Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, May 01, 2009

Wenger’s five errors against Manchester United should not be repeated in the return leg

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….


Patman said...

Your point about the Chelsea game is stupid, they weren't even the last team we played against before Man utd, its completely unrelated to the champions league tie. Also playing Nasri as a central midfielder wasn't the problem, mark my words when I tell you he'll end up playing there more permanently as time goes on and do an excellent job as its his best position. The problem was he was playing so deep he was basically a defensive midfielder, therefore he could not influence the game. The other points were just blatantly obvious, although I must say even though Adebayor was useless, when you play as a lone striker you need the support and service of your midfield, and he definitely didn't get that. I find your analytical skills very strange indeed.

rvp14 said...

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. Yes



Anonymous said...

Any coach will tell you Nasri has the potential to be a good central midfielder. That is not to say he deserved his place in midfield but in a few more games will be better and better. Him partnering Fabregas could be fantastic.

Nasri's positional play is fantastic although it is true we missed his link up and dynamism.

The 4-2-3-1 has been largely irrelevant and it invites the opposition to come at us.

Song, although a good player only sees what's in front of him. He's like the concept of 'service recovery paradox'. He makes up for his error of positional play by making a tackle later which pleases everyone although it allowed the attack to pressure us.

Denilson and Nasri on the other hand get into position and look to deny the threat but everyone else is not doing the same.

And Adebayor is class, just you wait for him to prove it again.

Renoogami said...

Spot on article and one every sensible and loyal gooner will surely agree with. What excuse can there possibly be for Arsene's abject failure to swap things around at half time? We were clearly being overrun and our shape and formation were obviously all wrong. To stay in the tie something had to be done urgently. But no, we had to wait for the standard and laughable regulation 70th minute change. Utter madness! The fact that we still have an outside chance of making the final is in spite of, and not because of Arsene Wenger. I would go as far as saying that if Arsene had asked Fergie to pick the Arsenal team, formation, tactics and substitutions he could not have done a better job to make life easy for United

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Other than the Nasri part, I could not even slightly agree with what 'arsenalcolumn' said.

Song has been class recently, he makes initial tackles and makes them count very often. I think he makes very few errors in the first place

But Denilson getting into position and denying a threat??? How long ago was this

And saying Adebayor is class just takes the cake. He has the possibility of being a good player, but has all the class of Robbie Savage. He doesn't even put effort in, which is just shocking.

Anonymous said...

Ade is class. A class A Cnut.
He has not looked interested in playing for our beloved club for most of this season.

Anonymous said...

Momentum is important. Wenger talks about self belief quite often. What do you think losing to chelsea in yet another semi would have done to our self belief after having taken the lead?

VP as a winger. NEVER AGAIN.
Adebayor DOESNOT equate to class. RIVALDO was class, MESSI is class. Ade is not creative, he can not operate isolated what he is good at is at being unpredictable and thats not necessarily a good thing when we lack consistency upfront.

LA gooner said...

I totally agree with RVP part. that is what i hav been telling my buddies. RVP on the pitch would hav changed the game totally. his absence was due to wenger's stupidity in chelsea game. i just hope he will be available on tuesday. does anybody hav any idea why wenger is tinkering around at this point of season? why can't he wait another 6 more games and do that during preseason?

Alex said...

I completely agree with you. I was tearing my hair out that Arshavin didn't start against Chelsea. Why on earth did that happen??

Kris said...

'Wenger's five errors against Manchester United should not be repeated in the return leg'.
That's what your title was - so why on earth is your first point related to arshavin being on the bench for chavski? What do you reckon Wenger's going to do, play ade, bentner, nasri, fabregas and walcott and leave Arshavin out against Pompey?
Then your point about Arshavin is completely wrong anyway. You state yourself 'as in football momentum is vital and how you performed the previous game is a pretty good preparation, psychologically, for the next game.'
Now do you understand why Wenger left Arshavin out for the Chelsea game. It was precisely because Liverpool was after Chelsea and therefore from a momentum point of view was more important. I.E. If chelsea beat us, which was always possible if not probable given our defensive absentees, we'd at least be able to recover some momentum against Liverpool. You can debate this however you want, but i think Wenger prioritised a result against Liverpool, fourth place and an unbeaten premiership run over beating Chelsea and reaching the FA cup final. I'm not saying he was right, on the contrary i think he was wrong, but the selection of arshavin and most importantly our most in form player, Alex Song, on the bench must surely have proved this was the case.
All the same the whole issue is irrelevant to Man United.
Points 2,3 and 4 - have to agree, it was almost england managerish bad to play three players so badly out of position when in fact all 3 could have played close to their natural roles.
As for 5 there's no disputing Adebayor was rubbish, i almost threw my glass when i saw Walcott coming off first, but a double substitution at half time, no manager would ever do that!
But i suppose there's something even more important than debating among ourselves, the fact that Man United are total pricks and we deserve more than anything to get a result in the second leg because we just don't seem to ever get their luck. E.G. Rio Ferdinand falls on Eduardo clutching his rib, Ferdinand will be back for the next leg, Eduardo will probably miss the final with a groin strain if somehow we made it. Thanks a bunch Rio...

Anonymous said...

Actually nasri is a CM who can play on the wings.

But i still cannot/will not get over the fact that wenger left arshavin out in the FA Cup.Which shld have been within our grasp if we had a balanced team with players playing their natural position out. With Everton in the finals makes it even harder to swallow!

Without arshavin we have lost both games (2 semis) and we also shld have lost at liverpool if it werent for arshavin's strike. For the two semis we had about 5 shots on target (for both games). And didnt create many chances. W/o arshavin now, we are clueless in the final third.

And then playing diaby for 2 of our most crucial semi finals for full 90 mins against chelsea and manutd is mind blowing! He doesnt warrant a starting berth ever!

And of course his strange decision to play cesc in the hole behind a lazy striker who were smiling thruout the cl semis and who didnt break a sweat reeks of his usual stubborn self.

I believe we can beat united with the team we have, but the stubborn decisions made by wenger ; if he doesnt change the formation on the second leg; will cost us the game.

Anonymous said...

forget this rvp would have done this and that . hes an overated 1 footed big time charlie. we should have bought 2 top class centre halfs at least 2 seasons ago. thats why we went out of the fa cup and are goin out of the champions league. wengers fault, full stop . and before any dick says go and support spurs . shut the fuk up

Munopenga Imi said...

You are wrong on Adebayor. I have noticed that ever since Adebayor demanded to be paid what he is due he has created so many enemies.

What do you expect Adebayor to do with hopeless service.

The problem is WENGER. He can be clueless in big games.

Why try experiments in important games? You can do it against Mboro because they are championship level but this is top level football.

Diaby should have played off Adebayor, Fabregas back to his usual position in the midfield and Nasri on the left.

Bringing on Bendtner for Adedabyor does not help if there is still no service.

Adebayor is being pushed out of ARSERNAL but for as long as Wenger is as rigid as he is the team will not win anything.

sport review said...

tonight was tough.

i feel for gibbs.

is he hadn't slipped...

this is a truly terrible night to be an arsenal fan though.

it's hard to be positive, but we have to.


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