Arsenal overwhelmed by Chelsea’s tactical thinking

Chelsea’s tactical superiority ensured they denied Arsenal a way back in the game after two quick goals in the first half.
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It was an evening where Arsenal ran out of ideas but not without the want of trying. The Chelsea players were tactically and mentally more stronger, though not physically as some may have seen it.

Taking the lead with two quick goals at the end of the first half – both created by Ashley Cole and converted and diverted in by Drogba and Vermaelen respectively – they were able rest on their advantage and see the game home. Didier Drogba wrapped things up with a free-kick with four minutes to go but the game was already over. The spongy Blues defence assimilated every thing Arsenal tamely threw at them in the second half and in all reality, have surely ended the Gunners title dream.

Arsene Wenger remained defiant on that subject and rightly stated that the team has “to make sure that lack of belief does not diminish our belief.” Arsenal had the greater territorial advantage and displayed in spells in this game and indeed the season so far, the makings of a super team but one senses, with the way they play their football, more work will be needed than normal.

Chelsea were thoroughly efficient. They didn’t need the ball to dominate play but do so with their methodical thinking. Carlo Ancelotti conceded possession to the Gunners and looked to defeat them on transitions. The aim was to deny Arsenal space through his customary diamond midfield although surprisingly opting for Mikel over Ballack in the starting line-up. When the ball was won back, he sought to make sure they have the necessary men forward to arm their offensive side through channels and quick breaks. Ashely Cole duly obliged, creating two goals through two rare but selective forays forward, Drogba scored two and Anelka was a willing runner all night. It would be too simplistic to say it was as easy as that because the defensive collective combined to superbly deal with the pressure Arsenal forced upon them.

“We wanted to use intelligence to defend our half and there we won the game,” said Ancelotti. “Arsenal put a lot of players in midfield and sometimes they lost the balance. We knew that Arsenal like to play in the opponents half and we prepared very well our defensive positions, keep control of zones. Arsenal kept the ball well in the first half but we always had the possibility to score on the counter-attack. We stopped them in midfield. There we won the game.”

Eduardo’s disallowed goal could have sparked a fight back but as Chelsea naturally dropped back in the second half and Arsenal pressed, it would be more apt to analyse the first period. The Croatian had a difficult game once again; he was superbly marshaled by the Chelsea back four and maybe his more orthodox nature played in Chelsea’s hand. The midfield battle was congested and as such the advantage was to be relayed to who so ever was the more direct and dynamic down the channels. Wenger made that switch in the second half, bringing on Walcott for Alex Song to give Arsenal that but found a resolute blue blockade in front of them at all times.

The Gunners success this season has been laid on by the movement of Robin van Persie and if a similar tactic could have been implemented in his absence, then it would have seen Arsenal match the Blues in midfield and create space for the wingers to get into attacking positions. The presence and strength of Bendtner and Diaby were other misses while one may have argued if it should have been Denilson that made way rather than Song to retain some power. As it was Chelsea were the deserved winners, their movement more efficient and decisive.

Pep Guardiola learnt a huge lesson last year against Chelsea in the Champions League, although the context is stark and changed his thinking slightly to make sure that ceases to happen again next season (the signing of Ibrahimovic changed the team’s dynamics). And at the Emirates, Arsenal were taught a footballing lesson where one would hope come out of the game stronger.

Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea: Drogba 41, Vermaelen (0.g) 45, Drogba 86

Arsenal: Almunia (6), Sagna (6), Gallas (6),  Vermaelen (6), Traore (6), Fabregas (6), Song Billong (7) (Walcott), Denilson (7), Nasri (5) (Rosicky), Eduardo (5) (Vela), Arshavin (5).
Subs not used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole (Paulo Ferreira), Mikel, Essien, Lampard, J Cole (Deco), Anelka, Drogba (Malouda).
Subs: Hilario, Ballack, Zhirkov, Kalou.

Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

Arsenal Team Statistics Chelsea
0 Goals 3
0 1st Half Goals 2
2 Shots on Target 4
3 Shots off Target 4
7 Blocked Shots 2
4 Corners 3
17 Fouls 14
3 Offsides 6
2 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
83.3 Passing Success 80.2
32 Tackles 37
75 Tackles Success 67.6
55.9 Possession 44.1
59.4 Territorial Advantage 40.6

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44 thoughts on “Arsenal overwhelmed by Chelsea’s tactical thinking

  1. I think this is a fair analysis. Arsenal didn’t play poorly but Eduardo did look isolated up front and, as you point out, Chelsea’s four central midfielders did a very intelligent job of occupying the space in front of their back four.

  2. Not a bad analysis but much as other reactions I have seen, you failed to address the core issue, the fact that nasri, walcott, vela, denilson, and traore have only played 2 games together this season!
    Why does no one see the problem this represents? It’s like fielding a side of 11 players with 5 new signings. Each individually, great players but with absolutely no on the pitch understanding.
    Through passes were frequently to space where people hadn’t made a run, crosses into the box were too high for players that were up against the best ariel defence in the league.
    We have no choice but to have patience, unfortunately the only solution to our current situation is for these player to get more games together. People think that these players should just gel immediately by implying they’re not good enough and we have to buy, that kind of knee-jerk reaction fails to address the real issue and would solve nothing. This is not a reaction to your articl which is actually pretty good, just a reaction to what everyone else seems to be spouting, sorry if it’s off topic.

    1. Good article and brilliant response by Bongo. What made me sad is the
      way we’ve playing since after the last international break.

      Our players seem to be taking awful long time to get into stride as
      clearly shown against our last two opponents before the Chavs.

      Sunderland we should have beaten and this loss wont have been too
      damaging to our title aspiration which is almost over now. We
      should buckle up and try to go on an unbeaten run before meeting
      title contenders again.

    2. @ Bongo; This blog gives you guys the opportunity to offer your own points, come of which may not be mentioned. Regarding playing together; I could have included that but if I included every point then it would turn into an essay. But in the third paragraph I sought to generalise it and say there is great potential but also work to be done.

  3. Spot on with the analysis. Some time back you wrote an article on transitions. We had lost to Man City in a similar way. Chelsea allowed us to dictate play and plucked the ball out of us at the right moment when there weren’t many in our defence. They used the ball swiftly to attack through the wings. Sound positional play.
    Instead of whining we should learn from our mistakes. Wenger needs to learn quickly along with the team. He must change things quickly when they are not working. We must have two to three plans up our sleeve. I think buying a striker is necessary.

  4. We missed a target striker today badly, lovely approach work but we needed height in there for crosses.

    AW didnt play Theo bcuz he doesnt track fullback however Nasri had barely zero cutting-edge which Theo would have offered but SN let Cashley put in 2 crosses for the goal, i am sure AW regrets playing SN now.

    i forgot Eduardo, he is badly suffering from lack of confidence on top of getting used to our new system.

    Traore just not good enough, zero composure in the final-third and doesnt read danger enough, i have seen the replay but he didnt tuck when danger was the other side, he just stood there watching.

    What we should have done more is shooting from outside the box to drag the defence out which them creates the option for ball over-the-top for forward runners.

    The actual approach-play wasnt that bad, we just physcality to make our crosses more dangerous. Missing Diaby, RVP & Bendy at same time has been a true bummer for us

    1. Jay Simpson should be recalled in my opinion, he’s on a great run of form, yeah I know it’s against Championship sides but he has the workrate, desire and ability to make a difference.

      Overall though I think a change in tactics is required, 4-3-3 without Van Persie at the tip is a no go. 4-4-2 with Eduardo at the tip and Arshavin in the hole is something which should be considered, Eduardo is a great striker but looks increasingly isolated and unsure of himself alone in the middle.

      With our current squad I see the best formation as being,

      Almunia
      sagna, gallas, vermaelen, traore
      Walcott, fabregas, Song, Nasri(rosicky)
      Arshavin
      Eduardo

      If he wants to continue this formation then he needs to play a front 3 of vela, Eduardo, walcott, with a mid 3 of fab, song, nasri.
      I leave Arshavin as a sub, simply for the fact that he’s not a worker, he moans too much and his head is not in the game.

