Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Three things need to be corrected for the forthcoming Liverpool games

By 1970’s Gooner

Last night’s game should not be interpreted as a failure. The positives were that we dominated for a large part of the encounter especially in the second half where we had them pinned against the wall.

But just as with Milan at the Emirates we couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Mainly through grossly inadequate refereeing, Bendtner’s selfishness (who appeared to me to want to put the ball in the net himself rather than allowing it to pass through his legs) and Van Persie’s need for a few more games to find his match fitness.

However there were three in my opinion fundamental areas that Arsenal need to put right so that our chances for success are maximized for the forthcoming two Liverpool encounters.

1. Eboue was a disgrace

Eboue displayed all the negative characteristics in his play all crammed into one game.

He was not penetrative enough and kept coming inwards, passing the ball back to Toure or infield.

The number of successful passes he made can I think be counted on one hand.

He fluffed horribly the one and great chance he had to score to make it 2-1 and what was equally bad he rarely tracked back to assist poor Toure who had to do the job of two men.

And on the occasion Eboue was there he allowed Gerrard to ease pass him and go through into the area to eventually cross the ball for their equalizer.

Under normal circumstances Eboue should be dropped. Judging by his woeful display and obvious lack of confidence I would prefer him to sit on the bench but the sad thing however is that Wenger is running out of viable options.

In the absence of Van Persie and Diaby (he is red carded for Saturday remember) Walcott should be brought in to continue the impressive performance he put in the second half who finally offered penetration on the wing.

But who can play the other wide midfield role?

2. Width, width, width

As pointed out in my preview of the game Liverpool followed their tried and tested formation and conservative tactics they always employ against strong opponents.

They play with two defensive midfielders (Mascherano and Alonso) and have the two wide men (in this case Kuyt and Babel) tuck into the middle and congest it as much as possible.

That is why Arsenal needed to stretch the play on the wings so as to create space for our midfielders to operate. This did not happen as Eboue was nowhere to be found and Hleb kept coming into the middle thus congesting it even more!

The change in Arsenal’s intensity and effectiveness was very evident as soon as Walcott was brought into the game.

If Robin Van Persie was fit then what I suggested in my preview of last night’s game, a 4 3 3 system, would have been the best way to create the needed width for the game next Saturday.

He would have been best deployed on the left wing and Walcott on the right hand side. But sadly he is not available.

So for the next game Wenger has the option of playing Hleb there or even persist with Eboue with the hope that “surely he can’t repeat the same awful display two games running!”


3. Hleb is far more effective in the middle behind Adebayor

It is becoming increasingly obvious and it has been pointed out often enough by this blog that Hleb is far more creative and effective when operating from a more central role.

This is because his style of play is based on close control and technical trickery coupled with the ability to pick penetrative passes by putting people in on goal.

He was so much more influential last night when eventually Wenger instructed him to come infield late in the second half.

I believe that that is where he should be positioned in the future starting if possible with next Saturday.

But if he is brought in behind Adebayor then who is to occupy the left hand side of midfield?

Clearly Arsene Wenger has difficult choices to make.

a. Play Hleb behind Adebayor and keep Eboue and Walcott on the wings.

b. Be even more creative by playing Clichy and Walcott on the wings and bring Hoyte in at left back (leaving Eboue out)!

c. Adopt the 4 4 2 system by dropping Eboue, playing Bendtner alongside Adebayor (as he did at Wigan) and deploy Hleb and Walcott on the wings.

Sadly the squad, due to injuries, is not big enough to cope with so many absentees especially for next Saturday. Read, Van Persie, Rosicky, Eduardo, Diaby and Sagna to name the first team regulars only.

Ideally I would like to drop Eboue (he was not good enough to play in any position last night and I wouldn’t trust him to start a game now), deploy Hleb in the more central areas of the pitch and add width to stretch the play.

The only way to achieve all this and keep a balanced side is option “b” above.

Arsene’s change of tactics needed to counter Liverpool’s style


Anonymous said...

