Tactical Analysis On Both Halves Of Arsenal Draw
After watching the game today I had a lot of time to reflect on what I had seen, what went wrong, what went right, and what worked for Arsenal. Although we scored in the first half I was much more impressed with the second half based on our shape and mentality. Vela putting in another goal this preseason after a nice chip from Arshavin to Van Persie capped off a very frustrating first half for many Arsenal fans and it looked very familiar to many problems we had last year. So here’s my take on the game half by half with a few player analysis as well.
Defensively we looked sloppy, Traore put in a lot of effort and didn’t look too bad but our real Achilles heel was Squllaci who somehow can make any partner of his look bad. Djourou and Squillaci were sloppy today and balls were played over the top, and through us and well we’re lucky they didn’t score more goals than they did. Sagna had an alright game and even put in a cross that made it to the back post…stunner!
In the midfield, our star today was Emmanuel Frimpong with a few great tackles. He has power and strength and really did quite well in the midfield. Nasri, had a few good runs in and helped set up the goal, but really not that impressive for me. Rosicky hasn’t been on form these last two games and has been very average.
The forwards are where we look at the first half tactically though. Arshavin playing on the left, Vela on the right and Van Persie up the middle. I don’t see Vela as a wide man anyways and he scored his goal when he moved more centrally. The problem with our wingers is that they aren’t playing on the wings. Both players were seen almost the entire half within the width of the box. Play was forced up the middle the entire time and there was absolutely no space to work in. Arshavin with his one brief moment of brilliance was happy to pass the ball or give it away instead of take players on. With the ball being played within the width of the box it was far too easy for our opponents to tighten up and not let anything through.
Defensively I’m very excited to see the Koscielny/Vermaelen partnership as both are very smart, and play well together. They have shown they compliment each other well but we will need to see how they do against real competition. Gibbs did well and if he stays healthy he will be a better option than buying someone. Jenkinson was solid again as well and has shown he can hang with the big boys but again, we’ll find out more once we see him play better competition.
The midfield duo of Wilshere/Ramsey is also very exciting with both being in very good form and looking very dangerous. Wilshere looks to be the future of our attacking midfield spot with some very nice runs through he midfield and really does well to penetrate the defense. Song looked slower than usual and that could very well be fatigue.
Again the forwards are where we will look tactically because the opposite of the first half happened. Walcott and Miyaichi came into the game and camped out on the wings. With the new found width in our team it opened up space in the middle which is why we had so many chances in the second half. While we didn’t score, we will always have more chances when we use our width to stretch out the defense. Especially with midfielders such as Nasri and Wilshere, two wingers to stretch out the defense is imperative.
Last season we were often shut down by lesser teams because their defense just tightened up and let nothing through the middle, which is where we loved to play. With players like Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky all out on the wing, they usually like to move in towards the middle which limits our width even more. If we are to play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 whatever you want to call it, we need players who play their position instead of moving anywhere in the midfield!