      I think he should play, Eduardo in the throwaway games at city and olympiakos. Eduardo needs some game time badly, he also needs to be left alone not to have to track back he hasn’t the pace to come back and collect balls then get into dangerous positions to recieve crosses. A front three of Walcott, Eduardo and Vela against city would be a great idea, they need to gain and understanding of each others runs and positioning something which we can ill afford to waste any time over. I’ve noticed Walcott has been the only player to fire in low crosses across the face of goal, thats the kind of crossing that Eduardo relishes but the fact he so far back means he’s never there to collect. I’ve watched him play for croatia in their recent games and his goals have come from that sort of play.

        1. I suppose theo is not a natural midfileder at all. I wouldn’t be adverse to letting him try play the tip of a 4-4-2 with Arshavin behind, surely his pace would give him enough chances to break through defences and score.

          I suppose the worst thing about all this for me is that I know we have the talent in our side to win but we just don’t have the time to let them gel as the number of changes we’ve been forced to make would require, it seems to me like a case of just battling on in the hope that we can see through december without completely ending our title hopes.

    2. @Supergunner07. It is really strange to think and worse still suggest that Theo walcot is a better player than Samir Nasri or that he (Theo Walcot) deserved to be in the first eleven last night. He came on as a sub, what did he do to improve Arsenal play? Of all the people last night Traore came out with a lot of credit. The goals were a result of mistakes by Arsenal’s usually best players, Gallas for not cutting out Cole’s cross for the first goal and Vermeleen for not anticipating Gallas mistake (i.e. our two Central defenders left Drogba free for the first goal). For the Second, again Gallas should have cut out the cross, and we know what happened thereafter. One may take issue with Sagna (and Samir Nasri) for the first two goals as he was not tight enough on Cole to prevent the crosses in the first place. How many crosses came from Traore’s side? I remember one (I watched on TV, so I may have missed plenty). As for the third, our captain was at fault for trying to stop Essien with little chance of success and increased risk of fouling. Vermellen was perfectly positioned to stop Essien. So, what kv says on transitions, that we lost on transition, was not quite that simple. For at all times, at least during the first two goals and third, Arsenal had sufficient bodies to prevent them. I would say they lacked intelligence in closing down (cue Cole’s two crosses, Sagna and Samir Nasri should have closed), poor position and covering (cue Galas and Vermeleen for the first two goals and Almunia for third goal) and poor tackling by Cesc for the third. I think Bongo raises a good point. Too many of these players have not played together and enough. Most are just coming back from injuries. Certainly height /size, intelligence and confidence were severely wanted last night. The old Dudu would have finished a couple of moves last night. Two I remember were very good chances, one was created by Denilson in the second half. I think another by Arshavin or Samir Nasri (I cannot really remember who it was) in the first or second half. Dudu is still traumatised, it was very palpable lastnight. There is no knowing when he will shake it.

  5. i will say it is a good analysis however no one seem to mention our defense weakness.How many clean sheets we had by the way this season ?
    what is this Vermalen Vermalen to much talk.Okay the guy is good but is not defending by himself the whole defence.Goals still leaking that is the fact that no one can deny.So what he has done Wenger on the defending issue so far ?Because has brought Vermalen and left Toure to go has made any better ?Facts speak loudly .It is not only against chelski that we leak goals,it is all over the defence and needs a proper surgery.Honestly speaking i never felt confident whenever the ball come to the defence.Always shacky.Both Traore and Sagna i dont see them defending badly they run all the way to puff a long shot for 5 foot midfielders.Useless.Evra not only shoots but try to come inside the defenders and either give a short pass or earns a penality.Ebowe is better than Sagna at least tries to come in the midle of center backs.
    The attacking side injury has taken its tall otherwise i believe we are fine.

    1. It’s way too simplistic as people have put it that Arsenal letting in goals is down to the keeper and central defenders. Let’s remember the way the side plays is a difficult balancing act; first you need to stretch play when attacking but the total opposite is required when defending which is to squeeze play.
      ——-
      Attacking is the one part of defending in this system which is defending from the front. Also if the side is more effective this will make an easier juggling act. Barcelona and Wigan have played this way; the former suffocate opponents through constant attacka nd pressure. The latter just haven’t got the skills to be as consistent either on the ball, defensively or ruthlessness.
      —–
      As KV mentions, the side needs to be more better in transitions and an article which I have written about before.

