Season Assessment: Full Backs

June 15, 2017

If you have been reading AA over the past few years you will know that BR knows sweet FA about tactics. This makes it difficult to judge the effectiveness of our full backs whose jobs change depending upon the formation. It was much easier to critique a performance in the days of Bob Mcnab and Pat Rice; things changed with the excellence and athleticism of Ashley Cole.

So, full backs or wing backs? How did they perform last season?

The first thing to say is that we improved once Mr Wenger tried the Back 3, the gaping holes in the defence disappeared but can the FB’s be blamed? You decide?

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Monreal: Dreadful start to the season. Unable to stop attacks down his flank which led to crosses and shots flying towards Petr. By season’s end he was back to being one of the best FB’s in the league but was he now a CB, a FB or a WB? Nacho has made over 150 appearances for Arsenal and as much as I like him I still hope AFC will sign a better defender. That said, one of my highlights of the season was the triple block of Costa’s shot in the FACF by Nacho, Holding and BFG. Real commitment.

Monreal always gives 100%, is passionate, versatile, combative and this season scored a vital goal at Wembley. He signed a long-term contract in 2016, so I guess it will be Gibbs who is leaving.

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Gibbs: I hate to be critical of a proper Arsenal man but Gibbs hasn’t achieved his potential. A sparkling early career leading to England caps had me thinking he was the successor to Ashley. He isn’t. Good player for sure but we need better (and hopefully we have already signed him).

Keiron started only 5 games last term, and 3 of those were at left wing back – a position he did well in and we certainly improved defensively with both Nacho and Keiron working in tandem.

For his sake, he needs regular first team football and I expect Keiron to be sold in the summer.

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Bellerin: Fantastic player when fully fit and in form. Amongst the very best in his position as is indicated by the media hyping a move to Barca. Hector had his worst season in the shirt thanks to a series of injuries. IMO he returned too early to the first team which affected his performances and it was only at season’s end when we saw the real Bellerin – a player with tactical awareness, a superb tackler and the fastest player in the squad.

Some awful haircuts this season as Hector attempted to be become a fashion icon. What is wrong with a short B & S?

I expect him to leave in a couple of season’s but by then he will have won the CL and PL with Arsenal.

Holding/Ox/Gabriel:  In here as an addendum because they all filled Bellerin’s position during the season. Not did the job as well as Hector but nonetheless were not embarrassed . The Ox at RWB worked better than expected.

Will we see the Back 3 experiment continue next season? And if so, where does Hector fit into the formation? Perhaps this is why there is so much media speculation, possibly activated by Bellerin’s agent.

All in all, our FB’s did not give enough defensive support to their CB’s and this resulted in too many goals conceded from wing positions. Could do better.

written by Big Raddy

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Must Do Better.

February 29, 2016

That was the worst performance for a long time. And just to rub salt in the wounds, they scored two goals.

I’ve exhausted most of my anger already, but I thought our lack of intensity/focus was disgraceful. Our finishing got a bit better, but our application was gone. Look at Ramsey stroll around for their third goal. Time and again Coquelin and Ramsey simply let players run off them. Our midfield was so non existent all ManU had to do was pick up the ball and run and suddenly they’d be in our box.

Is Mertesacker so important to us? Gabriel was terrible and for a while now Kos hasn’t been as good as we’re used to seeing. Despite having the potential to be caught out perhaps Per’s organisation and passing is important to us. Without Santi in there, and with Ramsey only focused on getting on the end of things rather than making them happen, we need someone to be able to pick out the right pass, and Gabriel just looks lost with the ball at his feet.

Theo Walcott needs to be benched. Play Jeff and at least it’ll be like playing with 11 men.

Alexis isn’t contributing anything positive, but maybe it’s time to play him at CF with Welbeck and Campbell on the flanks to support him. Keeps him from having to track back, and I think a lot of the problem with him comes from tiredness.

The title is not gone, but maybe it’s better we think it is. We’ve been playing with such a burden on our shoulders, perhaps it’s better we just concede the title and go out and play football the way we want to. Win, lose or draw, at least entertain us Arsenal. Usually, the results will follow the performance.

The refereeing was very good yesterday. Including the decision to not send off Aaron Ramsey who only pushed Herrera’s (?) hands away, and he decided to go down like he was shot. Good call to book them both.

This performance should really draw a sharp reaction from the manager. Drop Ramsey for doing the Denilson jog, drop Walcott for being a liability, and take Gabriel off and bring in Chambers if Per was dropped for the Chelsea red card. Play the kids if you have to. At least they’ll bring some enthusiasm. Though Iwobi looked shockingly unprepared yesterday in the short time he was on. Which is weird because he’s looked good before.

written (as a comment) by Shard


Gabriel and Ox to start?

December 28, 2015

How can our team beat the Northern Oilers and then get absolutely demolished by S’ton? It is so typical of the last 10 years. Unfathomable.

If I had to pick a first 11 out of the 22 that took the field on Boxing Day 10 would be Gunners. Is this my AFC bias? I don’t think so – which is why such a defeat came as major shock. An unlucky one goal loss like WBA away one can understand but a 4 goal drubbing??

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Mr Wenger will be looking to get us back on track today against a surprisingly in-form Bournemouth. Let there be no doubt, B’mouth can leave the Emirates with a good result. A 6 game unbeaten run including wins over Chelsea, WHU and MU are evidence of a team brimming with confidence but today I expect us to recover some pride.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Ox could find some form? The man has unquestionable quality and is one of England’s great hopes but what has happened? Is it confidence, over-training, trying too hard – whatever it is he needs to get back to form or face a career as a squad player.

