So it seems that we are letting quite some goals in from the right side with Bellerin often caught out of position, Holding outpaced or misplaced and with Willian/Pepe not necessarily supporting enough and same goes with our midfielders who are not closing the opposition down on that side…
I like Bellerin when he goes forward and I think that he has a good mentality and can also pass the ball decently but he sometimes goes missing defensively, at least one or twice in a match and we often get punished for his lapses.
As for Holding, well he can be superb one match and absolutely average or poor the next one. His main issues are his pace and his positioning on certain situations. He does not always know when to close down or when to cover the back post….He is good in the air and his passing is also good but is that enough to be a starter for us?
Now we come to our right wing. Willian has been disappointing and Pepe not much better. We have not seen enough from RN yet so I will give him some slack.
All that to say that while on the left, we have Gabriel – Tierney – Saka and we seem more solid defensively and coherent going forward from that side, we seem to be struggling on the right. There are players that could help us maybe and especially AMN. If we continue with our back 4, we could play with 4 midfielders to and one of them on the right side could be AMN.
Anyways, seems our right side is our wrong side…
Didn’t know we was conceding most goals from the right
11 goals conceded in open play, 2 in counter attacks and 1 own goal.
No goals conceded on set pieces nor penalties.
At least we re better on set pieces…
Also, interestingly, we ve not conceded goals in between 50 and 70th minutes it seems. So basically, we concede early and late.
Echo your sentiments totally RC78.
That right hand side is causing us a lot of bother. We’re playing a back 4 despite what the hacks say. With Bellerin & Tierney pushing on they need cover or to not overcommit. Teams are targeting that hole behind Bellerin and no player is covering for him. Partey dropped in a few times, but then got injured. Tierney is coping better as he is a better defender.
Villa just launched the ball long towards that part of the pitch and hoped Grealish would get on it. It worked.
Hector needs a rest and AMN can take his place. I’m not convinced Cedric is Prem level.
And what about a few speculative long range shots to pull the defence out of shape?
Burnley just need to watch the game on Sunday to set their tactics. We need to be wiser.
I missed commenting on Rocky’s post the other day about a dream January signing. My choice would have been a workd class right back.
I like Hector but feel he has been in the role for a long while and still struggles with 1-1 defending and quality of delivery. These should be far better at this stage.
Also although quick once he gets a sprint on I think he seems to lack the engine to get up and down the flank in the fast paced EPL and often jogs back after a foray forwards.
Added to that I feel he is a tad lightweight for this league as well and cant help but wish we had someone like Reece James who looks like he ticks the boxes. A right footed Tierney would do just fine
It maybe links in to some degree with this post but just picking up on Fgg’s comment earlier on the last post about my feeling we were overly simplistic in our attack and resorted to mainly just crossing balls in from the flank.
I don’t have a problem with us trying to attack with balls from wide areas, it should be a part of our game but it needs to be mixed up with other forms of attack which I didn’t feel we were doing so we were utterly predictable.
Tierney puts in a ball or he passes it to Saka who puts in a ball or vice versa a d with the same thing happening between Willian and Bellerin on the opposite flank.
Also too many of them were from static positions rather than while bursting forwards so Spuds defenders were more often than not in good shape to defend them rather than being on the turn.
Taking your example of City and Liverpool a d the reference to Mahrez leads me to another point that you all know I feel strongly about. Both of those teams mostly play with an attacking central midfielder and 2 inverted wing forwards a d this makes all the difference between them and us when attacking from wide fir a few reasons.
Firstly that combination allows for both in swinging and out swinging balls depending on who out of the FB or the wing forward makes the cross while we were by and large only putting in out swinging balls because the FB’s and wing forwards are of the same strongest foot.
A second reason, and I will use the Mahrez example for this, is that an inverted wing forward has less predictability which leaves the defenders guessing more and can shift them out of position more.
Mahrez can feign to go inside a d then go outside the player and drive into the box to put the ball across the goal. If he genuinely comes inside then the defender has to move across with him to stop him trying for the bend into the top corner.
