuse other sides of doing and parked the bus. We looked a mid to lower table side against a top of the table team and that for me is hurting and is more embarrassing than the actual loss.
There have been so many mentions in the days running up to this game about how many Spurs players would get in the Arsenal side and I agreed with most that it was hardly any so we should have been the better side…. right? At the very least we should have been the better side that lost through bad luck and some dodgy refereeing calls….right? Wrong, we just looked utterly inferior, lost and bereft of ideas.
The worrying thing is that for me we have a worrying trend recently of, not just losing, but being outplayed by teams who on paper are inferior to us on a player by player comparison.
So if we had the far superior side and were still outplayed as easily as this what explains it? For me unfortunately the finger has to be pointed at the manager. He chooses the team, sets it up how he wants it and provides the tactical instructions. Almost from the moment we scored we started to lose the control of the game. The dynamics and balance were not right and it was there for all to see.
Why then was nothing changed between the goal at 11 minutes to the 67th minute? When the change came I am sorry to say that Cazorla for Rosicky seemed a like for like. It didn’t for me change the dynamics and balance in any way, and further didn’t suggest to me of any recognition of a need to do so.
I suppose this is why I have been cautious in becoming too optimistic on the back of our recent results. I had a bad feeling that another stinker was around the corner. I made a point on a couple of occasions last week that I was concerned that as we got more options coming back from injury that there was a possibility of not getting the right balance in the set-up. I believe this is what happened and I feel we also saw it earlier in the season.
I still think Arsene just wants to get what he considers all his most technical players out there regardless of anything else. I think I commented even as early as last season that AW always tries to get Ozil, Ramsey and Cazorla on the pitch at the same time but I feel it doesn’t work and it leaves us unbalanced and weakened particularly in the threat from wide and pace aspects.
This becomes more important when Giroud leads the line as, despite his attributes, he rarely gets the better of defenders in a straight foot race. Having another quick player close to him to work off and get past him would to me have been important. IMO it just invited them to play a high line and compress all the space in our end of the pitch so that they were more able to win it back in our half and we had no outlet to get the ball out and hold the possession while others joined in the transition from defence to attack.
They were also able to bring there FB,s into almost permanently supporting the attack and must have felt like Christmas had come early that we didn’t seem to be the slightest bit interested in utilising the space the FB’s were leaving behind them or the space behind the CD’s due to the high line.
Danny was our only pace player to start but is only just back from injury, so is likely still a bit short of his full pace and sharpness. Also, bar a couple of instances, he seemed to spend most of his time deeper and defending and did look rusty on the ball to me often losing possession.
We have seen this before when we sacrifice pace for too many midfield technical players who prefer to operate centrally. I may of course have this all wrong but it just seems such an obvious thing that we often don’t look good with this set-up and with a lack of width and pace. I just feel it looks an easy thing to correct and we have the players to do it but just overlook the obvious.
Maybe it is just me (and Micky I think) who sees it this way but unfortunately I do lay the blame fully at Arsene’s feet for this one. The players didn’t perform well for sure but we keep blaming individual players and talk about how the players let Arsene and the fans down.
Is it not possible that a huge amount of blame is due to an unbalanced set-up, that provides a poor platform for our (superior to the opposition) players to perform to their best from?
Written by GoonerB