Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lehmann’s clanger hides Wenger’s and Arsenal’s sins

By 1970’s Gooner

Everybody would of course blame “poor” Jens Lehmann for dropping a clanger and gifting Blackburn a very fortuitous equalizer. And it certainly looked that, despite Blackburn’s resurgence in the second half, Arsenal were going to hold out for a very scrappy but morale boosting away win.

But having watched the encounter live I formed the opinion that it need not have turned out such a close and scrappy game.

Arsenal strangely enough were outfought in midfield and could not dictate play as we know they can. The result was that Fabregas was subdued and the supply to the two front men was not as often or as good as it usually is.

There are two major reasons for this.

The first has to do with the fact that due to the physical nature of the opponents, the Arsenal players, in their desire to show to everybody that they can mix it too, forgot how to play football.

Blackburn’s physical approach (especially from that prat Savage) was intended to intimidate them and put them out of their stride.

It did not succeed in intimidating them but it shifted the Arsenal’s players focus and minds away from playing the beautiful game to dishing it out themselves.

This is exactly what happened in the away game at Sparta Prague, a game I also watched live. Except on that occasion Lehmann and the post saved Arsenal.

There is another equally important reason for the loss of midfield control and it has to do with Wenger’s selection to start with Eduardo. This is because Eduardo was returning from injury and had not played in the Premiership yet.

As often happens in football, due to its zero sum characteristic and reliance on team coordination, if one or more of its parts or players is not functioning well the whole of the team suffers.

Giving him his debut in such a tough away fixture was to my mind a gamble. In fact it was a gamble Wenger need not have taken because by doing so he not only weakened the side but had to change a thus far winning formula by switching the formation from 4 4 1 1 to a straight 4 4 2.

In addition, this deprived the midfield area of the extra player it needed on various occasions which would have come from the deeper lying forward. Hleb in other words.

Loss of midfield control deprived Arsenal the usual dominance it enjoys against such teams and resulted in a scrappy and physical game which invariably suited the less technical side.

Blackburn Vs Arsenal. Predictions and betting suggestions

Walcott and Clichy should be the wide players against Blackburn


Anonymous said...

Despite what you say we showed them that no one can can kick us out of a game. This is a signal to all those other teams that this tactic will lead them nowere

Anonymous said...

Im glad that u haven't jumped on the 'Get Jens Out' band wagon that seems to be forming amongst Arsenal fans. U have made valid points that i agree with, and we should have kept the winning formula and eased Eduardo in gradually. I also feel that although Jens has made costly mistakes, we should try to support him and get him back to form. He knows he messed up, he doesn't need reminding. Wrighty7

Anonymous said...

To Wrighty7

I think it is more important that Arsenal play well and the right choices made in tactics and player selection than to get on Lehmann's back at the moment.

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