  6. Actually a point which I failed to mention was in fact, this side completed many a cross but most, if not all failed to find their man. So the ball quality needs to improve as the side continues to get into wide positions while the movement needs to be better. Watching how Lampard gets late in the box with a striker’s instinct and Drogba opportunism further highlights the improvements to be made.

    Bendtner has a huge role to fill in the coming months as the hybrid second striker/target man.

  7. I think Bendtner can be the man for us. He is strong, can hold the ball up and is actually a great linker of play. He is not bad at dribbling either. We also have the option of the long ball when he is back. He gives us an added variety.

  8. Again Wenger and his team let us down. Wenger first got his tactics and reading of the game very wrong. We didn’t have the players for a 4-3-3, so why did he use it? Eduardo isn’t a lead striker and Nasri isn’t a wide attacker, so already the tactics were flawed. Then in the reading of the game, seeing as Chelsea were very compact, our wide game wasn’t going to work, we should have become more narrow and use more combinations to get through rather than Sagna crosses when Terry and Carvalho gobbled it all up. Also how much control does he have when the players are on the pitch, when Walcott and Sagna keep crossing and nothing comes of it, he should tell them to stop.

    The players deserve blame too, rotten defending as a unit. You’d think that with 7 players who have been with the club for 3 years would have more solidarity and cohesiveness, but they don’t fight for each other and don’t move as a single unit when the tough times come. Also the mentality sucked, and the players forgot their core skills, they are technical players who like coming inside and passing incisive balls, so why did the team resort to aimless crosses? Intelligent footballers should do this.

    Chelsea did their homework, did Arsenal? Because we were in no way prepared for them today.

  9. Now if we look at all matches which we lost we were better in statistics and play but..it is goals which win matches..against a defence comprising three world class headers..we should have had atleast one tall striker up front..this crisis can be solved by buying a player like kuranyi or zlatan…..the next problem is at goal post..almunia is good keeper but he is not worth a no.1 shirt of the one of worlds greatest football club..look at cech he comes outside to clear every corner or a cross..but almunia always depends on his defenders and doesnot come out at all..we need to replace him for sure..so two suggestions to the professor wenger 1.a tall forward and 2. A world class goal keeper..

  10. Me thinks Time has come to rethink our options with Rvp, Bendtner out. Asharvin-Walcott can pair up with Vela coming in 2nd half to assist. Fab, Nasri, Denilson, Wilshere (What the hell happened to him anyway) and Ramsey can do center while Eduardo and Rosicky can flank, Song center half and the Back i think Traore had a decent outing.

    But early January we should Offload Eduardo and Bendtner and go for really efficient mean, no nonsense clinical finishers. With the team we have to shy to strike at one on ball and half Chances will not get us far in the Champions league.

  11. We still do not pressure enough in the middle and final 3rd. Many a time mikel or lampard had the ball for a number of seconds before easily picking a pass. Its here we should be pressing hard to win posession.

    Walcott added nothing and did not use his pace well. He is still a bit one dimensional for me. He’s much better on the counter attack. He really needs to learn how to dribble better with the ball.

    We lacked a cutting edge in the final 3rd. In the first half we played very well and matched the physicality, especially with Song who is turning into a colossuss (sp?).

  12. This is the sort of game where Denilson was useless. He’s a great player to use in the right games, but his role served Chelsea so well, i.e. spreading the ball throughout midfield allowing Chelsea ample time to reposition themselves defensively. Nasri should have been in the middle, he’s played too little to be effective in such tight areas like right wing. And Arshavin was hugely disappointing, his role needs to change now that RvP is gone.

  13. I disagree with the criticisms of Denilson completely. I thought we dominated the midfield — they were good in possession and quick to win the ball back– in the early going but completely lacked a cutting edge up front. We never really looked like scoring. Without RVP our offense just doesn’t flow. We will see if Niki Bendtner can play that role, but on evidence, Eduardo cannot. Is the 4-4-2 completely dead or could it be brought back as an alternative? I was crying for a 4-3-3 at the end of last season (it seemed to suit our players and Barca’s success showed what it can do), but I tend to agree with those who think a 442 might work better with Eduardo and Arshivin up front.

