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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Arsenal’s centre has gone soft but team needs more width. Player analysis and ratings



By 1970’s Gooner

And there were so many people blaming young Senderos for not being able to deal with Drogba’s strength and aerial ability. The whole game turned on the inability of Arsenal’s two centre backs, normally so reliable, to deal with him.

The first goal was conceded when Gallas opted to go in front of Drogba rather than defend the high ball from behind him, as you are always taught to do as a defender (4).

The second when a chip of a ball onto Anelka’s head found Gallas unready to even challenge him strongly enough so as to put him off.

In stepped Toure who was sucked in towards Gallas thus leaving Drogba alone in the heart of our defence (5). He even had time to turn and half hit the ball in off Almunia’s stretched hand.

Almunia was one of a handful of Arsenal players who had a decent game making some fine saves. I feel comfortable with him in goal now (7).

But to blame the defeat on those two errors alone or even on the fact that the officials should have ruled the first goal offside would be putting your hands over your eyes avoiding to see the real reasons for the defeat.

And these are that the team lacks balance form the wide areas of the pitch and also goal scoring ability.

Arsene Wenger was right to want to give more emphasis on wing play rather than try and go through the middle. I of course agree with that as it was one of the points that I made in my preview of the game (Three ways to beat Chelsea).

But Eboue was not penetrative enough and kept giving the ball away (3). Walcott would have been a better alternative and he should have come on much earlier than he did.

Robin Van Persie still needs a few games to get back to match fitness (5). He did provide width but he faded out of the game in the second half. And a team without real width is like a bird that can’t fly.

And I ask you where were the goals going to come from? Adebayor is a shadow of himself when compared to the start of the season (4). He found it difficult to turn his man always electing to pass the ball backwards rather than forward. And on the few occasions he got free to shoot he fluffed his effort.

Chelsea managed to restrict Fabregas (6) and Hleb (5) who were marked tight and given little space to weave their magic. I do not recollect a telling pass they made or even a shot on goal from either of them. Goal scoring from the midfielders was unfortunately not going to give us the answer.

Flamini (6) was the only one who managed a very strong shot form an angle after Van Persie’s beautifully struck cross from the left side.

No wonder it was Sagna then, a full back, who managed to score in the end with a glancing header at the near post from a Fabregas in swinging corner (7).


After that it was a battle between Chelsea’s strength and physical ability versus Arsenal’s …I was going to say slick play but it wasn’t even that. For, after we scored we should have played possession football, kept our heads and passed them to death. But we couldn’t even do that.

In fact it was young Clichy that at least tried to do it, often winning his duels with Joe Cole and generally restricting him quiet well throughout the game (6).

And lastly, what I wished for in my preview of the game worked the opposite way. I wished that Grant would get the substitutions wrong. He got them right but what was more perplexing was that Wenger did not react to them.

Chelsea switched from 4 3 3 to 4 4 2 with Anelka joining Drogba up front and Lampard released from his more conservative defensive role to join in the forward play.

One of Arsenal’s midfielders like Flamini or even Diaby who had come on should have been instructed to patrol that area in front of our defence to add more aerial ability and also to counter Lampard and Anelka.

Are we out of it? On simple arithmetic no; if we can get a win at Old Trafford and Manchester United lose at Chelsea we are right back in it. We also have to win all our remaining games.

But on the evidence of this showing and the psychological impact this defeat would have had on the young guns I would consider it highly unlikely.

But football, like life, is very unpredictable. Stranger things have happened…..

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you believe that Arsenal will win at Old Trafford? IMO - NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

Anonymous said...

its over..!! weve achieved more than we could ask for this season... just because we had such a gr8 start we actually started expecting evrything.. but this is professional football n teams juss dont sit around n watch us play the beautiful game.... im happy with our performance its not fair pressure the young guns yet...its not their time... n yes i agree with the above post.. manure does look a class above the gunners at the moment... arsenal need to stablise the ship.. n get consistency goin..

JBT said...

WHY ARE WE NOT IN MARKET FOR MORE DETERMINED GRITTY ENGLISH PLAYERS? JOLEON LESCOTT MICAH RICHARDS JERMAINE JENAS WOULD ALL BE GOOD SUMMER SIGNINGS AND DEFOE AT LEAST HE SCORES CONSISTENTLY. OUT WITH SENDEROS DJOUDOU EBOUE DIABY ADEBAYOR

Anonymous said...