That then pulls the defender, likely the FB, across vacating space outside for an overlapping FB to run into. The wing forward can either then slip in that FB with a little reverse pass or go for the shot depending on which option the FB has hedged his bets on. It is hard for a FB to cover both options.
Compare that say to Willian finding himself in the same position. The defenders don’t really have to be worried about him coming infield because they know he is unlikely to unleash a top corner thunderbolt with his left leg.
We are therefore more predictable and it is easier for the FB to hedge his bets on covering the wide overlap rather than moving infield to block of a shot.
Having that 3rd CM in the attacking position in front of 2 others can also make a difference as well. They might make a kate run to get a header on target but more likely they can get into the box to pick up any semi cleared defensive headers in a dangerous area.
This is why I feel so strongly about having that 4 point goal threat with the inverted wide players. All the top teams do it by and large and rarely stray from this formula. I am perplexed why Mikel who was part of overseeing this at City has gone the opposite way.
We have options with Pepe and Saka on the right. We have Auba, Nelson and Martinelli (when back) for the left. We have 2 or 3 options in the number 9 role. The ACM could be any of ESR, Saka, Nelson, Willian or Ozil if brought in from the cold and we have 5 options in the deeper midfield area with Partey, AMN, Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos.
That’s a lot of options in all positions to play with this type of set up and as stated it would make our attack from the wide areas far less predictable than the constant out swinging crosses from static positions we saw on Sunday.
The entire AFC world is losing their collective minds.
Time to tack.
Mikel needs to have the team press high up the pitch, back 3 or 4, I do not care. No more of this sieve zonal marking bs, player closest to ball closes man down, right then and there. None of the backpedaling, running along with the opposition into our half, letting the opposition just dribble drive into our box, NO one has the attacker type of soft zonal marking nonsense.
Play the youth, NOW, forget Willian, Luiz, Xhaka, Bel, and Laca. If Auba does not cut it, bench his a$$ too. We have some hungry wolves just salivating to play.
With Bel off the pitch and either AMN or Soares positioned next to Holding ( not at the oppositions corner flag) goals will stop coming through that side of the pitch.
Let the team play, stop micromanaging the dang game from the sidelines, hear that Mikel???
Get some momentum, fluidity in the attack, a lead, and just maybe we can start to get a win streak going again.
I really think Mikel can do it, he just has to trust his own process, and make some changes, cuz everyone can see the leftovers are not good enough as a unit to compete all the time together.
Sorry for all the typos from my phone
I think Arsenal fans need to stop listening to the likes of Carra talking utter garbage about the performance on Sunday, and also ignore all this Özil crap (he’s gone…get over it! 😂). If Carra thought that was a shambles at the weekend then where has he been for the last 2 years!?
Onwards and upwards with a few youngsters thrown in would be a nice step forward. Happy to see the likes of Laca, Auba and Willian miss a couple of games if it means we score a couple of goals.
As for Bellerin, not a fan as he’s not good enough defensively to play RB and not good enough attacking to play RW!
I love reading the comments from all you guys after a disappointing game.
Some of the rationalising and relevant tactical analysis is very good indeed.
There is a flaw tho’ that has run thru Arsenal teams over the last few seasons, and perhaps longer, which makes all the rationalisation from some very worthy and worried bloggers, somewhat irrelevant.
MANY OF OUR FIRST TEAM PLAYERS ARE POOR – AND SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING FOR THE ARSENAL.
A wise man, at this juncture, would button his lip and say nowt else, because putting the ‘black spot’ on player ‘X’ usually brings out those fans who love him, and instead they demand the ‘black spot’ rightfully belongs on another player, or two, instead, and this judgement is sometimes accompanied by weary castigation of the original blogger who dared to finger their beloved player.
That’s OK, because the point of a blog is to discuss different opinions, for that is all they are of course – opinions, not absolute facts – as one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
So, to hell with the wise man — says I.
