Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Watford

A welcome victory for the Gunners, with some impressive performances by Cech, Mustafi, Holding, Xhaka and Aubameyang but poor performances by Elneny, Mykhitaryan, Ozil and Iwobi.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 4-2-4 formation in game.

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Arsenal were able to dominate possession (60% to Watford’s 40%), but unlike in Arsenal’s recently loss to Brighton, Watford were far more willing to commit players in attack, rather than employ a deep defensive block and counterattack. This stretched the game vertically and provided Arsenal’s attacking midfielders and Aubameyang with the space and time needed to attempt more lower risk through passes and make runs in behind Watford’s defence. It was a tactically naive approach from Watford but very much welcomed by the out of form Gunners.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
It was a strong performance from Cech who made 4 saves for the match, including 1 from a penalty taken by Deeney. The experienced keeper also did well when called upon to deal with Watford’s 24 crosses for the match.

RWB: Maitland Niles
It was mixed defensive performance from Maitland Niles, who was proactive and aggressive with his tackling (3 tackles) but struggled with his defensive positioning (0 interception). That said, he did enough defensively to effectively shut down his opponent, Pereyra (1 off target shot, 2 forward dribbles, 1 accurate cross from his 2 attempts and 0 attempted through passes). Offensively, it was also a mixed performance from the young Englishman, who made 2 successful forward dribbles but failed to attempt a cross. While his performance wasn’t prefect, and the penalty he conceded demonstrated his inexperience playing at right fullback, Maitland Niles demonstrated enough in terms of key performance indicators to justify his continued selection in the position ahead of Bellerin.

RCB: Mustafi
It was a very strong defensive performance from Mustafi (4 tackles, 7 clearances and 6 successful aerial duels). While his aggressiveness compromised his defensive positioning at times (0 interceptions), which allowed his opponent Richarlison to attempt 4 shots, 2 of which forced Cech into action, his proactive ball recovery skills, no non sense approach to defending and aerial strength can’t be questioned.

LCB: Holding
It was a strong defensive performance from Holding (3 interceptions, 7 clearances and 4 successful aerial duels). While the lack of aggressiveness in Holding’s defensive approach (1 tackle) gave his opponent Deeney some shooting opportunities (2 shots, 1 of which was on target) and he lost the aerial battle with the Watford striker (4 successful duels to Deeney’s 7), Holding was largely able to keep the experienced forward at bay. All in all
an impressive performance.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was a quiet day defensively for Kolasinac (2 tackles and 0 interception), as his opponent, Femenia, struggled to influence the game in an attacking sense (1 off target shot, 1 successful forward dribble and 1 accurate cross from 2 attempts). That said, some more intelligence in Kolasinac’s defensive positioning would have eliminated any threat posed by Femenia. Offensively, it was a poor showing by the Serb, with no forward dribbles and just 2 inaccurate crosses. His historical performances indicate that Kolasinac is capable of much more particularly defensively. He needs to show that now for Arsenal on a consistent basis.

RCM: Elneny
It was an underwhelming performance from Elneny, who was solid in his tackling (2 tackles for the match) and passed with excellent accuracy (92%) but his defensive positioning was poor (0 interceptions) and he failed to efficiently and directly transition the ball from defence to attack, whether it be via a dribble (0 successful forward dribbles) or accurate long pass (1 accurate long pass for the match). Elneny has demonstrated consistently that he hides in matches and fails to meaningfully contribute either defensively or offensively. His continue selection in central midfield ahead of youngsters such as Willock, Da Silva and Sheaf is one of many perplexing team selection decisions by Wenger.

LCM: Xhaka
It was a fantastic all round performance by Xhaka, who expertly screened Holding and Kolasinac (4 tackles and 2 interceptions) and was highly effective and productive at directly transitioning the ball from defence to attack (5 accurate long passes out of 6 attempts). His passing accuracy (90%) was also excellent. While Xhaka’s immobility restricts his ability to regularly execute success forward dribbles, which was again the case versus Watford, it was as complete of a performance as can be expected from Xhaka who has significantly improved defensively during the second half of the season. Arsenal’s man of the match for me.