GEEZ! "ITS NOT OVER!!!!!" - look if it was a forgone conclusion that Chelsea and Man U would win there remaining matches, then why the hell would they be played. We must think that maybe this loss will cause us to get it together(we must stay positive until its over).Listen homies we did the doulble over Man U last year so it IS possible for us to beat them at home! no matter how down we feel.
Yes we played way too narrow and when Walcott came on he touched the ball maybe once, however we were up oin this match. Im sorry but the defense os to be blamed to me, as it does not take more than ONE goal to win a match and those two errors caused two goals. Please look at the fact that Drogba got behind the defense quite a few times in the first half so i believe our whole defensive scheme was off. Come one how can the box be so empty on free kick, there should have been no space for Drogba, no?
The worst should have been a draw!

Dude u said Man U look a class above Arsenal at the moment! though i dont agree cant we start playing well again? believe that and forget about Man U!

I WILL NOT STOP BELIEVING!
NO APOLOGIES FOR THAT!

GOD BLESS!

Anonymous said...

GEEZ! "ITS NOT OVER!!!!!" - look if it was a forgone conclusion that Chelsea and Man U would win there remaining matches, then why the hell would they be played. We must think that maybe this loss will cause us to get it together(we must stay positive until its over).Listen homies we did the doulble over Man U last year so it IS possible for us to beat them at home! no matter how down we feel.
Yes we played way too narrow and when Walcott came on he touched the ball maybe once, however we were up oin this match. Im sorry but the defense os to be blamed to me, as it does not take more than ONE goal to win a match and those two errors caused two goals. Please look at the fact that Drogba got behind the defense quite a few times in the first half so i believe our whole defensive scheme was off. Come one how can the box be so empty on free kick, there should have been no space for Drogba, no?
The worst should have been a draw!

Dude u said Man U look a class above Arsenal at the moment! though i dont agree cant we start playing well again? believe that and forget about Man U!

I WILL NOT STOP BELIEVING!
NO APOLOGIES FOR THAT!

GOD BLESS!

Anonymous said...

For those person who said we can't beat MANURE at OT and the other guy JBT....GO FUCK YOURSELVES AND THEN SUPPORT TOTTENHAM!! WAS DJOUROU OR SENDEROS ON THE PITCH???? HOW LONG WAS DIABY ON FOR??? FUCKING UNBELIEVEABLE COMMENTS!
IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL MAY! SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT!!

Anonymous said...

although i dont agree with first two comments tht manure is bettr.. i would like to say tht they have a deeper squad n thts about it... with all the injuries and wengers policy of pickin out the 'needle in the haystack' type of transfers.. our team is runnin on fumes.. the defense is in shambles and we cant seem to shut the door after takin the lead... praises to almunia,sagna and flamini... and pots of shit to chelsea for being such priks and resorting to longballs and also to toure and gallas for not dealin with them.. a pitty... gunners march on and we follow foreva..!! hail gunners..

Anonymous said...

I dont know what Arsene Wenger is doing - surely all he needs to do is read blogs like this, where people with feck all footballing experience chip in with all the answers -"the team needs more width" - if only Wenger had your knowledge. Jesus wept!

dA mutafaca said...

i dont feel like going to work today. my morale is very poor after watching this game.

Anonymous said...

Wenger needs to buy some real wingers! Eboue did absolutley NOTHING and van persie did all the work on the left... then when Walcott, someone who could avtully do something, comes on, he touches the ball once and almost gets around cole.

We also knew that Essien was at right back... why didnt we try more on the left???

We did dominate the game and should have won, and we played well. Your ratings would have been extremly different had we have won.

And Adebayor, he first touch is as poor as it was when he first joined. He Cant pass, he cant control the ball, he cant score... why is he in the team?? Wenger should drop him and play bendtner and RvP... just for one game to give him a fucking wakeup-call!!

I dont think its over, lots of big games stil have to be played but its so disapointing for us to be 3rd... we have done so well though the first 25 games.. we just have to keep winning from now on.

We did the double over manure last year... if we beat them at OT then we only 3 pts behind them(if both teams win all games intill then) and they still have to play CSKA Chelski at stamford brigde. All could still change!

Even if we dont win, we have done fucking well and exceded all expectations from the start of the season. Remember when the spuds were meant to take us out the top 4??

Lets hope Liverpool play as Shitly as they did against Manure.. Dont know if anyone else watched but they we fucking pathetic!! Didnt see Gerrard or Torres once.

Anonymous said...

To anon 12.13

What is your problem mate. Don't you think that the team needs width? Do you disagree with this or do you have a better insight that you can deliver?

Anonymous said...

Ad-e-ba-yor
Ad-e-ba-yor
Give him some hair
He's having a mare

Anonymous said...

Ade has been crap for a long time. Trouble is he believed all the hype about him and became complacent. Drop him I would say.

Anonymous said...

im not even talking about the chelsea game im talking about what its going to take for arsenal to win the league again!!! is it just a coincidence we havent won it since the likes of adams keown campbell parlour have all moved on? is it just a coincidence taht utd and chelsea have strong english backbones? we need players who love the club and english football. flamini is not commited to arsenal nor is eboue adebayor lehmannetc why are they taking about italy or spain or germany

Anonymous said...

