Wenger and Klopp MUST prove that fast and furious can be successful

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoyed an Arsenal debut to remember
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoyed an Arsenal debut to remember

It was instant. Having been apart for nearly two years, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were footballing brothers in arms as soon as they were reunited on a football pitch. It was exhilarating, particularly for anyone of an Arsenal persuasion. This is what they had been promised, and for once that promise had been delivered on.

Indeed, last week’s 5-1 thumping of Everton, in which Aubameyang scored and Mkhitaryan laid on a hat-trick of assists, felt like a watershed moment in the Gunners’ season. In fact, it was more significant than that. One should be wary of hyperbole after just one game but it felt like the beginning of a new cycle.

This was an Arsenal we hadn’t seen before under Wenger. Not so long ago, the Gunners were renowned for their quality of play – short, swift moves, passing triangles, intricate attacks – but this was something different. There was a newly-instilled speed to Arsenal’s attacking play, demonstrated best in the exchange play of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan along with Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey. There was a sharpness in the final third that few opposition sides in the Premier League will be able to handle.

READ MORE: Revealed – Biggest January bargains

READ MORE: Gossip – Luis Suarez ‘to join Enrique at Chelsea’ and more

READ MORE: Evra completes West Ham move

Jurgen Klopp would call it ‘Heavy metal football.’ That’s how he once described the play of his Borussia Dortmund side, carrying that over to Liverpool when he was appointed at Anfield two and-a-half years ago. The Reds are now a reflection of their German coach and his coaching ideals, earning themselves a reputation for fast and furious football.

But not necessarily winning football…

Henrikh Mkhitaryan set up three goals against Everton
Henrikh Mkhitaryan set up three goals against Everton

While Liverpool have scored more goals than any other side Premier League side this season besides Manchester City, while they have thrilled and entertained, they have won the fewest number of games of any team currently in the top four. This is the paradox of their season.

It’s a paradox that Arsenal could be about to add to. While the Gunners enjoyed something of a coming out party against Everton at the weekend, they must show that they can reach such heights on a consistent basis. They must prove that the fast and furious football that is now setting the zeitgeist in the Premier League, and across the European game, can deliver real results.

Of course, there are parallels to be drawn between the kind of football currently being played by Arsenal and Liverpool and the philosophy that carried Leicester City to the Premier League title two seasons ago. Some might argue that the Foxes already proved that this brand of play can be effective at the top level. They too possessed pace on the attack, slicing opposition sides open with clinical concentration. But their approach wasn’t as pure as the likes of Klopp’s, and now Wenger’s.

Jurgen Klopp was angered by referee Jon Moss after he awarded Tottenham two penalties
Jurgen Klopp was angered by referee Jon Moss after he awarded Tottenham two penalties

Leicester relied on their defence to give their forwards the platform on the rapid counter attack. This isn’t happening at Arsenal and Liverpool. Instead, their style is founded on sheer energy and attacking abandon. It depends on relationships between forwards rather than between full backs, wingers and forwards, as is the case in a team that plays on the break.


Klopp may point to the success he enjoyed in the Bundesliga as evidence of how such a system can work but his Dortmund side were pulled up for many of the same faults Liverpool are repeating this season. They too struggled, at times, to hold on to a lead, conceding far too many goals to sustain their supremacy at the top of the German game for any great length of time. This is why, for all their achievements, Dortmund only won one Bundesliga title under Klopp.

Football is a game now widely determined by who can attack fastest. A report published in 2005-06 by then UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh claimed that as many as 40% of all goals scored in open play come from counter attacks. It’s possible percentage is even higher now. It comes as little surprise then that this is reflected in the way teams like Arsenal and Liverpool are playing. The step for both these sides is to show that it can take them to the top.