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
Despite recording a goal and assist, it was an poor performance from Mykhitaryan (1 shot, no successful forward dribbles, a paltry 71% passing accuracy and 1 successful through pass from 1 attempt). It was a far cry from his excellent performance versus Milan and his overall offensive production needs to improve.

CAM: Ozil
It was a mixed performance by Ozil who impressed with his willingness to dribble at the Watford defence (3 successful forward dribbles), notched another assist from
a set piece delivery and passed accurately (81%). That said, Ozil again failed to consistently offer a goal scoring threat (1 shot for the match) and while he executed a nice through pass for Aubameyang early in the match, that was his only attempted through pass for the game. More offensive output is required by the German.

LCAM: Iwobi
It was a poor performance by Iwobi who, despite show some creativity with his passing (2 attempted but inaccurate through passes), passed the ball with inaccuracy throughout the match, only executed 1 forward dribble and had 1 off target shot.

ST: Aubameyang
A very strong attacking performance from Aubameyang who, given Watford’s attacking intent, was given space behind their defence in which he could make off the ball runs into. While he only scored 1 goal for the match, he showed his willingness with 4 shots in total, 2 of which were on target.

A great outcome for Arsenal, even though it wasn’t a good attacking performance. Arsenal’s ongoing struggle to find a central midfielder who can partner Xhaka and consistently defend as well as directly transition the ball from defence to attack continues. Xhaka’s performance in that regard has significantly improved, though none of Elneny, Wilshere or Ramsey have been able to consistently deliver the required performance standard. While strong individual performances from Mustafi, Holding and Xhaka were able to mask Elneny’s poor defensive play, the Egyptian’s overly complicated transitional play, combined with a lack of directness from Arsenal’s attacking midfield cohort, limited Arsenal’s potential goal scoring opportunity versus the Hornets. That said, like the AC Milan victory the week prior, a win is a win and hopefully Arsenal can produce a much more complete performance in the mid week return fixture versus the Italians.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: AC Milan vs Arsenal

A great outcome for the Gunners but on closer inspection there were disappointing individual performances by the majority of Arsenal’s starting 11, including Chambers, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Ozil and Wilshere. Fortunately for Arsenal, Milan’s wayward shooting and a strong attacking performance from Mykhitaryan, ensured that Arsenal would take a commanding lead going into the second leg at the Emirates.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 3-3-2-2 formation in game.

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Unlike Arsenal’s prior match versus Brighton, in which the Gunners were able (or allowed) to dominate possession (68% to 32%), the match versus AC Milan was a much more open affair with Milan edging possession (51% to Arsenal’s 49%).

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Ospina
With Milan’s woeful shooting accuracy (only 1 shot out of 16 attempts was on target) it was a relatively quiet day for Ospina. That said, he did well when called upon to deal with Milan’s whopping 31 crosses for the match.

RWB: Chambers
It was a mixed defensive performance by Chambers (1 tackle, 2 interceptions, 4 clearances and 8 successful aerial duels) as he struggled to curb the creative influence of his opponent, Chalhanoglu (1 accurate through pass from 2 attempts and 1 accurate cross from 3 attempts). It was another perplexing decision by Wenger to play the centre back at right back and while Chambers was too timid in his tackling approach his defensive positioning was solid, he tried to keep his game simple, which was reflected in a good number of clearances and he was very strong when dealing with crosses from the opposite flank. Offensively, Chambers was again underwhelming with just 1 successful forward dribble and 1 accurate cross from 1 attempt. That said, it’s hard to blame Chambers for underperforming in a position which he is clearly ill suited to play in but which Wenger continues to select him in.

RCB: Mustafi
Overall it was an underwhelming defensive performance from Mustafi (0 tackle, 2 interceptions, 6 clearances and 2 successful aerial duels). While his defensive positioning was okay and he like, Chambers and Koscielny, tried to keep his game simple by clearing the ball at every opportunity, the German was too passive in his defensive approach which allow his opponent Bonaventura to attempt a whopping 7 shots. Fortunately for Mustafi, Bonaventura only managed to get 1 of his shots on target. Mustafi was also bested by his opponent in the air. While it wasn’t the best performance from the German, a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central midfield certain made things that much more difficult.

