Nov 29

Where Arsenal should improve if they want to win silverware this season

Arsenal

During the summer Arsenal broke their transfer record by a considerable amount to bring in arguably the best offensive midfielder in the world. There’s not really a whole lot to complain about at present – which is why I will.

One of the causes for concern is that there are two distinct sides to Arsenal: the one where we’re chasing a goal and the one where we’re a goal up. Being a goal behind or equal to our opponents Arsenal play the beautiful football that we’ve all come to cherish and adore. Arsenal always looks like scoring when going forward, and with Mesut Özil in the team the attacks are more direct than they have been for quite some time.

The issue is, however, that when Arsenal do grab a one goal lead they tend to sit deeper, take less risks and looks nervous and stressed on the ball. One would think it’d be easy to simply keep playing like you have for the last 10 or 30 minutes, but something happens in the minds of the Arsenal players when all they play defence-minded football. “One nil to the Arsenal” is a thing of the past, and that’s where it should stay.

The most recent title winning Arsenal sides were all-out attacking teams that went after the next goal. It is after all the Premier League where the silliest slip or the briefest shortage of focus sure will cost you dearly. Having the likes of Özil, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey and Rosicky in your side should pretty much guarantee that you don’t have to give up possession to anyone. Especially “lesser” sides. I do appreciate that so far our defence has held up more times than not, and we’ve also managed that get that second goal lead on the break. The point I’m making is that it is unlikely to last forever, and any lost point when chasing the title could be disastrous.

Another thing that made my heart skip a beat recently was Wenger basically saying that he doesn’t expect to be able to sign a striker in January. These early excuses are unacceptable if you look at our current squad, with Giroud being overplayed at both Arsenal and France. There’s absolutely no chance he’ll remain fit and sharp for a full season. Behind him is Bendtner who hasn’t looked himself recently – he has, somehow, been even worse. How he manages to look even lazier than ever I’ll never know.

Being top of the league and having a real good chance at going for glory we have to do absolutely everything necessary to do what it takes to be champions. I’m hoping the signing of Özil will prove to be a catalyst that sees Arsenal signing even more world class players rather than an excuse not to. The worry is that Wenger will be pointing at Özil every time he is asked if he is ready to spend the money required to be a top side.

That said, Arsenal have started the season in a brilliant matter and with the returns of Walcott and Podolski things are likely to look even better in the immediate future. Being the whiner that you’ve all grown to love and hate I would hate to disappoint you though, and it is with great affection that I point out these faults. Having witnessed perfection in the 03/04 season it’s difficult to not crave that again. And again. I do believe that this Arsenal side could achieve greatness by solving very few problem areas, and I do trust in Wenger to do just that. After all, compared to him we’re all idiots thinking we know stuff.

5 Responses to “Where Arsenal should improve if they want to win silverware this season”

  1. aian serry says:

    arsenal all d way

    ReplyReply
  2. cesc says:

    this side will struggle to win anything if they ever have to rely on arteta to cover in defensive midfield role. arteta is not quick enough or defensive enough for defensive midfield role.
    running around pushing players over is not being a defensive midfielder.

    ReplyReply
  3. J Kamati says:

    Please bring Suarez to partner inform Giroud, then u are done for now.

    ReplyReply
  4. Icheleaki says:

    A new striker and a new centre forward, a central defensive cover and titles will roll in.

    ReplyReply
  5. Dr. Gooner says:

    I have a few issues with what you say here. Since you are critical of group of death topping, league topping Arsenal, I’m going to be a bit critical of your post :)

    1. You correctly point out that sitting on a one goal lead is dangerous. It can be. If you take absolutely no risks, even the best defensive team will occasionally cough up a freak goal. But chasing a second goal, thereby leaving yourself open at the back, with a 1 goal lead in your pocket, is downright stupid. You need to balance these things, and to me Arsenal have done that perfectly this year.

    2. I don’t think we’ve done very well after going a goal down at all. As I recall, our games where we conceded first were against BVB at home, West Brom away, and ManU. We can count Villa, which was our one game so far where we blew a lead and chased the game late on. We didn’t win a single one of those games, and only against WBA did we salvage something. So, I’m not sure where your idea of us playing free flowing, attractive football when playing from behind came from.

    3. As an extension of 2., we have done remarkably well preserving leads. A big part of that is down to the fact that we don’t leave all this crazy space in behind our defense like we used to do (remember how that used to drive Stewart Robson into fits of apoplexy?). We press the ball for three seconds, and if we don’t win it back we drop into our shape and let the opposition have it on the halfway line. Then when we win it back, we break at pace. We haven’t counterattacked very well lately, but early in the season our play on the counter was breathtaking. It’ll get better again with Theo back in the fold.

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