Arsenal Message Board
- Reply to FABONGRASS May 2, 2013 22:23
The last time you raised that question about the stats of our goals for and against on 10 April, I was going to write a reply, but, for some reasons, the "reply" button was not there.
I think we started the first few games of our season defending quite well mainly due to the midfield not giving time or space for the opposition to settle. This made the job of our defenders easier. But then, for some unknown reasons, we reverted to our old self of letting the opposition to have more freedom in midfield. This was the reason the defending went bad. The situation improved again from about a month ago when the whole of our defence sat down to hammer out how they would defend as a team. An example of the sort of defending we should aspire to is the way Bayern defended against Barce in both legs of the Champions League semi-final.
I can understand conceding goals in many situations: the opposition playing brilliantly, they out-pace/out-number our defence, bad-luck, poor refereeing decisions...etc. But, it is the manner in which we concede them that I do not like. There are 2 things in particular that I hate
I agree Bayern deserved the win, but the second goal was offside and the third was a clear foul against right before the goal. The 2 handballs you mentioned, one debatable and the other was more accidental. For me, the refereeing in this game was really sub-standard.
Barcelona is made to look rather one-dimensional against teams like this: physical, defending as a team, quick counter-attack and good with set pieces.
I would like to see us employing 2 strikers, Giroud with a regular partner. Walcott, possibly?
In games like this, a long punt up the field from the back often finds Giroud, but his headed ball rarely finds a teammate. We need to have a partner for Giroud in order to profit from his abilities. And, we also need midfielders to attack crosses in the opposition's box much more often.
I do not know if it was a corner to start with. As for the penalty, you'll find Kolcielny was penalised earlier in the season for a bit of mutual grabbing with an attacker in the penalty area for a set-piece. A penalty was given against us. It was in the rule book but not often given by referees. So, there you are.
Regarding Walcott being offside. Yes, he was. But, the linesman was behind play. So, he could not possibly give that decision.
Ah! But, we did spend that much and more in total in Giroud, Podolski, Monreal and Carzola in the last year, and we are still sweating profusely for a top 4 place. Giroud can get us 15 goals a season, I think.
In my opinion, it is our defence that is the real problem. I would argue that, with our defence sorted out, we would have been comfortably sitting in 2nd or 3rd and practically assured of a top 4 finish by now. You need only look at the youth team to see that.
In the NextGen series in Europe, the way we conceded the goals, for example, against Chelsea in the semi, and the latest one against Liverpool a few days ago. They just did not seem to know how to defend! Every one of those goals conceded were not because of the brilliance of the opposition, but our atrocious defending. It is no surprise our first team results have improved recently after the whole defence sat down to discuss what their individual responsibilities were. This shows that they had not done so previously. So, what have the defence coaches been doing? They are not doing their jobs!
On another note, I think our ladies team members can strike a ball better than half our male 1st team.
For me, the whole situation arises from the lack of confidence due to poor defending.
All members of our team know that when an opponent runs with the ball at Mertasacker, he is likely to be left exposed. This is part of the reason for the poor form of Sagna recently.
Another reason is, our team defending is average to good, rather than v. good or excellent, even with our first choice defenders. However, with injuries to even 1 defender, what does that leave us: Jenkinson, Santos (previously), Miguel or Coquelin. Jenkinson is raw and not yet good enough against better teams, Santos well, is (was) Santos, Miguel is not yet good enough at this level, and Coquelin is only a makeshift. I always think that you need experience in defence. The only way to blood young defenders is when you have practically won a game by 3/4-0 with 15-20 minutes remaining. During the Wenger reign and after the famous back 5, we often started with young and inexperienced defenders and given them too long when it was evident that they were not up to it. Anyone remembers Justin Hoyte?
The other problem is with the midfield not tracking opponents since that french guy left for Juventus (what's his name?), and not closing down the player with the ball. It is obvious to me that, if you close down the player with the ball, his viewing angle, and hence his options, will be limited. Why-o-y do we not do that!?
It also seems to take 3 or 4 of our players to mark a single runner in our box. They seem to find security in number. This is not the way to do it! When defending/attacking set pieces, we seldom have players at the near post and far post. We would get far more goals for and fewer against if we did that.
And, finally, teach players how to tackle, not just shepherd all the time!
In short, whoever teaches/coaches defending at Arsenal should go back to school to learn the stuff.
- Reply to Govinda Dec 20, 2012 11:12
Do you think Jernade Meade can do a job as a left back better than Santos?
Agreed that our midfielders are too small and physically not very robust. But, who would you realistically suggest that we could sign in January for this role?
I am ok with the strikers department, but, instead, would like s/o with tricks and able to get past defenders 1-on-1.
In addition, I would like Wenger to try hard to get Chris Samba, if at all possible. We missed the opportunity big time when he was available last time round.
Agree with you on all of these points. The problem is we do not have players to play a good Italian system.
The good Italian sides like Napoli and Udinese have skillful and smart midfielders and forwards who can transform from defence to attack in an instant, and not with long balls, too. Look at our route out of defence: Sagna, Vermaelen, Santos, Podolski and Walcott (except with his speed) are not going to get past anybody. So, the opposition only has to mark the few players like Arteta, Cazorla and Wilshere to stop us, or at least delay us. Often, when we do not find a way out, our defence would just pass the ball back to Mannone, who in turn would just hoof the ball upfield, which results in us losing the ball more often than not. Btw, Mannone's ball distribution, even with a throw, is not up to scratch.