LCB: Koscielny
While it was a disappointing tackling performance from Koscielny (0 tackles), his defensive positioning (4 interceptions) was excellent and he kept his game nice and simple with 8 clearances for the match. Koscielny was also strong aerially with 4 successful aerial duels as his young opponent, Cutrone (1 off target shot and 1 successful forward dribble) really struggled. It was a welcome return to form for the Frenchman, who also wasn’t helped by a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central midfield.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was a poor defensive performance by Kolasinac (0 tackles and 1 interception), who was well beaten by his opponent, Susa (3 shots, 0 of which were on target, 3 successful forward dribble and a host of inaccurate crosses), Kolasinac needed to be mor aggressive defensively and more intelligent in his defensive positioning to eliminate the threat posed by Susa. That said, offensively, Kolasinac was good in terms of his transitional play with 3 successful forward dribbles. Unfortunately his end product was lacking in both volume and accuracy, with just the 1 inaccurate cross for the match. I suspect that Serb is still suffering from low confidence following his marginalisation by Wenger throughout midseason.

RCM: Ramsey
His calmly taken goal aside, it was a disappointing performance from Ramsey. Defensively he only managed 1 tackle and 1 interception as he failed miserably to offer protection to Chambers and Mustafi. Offensively, while his passing accuracy was very good (86%), he failed to transition the ball from defence to attack whether it be via a dribble or accurate long pass.

LCM: Xhaka
It was a reasonably solid performance by Xhaka. While he wasn’t aggressive enough in his tackling (0 tackles for the match), he showed reasonable defensive awareness (2 interceptions). That said, his defensive positioning was still too far from Koscienly and Kolasinac to offer them meaningful protection. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (95%) and transitional passing (4 accurate long range passes) was excellent.

RCAM: Ozil
While he managed to notch 2 assists and recorded a successful through pass from his 2 attempts, it was an underwhelming performance from Ozil. The German failed to offer any threat via the dribble (0 successful forward dribbles) and failed to show anything in terms of goal scoring intent. While his passing accuracy (85%) was very good, more offensive output (in particular dribbles and shots) is expected of the German, who again failed to meet the expected key performance indicators for an attacking midfielder.

CAM: Wilshere
It was a poor performance by Wilshere who, despite recording 2 successful forward dribbles, struggled with his passing accuracy (78%), offered minimal threat on goal (1 off target shot) and showed limited creativity with his passing (1 inaccurate attempted through pass). Wilshere’s inability to consistently meet the key performance indicators of either Arsenal’s central midfielder or attacking midfielder, is increasingly building a case as to why Arsenal shouldn’t offer him a new contract for next season.

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
It was a strong offensive performance from the Armenian, with a goal from his 3 shots, another of which hit the cross bar, 5 successful forward dribbles and 83% passing accuracy. My only criticism of Mykhitaryan’s performance was his passing creativity (no attempted through passes). Apart from that it was a strong showing from the Armenian and he was clearly Arsenal’s man of the match.

ST: Welbeck
It was a solid performance from Welbeck. While his goal drought continued, he showed some attacking intent with 2 shots, 1 of which was on target and he wasn’t helped by a lack of creativity from Ozil and Wilshere in particular. Aerially he was very good with 3 successful aerial duels. While his historical performances indicate he shouldn’t be considered for Arsenal’s first 11 in a striking capacity (or even as a back up), his performance in this match was much improved on recent outings.

Overall it was another poor performance by Arsenal, masked by a couple of goals and some impressive attacking play by Mykhitaryan. Defensively, Arsenal’s centre backs were again left unprotected by Arsenal’s central midfield, and in particular Ramsey. This exposed Arsenal’s defenders to Milan’s attacker and but for some wayward shooting by the Italians, the outcome of this match could have been very different. Offensively, there were poor performances again from Ramsey, Ozil and Wilshere, which made it difficult for Welbeck up front. That said, a win is a win and hopefully Arsenal’s players can take confidence from the outcome of this match into the game versus Watford and produce a much improved and more complete performance that what they dished out in Italy.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: Brighton vs Arsenal

Another disjointed performance from the Gunners whose central midfielders again positioned themselves far too far from
Arsenal’s centre backs,
exposing Arsenal’s central defenders to counterattacks.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 3-3-4 formation in game.

