The choice of midfield left a lot to be desired.
Playing Arteta along with the Ox was asking for it. Chelsea played two defensive midfielders in Matic and Luiz. They showed respect. Wenger didn’t.
They pressed us high up the pitch and our two midfielders couldn’t cope with it because they are not that adept nor do they have the muscle and tenacity to wriggle through.
Wenger should have abandoned his preference for playing one defensive midfielder and one more creative who will bomb forward. At least against the big teams.
He has the tendency to play the same way irrespective of the opponent. And not only does he field a weak midfield he instructs BOTH his full backs to go forward (Gibbs was near the opponent’s corner flag as they were scoring their early goals)! But this is like playing with fire. If it works then it’s great. But if doesn’t then its spectacular failure.
In all our away games against the other three competitors Wenger NEVER fielded Arteta alongside Flamini. It was always one of the two and another more creative player like Wilshere, The Ox or Ramsey. The results? 5 conceded against Liverpool, and 6 against City and Chelsea!
Mourinho on the other hand changes his team formation and players to suit the game in front of them. He did this at the start of the season when he played without a forward in the away gam at Man Utd and played not to get beat at the Emirates.
He got his draws, saved face and moved on. But Wenger no. He has to play the same way every game against any opponent. He would have done this even if he was fielding a second eleven I think.
Playing a high defensive line doesn’t help either. When you do this alongside a dodgy midfield and against top teams who have fast wingers and pressing midfielders then you are really asking for it.
And we got what we deserved.
The players also lack confidence. This is so obvious in the big games. They are afraid to play, lose concentration and cohesion. They do not believe that they can achieve a result against the big teams. And the result becomes a formality.
Arsene Wenger cannot dismiss this as a blip.
He cannot ignore it.
He has to, even at this late stage in the race for the title, learn from mistakes.
In life the biggest mistake you can make is not to learn from your mistakes. But will Wenger learn?