Match Preview: Arsenal must make better use of final third

With Fabregas out injured for most of the season it is up to one the central midfielders to take up the Spaniard’s creative mantle. A youthful West Ham side will provide a tough test therefore the Gunners must be more incisive in their play.

Abou Diaby currently occupies the more advanced central midfield role and his assist for Robin Van Persie in the last minute shows the Frenchman has some creative ability at least. The image below (click on the image for better clarity) is of two different matches but shows Arsenal are missing the threat of Fabregas in the channel between midfield and attack. While Diaby made the assist Fabregas was willing to take more risks hence more unsuccessful passes (in red) as opposed to those successful in blue.

The context of the match is important as Everton were stronger and denied Arsenal possession keeping the ball is one of the hallmarks of Fabregas. Diaby has improved his composure and his presence is growing and has the makings of a fine player maybe in a more defensive role. Robin Van Persie has been key in creating chances as against Hull City and Wenger has admitted he wants the Dutchman to create chances as well as scoring. Adebayor on the other hand has been found wandering rather than going with the play.

On the left is Diaby against Everton and on the right Fabregas against West Ham in October.
On the left is Diaby against Everton and on the right Fabregas against West Ham in October. (Click on the image for better clarity)

Both teams are unlikely to make much changes to their midweek fixtures where West Ham will look to build off where they have left. Under Zola they are a much more organised side and more hard working. The midfield are full of running and creativity and will look to play around their front man for which Zola may play only one up front.

Carlton Cole is the man on form having scored six goals in seven games and praises manager Zola for his improvements in his all round game. “I have been playing the same all year, but now I am notching a few and that is all I was missing. I am playing with more awareness now. The manager has made more effort to help me realise what is going on around me on the pitch.”

Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-4-2)

Almunia (c)
Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Eboue – Diaby
– Denilson – Nasri
Adebayor – Van Persie

Subs from: Fabianski, Gallas, Gibbs, Ramsey, Song, Vela, Bendtner, Wilshere

West Ham United Likely Line Up (4-4-2)

Neill (c) – Collins – Upson
Behrami – Parker – Noble – Collison

Di Michele – C. Cole

Subs from: Lastuvka, Faubert, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Tristan, Nsereko, Sears

Form Guide: Arsenal (5th) W12 D6 L5= 42 points  West Ham (8th): W9 D5 L9= 32 points

Prediction: Arsenal 1-0 West Ham United


3 thoughts on “Match Preview: Arsenal must make better use of final third

  1. great little piece on the passing. i love the visual diagram that shows the passes. where did you get that from? please find one for denilson. I would love to see his. all blue arrows, going from flank to flank, and from mid to def. we would be lucky to see one red arrow. PLEASE FIND DENILSON, OR ATLEAST LINK ME TO THE SOURCE PLEASE!.

    don’t you think arsenal make a whole lot of unnecessary passes? no wonder they make just as many, or if not more mistakes than the other teams, always. if you check to pass attempt and pass completed, we might make 200 more than the opposition, but we make atleast the same, if not more mistakes than them, thus having a lower completed passes stat! i did my homework before..

    up the arse!

  2. The line-up looks fine to me except that I would prefer Nasri to play at the central midfield position. He has the qualities to be in that position. I feel that this line-up will destroy West Ham.

  3. I beleive we should have only one out of Diaby,Denilson,Song on the pitch. All 3 are good defensive midfielders and most of the times pass sidewards or back. Nasri in midfield would be a better option….maybe Vela can move to left wing.

    Also I was wondering why Armand Traore was not called back from his loan at Portsmouth. I think he could do a fine job down the left wing.

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