    As for individual attacking players we have a wealth of talent, but it seems like nobody is stepping up or standing out right now. Nasri looks to lack a cutting edge, Theo and Vela look a little lightweight, and Eduardo just hasn’t done it yet. I’m rather surprised by all that. Maybe they will step up, or maybe we really need that magic ingredient (i.e. an RVP replacement) that will allow all these very good players to look great.

    Finally, could someone call Phillipe Senderos on my behalf and let him know that being abused by Didier Drogba is nothing to be ashamed of? I mean, if Vermaalen were named Senderos, most fans wouldn’t bother to analyze the game; they would have just blamed him for the loss.

    1. Hi California Gunner,

      I love Denilson’s concept, what he can bring to the side. I’m not criticising him as a player, I just thought he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Against lesser teams, Denilson is a joy to have. He’s selfless, usually keeps himself in positions where people can pass to him and so on.

      Against a defence like Chelsea, he just made too many average deicions. How many real counterattacks did we have before Chelsea scored? Not many, and when that happens, it’s important we do things with the ball, and Denilson slowed the game down for Chelsea to reposition themselves defensively. Dominating the midfield is not enough. He’s not the reason Chelsea scored 3 goals, but he is a big part of the reason we didn’t create clear cut chances.

      1. Denilson provided a sweet, cutting, dangerous through ball right past the Chelsea defence into the box for Eduardo. It was a definite clear cut chance winning ball.

        Sadly Eduardo didn’t quite have the pace to get onto it and it reached Cech just before he got there, if that had been Vela/Walcott/RvP or even Bendtner it could easily have been 1-0.

  14. I don’t think the game was the travesty many are suggesting it was.

    We dominated possession and kept the ball very well in dangerous areas of the pitch.

    In general, the balance was right, but Eduardo simply didn’t work as the attacking focal point, which meant the whole system collapsed.

    I rate Eduardo highly, but he seemed too intent on running behind into space that wasn’t there – Chelsea sat very deep – when he should have dropped off into space and linked-up play a la Van Persie.

    With no-one to play the direct ball to, the likes of Fabregas and Nasri were forced to simply play the ball out-wide, where the subsequent crosses were never going to be met by an Arsenal head given the size of the frontline.

    I don’t think we need a revamp of the system, but I feel Eduardo needs to learn to adapt to his new role; otherwise, Bendtner, or even Arshavin should be played in the central role.

    I honestly feel if we had had Bendtner up-front, the game would have been a lot closer.

    It sounds like I’m castigating Eduardo, but to be fair, I still think he is an excellent player; simply not suited to such a role.

    1. DaStuDawg, I agree that Eddie hasn’t been working as the focal-point of attack and that perhaps Bendtner is better suited for that work. That could change and we might see the team bust out and start clicking again, but right now we look rather toothless. It is as if we lack the fulcrum off of which Nasri, Rosicky, Arshivin, Walcott and the rest can work. We did create a few opportunities and even scored what looked like a perfectly legit goal, but in general, we round ourselves stalled just in front of the defense with few ideas on how to get though. That is strange for an arsenal team that rarely lacks for ideas.

    2. Hopefully I didn’t make the game as bad as other made it seem. But the disappointing thing was that the side never turned possession into something more and teams like Chelsea and United are good at stifling teams. If the side has serious hopes it needs to create more against such teams although it’s not easy but I have no doubt that can be accomplished.
      ——–
      A different forward may have clicked everything together and allowed also the wide men to play with more space and dynamism. If you look at the stats, the amount of times the side had the ball in wide areas is impressive yet nothing came out of it. Crosses need to be better and so does the movement to get to the ball first and indeed drag players out of position. But to be fair, Chelsea had a lot of men back. A Cole hardly got forward but we all know about the times he did.
      ————–
      Let’s give Eduardo more games as there’s not much other options and I still feel is the best at the moment. The 4-4-2 is an option; I’d rather 4-2-3-1 as the wide men are higher up the pitch so less sideways passing and more directness.

