5-2: The Midfield

If you started watching the gunners in the 1990s you will remember the standard 4-4-2 that was played every game. Arsenal tried 4-5-1 when they first played CL and it didn’t work well. Post invincibles, AW took on a 4-3-3 to accommodate the new fulcrum of the team – Fabregas. We distinctively looked more like Barcelona except for a couple of problems. Our players bar one or two were not in the same class to pull off that formation. We were and still are terrible with crosses (and corners for that matter). RVP was never a center forward at that time. Fast forward 2011, we lost Fabregas and Nasri and sticking to 4-3-3 was more due to familiarity than suitability.

The Usual 4-3-3

Our usual 4-3-3 goes this way: 2 defensive mids with one AM. 1 CF with 2 attacking wingers. Our AM this time is the younger Aaron Ramsey, which while clearly talented isn’t ready to play every game of the week. And we have no backup for him. Walcott and Gervinho are wingers with little product on most occasions. Sure Gervinho can squirm his way into the box but that was about it. He couldn’t release RVP or take proper shots on his own. Walcott is the opposite, getting past a faster defender is a headache for him. So you can see why this Arsenal side has struggled poorly this season.

But the game at Tottenham was different.

We didn’t go with 2 flank players, or plonked an outright AM in this match. It was kind of weird to be honest. But what was sure of the players chosen was experience and steel. One would have thought Rosicky would play on the left but he plied mostly in the middle or swung towards the right where Walcott occupied. As expected all 5 of the goals came from the right or middle. Benni filled up the left and center when needed. Song actually played higher up compared to Arteta. What playing Rosicky, Arteta and Song meant was that we were actually winning the midfield battle and Spurs did not have a clue which one of the midfielders would be springing forward. (If Ramsey was played expect Parker to be all over him immediately) This unpredictability caused problems for their midfield and gave Arsenal numerous forays into the final third. Sounds familiar? The last time we had that was during the Overmars-PV-Petit-Parlour days.

Rosicky - Finally A Performance from Lil' Mozart

What AW can take away from this is that this midfield composition can help for tougher games. Games where the midfield battle is tougher. There are some reminders to take away from this match. The backline was woefully exposed early on and composure should be there from the get go and not after 30 mins. Every time an attack came through every defender hit the panic button and went all over the shop. Thankfully the midfield did for the first time in many games give a layer of protection given that all 3 of them had no qualms with dropping back and winning the ball. Spurs had a terrible defensive display as well. Their poor strategic choice could have over inflated the effectiveness of AW’s midfield pickings.

Parker & Bale

Also, special mentions for 2 English Spurs players. Scott Parker for being a professional. He got sent off but remained on the pitch for that handshake with TV. Most players in that state and that scoreline would have probably stormed off. He’s done brilliantly for Spurs all season anyways. AW should have grabbed him.

Also, Bale – you are a ****ing diver. Shame for a talented player to do that.

Carpe Diem

As a long suffering Arsenal fan, this is a game to remember. It complements the win against Chelsea earlier this season in terms of performances one can remember. But let’s be honest, every Arsenal fan went ‘seize the day, we’re probably gonna bottle the next game’. Heh.

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