Sunday, December 14, 2008
Arsene gets the tactics wrong again
By 1970’s Gooner
First mistake: No width
This issue was covered in my match preview and the inability of Diaby and Denilson to provide it at the Riverside made Arsenal too narrow and congested the midfield too much.
Also in the second half when we needed to stretch the play and get beyond Boro’s defense we couldn’t do it with a large percentage of Arsenal’s attacks going through the middle.
This weakness on the wings was further aggravated by Wenger’s decision to play Robin van Persie way too behind Adebayor almost as a fifth midfielder. This congested the middle even further and on many occasions left Adebayor without support.
A five man midfield is a tactic that is normally utilised in very difficult top four Premier and Champion’s League away games. Does Arsene fear the opposition too much these days or does he not trust his midfielders any more?
Second mistake: Fabregas played too far back
I believe it is the latter. For in the process of playing a five man midfield by van Persie dropping back it meant that Fabregas was pushed back into Arsenal’s half of the pitch even further.
This inevitably resulted in two things.
First Fabregas was mostly involved in areas where he couldn’t weave his magic and when this happens we all know the whole team just doesn’t function really.
Second it meant that the player that by default was left to make the play and distribute the ball was Song; and that is unacceptable to me.
This was corrected in the middle of the second half when we had to go for the winner but it didn’t work out.
The formation should have been 4 4 2 from the beginning with van Persie playing further up alongside Adebayor and with at least one genuine winger, as for example Vela who was on the bench, in order to give width to the team.
Still only Aston Villa won during this weekend which makes this point look not as bad. I don’t think that Villa can sustain a viable challenge for fourth place.
I also think that Arsenal will become a lot more efficient in the second half of the season when Eduardo and Walcott will provide genuine quality options.
P.S Johan Djourou will be Arsenal’s centre half for a long long time
Arsenal’s lack of width Vs Boro’s makeshift defence