      1. I’d like to see a return to 4-4-2 as it provides the perfect balance but I don’t feel any of Denilson/Song/Diaby have what it takes to partner Fabregas (or each other) in the middle yet, so with the current squad I’d go for a 4-2-3-1 too.

        I still wish Wenger hadn’t “let” Hleb/Flamini leave.

        The Hleb-Fabregas-Flamini-Rosicky midfield was magnificent at keeping possession at pace, utilising the wide areas to create space through the defence, while at the same time being able to press high up the pitch and track back quickly (Flamini was exceptional at keeping the game pacey).

        It’s such a shame Rosicky was injured (The main reason we didn’t win the title as the midfield lost balance) and we missed seeing such a great midfield dominate on more occasions.

        1. Yes, I loved that midfield too. It was interesting, one of his quotes about that partnership (although when Rosicky was injured) that I don’t believe made it to the national papers saying the team lacked width (as in dynamism, not wide players as such).
          Hleb, he pointed out was a central player who tended to come inside and link with other which he didn’t mind but needed another to balance it out. Eboue was the only other option that time to run at players while with Walcott was inclined to play with three in midfield.
          ——
          Now, the options are far greater. In a 4-4-2 Eduardo will profit from such a partnership while Denilson and Song have improved so much, they should be able to partner Cesc and in fact, there are more reservations about the skippers defensive contribution than the other two. The big problem will be dynamism; in a 4-4-2 the wide men start deep and as such play has more sidways movement about it. This will require the team to move to 4-2-4 or 4-1-1-4 if it wants to break down teams better.

          1. I think we can also move Diaby to the flank. He will function as a half winger and will also provide the much needed directness and drive to support counter attacks. Song and Denilson should form a double shield to stop leaking goals. Cesc should play ahead of them. Cesc’s lack of defensive input rules him out for the CM position IMO. We will need to have majority possession for that. Now we have dynamic wingers in Arshavin and Walcott, so it is not possible.
            By the way, Wenger has confirmed that he will splash the cash for a forward in the transfer market.

            1. KV, Diaby has never convinced as a Winger. I think he is much, much more dangerous centrally. I am also beginning to wonder about the double ‘defensive shield’ in the middle. Both of Chelsea’s goals from open play came from the flanks. Obviously at some point a team has to pick it’s poison — it cannot do everything. In this team’s case, Arsene has stated that he is happy to win games 3-1, so perhaps the real problem is that we haven’t scored in our last two league games.

  15. Our beloved coach Wenger has to buy to strengthen the squad if has to win trophies. There’s no other way whether he likes it or not. For instance when he brought in Arshvin the team improved and we can see his contribution so far.

  16. Off-topic (hopefully a healthy distraction from the currently hot issues): does anyone wonder why our defensive players – Flamini in the past and now Song and Vermaelen – almost always have one of their hands bandaged?
    They slide on the ground so often that their hands got stepped on?
    Or to punch goalkeepers of the other teams more effectively in traffic?

    Just some silly thoughts.

      1. Brain, was that really you on ACLF decrying the end of the ‘cult of Arsene Wenger’. I am feeling terribly disillusioned right now as the Premier League slips away, our Young Guns slip out of the CC, and in general we look overmatched. But I feel worst of all for Wenger. I very much share his romantic vision and feel somewhat devastated when money and power win-out over idealism.

        1. I did. But that was only a joke; a replied after just after confirming so. I was just emulating other doom-monger fans out there and not the opinion of this blog. Nearly started a riot me-thinks.

  17. Brain! Don’t do that to me! I can easily ignore doomers, but when someone like you writes that, the doomer arguments within me — the voice that says “maybe this beautiful, romantic experiment that is Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal won’t work out”– starts to win out over the happy optimist who simply enjoys watching it all unfold.

    Anyhow, I can really see myself taking a break from most Arsenal blogs and particularly the message boards these days. The fear and anger of the doomers ruins my mood, while the ‘all is fine’ brigade feel unconvincing and tire me out just as much. This blog, which really focuses on tactics will definitely stay on my daily reading list however.