JBT-hahahaha Jenass, please explain how you´re thinking, incredible!

Anonymous said...

jbt...

Jenas, you right, i definatly think he will take Fabregas's place in the starting 11 of his clubs biggest rival...

Anonymous said...

Arsene, plese sell eboue. Can't believe his antics on the field, besides poor game. Why not start Walcott?

If the season is lost, arsene lost it off the field, i.e. in the transfer market. Never understand with all the backing and $$$$$$$ available, he still persists without adding experienced talents to the team. Maybe he wants to prove to the world he can win with a young team. Pride, maybe, but real sad.

Arvind said...

MAN...
It just sucks...
I have to listen to all the Manchester United fans, bash Arsenal, Listen to Chelsea supporters give me grief.
We lost... We have got 4 points out of 5 games, that is not consistency.
Honestly, the team lacks depth, many arsenal fans denied it for such a long time and when things were good, the squad depth was not an issue, now it really shows.
Utd are able to rest Ronaldo, Rooney and bring on Tevez and Scholes for them.. Rest Giggs, bring on Nani.

The Chavs, look at the substitutions yesterday, Makelele and Cole for Anelka and Belleti.

We do not have ANY options like that in our squad. Our first team is good, but our second team is just rubbish..

Diaby is not good enough at the moment.. He seems to be out of position no matter where he plays... Hleb, when on an off day is just HORRIBLE... But we do not have ANYONE to replace him..
Cesc is the same.. When will Wenger realise that a few purchases to have as tested replacements and to give other players breaks are required???

Injuries to Eduardo and Rosicky (perpetually injured) have not helped..
I was thinking the slump in Adebayors slumps is the loss of Eduardo and not all the other excuses and complaints i have heard...

Anyway.... I was discussing with my friend, it is soo upsetting to keep losing out like this season after season after season for the last 4 years.. Something has to give...

Our board really need to stop LIEING to everyone that Wenger has money available, i really do not think the board offers money to Wenger.

I was watching the post match presentation yesterday and realised, Wenger must feel quite bad and i fear for his mental sanity at times.. He seems to want to restrain blaming anyone in the team for their shortcomings, hence he says, we tried hard and what not.. I sometimes feel he needs to tell the team off for not finishing chances. Tell off people for not taking shots on goal.. Shout at Gallas for not defending properly....

He has seen the league cup slip from him and knows in the back of his mind the squad is very thin and is unlikely to get through the test of the coming weeks.

AHHHHH
The ranting and raving, i feel better, but i know seeon enough, i am going to feel shit again, once some stoopid manc fan comes and starts talking shit again

Anonymous said...

Baller Says,

Some off you guys are seriously tripping!!.

Drogba was only a threat with a long ball his link up play was not as good as Ade's. Drogba is a better finisher who is at the peak of his career. When drogba was Ade's age he was playing in the french second divison. I thought ade played well but was not enough of a goal threat. we had the bHe gave john terry and carvaliho a torrid time. We had the better of it up untill drogba's offside goal. ANd it was really bad the way we caved in on set pieces. Hope we can learn from this. We have done well this season and have competed strongly with teams that have splashed the cash and have done better than liverpool so far who also splashed the cash and lets not forget the spuds who also splashed the cash

Anonymous said...

GALLAS HAS BEEN AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN FOR MONTHS .SHOWED HE HAD NO HEART FOR THE FIGHT AGANST DROGBA.NEVER WON A BALL AGANST HIM INTHE AIR AND GROUND ALL MATCH.

Anonymous said...

Wenger definitely has a lot of work to do this summer. Continually giving Adebayor 90 minutes is not helping. We need to see if Bendtner can produce before the season ends. If he can't then both can go. Our defense has been good, it just lacks depth. There are not many Drogba's in the EPL so you can't design your defense around stopping him. For the other 18 teams, we are good.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't anybody pass to Walcott, the only player I saw pass to him was Fabregas. Eboue completely ignored him on at least 3 occasions.

Anonymous said...

Because he is English

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Anonymous said...

The pace has disappeared form the team what happened to the days of the quick counter attack. Some who can pick up the ball and run at defenders likes of Pires, Henry, overmars, virea committing defenders, they hate that. At the moment we can't sustain pressure and hit an effective counter attack where missing pace wingers who like to run at defenders we need them left and a right flanks.
Walcott will come good but he is suited as a centre forward, Carlos vela looks a good prospect for the left wing and as a forward.

We need two class wingers to have more options from a our tried and tested passing game and learn to defend under pressure and those draws will turn to wins

LONG LIVE THE ARSENAL !!!!!!!

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