I would like to see Gabriel start, he is going to be a top CB and needs pitch time to establish a partnership with Kos, though today I would like to see the Frenchman rested after a poor game against the cheating Long.

Chambers in midfield? Surely not. Gibbs instead of Monreal? Unlikely. Ox to play instead of whom? If it is to be Giroud then Theo plays centrally.

We are at home, Leicester have a tough game, we can be top going into 2017.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Paul Easter and Arsene Wenger.

October 9, 2015

I watched the interview with Gabriel on AFC.com last night, wow, now that is what I call a tough upbringing but nevertheless while watching I started to access his time at Arsenal and realised just how close he came to being propelled into the stratosphere of adulation among us Arsenal supporters — that is very close until the Costa incident.

I mean, he was playing so well that excited comments like Wenger has found another Koscielny were being spoken in deferential tones but this all came to an abrupt halt after the really naive way he acted against Chelsea.

On the day, I was a tad more forgiving, thinking that it was the first time that he had come up against the dirty piece of work that Costa is and, really, who wouldn’t want to kick Costa? but, in fact, it was not the first time; Gabriel had previously faced him in Spain on numerous occasions which makes the fact that he fell into Costa’s trap even more infuriating.

Paul Easter, is a great find and his defending is going from strength to strength, we will forget the Costa incident, time will heal and it is only a question of time before he is acclaimed as the great defender we all secretly think he is.

And if that isn’t enough there is the other hidden bonus that people like me enjoy: we can continue to sit contentedly in the knowledge that Wenger got it right again and all those who were waving their big sticks shouting about Wenger should have strengthened in the summer were wrong or at least the signing of Gabriel shows that Wenger does act when players become available and I feel totally confident that if another striker or a HM or any player who would have improved that squad for that matter were available, Wenger would have done everything he could have to sign them.

Arsenal 3 Manchester United 0

Still too early to forget this.

written by LB


Boro Buried By Buoyant Arsenal

February 16, 2015

Here are a few AAers’ comments after the game …………………. 

LB said

I think I would describe that as the perfectly executed plan.

Who would have thought that Wenger would have started with a 4.2.4 line up? The idea was clearly to go at them, all guns blazing, get ahead and by doing so would force them onto us, before bringing Walcott on in the latter stages to run riot with his pace. And that is exactly what happened.

If Boro were hoping for a lift from Wenger opting to field a weaker team they were disappointed. 

Welbeck, Giroud, Ozil and Sanchez up front, wow that is some front line.

Gabriel didn’t have that much to do but there were some very encouraging signs. His professional foul was a South American master class.

https://twitter.com/BBCSport/status/567228008227160064

stevepalmer1 said

I felt we gave a good account of ourselves, pretty on the eye, plenty of possession with some nice quick passing. I would like to see us making challenges earlier on forward running attackers as i feel we open up and give them chances but apart from that not bad at all. 

My MOTM would have been Gibbs the lad ran up and down all game and made his self a nuisance but also did his defensive work well. Very happy with that effort but have to say expected more goals but 2 goals is still blinding. Don’t want to leave Chambers out another fine days work son.

Boro2

Gooner In Exile said

Gibbs had a very positive game obviously showing he wants his shirt back.

But I think I loved watching the front three of Ozil, Santi and Alexis, they were walking into little spaces and making gorgeous passing. Past their way out of the press with ease.

Also has anyone noticed the skill Welly uses quite a lot, where he kind of allows the player to commit a sliding tackle before he touches the ball and he kind of picks it up with his trailing leg, it’s very effective and useful because he seems to break away more often than not using it.

Let’s not forget this was Boro and we are going to face better less gappy buses than this in the remainder of the league campaign.

Ratings

Szczesny 8 – Not much to do – Great having him as second choice keeper! 

Chambers 8 – Hungry and competent without being tested too much

Koscielny 9 – Needed a rest and got one by cruising through the game

Gabriel 8 – Fitted in straightaway. Took one for the team in the right area of the field

Gibbs 9 –  Excellent throughout  

Flamini 8 – Very effective against limited opposition

Cazorla 9 – His performance was as tall as his hair

Ozil 9 – A world class player able to show it against a disappointing ‘Boro

Welbeck 8 – Just finding his form again. Could have a great end of season

Sanchez 9 – Love the man almost as much as he loves playing

Giroud 9 – Two crackers. The first a team goal, the second opportunist 

Cobbled together by chas

 

 


Gabriel’s Initiation: ‘Boro Preview

February 15, 2015

There are some chaps who think today will be an easy victory for The Arsenal, I beg to differ. Anyone who watched ‘Boro thrash Man City at the Etihad knows they are a very good side. Top of the Championship playing with attacking intent and creativity, they will be difficult opponents.

Mr Wenger has stated that his respect for the FA Cup has affected our CL performances and the coming week sees that competition return. It will be interesting how much “respect” he pays Middlesborough today. Will he pick his best team or rely upon our second string?

It is more who stays in the side after two hard games last week than who is promoted. Alexis cannot be risked, Ospina will give way, Theo has played twice as has Coquelin etc etc

Hopefully Paul Easter will get his first outing alongside Chambers at the centre of defence or will Mr Wenger play safe and use one of our regular CB’s alongside our shiny new Brazilian? I agree – AW will not take such a risk.

Here is my guess:-

Szczesny

Chambers   Gabriel    Koscielny     Gibbs

Rosicky  Flamini   Cazorla

Ozil

Welbeck    Giroud

Tasty, don’t you think?

We are the holders, we are at home, we are the favourites, we are The Arsenal. No more injuries, an open attacking game and a win would be good,

That’s yer lot on a difficult day in Denmark