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Flat. Flatter than that pitch.

Flat. Flatter than that pitch.

Arsenal continued their poor form in a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford. I missed the first half due to the early kick off and the reaction here will be based on the second. Frankly, the game was flat with neither team showing much brilliance. Mistakes cost Arsenal their relatively bright start in the second half.

On the whole, it was down to continued poor form as seen in the games at Norwich, Schalke 04 and QPR. After going 2-0 down, Jack got himself sent off with what I believe is persistent fouling and the game was one way from then on. It was telling that instead of punishing us, United switched off as well and we pulled a goal back deep in injury time with virtually the last kick of the game. This turned out to be our second shot on target (the first also being in injury time). It was Norwich all over.

 

It was Norwich all over again.

 

 

Wrong Tactics Again

It would take a blind man to not know that our left flank has not been the same since Gibbs went off against West Ham. Santos was beaten left and right by the likes of smaller opponents yet Wenger decided it was a good decision to keep to the line up at QPR. The same thing happened. United, like Norwich, Schalke 04, QPR exposed that again. It was telling when there were times United was pouring down the right just to realize at the final third that it was worth it to delay play by precious seconds to switch play to the left.

It is at this point you wonder if we will ever return to 4-4-2 or stick with 4-3-3 whether it worked or not. 4-4-2 makes sense in the situation because we needed better flank protection and none of our strikers have been able to cope solo up front. Giroud has been the only one that has shown capability to hold his ground but our crosses have landed more often in the stands than in the box.

 

It is baffling that we called on Ramsey, again, to play on the right. That is with an in form Walcott on the bench.

 

I hate to dwell on this. 4-3-3 works great if you have great wing backs that could turn it into a 2-5-3 and quickly switch back. We had that when Gibbs was around. With Santos in, the formation has fallen apart. 4-3-3 also works if you have wingers that can support from the flanks or cut in when there is space. It is baffling that we called on Ramsey, again, to play on the right. That is with an in form Walcott on the bench.

Podolski is not a winger. It has been pretty clear how he either disappears or only plays well by cutting into the middle way before the final third. But Wenger wants him on the wing. Cazorla’s position has usually been on the flanks in his previous club, but Wenger has slotted him in the middle. That has paid some rewards but when we do not have a proper winger, such switches are not justified.

The same can be said of Ramsey, Arshavin, Rosicky and a long list of players that were remodelled. I agree we had success with players like Henry, Petit, Lauren, Toure, Van Persie, etc but surely at this point it is easier to just work with what everyone is comfortable with.

 

It is sickening that ever since Norwich, we have left players with the ball with virtually no forward passing option.

 

We have the set up to do a 4-4-2. Give the team some stability and more passing options. It is sickening that ever since Norwich, we have left players with the ball with virtually no passing option. The result? Ball goes back to our keeper and a long punt ends up nowhere.

The players we have available now do not know how to pull off a 4-3-3. But, Wenger has decided it is more prudent to wait for players to settle in rather than play a system they are already suited to.

 

Could Have Gotten Something

I think the only positive here is that we are in a terrible patch of form and are missing players but still did not get completely outclassed or shown against United and Chelsea. If United were the United I knew in past seasons, this game could have gone 4-0 or 5-0 easily down to the way we played and the tactics we utilized. This may sound like a consolatory comment but when we were that shit, played at their home and with 1 man down for half of the second period, 2-1 isn’t a bad result.

 

Most Arsenal fans felt that the game was there for the taking in the second half.

 

Most Arsenal fans felt that the game was there for the taking in the second half. But we hampered ourselves by not having natural options up field. It is funny to see Wenger subbing Ramsey off knowing full well that Ramsey can’t play on the wing. Why even start him there? It is not as if this is the first time our CM has shown that he isn’t a RF or RW.

That is probably why fans feel angry. This United loss wasn’t a surprise, it was an expectation after a terrible stretch post internationals.

 

Conclusion

Poor form continues and the end is nowhere in sight for now. Black November came early. AW again shows stubbornness with tactics. And contract issues are again depriving us of players we need.

We shot ourselves in the foot for the past 2 weeks. There is so much potential but so poorly executed. This is why fans are pissed.

 

Ratings

Can’t put numbers since I didn’t watch the first half. Sagna and Mertesacker had a good game. I thought Vito did well as well. TV5 and Santos were terrible. The later needs to be dropped.

Podolski was a passenger and so was Ramsey. Why? Maybe it is because they aren’t wingers. The centre three battled well but were left stranded without flank support. All 3 were frustrated. This was the first time I saw Cazorla angry, Arteta was pissed and JW was sent off for venting it on United players.

Giroud had zero service and had to drop back. Our crosses outdid defensive clearances as usual. That pretty much summed up the game.

Dave Junia

Dave Junia | administrator

Analyst. Cyclist. Photographer

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