Why are Arsenal finding it hard to break teams down?

The draw against Fenerbahce suffered the same attacking fate that seems to be the norm when teams play Arsenal; park the defense in front of the box and The Gunners will fail to score. In the first half Arsenal had a few chances they could and maybe should have put a way but the second was worse. This is a team Arsenal put five past at away.

It is common that if you let Arsenal play you will get beaten therefore the tactic was applied by Luis Aragones. Arsenal are not expected to roll over every team but recent failures against teams such as Sunderland and Hull were emphatically put away by Chelsea (5-0 and 4-0) and Man United (4-3 v Hull). Is it the type of players at Arsenal or the way we play? The main problem lies here.

Variety, Dynamism and Movement

I’m not talking any Plan B rubbish, just a bit more variety in Arsenal’s play and more dynamism. At the moment when teams set out their stall the play is too one-dimensional and functional. They have Arsenal figured as they know what will happen next; the Gunners will pass the ball around the box looking for some gaps. The midfielders stick to their positions while Fabregas is the main provider.

If you compare this to Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona the teams have more than one player who can open up a defense and are continuously looking to break forward and past the man in possession providing options. The wide men come in more and the central players break forward. This helps no doubt as they play 4-3-3 but when Van Persie drops deep this in effect what happens to Arsenal. (This topic is talked about in depth in this article.)

The first half was better but the second poor. The attacking players standing and waiting for the ball in their respective positions. Van Persie had a couple of good chances and had it gone in may have opened the game more therefore the taking of chances is crucial. The aforementioned big teams are more aggressive and ruthless in their scoring and running even against the most stubborn of teams.

The Almeria defense had two banks of four. It was opened by Yaya Toure and the players circled in yellow then proceeded to break past Messi into the box and allow him to slot a through ball.

Crossing and Shooting

The more obvious example of a lack of variety is that the Gunners don’t shoot enough or cross to open up the defense. If the cross doesn’t work out it can fall for another player and similarly for shots and also for that split second the defender may lose a bit of concentration. It is evidently shown that the strikers have a lack of confidence when the ball reaches wide areas that they don’t gamble in the box and prefer to come out. Maybe they should take the initiative and call for it more aggressively.

Cesc Fabregas

Something doesn’t seem right about the Spanish playmaker but he can work moments of brilliance and maybe all these factors mentioned are affecting his game. He is playing higher up the field now this season maybe a sign of his frustration of not making more of an impact and could drop a bit deeper allowing him to dictate better. It is a myth that recently Fabregas is playing deeper; it was the case at the start but not so much now.


3 thoughts on “Why are Arsenal finding it hard to break teams down?

  1. great article. we need to change a bit when going forward. at the moment we are quite predictable. my biggest worry for saturday is who is going to score?

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