    1. Hehe nicely put.

      Arsenal are in an uncomfortable position right now. We’re in a position where our main two strikers are out, and the players who’re back, are basically not in good form because of lack of match practice.. not only that, but they seem to be walking on a tightrope when it comes to re-injuries: denilson, nasri, walcott, rosicky (by far my favourite player), eduardo haven’t hit top gear yet and these are the players whom Wenger has been relying on for attacking these days.. hence the scoreless performances vs Sunderland and Chelsea.

      So the problem with Arsenal is not lack of squad depth, because let’s face it, the team that played against Chelsea is fully capable of beating them at home or away. Our problem is lack of squad-form due to players retruning from injuries.

      So it’s ridiculous to hear people say “buy” to Wenger. For the front 6 positions, we’ve got Fabregas, Song, Denilson, Diaby, Ramsey, Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott, Vela, Arshavin, Van Persie, Eduardo, that’s 13 players for 6 positions, plus few more like Wilshere etc… i.e. more than enough to win the league or any competition for that matter.

      So there’s no need to buy because buying won’t really fix anything. Wenger has to fix what he has asap, he’s rediscovered the formula to beat teams, he just needs to put the right players in the right positions and we’ll be winning games again.

    2. Hi. I’d like to apologise however for the recent lack of posts. In one and half weeks, when other commitments can take a back step, there should be more posts. The City game; I had an article ready but never got time to write it, and now the game’s a day old, probably not worth it.

      But anyway, I have to say I understand people’s concerns. The only thing that annoys me is the lack of a clear argument. The policy has hampered the Gunners trophy fight but even so, they’ve performed considerably considering the resources. That’s down to Wenger and when, hopefully things do start to clear up off the pitch, everything will start to click.

  18. Ankush, I almost agree with you. however, the last two weeks have made me feel that it is ingenuous to say “six front positions” — as these positions rely on different skills and abilities. We have two players who can really play the pivot role in a 4-3-3: RVP and hopefully Bendtner. Both are out. We have two speedy wingers who might be able to play centrally but haven’t proved it at all: Walcott and Vela. We have four players who are really playmakers but will never get Cesc’s job: Arshivin, Diaby, Rosicky, and Nasri (even Denilson, Ramsey and Wilshire). These are the type of players we have an abundance on — classically central midfielders or no 10s, but Wenger also likes them on the wings. And then we have Eddy, who seems to be a central striker for all the world, but has struggled in the few games we’ve had him as the pivot. So, yes, lots of players. But putting five ‘play-makers’ out doesn’t seem to work. That seems to be the problem.

    1. That’s a very valid point. The problem is not that we can’t deal with it, but because we don’t have the time.

      If we weren’t in an emergency situation time-wise, I don’t think Wenger would have problems in developing the players into being capable of playing in different positions.

      Rosicky came at the age of 26 or so, having never played winger in his life as far as I know, and his absence was pivotal to our not winning the league in 07/08. Wenger is the master of adaptation and I’m sure with all the players he has, esp since they’re so young, he’ll manage to form a balance.

      I would always put Arshavin on the wing or behind the striker, I don’t think he’s too interested in the central role.

      Eduardo, I still think he can do a more central role, provided Arshavin tweaks his game style a little bit.

      1. California Gooner – I think your point is very valid. Too many playmakers, not enough support players. If I had to name the problem with one word it would be “crosses” – guess I just did. Anyway, apply it to either end of the pitch.

        On the defensive end I think the answer is another player like Song to help cutoff attacks before they get to the defensive third so hopefully crosses don’t happen.

        On the attacking end the answer is a central striker who can either bang around with big centerbacks and fight to the crossed ball, or pull the centerbacks out of position to slip passes through centrally. Eduardo right now isn’t either answer. I think you could do option two with the current squad, but option one means buying.

  19. Ankush, I agree that the urgency of the situation is the problem. Wenger buys smart players, and with time they will figure it out. But we don’t really have time, do we? One can only hope for some kind of breakthrough that the players can then point to and say “that is how we need to do it.” If I had to bet, I would build the offense around Arshivin — give him a free hand to rome where he wants and create space.

  20. Wenger will continue to buy technical quick players. Most of which will not be hulking sizes a la drogba.

    This is his path, he must now prove it can work.

    Just a thought, although he’s only 16, benik afobe is a huge lad and very powerful. Why not try him??

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