Arsenal continued their poor form (for the past 2 months) and deserved to lose 0-2 to Swansea at home. It was a poor match in many aspects and fans will be rightfully calling for the heads of Wenger and the board. Ever since the Norwich game, Arsenal has been in a rut and the league table position justly depicts how poor the Gunners have been.
There’s not much to say about the match. Swansea played well in both halves and we showed up only in the second half. The game was open, Swansea had the better chances but WS1 kept us in the game until we were hit twice on the break. The goals that Swansea scored were easy ones because we were trying so hard in the last 10 minutes to repair the lack of meaningful activity on our end. Pushing high up, Michu took full advantage and finished twice one on one with yards and yards of space.
What do you say after watching such a tepid performance in the first half? Something is badly wrong. Something has been badly wrong since the Norwich game. Structure in defense has disappeared together with a lack of direction in attack. We find ourselves on the back foot from the first minute. I will break this down in point form:
- Off the ball movement is poor. Most players remain static when their team mate has the ball. The player with ball has no option to pass to and either tries a long ball or passes back to the center backs.
- Players are not understanding each other. Passes are being placed on the wrong foot and the extra seconds it is taking for team mates to shape up to shoot and pass is allowing opponents time to close us down. When that happens we pass backwards.
- Midfield trio of Arteta, Cazorla and Wilshere does not work. Sorry, you do not put 3 technical players together and hope all they do is tango the ball with 100% pass rate. Heard about balance? All 3 need a physical presence to work off. This is a result of hoping for many seasons that Diaby would be able to play a full season.
- Cazorla, Arteta and Podolski are clearly overworked. The first two have played every game with no rest. The last has played every game bar one and has a 100% substitution rate. You do not bring new players in and put them as the core in the first season. This is what happens when you sell your core every year. Also, this raises the question of not having quality backups.
- Players are being played out of position. Granted Podolski was later switched to CF and Gervinho back to LF but the damage was already done. Arteta is a CAM converted to a DM/CM. Cazorla is a winger converted to a CAM. The list goes on. Why do we have to play against the strengths of our players when we could easily do the following? Giroud and Podolski upfront supported by a 4 man midfield of Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott. It beats me why 4-4-2 is not being used when nearly all our players are built for that.
- Players look like they are not up for it. There’s something motivationally wrong. Only JW10, TV5 and WS1 were trying really hard. The front line were more concerned about complaining about not getting a set piece rather than quickly tracking back to win the ball.
Obviously, there are larger issues in play such as the lack of investment, a slow board and a direction built on avoiding worst case scenarios instead of pushing for titles.
It is painful to watch as a fan. But what can you do? I am putting the fault to Arsene Wenger. He has done great things for the club but he has faltered for far too long. We had an exciting team this year even with high profile sales. We had a very positive start to the season even with non Arsenal fans thinking that we could be dark horses. But all these have fallen apart in rather dramatic fashion because of tactical mistakes.
We did improve defensively this season but we have completely lost our attacking focus. It was almost unheard off in the past seasons that Arsenal will go through a game without scoring, but it has become a normality in the last two months. We have finishers but we aren’t creating chances. Too slow, too ponderous and opponents are finding it very easy to defend against us. It’s times like this that you put your hands up and admit your team is shit.
It’s times like this that you put your hands up and admit your team is shit.
How do we improve? Will signing new players help? I don’t know. This is a problem Arsene has to solve. He has to lift the team. He probably had to do that many times in the past 2 months but the net results have shown absolute zilch.
Until tactical decisions make sense, Arsene out. You’ve lost your way tactically and the club is being dragged down with you.