Bellerin since his long standing injury lay-off has lost his prime asset – his pace. This was noted by GB earlier. But there is more to it than that.
If one looks back at the Son goal, it occurred after Belli ‘charged’ upfield and decided to cross/pass the ball (who knows) and inevitably it went straight to a Spud defender (Belli cannot cross or pass the ball with any accuracy).
The ball swiftly arrived at the feet of Kane, who (contrary to Belli) accurately passed to Son, with Belli still floundering upfield unable to get back into defence, tho’ falling on his ass did not help, and Son hit a beautiful banana shot past Leno.
OK, hold your hosses, Belli is not alone in being poor. A similar observation could be made about many other supposed stalwarts in the Arsenal team, both in the Spud’s game, and many other games too.
It is not the fault of Belli or the others that they should not be playing for us. No. The question is “who was responsible for scouting these players, and buying them, sometimes for exorbitant transfer prices?
Mislintat? One time scout supremo? I don’t think so.
Sanllehi? Transfer boss? Maybe, that was the reason he was unceremoniously dumped last summer. Who knows?
Further back, there are a number of the usual suspects who could have been responsible – all of whom have left the club.
It seems that Arteta and Edu are now in charge of recruitment and ‘disposal’ but some of the poor transfer decisions will take them a long time to rectify, starting with Özil who seems to be the leading scapegoat (yes, I know Pete and FGG – the tide of his Arsenal career is rapidly ebbing, but who agreed his current contract that has brought so much misery, not just for him, but for so many?)
With our team plummeting, perhaps the Arsenal hierarchy now realise that the rebuild bequeathed to Arteta is massive, and he and Edu have to have their total support, including the financial resources being made available to pay some players off, (ouch) and to recruit top quality replacements, without whom our team will continue spiralling out of control.
Wouldn’t life as an Arsenal fan be so much easier if there was just one person we could all moan about!?? Some would argue that person is Kroenke, but that would be like moaning at a brick wall….a brick wall that is 1000’s of miles away!
Instead, we are all left pondering numerous poor decisions which have been made by numerous people over a number of years. To make things worse, a lot of the decisions made actually looked reasonable at the time and us fans would’ve probably complained had they not been made. Also, we don’t have all the details on the reason behind some decisions, so we just get more and more pissed off and go round in circles looking for answers.
I think it’s time that the fans put some faith in Edu and Arteta (as should the board like you say), and try not to put more pressure on an already ridiculous situation. A lot of awful decisions happened before them, so maybe it’s time to let it all go and just look forward. Let’s get behind this young squad, let them develop, and see where it takes us. As long as it’s not into the Championship, then what have we to lose!?
Good news – Martinelli will make his long awaited return tonight, for the U21s in the first knockout round of the EFL trophy 🥳🥳 Saliba and Sokratis are also expected to play…
Comes to something when you have more joy from the ‘youngsters’ and the women!!
Really cheesed off after Sunday…
Can’t wait for Martinelli to start for our first team. I think he will transform our attack.
Our team in terms of talent is not as bad as it seems, it is just that it is not at the levels of Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Tottenham nor Utd.
Allison – Trent-Arnold, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson – KDB, Kante, Henderson – Kane – Mane, Son
Wouldn’t that be a top squad? And no Arsenal player in it…
Good piece RC.
You have absolutely identified where our goal-conceding problems come from (the goal-scoring ones are another matter, although not entirely unconnected).
AMN would be in my starting line-up in MF these days, and probably Elneny too for his energy,
And though I have defended Xhaka at times there is no place for him the way he is playing at the moment. Ditto Willian.
Pepe I still have hopes for, although he will do nothing to help our defensive frailty down the right side.
My preferred team (including currently injured):
Bellerin Holding Gabriel Tierney
AMN – Partey – Elneny – Saka
Against weaker opposition I’d drop Elneny and bring Pepe in to the attack. The problem is, in most games we are the ‘weaker opposition’ these days.
