Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Time for a rethink in the way we play

Posted by James Dall on 19, March 2007


You know what? Defeat hurts. It is painful. Especially in the last minute. My heart is not in today’s blog, when we lose and do not play particularly well I get annoyed.

Everton scored in the 91st minute, neither team deserved to win in my opinion. The only tiny shining light in our game was the performances of Diaby and Gallas who I thought were sound. Apart from that we were pretty uninspiring.

We lacked any real edge going forward and although we had plenty of shots hardly any of them tested Howard. Baptista and Aliadiere ran a lot but were never given the service, apart from one half chance Aliadere had which he blazed over. Many will talk about our lack of finishers but for me at the moment our defence is a worry. 3 out of 4 players in the back four were out of position. Where was Djourou? He was not even on the bench. For me why play Hoyte + Toure + Gilberto out of their natural positions. Gallas could have played left back, Toure and Djourou in the middle and then Hoyte right back. On top of that we missed Eboue and Clichy’s drive to get forward. Our full backs did not really support the play. Fabregas had an off day – I am not going to get on his back though. Diaby as mentioned, showed real promise again. He surged forward on countless occasions and really complimented Fabregas. If Fabs had been on his game it might have been a different story. Gallas was composed at the back and dealt with Johnson well. Baptista once again looked sluggish but to be fair to him he got little service. Aliadere ran his little heart again without any real reward. Rosicky was on the peripheral of the game as was Freddie really.

Now I know we are young but to be honest we are quite a way off Chelsea and United in my opinion. They are turning sides over at the moment. You can almost guarantee if we had played Bolton/Sheffield United this weekend, we would not have brushed them aside as United and Chelsea did. Why is this? Simply because we have a young squad? Or is it our playing style. The passing is good, and should remain the main element of our game but how often do we see Chelsea and United get the ball wide and throw the ball into the box where there are three or more players in there. How often do we do that? Never really. We need to mix our game up. We need to do the ugly things Everton did yesterday – they played long balls into the channels and used Johnson’s pace. Aliadere is fast, he will chase the balls into the channels. It puts a defence under immediate pressure. We pass beautifully but if we are not on top of our game like yesterday, it is ineffecitve. Our tempo was too slow which meant men got behind the ball far too quickly. Unbelievably frustrating.

A really disappointing day. After the game my morale dropped rock bottom. With Liverpool dropping points early on we could have really given our third place finish a boost. Arsene’s reaction can be read here.

That is it for today, hmm….


9 Responses to “Time for a rethink in the way we play”

  1. amiripz said

    Terrible result really.

    When you see ManUTD and Chelsi wining and scoring so easily, I sometime really wonder what the hell is wrong ?

  2. gazzap said

    I dont know how you can blame the defence for the result. the attack was toothless and really a good Arsenal should be scoring at least 1 or 2 goals in a game like this but we never looked like scoring. the fact that the 3 defenders played out of position did not contribute to the goal we finally let in. the defence til that point was solid. we conceded from a corner where Toure, gilberto and Gallas would all have been in the same spot in the penalty area regardless of whether they were in midfield, right back or centre back etc.
    yesterdays issue was a total lack on creatvity and movement in the final third. The Beast and Ali just dont cut the mustard I am afraid.

  3. I am not blaming the defence for the result, you are right they were solid. I am just confused at Arsene’s selctions right now. I am concerned at the defence overall. No consecutive clean sheets since early December – for a top four team that is shocking.

  4. Bill said

    There’s nothing wrong with our playing style. If Wenger’s footballing philosophy was flawed then we wouldn’t have won 3 titles, finished runners up 5 times, won 4 FA Cups and reached 1 CL, 1 UEFA, 1 FA Cup final and 1 League Cup final.

    There were no problems with our playing style when Pires, Ljungberg, Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry were all firing and all at the top of their game at the same time.

    There is nothing wrong with our playing style.

    You have to ask the current crop of player good enough and if they are or they aren’t, what kind of players do we need to push forward?

    Shorn of Henry, RvP and Adebayor, our problem is obvious – we can’t score goals.

    If we had a fully fit Henry, RvP and an unsuspended Adebayor then goals wouldn’t be so hard to come by.

    Then you look at the rest of the squad – Hleb, Rosi, Ljungberg and Fabregas don’t contribute enough goals.

    We need a Lampard or a Ronaldo.

    We need another Pires.

    If you have no goalscorers then you don’t win games. No Henry, no RvP, no Ade means no goalscorers. We have no goalscorers in our ‘current’ 1st XI.

    Aliadiere and Baptista might just be the worst front pair we’ve seen in years at Arsenal.

    If those three stay fit and suspension free next season and Wenger adds a goalscoring winger over the summer then we won’t have this problem next season.

  5. Hothead_Gooner said

    Really dissapointed! I think you are giving Baptista too much respect. The reason he gets no service is because his teamates have lost faith in him. His clumsyness and poor touch will give the ball away to the opposition no matter where he gets the ball and when he does manage to hold on to it for a second he just isn’t clever enough to spot the runs others are making. So how he can say his best position is as a second striker I will never know! If you can’t spot the runs then how can you be a second striker. Numerous times Ali was in good positions but he just coudn’t spot it. This is why they don’t pass to him. Plus he doesn’t even look like he is trying most of the time walking around the pitch.

  6. Raymond De Silva said

    Amiritz is spot on. Something must be wrong.Arsenal can beat MU twice and deservedly and held Chelsea and win if not for ME goal.Then we see Mu bt the daylights out of Bolton while we struggle.Admittedly there are no easy games in epl.
    Can someonell me why Arsenal can’t perform against bottom half teams.Yes I know of the players wh played agaisnt MU and C’sea were injured.
    But then isn’t it a squad ?
    The sooner the answers are forthcoming the better otherwise Arsenal will be known for pretty soccer but get beaten by less talented teams and win no prizes.
    And pls don’t try to walk /run the ball into the net. We want a winning team and if it means playing ugly like Chesea and MU so be it.

  7. Ash said

    Baptista needs service eh? he plays in the Bergkamp position. He says its his best position as someone has mentioned. He is the worst Brazil international that I have seen. His 1st touch is worst than Adebayor’s. How hopeless did Hleb look when he came on. I agree we need to change our style. Diaby-Cesc is abit too young for me in midfield. Maybe we need to put Toure there but then we would need to buy a partner for Gallas. Abidal maybe. Replacing the goals of Pires and Ljungberg with Hleb and Rosicky was a bit mistake by Wenger. One of them needs to go or drop to the bench. Hleb for me and we need a new player in midfield. Quaresma or Anderson. Ideally both, we do look hopeless in the final third, Henry & Van Persie cant score all the goals for us

  8. Mike said

    We need a better players at least 2 or 3 also believe me we are really dissapoint in Arsenal right now but believe me we will still be there for Answer for Life…..

  9. tyduffy said

    I don’t think that one can blame the style, necessarily. I think that is proven to be successful. I attribute it more to injuries, which I think have been deadly. They have three real finishers on the squad, Henry, RVP, and Rosicky. They have never had all three, or even really two of them healthy and in form at the same time period. The result is an impotent attack with a lot of buildup players who can’t shoot.

    Hleb is terrible. He is good at keeping possession, but consequently dribbles himself off into oblivion. Tactically, he is a mess. His brain farts are critical. Wenger said he is only going to buy someone if they are of elite quality in the summer. Here’s hoping that man is Franck Ribery.

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