Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Forget what the national papers are saying. This is the way to beat Leicester

By 1970's Gooner

Leicester have to be given respect. They have a counterattacking mentality which has been practised, finessed and executed to near perfection.

They always keep Vardy and Okazaki up front. They allow you to have the ball and when you move forward in front of their packed two banks of four they spring into action trying to win the ball. They then release it early to their forwards and at the same time their midfielders rush into the opponent's area waiting to do the damage.

This tactic works because they have two very good ball winners in their midfield in Kante and Drinkwater and two very fast forwards in Vardy and Okazaki who stay up front. It's not a surprise that Leicester do very well against the top teams. And there is a reason for this.

Top teams play attacking football based on ball possession, pushing their opponent in their half. Top teams do also something that more often than not turns badly against them. They push both their full backs high up the pitch. This means that Leicester's counter attackers find the space to run into and the presence of their midfielders coming up to support them provides for a very potent attacking threat.

Arsenal and City were outdone in this way. In the previous game between the two teams Arsenal's Ramsey ventured in Leicester's box to take a shot and from his dispossession they counter attacked by passing to Vardy where Bellerin should have been who run on and scored their first goal.

Similarly City's Zaboleta was caught up field while Kante released Mahrez into the space vacated and he scored the killer second goal of course.

So ideally Ramsey has to sit tight in midfield like he diligently did against City and, alongside Coquelin, provide the cover for Arsenal's overlapping full backs.

But imo the three wingers that Arsenal can play on the right of midfield are out of form. Walcott is way below himself that's for sure. Cambpell has lost form probably tired from playing too many games and the Ox is still trying to find confidence. Even if he did score the goal at Bournemouth his overall display was still below what is required to play against Leicester.

Arsene Wenger will, I know, be tempted to start with the Ox hoping that the goal will have given him a boost to carry him through the game against Leicester. I think he should resist that temptation.

Instead Arsenal can line up on Sunday by playing both Coquelin AND Flamini in central midfield. This way they will sit in a disciplined way in the middle of the pitch and put a stop to the Leicester counter attacks by covering the space vacated by Arsenal's full backs (especially Bellerin).

Ramsey would then revert back to his previous position on the right wing (when Cazorla was playing in midfield). In this way he will be able to come in from the right and help in the play making interchanging positions with Ozil and also drop back to assist Bellerin when we haven't got the ball.

In this formation a balance will be created where Arsenal will still maintain their attacking mentality and ball possession but will be more robust and defensively minded in midfield.

And for a change Arsenal will have adopted their tactics to fit the opponent.

This is the way to beat Leicester.


Unknown said...

We have to win, they don't. So what if, unlike the game against City, they don't attack?

For Fox Sake said...

We can't not attack, it's the only way we play. Should be a great game!

For Fox Sake said...

We can't not attack, it's the only way we play. Should be a great game!

Ogban said...

Too negative! We must find a way to balance attacking and defending just as we did against Olympiacos. Sitting back is not Arsenal style and they can't learn it overnight

Unknown said...

Perhaps that balance can be achieved by Ramsey further curbing his instincts to surge forward and at least one of our wingbacks being cautious too. Flamini must not play. Our right wing is an area we will need to tighten: we need to double up a bit on Mahrez and Bellerin nneds to be particularly careful not to get caught out upfield and our forward options on the right have all been guilty of conceeding possession (I'd go with Campbell).

Anonymous said...

Its about time wenger started playing different tactics to suit the occasion. Gabriel should start due to his pace which would be useful against Vaardy and Mahrez.

And I agree with 70's Gooner Ramsey should go to the wing and Coqquelin and flamini should shore up the midfield and counter their counterattacks