By 1970's Gooner
The unexpected draw against Boro could have been very different if it weren't for the wrong team selection and the unhelpful substitutions.
It was obvious from the start that a midfield consisting of two defensively minded midfielders would be desperately short of imagination, creativity and forward passing.
Elneny and Coquelin are fine central midfielders that you would use in tandem if you didn't want to lose a game. But, I believe, it was wrong to start with these two.
It shows that Wenger himself underestimated the opponents and gave also the message to the rest of the team that this game is going to be relatively easy.
As the game was progressing it was becoming obvious that Monreal was becoming targeted as Gray was continuously getting the better of him. At the same time it was also obvious that Iwobi has not yet learned that he has to track back as speedily and effectively as Walcott.
The obvious substitution should have been to take Elneny off, move Iwobi in the middle next to Coquelin and bring the Ox on the left wing who would have added more dynamism and forward thrust.
Importantly he would have been fast and wily enough to track back and offer Monreal help and Iwobi would have added some much needed creativity in the middle.
Instead Wenger waited and waited and then brought on 67 Perez for Iwobi and on 74 the Ox in the middle for Elneny with no real effect.
The most worrying issue to come to the fore in the last few games is Monreal's lack of pace. This was heavily exposed in the game against Swansea where Barrow ran rings around him and almost single handedly brought his team back into the game from 3 1 down.
Just as Brendan Rodgers showed everyone how to play against Man City by pressing from the front so have Swansea's tactics showed how to get the better of Arsenal.
It seems that now teams facing Arsenal have sussed this out and will be placing their fast wingers on the left trying to get at Arsenal on the break. Boro had 25% possession but had 7 attempts on target!
Solving this problem however will be difficult. Firstly it is not sure that Monreal has lost pace or that simply he is tired. If it is the former however then Iwobi's presence on the left wing does not help.
The obvious and first solution is for Iwobi to shape up and improve his tracking back and defending significantly.
Other solutions will eventually include using Gibbs there and/or utilizing the Ox on the wing. Walcott is much more effective on the right so that cannot be a solution.
Similarly Burnley played the pressing game from the front against Arsenal at Turf Moor with much success. Arsenal had no outlet with Sanchez not that good when the ball is played high from the back.
Thankfully Giroud's return will offer Wenger a way out of this problem.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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