So Bendtner tried to score himself did he?

With how his legs were all over the place it really did look like that didn't it.

Grow a brain numbnuts.

Anonymous said...

Big Nick definately tried to flick the ball in the net himself in my opinion (and that of 5 others i watched the game with). Watch the close-up carefully, he clearly moves his right heal TOWARDS the oncoming ball as if to back-heal it on its way into the net. Disgracefull. What kind of professional footballer cant get out the way of a football???

PS. Eboue out the team ASAP please, liability all season bar 1 decent half vs AC at home.

Anonymous said...

Traore lm??

Anonymous said...

i would consider traore too inexperienced to start such an important game

Wrighty7 said...

Bendtner 100% tried to finish that! I think the player we have missed most this season is Rosicky. He is class but always bloody injured!

Anonymous said...

why does diaby not play on the right??
sorry about caps.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting question Gazzap.

One reason may be is that a lot if most of Arsenal's attacks involve Clichy and the left side. And Diaby is better at defending than Hleb.
Another reason maybe that Wenger may want to bring on Walcott on the right and doesn't want to switch too many people around...

Anonymous said...

Wenger can also try Hoyte in RB behind Toure i.e. Toure to play RM, with Walcot in on LM as he did when he came on on Wednesday. Then Hleb can play either behind Adebayor or Bendtner which would allow Ade a rest. Formation 4411



Walcot Flamin Fabregas Toure

Clichy Senderos Gallas Hoyte

Or if Fabregas / Flamin combo could be disrupted say by putting Flamin on the Right wing (I think Flamin is better on RM than Fabregas who is crucial and creative centrally), Song in CM behind Fabregas, Walcot would still play on LM. So, you would have:





Perhaps Wenger could think of resting a couple of players for the crucial Anfield return leg. If so Hleb, Fabregas and Clichy spring to mind; Fabregas, Clichy and Toure were noticeably very tired towards the end on Wednesday. The problem is, resting Hleb and Fabregas removes all creativity Arsenal have, one wishes Denilson was fit and Diaby (not particularly preferable but would do given the circumstances) was not suspended. It may also require bringing Toure in CB to partner Senderos, moving Gallas to LB (remember last season at Old Traford in September). To rest some players, Wenger would need one or two of Song, Gilberto and Hoyte to start on Saturday, and to play Walcot as a second striker in a 442 or on the wing in a 451 formation. A change of two would be OK, three would be a little too disruptive of the partnerships. If he did that, he could have the following:


Here, Clichy and Fabregas get to start on the bench or rested completely.



Here, the combo of Clichy, Fabregas and Hleb start on the bench one or two could come in at some time.

Does that make any sense at all?

Cheers, all Gunners.

Anonymous said...

I dont think we can afford to put out a weakened team for the league game as a) we are running the risk of loosing track of man Utd and b)a defeat will be a big psychological blow.
So wenger can not afford to rest players.

Anonymous said...

We were robbed by referee, again!!!

Liverpool(early in season)

All the games apart from Chelsea, we should have won. This will give us 7 points and 1 point above United. I cannot recall Man United suffer from any major poor decisions by referee this season. In fact, I remember Ronaldo dived to get a penalty.

Plus the unbelievable amaount of injuries we suffer in the mid season, it was quite a miracle we were still in the title race. Yet the so call pundits are happy to overlook all of these facts and remark Arsenal's recent poor records are signs of inexperience and lacks depth. However, when we reached the Carling Cup final last season, I remember most of them(especially the BBC ones) claim our youth/reserve team can match almost any sides in the Prem apart from the top 4. What a bunch of hypocratics they are.

I am absolutely livid.

Anonymous said...

I think there is merit in what anon 10.51 is saying. We had a disproportionate number of injuries to key players and refereeing decisions have gone against us.

If Man Utd had injuries to Ronaldo, Roonie Evra etc I think we would have been crowned champions already!

sikatinavra said...

it was a mystake when we left freddie and bobby to leave...