Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham: Tactical View

38 goals have been scored in the last nine North London derbies between the two clubs as Tottenham produced a late and dramatic comeback to stun Arsenal. The Gunners will feel it is two points dropped rather than a point gained as they were on top for most of the game. Watch the goals here.

It wasn’t all bad..

Despite all the negativity, the performance wasn’t all bad and for around 80 minutes the Gunners dominated. Four goals were put past as Wenger continued with his attacking policy this season but you couldn’t help but feel it was exaggerated by Tottenham’s defensive defficiencies rather than Arsenal’s attacking qualities. Here are our picks of the bunch.

Robin Van Persie was fantastic for Arsenal, dropping into space between the attack and midfield and linking up the play. At times he played as the third man in central midfield but it was at the edge of the Tottenham box where he did he best work. The inch perfect long ball played to set up Nasri for the third goal came from the right hand side of his own half. His superior ability from set-pieces was welcome as he crossed for the two headed goals. It was a strong all round performance from the Dutchman the only downside the link up play between him an Adebayor is still not as strong as it could be.

Gael Clichy– The French full back has received a lot of stick for the untimely slip to gift Jenas the ball for Spurs’ third goal instead of releasing the ball quicker one way or another but before that he put in what was a strong performance . He had the measure of Bentley in what was an enthralling contest, coming in with some great tackles and broke forward with the ball to implement greater momentum to attacks. The slip was the main downside but what has been increasingly evident is his reluctance to bomb forward as caution that space might be left behind him. (More on this sometime this week or the next).

The improvement of Denilson– Not the midfield enforcer that the Gunners badly need just yet however the Brazilian has improved noticeably as displayed last night. He came in with some strong tackles, was determined and tried to cover when Arsenal attacked. The problem is as this is a fairly new position for him he still has the tendency of a central midfielder as opposed to a defensive, switching off at times, not pressuring harder and still lacking the tactical awareness and aggresion required.

The Negatives- Where went wrong?

As mentioned before Arsenal dominated the game and were rarely troubled apart from the goals so the logical thing is to analyse them. All of the goals highlighted the main problems; a lack of pressure from midfield and defense, and the need for a stronger presence in front of the defense.

Goal 1- Bentley: The first thing you notice is a lack of organisation. At the start of the attack Van Persie is in the defensive midfield position and Fabregas slightly higher. When the ball eventually falls to Bentley, Silvestre should get closer to the winger as he sees no red shirts in front of him. Almunia’s positioning is not too much a problem as had the ball not swerved away from him he would have been in the ideal position to palm it away. As it dropped down one may question his decision to try and palm it over as opposed to knock it past the post.

As Bentley receives the ball, Silvestre should go to him as there are no red shirts in front.

Goal 2- Bent: The first problem is a lack of tactical awareness from the central midfielders. Denilson goes for the same ball as Nasri, exposing the space left behind him. Cesc Fabregas is too far away from the action and generally had been for most of the match. He has become a bit more attack minded, maybe a case of trying too hard make things happen in the final third forgoing his defensive duties. As the ball falls for Modric, Denilson and Gallas are in indecision on who should pressure the Croat. Gallas goes in for the tackle but it is too late as Modric releases the ball and via a deflection falls to Huddlestone. For the split second as he shoots Gallas, Silvestre and Sagna forget about Bent who is behind and the striker steals in for the rebound.

There is not just a lack of pressure from Denilson. The midfield players around him are very attack minded leaving most of the pressuring duties to Denilson. Bent is in acres of space where the Brazilian should have bee patrolling as a result of this.
A bit of indecision and lack of communication as Gallas and Denilson hesitate before finally going towards the ball. It cannons of Gallas to Huddlestone while Bent steals in behind the defense as the shot is taken.
A bit of indecision and lack of communication as Gallas and Denilson hesitate before finally going towards the ball. It cannons of Gallas to Huddlestone while Bent steals in behind the defense as the shot is taken.

Goal 3- Jenas: The goal comes as a result of Clichy’s slip. Jenas runs forward with the ball, Bent’s run a perfect decoy as Silvestre is unsure on whether to hold his position or go towards the ball. It’s important to take into account Wenger made the substitution of putting on Song who moved to the defensive midfield position. Did this upset the balance of the team? It certainly looked like it as Denilson moved to a slightly advanced position as a result of the introduction of Song. Wenger should not be solely blamed as the naivety of the midfielders to try and get another goal when preserving the lead should be the main priority should come into question.

Goal 4- Lennon: The unthinkable happens as Spurs get their third. In a similar situation as the second goal the defense are eluded to Lennon behind them for a split second as Modric shoots. When the Croat once again picks up the ball Silvestre should get closer while a concern is that there was no red shirts in between the defence and midfield. If you have ever played in defense you would know how easy it is to ball watch for that split moment when the shot is taken; the margins for succes and failure so small.

Silvestre should get closer while Lennon steals behind. The margins are so small and Spurs make Arsenal pay.

Arsenal had two or three opportunities the run the game out before the last goal but chose to look for another goal. And just one more point. Where on earth did they get four minutes of added time from!?

ArsenalGoals: Silvestre 37, Gallas 46, Adebayor 64, Van Persie 68
Assists: Van Persie (2), Nasri, Adebayor
Booked: Diaby

TottenhamGoals: Bentley 13, Bent 67, Jenas 89, Lennon 90
Booked: Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Huddlestone, Jenas

Att: 60,043
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)


6 thoughts on “Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham: Tactical View

  1. I think, we should have held onto the ball at the end and clichy should have passed earlier. Almunia needed to try to hold the ball and stop punching it out and held his line better – there no reason for him to be out that far. Prevention is better than any cure. If we play smart we would not have to look at these defensive situations. Anyway most of the goals were by us giving away the ball were it would take time for the team to get organized – it was down to the mistkes and not necessarily the defense as far as I can see.

  2. Yeah we were punished for our defensive (not defense) deficiencies in the match. I looked at the whole game and there weren’t many situations in midfield or defense where we were very bad. They just scored the ones we did have faults.
    Denilson was good, sometimes needs to understand what his job is but done well.
    But then at the end we were naive.

  3. Wenger’s substitutions is what went wrong.

    After Song/Eboue came on, the balance was lost, and I believe Song/Eboue barely touched the ball

    The team went from attacking to defending mode…but Song/Eboue were not doing any of the defensive work…

    Wenger has got to take all the blame. We have witnessed that before- if Arsenal is weak in attack it tends to expose their weak defense

  4. Great analysis, mate!
    Just came across it (two weeks late! 🙂 – about the four minutes of added time: 3 subs by Arsenal 3×30 seconds, 3 subs by Tottenham 3×30 seconds, 6 goals 6×30 seconds – that adds up to six minutes.

    Still if AW wouldn’t have used all his subs the ref would prolly not have put on more than 2 or 3 minutes.

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