Leno < Mendy < De Gea < Ederson < Lloris < Allisson
Bellerin < Aurier < Walker < Reece-James < Wan Bissaka < T.Arnold
….We can go on and on for all the positions.
What we need to do is to basically maximize the talent at our disposal and the talent is not bad at all when you see the likes of Gabs, Tierney, Partey, Saka, Martinelli, Auba…It is not a bad squad. It is actually quite a good one. Now can Arteta make the most of the players at his disposal?
Hi Rocky, for me Martinelli is a starter and Mari may be more reliable than Holding…
Bellerin, Mari, Gabriel, Tierney
AMN, Partey, Saka
Ceba/Pepe/Willian/Willock/ESR/RN/ – This is the tough one.
I am almost convinced by your excellent comment except…
I can’t help wondering what Mourinho would do with our current crop of payers.
I know that that idea is heresy for many/most Arsenal fans and I am not saying I want him as our manager (I don’t).
But I don’t think the gulf in quality between the players that took the field on Sunday for the two teams is all that great. Spuds have two world class strikers, both in top form. We have one world class striker hopelessly out of form.
Beyond that, not much difference.
I think Mourinho could set up Arsenal to play the way he has the Spuds playing and – with our current players – we would be top four or close.
There would probably be little room for Pepe or Willian and Bellerin would likely be replaced at RB by AMN, but I think the players we currently have, properly marshalled and encouraged, could be a strong team.
The (multi) million dollar question is whether Arteta is the man who can marshall and encourage them.
I have my doubts for one reason: I think Arteta wants us to play the way Man City do under Guardiola and that’s where the problem lies: our players may not be far off the level of the Spuds players, but they are a long, long way off the quality level of the Man City players.
Consequently Arteta should be trying to get us to play in a way that suits our (somewhat limited) players, not in an “ideal” way that would suit Man City or Liverpool.
In other words, were El Patron a tailor he might realise that we should be cutting our coat according to our cloth.
I. too, am excited by Martinelli’s return but I worry that too much hope is being placed in him.
After his red hot start as a Gunner he had some less impactful performances and, after a long injury lay off, it will take quite some time for him to hit his stride.
That said, the qualities he has already shown give great grounds for optimism.
@RA good points well made. This has been creeping up on us for a while now. Where did the rot start (?):
– The sale of the Invincibles post 2004
– Eduardo leg break
– 8-1 at United
– Losing Carling Cup to Birmingham
– Folding in 2016 when Leicester won the league
– Losing Alexis
– Dropping out of CL places
Despite these we have won 4 FA Cups since 2014 and lost a Uefa Cup final and League Cup final. Other teams would be spitting out DVDs non-stop of these triumphs.
The malaise started under Wenger and was facilitated by Gazidis. Emery didn’t stand a chance in reality. He was ridiculed for his accent, but I don’t see the same of Bielsa at Leeds. Raul had his hands in the till. All of the staff put in place by Gazidis have been given the boot. I’m not sure Edu will be around much longer. I see O’Leary circling around that role.
A number of the players either aren’t good enough or aren’t putting a shift in. Arteta needs time. He’s been here a season and has won an FA Cup. If he makes a mess of it we move on, but he needs to be given a chance.
Arsenal fans have become pretty hysterical over the past few years. I get the feeling that whatever we do will not be enough for some. Be that it fits an agenda; still p!ssed at Wenger getting the boot; or just never happy.
Ultimately I look back at the decision David Dein made to sell to Kroenke initially and then Usmanov as a huge mistake. For all the good he did before that indirectly leads us to where we are now.
That’s way too pessimistic: it wasn’t 8-1 against Utd, it was 8-2 😀
Ahhh Pete, thanks for making me think about all those moments again, not like we are not creating a new moment like that right now.
Give the guy some time to work out some things, entire season hopefully, as this make believe world we live in is not helping matters either.
Play the youth, make some changes and do not be passive. Leeds will die on their sword, but it is also a sword that can slash, cut, chop, and shine with lots of blood dripping from the teams they beat this year.