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IMG_1867While Arsenal were able (or allowed) to dominate possession (68% to 32%), Brighton game plan of defending deep and counterattacking at pace down the flanks, was much more effective than Arsenal’s directionless attacking approach.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
Arguably at fault for Brighton’s first goal as he attempted but fail to claim a corner kick leaving an open goal for Duffy to stroke home. That said, the effectiveness of Arsenal’s zonal marking left much to be desired. While Cech could have also done better with Brighton’s second goal, it was a very well placed header from Murray that essentially wrong footed the goal keeper. Apart from those two instances, it was a solid performance from Cech, who made 4 saves to limit the damage. He also did well when called upon to deal with Brighton’s 12 further crosses.

RWB: Chambers
It was a perplexing decision by Wenger to play the centre back at right back and expose him to the relentless dribbling and pace of Brighton’s left winger, Izquierdo. Consequently, the Colombian destroyed Chambers and ended the match with 4 shots, all of which were off target, 3 successful forward dribbles and 2 crosses, 1 of which was accurate. Conversely, Chambers only managed 1 tackle and 1 interception for the match. Offensively, Chambers was equally underwhelming with just 1 successful forward dribble and 2 inaccurate crosses. All that said, it’s hard to blame Chambers for underperforming in a position which he is clear ill suited to play in.

RCB: Mustafi
Overall it was a solid defensive performance from Mustafi (1 tackle, 3 interceptions, 6 clearances and 7 successful aerial duels). While he was too passive in his tackling and his opponent on the day, Murray got the better of him for Brighton’s 2nd goal, Mustafi’s positioning, aerial strength and willingness to clear his lines rather than over complicate his game were all excellent.

LCB: Koscielny
A disappointing defensive performance from Koscielny (1 tackle, 1 interceptions, 2 clearances and 2 successful aerial duels) as he struggled to shut down his opponent’s GroB (2 shots on target, and an assist for Brighton’s 2nd goal, following an error by Koscielny). While the ageing Frenchman remains Arsenal 2nd best central defender after Mustafi, a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central midfield is seriously exposing him.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was an underwhelming defensive performance by Kolasinac (2 tackles and 1 interception), who visibly appeared low in confidence when called upon to defend. While his opponent, Knockart, was solid without impressing (2 shots, 1 of which was on target, 1 successful forward dribble and 2 inaccurate crosses), Kolasinac could have been more aggressive defensively and been more intelligent in his defensive positioning to eliminate the Frenchman’s threat. That said, offensively, Kolasinac was very good, with 2 successful forward dribbles and 3 out of 4 accurate crosses. It was an improved offensive display from Arsenal’s premier left fullback. Long may it continue.

RCM: Wilshere
It was a woeful defensive effort from Wilshere with 0 tackles and 1 interception) as he failed miserably to offer protection to Chambers and Mustafi and was soundly beaten by his opponent Popper. Offensively though Jack was very strong with an excellent 88% passing accuracy and 6 forward dribbles.

LCM: Xhaka
It was an impressive tackling display from Xhaka (3 tackles) as he worked hard to try and protect Arsenal’s centre backs. He did so without the assistant of Wilshere who abandoned his central midfield defensive duties. While Xhaka was nice and aggressive in his defensive approach, his defensive positional play was again poor (1 interception) as he positioned himself far too far from Arsenal’s centre backs. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (88%) and transitional passing (7 accurate long range passes) was excellent and he recorded a nice assist for Aubameyang’s goal.

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
It was a much improved offensive performance from the Armenian, with 3 shots, 2 of which were on target, 2 successful forward dribbles and a more respectable 80% passing accuracy. That said, he struggled again with his passing creativity (no attempted through passes).