In my opinion, it is better to have all the players being able to contribute goals, than to concentrate goals on 1 player like last year with van Pu$$y.
I remember the times before Ian Wright arrived that we had many players who oppositions knew they could score. Those were the exciting times and it added to the unpredictability of the team.
I do not think that would solve our defensive problem.
Just look at the way we defend corners and freekicks, our players all just watch the ball and not BOTH the ball and tracking the opposition players. In case of corners, we should really divide up the job: s/o guarding the near post, the far post, another 1 or 2 tracking players from outside the box, couple of players running out from the box to block/obstruct their best heading players, our 2 best headers sweeping the penalty box, if needed, 1 to track if a short corner is taken; and I would like 1 of our quickest players just loitering at the halfway line to make a quick counter-attack possible, or at least give us a target to relieve pressure.
Against players such as Huntelaar, who is clever and would just sit on the shoulder of the last defenders to make runs, our defenders just do not seem to be able to track them. I think this is a job mainly for the central defenders and defensive midfielders. Sagna and Gibbs actually do this quite well, but since Gibbs was injured, we have been having a problem on the left.
I think Arsene Wenger has wanted to try to create a utopian football club that is Arsenal.
He inherited the Arsenal famous back 5 plus Bergkamp- our old mean defence and creative midfielder/attacker. Then, he set out to buy young unknown attacking players which is his forte. This system worked well because we had the best of both world in attack and defence. Once those defenders have left/retired, we were only left with quite good attack and good/mediocre defence. Hence the need to outscore the opponents.
Let's give credit to Wenger since he instilled a quick-passing system which made the Arsenal into a team better than the sum of its parts. However, with the advent of multi-billionaire sugar-daddies and the decision to build the new Emirate Stadium, it is inevitable that Arsenal would fall behind.
I think we have all noticed that Wenger has always wanted to buy young players almost exclusively and try to develope them "inhouse", so to speak. And he gave chances to players such as Justin Hoyte and Denilson for way too long than most of us think he should. It is not that you cannot win trophies with kids (cf. the Manure Golden generation), but it is improbable.
All these, together with the equitable pay system for the players Wenger has been employing, means that, once the highly-paid mediocre players who are on long-term contract that you are sure will not cut it at Arsenal, we cannot move them on. This locks up a lot of resources and hinders the development of the club. I have just watched the film "Atlas shrugged: Part I". Two people were talking about the reason for the collapse of a company. The reason was that the company paid all the workers the same. Gradually, the good workers had left, and the bad workers could not carry the company. Sounds familiar?
Wenger does not seem to understand good and great players want trophies the most at the end of the day, with the pay they get generally. That's why players like Cashly Cole, Fabregas, Clichy and van Pu$$y left. Once the gate is opened, it gets progressively worse.
For the team, I think we should buy midfielders/forwards who can beat opponents in a 1-v-1 situation. Player movement upfront has been poor recently, so, that could improve. But, most importantly, I think we should sort out the defence. Build the team on the foundation of a good defence is always paramount to me.
I think Giroud was bought as a striker, not sure about Podolski.
My point is, with the lone-striker system we play, once van Pu$$y is gone, the replacement forward is new to the team. Moreover, with Podolski and Cazorla also new, we basically have the heart of our offensive side requiring time to integrate. This is not made easier with ever changing personnel such as Walcott/AOC/Ramsay on the right, Gibbs/Santos at leftback, Jenkinson/Sagna at rightback. So, I would give them more time to adapt.
At the moment, our liabilities are Santos and Ramsay. We also need players such as Diaby and Rosicky to come back to assist Cazorla and Wilshere to link up play between defence and attack.
Well, Ramsay has not been very good since his comeback from the broken leg. He loses the ball so often and his passing has been substandard. He should not start a game really.
Another major problem player is, as anyone can guess, is Santos. His idea of a tackle is fully commited by going to ground. It is all well and good if he gets it right, which is not often. In addition, he does not think he is a defender, judging by the fact that he is more often in the opponents half than in his own half.
For the last 2-3 weeks, we have a problem of not being able to transfer the ball from defence to midfield and then attack. We just passed the ball around at the back and under enormous pressure that usually ended in one outcome: thumping the ball forward aimlessly either from defence or by Mannone.
In the middle of the park, we miss players like Febregas, Diaby and Rosicky who can get past people. Recently, team movement of players is also quite poor. There is something that I just cannot fathom: why is it that whenever one of our players attack via the wing, more often than not, he is on his own. Nobody seems to want to help him to attack in tandem, which other teams do.
As with the forward line, once we have sold van Pussy, we have no forward to speak of. So, I do not really blame Giroud and Poldolski. So, we should really play 2 upfront: Giroud and Walcott, with Podolski playing nearer the left edge of the penalty area because he can finish.
I think, for the Schalke game, we should employ Koscielny and Vermaelen in defence (and change back to Mertesacker and whoever is in better form for the Fulham game) with Jenkinson and Sagna, then Wilshere, Cazorla, Arshavin and either of Gnabry or Eisfeld for midfield, with Giroud and Walcott in attack.
Hope Szczesny comes back soon, because Mannone's distribution of the ball is poor.
Rant over for now.
I think Djourou should be converted as a defensive midfielder. He can defend a little bit. So, if/when he messed up, there will be the defenders to help him out. Plus, he has a little bit of trick to go pass defenders. That would come in handy when we need to move the ball out of defence.