By 1970’s Gooner
1. Arshavin on the bench against Chelsea? Don’t make me laugh.
What has the FA Cup semi final got to do with losing the first leg semi final of the Champions league at old Trafford you might say.
But in fact quite a lot, as in football momentum is vital and how you performed the previous game is a pretty good preparation, psychologically, for the next game.
This is especially so if in your previous game you beat one of the top four teams and as a result will appear in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Notwithstanding the fact that you would have had a chance to win a title something which this team has not done so for the last four years.
For some strange and inexplicable reason Andrey Arshavin was left out of the starting eleven and in my opinion was a major reason why we lost that game.
In addition Wenger played Van Persie in an unfamiliar role on the left wing that day and of course he promptly got injured and could not play against Manchester United… You see how wrong decisions in a previous game affect the next ones?
Wenger did not bother to explain why Arshavin was left out for that game but all the supporters who paid good money to travel to Wembley and pay good money to attend all the Emirates matches really deserve an explanation.
2. Fabregas as the man in the hole? Don’t make me laugh
Considering that in defence Arsenal were fielding Silvestre and young Gibbs may be Wenger was justified to select a 4 2 3 1 formation in order to offer some more protection.
But to move Fabregas out of central midfield knowing full well that he would probably be restricted in his movement and marked tightly was a mistake.
It worked ok against lesser teams like Villareal and Boro but even then Fabregas was not as effective and dominant as we have grown to see from him. Against United it was not on.
3. Nasri as a central midfielder? Don’t make me laugh
Come on Mr Wenger, Nasri is a creative player and a good one at that but not as good as Fabregas.
So sticking Nasri in the heart of the midfield and pushing Fabregas further up field tantamounts to treason and is as well an inefficient use of your resources and as an economist you should know that.
The end result was that the team was unbalanced in its structure.
Adebayor was not getting the support from Fabregas and at the same time, as Arsenal’s midfield was getting outplayed, Nasri couldn’t of course suddenly become a destructive midfielder.
The result was that the excellent Song couldn’t do the job of two men and our midfield which was outnumbered anyway became as porous as a watering can.
4. Diaby as a left winger? Don’t make me laugh
Diaby was shit. He couldn’t hold the ball on his feet at all and all of Arsenal’s attacks and forward play that came to him was immediately stopped by the opposition.
He was played out of position and this did not help him but he was not supportive of young Gibbs in those crucial 25 first minutes when we were under the cosh.
Nearly all of United’s attacks during that time came from that side. And one of the reasons he was put there was to offer help to Gibbs.
Better to have played him (if there was no one else available) behind Adebayor where he could not do any damage if he lost the ball or failed to close down the opposition.
5. Adebayor stayed on after half time? Don’t make me laugh
Adebayor was shit. He has been shit for a long time now. The only thing that kept him in Wenger’s teams were the goals he scored but apart from that his running, heading and holding the ball were of a league 2 standard.
His effort levels were also lazy and lackadaisical. One major reason why Arsenal were under a lot of pressure was this. So keeping him (and Diaby) on for so long was a mystery to me.
Wenger should have made drastic changes at half time. He should have switched to 4 4 2, brought Fabregas back, moved Nasri on the wide midfield area and brought on Eduardo and Bendtner (for Adebayor and Diaby).
Then may be we would have got an away goal. Now it looks very difficult….