CAM: Ozil
It was similarly an improved performance from Ozil who recorded 2 forward dribbles and had 3 shots, one of which was on target and forced an excellent save from Matt Ryan in the Brighton goal. He also passed the ball with 84% accuracy and executed a successful through pass. All in all a better showing from the German.

LCAM: Iwobi
While Ozil and Mykhitaryan demonstrated improved output, that wasn’t the case for Iwobi. While the young Nigerian had 2 shots for the match, 1 of which was on target, and had an impressive 87% passing accuracy, he lacked penetration and creativity with the ball, whether that be via the dribble (0 dribbles for the match) or in the form of through passes (0 attempted through passes).

ST: Aubameyang
His well taken goal aside, it was another match for Aubameyang in which Arsenal attacking midfielders failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for the Gabonese striker. Despite this being a recurring theme for Aubameyang, as it was for Lacazette before him, Wenger continues to employ a tactical set up which totally deprives him of any regular clear cut goal scoring opportunities. The longer Wenger continues failing to adopt a tactical system that accentuates the Gabonese striker’s strengths and hides his weaknesses, the more I fear for the state of Aubameyang’s confidence.

Overall it was another poor performance by Arsenal. Defensively, Arsenal’s centre backs were again isolated by the central midfield, exposing them to counterattacks by Brighton. While Xhaka again showed some defensive improvements, his central midfield partner, whether it be Wilshere or Ramsey, don’t have the defensive focus or desire to fulfil the requirements of that role. Offensively, while Arsenal’s central midfield did a good job at quickly transitioning the ball from defence to attack via a combination of long range passes and dribbles, Arsenal attacking midfielders slowed the tempo of Arsenal’s attacks and over complicated the build up play which enable Brighton to establish a deep defensive block and deny Aubameyang the space he needs. With an inform Milan side to come next, things could get worse.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Manchester City

It was an inept performance from the Gunners who once again over committed players in advanced positions, exposing Arsenal’s central defenders and we’re too cautious in attack, which failed to
create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for Aubameyang.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 2-3-5 formation in game.

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IMG_1864While Man City only shaded possession (54% to 46%) they were far more purposeful in attack and defence than the Gunners, owing much to the tactical astuteness of Guardiola and Wenger’s lack thereof.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
It was a solid performance from Cech, who wasn’t responsible for any of the 3 Man City goals Arsenal conceded and made 2 further saves to limit the damage. Cech wasn’t really called upon aerially as Man City kept the ball on the ground in attack to play to the strengths of Aguero, David Silva, Sane and Bernardo Silva

RWB: Bellerin
It was a solid tackling performance from Bellerin (2 tackles) but yet again his defensive positioning let him down (1 interception) as his opponent Sane, dominated the Spaniard (6 successful forward dribbles, an assist and a goal from his 1 shot for the match). Offensively, while Bellerin showed some attacking intent with his crossing (3 inaccurate crossing attempts), his accuracy again let him down and he only recorded 1 successful forward dribble for the match. Despite being out of form both defensively and offensively, Wenger continues to select the Spaniard in the right fullback position due to their personal relationship. I think the time has come for Arsenal to give Jenkinson or Debuchy an opportunity…wait a minute…Wenger sold or loaned out all or Arsenal’s alternative right fullbacks. Another masterstroke decision from the Frenchman.

RCB: Mustafi
An aggressive tackling performance from Mustafi (4 tackles) but his positional play was poor (1 interception) and he was drawn too far right from centre in an attempt to cover Bellerin’s poor defensive positioning. As a consequence, his main opponent on the day Aguero was able to heavily influence the match (4 shots, 2 of which were on target, an assist and 5 successful forward dribbles). Mustafi also failed to simplify his game and just clear the ball when the opportunity arose (2 clearances for the match). Aerially he wasn’t challenged at all. Overall it was a disappointing performance by Mustafi, though a lot of his struggles in this match can be attributed to the poor defensive positioning of both Bellerin at RWB and Ramsey at RCM, which left the German on an island to try and defend against the attacking thrusts of David Silva, Sane and Aguero.