We have some athletes, set them up, play to their strengths and let’s see what happens in our little petri dish.
That 2nd goal has been wiped from my memory. 8-2 raises the game to the same level as the 6-0 beating we got at Chelsea.
Then there was the 5-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich at home. We lost 10-2 on aggregate don’t forget?
For the folk that love throwing stats about those are some pretty damning ones there.
Hi Rocky, and Pete,
Your comment @ 3:53 yesterday was fine Rocky and I have always respected your opinions, and this was no different.
You can make a good argument for Moanyo improving the current Arsenal team if he had been appointed and I agree with you, much tho I dislike the man.
He has the advantage over Arteta of years of management experience, and has honed his ‘style’ at some of the top clubs before ultimately crashing out after he takes all the credit for winning streaks and then abusing the players. it is part of his cycle, and he will eventually get the bullet at the Spuds.
However much I agree with you on the above, it is still part of the rationalisation of our dismal performances this season, and previously, that this team can become better under an appropriate manager — but also recognises that many of these players, and others in previous seasons, are simply not good enough to make any impact in the Premier League.
Making do with the squad personnel we have is equivalent to making do with a foul casserole with manky ingredients — OK, no one necessarily will starve, but unless the ingredients are improved, a lot of people will get sick.
Personally, I would prefer to give the chef a kick up the ass, and throw the casserole over him — then demand a decent meal with fresh ingredients to make everyone big and strong — just like me.
Pete, you make the point for us, that this ‘team building’ stuff is hoopla by mentioning some of our grimmer past moments stretching way back to the end of the Invincible era.
I have lost patience with rationalising why the team is still rubbish after all that time, and using wishful thinking to convince ourselves that they will get better — my ass.
I am still prepared to give Arteta my vote, but it will be withdrawn if things do not get better in the near future, rather than in the longer term.
As my mate, Will Shakespeare said;
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”
– he was referring to the need of many of us for the safety of blissful ignorance and pretending that all is well.
It is not.
Been away, trying to pluck up the courage to watch Sunday’s debacle. I’m struggling.
I might go for the safety of blissful ignorance.
Or as our mate Billy would say: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”
Yes our right side is the weakest as the players there seem to be struggling most with finding the balance between keeping up the pressure, attacking the box and defending solidly. Clearly, a work in progress, and Arteta should try a different combination, such AMN (wingback) – Elneny (right midfield) – Nelson right wing. Left side is sorted and then get a good player to play behind Auba and it may all start to look differently. Keep the faith 🙂
Hi Total – I think Martinelli can play behind Auba 🙂
Hi RC, that is a mouthwatering prospect. Saka-Auba-Pepe/Nelson with Martinelli behind them, and two of Xhaka/Partey/AMN/Elneny as a wall behind him. We really are not too far away from a quality attack if you ask me.
Lacazette, Aubameyang, Leno, Xhaka, Bellerin and David Luiz have all been rested for tonight’s match. #UEL..Kolasinac is out with a minor injury.. and Nelson is left out as a precaution, due to an accidental clash of heads during training.
ESR and Balogun to start, please!!!!
Arsenal team: Runarsson, Chambers, Mari, Mustafi (c), Cedric, Smith Rowe, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Pepe, Nketiah
Subs: Macey, Hein, Saka, Ceballos, Holding, Balogun, Cottrell, Azeez
I am agog! Not a goosegog, but a man who is so excited that you have revealed that you have studied the works of Shakespeare!! Oh, my!!
If only I had applied myself during my schooling as well as you did. 🤔
Anyway, I am happy to follow your lead, and can say with some aplomb that unless we drastically improve our playmaking and goalscoring that I think our common friend Willy Shakespeare’s quote will be only to right;
— ‘Nothing will come of nothing” – and we need to move our asses and play up and play on to avoid a dire outcome. Don’t you agree? 😜
Hooray – let the good times roll.
Balagun showed better hold up play in 45 minutes than our entire forward line has done all season.
Hear hear LB!
Agreed LB. Excellent use of his body for one so young.