LCB: Koscielny
An excellent defensive display by Koscielny (5 tackles and 2 interceptions) who bounced back from his disappointing showing in the League Cup final to effectively shut down his main opponent in this match in De Bruyne (1 shot, 2 forward dribbles and 1 accurate through pass from his 1 attempt). While aerially he wasn’t challenged, Koscielny could have simplified his game at times and just cleared his lines to relieve the pressure on Arsenal’s defence (2 clearances). Nevertheless, it was a strong showing from the Frenchman.

LWB: Kolasinac
It was an underwhelming performance by Kolasinac. While his defensive positioning was great (4 interceptions), which largely eliminated the threat of his opponent Bernardo Silva (1 goal from his 1 shot for the match and 2 successful forward dribbles), he could have been more aggressive in his defensive approach (1 tackle). Offensively, while he was very poor (1 successful forward dribble and 1 accurate cross from his 1 attempt). The Serb’s confidence has obviously been affected by Wenger’s decision to withdraw him from the first 11, despite Kolasinac being clearly the strongest left fullback at the club.

RCM: Ramsey
It was a woeful defensive performance from the Welshman (0 tackles and 0 interceptions) as he completely abandoned his positional and defensive duties to individually pursue goals and assists. Offensively, Ramsey’s passing accuracy was very good (85%), he effectively transitioned the ball from defence to attack (2 forward dribbles and 4 accurate long range passes) and he showed some, albeit limited, creativity or risk with his passing (1 attempted through pass for the match). It was yet another performance from the Welshman which highlighted how his defensive ill discipline makes him poorly suited to playing in central midfield.

LCM: Xhaka
It was an excellent tackling display from Xhaka (6 tackles) as he worked extremely hard to try and single handily protect Arsenal’s centre backs, given Ramsey’s decision to abstain from his central midfield defensive duties. While Xhaka was nice and aggressive in his defensive approach, his defensive positional play was generally poor (1 interception). Offensively, while Xhaka’s passing accuracy (85%) and transitional passing (4 accurate long range passes) was very good, he wasn’t creative or risky enough with his passing (0 attempted through passes) and he failed to transition the ball forward via the dribble (0 successful forward dribbles). That said, it was a good performance from the Swiss though he needs to focus on trying to deliver complete defensive performances (i.e. both tackling and his positional play).

RCAM: Mykhitaryan
It was a poor offensive performance from the Armenian, with only 1 successful forward dribble, 71% passing accuracy and no attempted through passes. The only real positive was that he showed some goal scoring intent with 2 shots for the match, 1 of which was on target. It has been an inauspicious start to Mykhitaryan’s Arsenal career. That said, given his highly productive career numbers to date, the big question is whether it is simply Mykhitaryan underperforming or Wenger’s tactics failing to allow the Armenian to consistently demonstrate his undoubted skill set

CAM: Ozil
It was another woeful performance from Ozil who failed to attempt a forward dribble or through pass for the match and only had 1 (off target) shot. Combine that with a significant drop in his passing accuracy (77%) and it was another match to forget for the German.

LCAM : Welbeck
Like Ozil and Mykhitaryan it was a dreadful performance from Welbeck who Wenger shoehorned into a unfamiliar LCAM role to ensure one of his favourites was included, despite his recent poor form. While the Englishman completed 2 successful forward dribbles, he failed to attempt a through pass for the match, only had 1 (off target) shot and recorded a woeful 68% passing accuracy. It’s these types of team selections, based on personal relationships rather than on field performances, which continue to bring Wenger and Arsenal unstuck.

ST: Aubameyang
It was yet another difficult game for Aubameyang who, like Lacazette experienced, is being was deprived of any service from Arsenal’s slew of so call creative midfielders and attacking wingbacks. He ended the match with no goals from his 2 shots, one of which was the on target penalty that was saved by Ederson.

It was the same old same old problems for Arsenal in this match. A lack of protection for Arsenal’s centre halves, particularly from Bellerin and Ramsey for Mustafi, and poor offensive play from Mykhitaryan, Ozil and Welbeck left Aubameyang isolated and without clear cut goal scoring opportunities. While a less skilful opponent in Brighton should enable Arsenal to assert themselves in their next Premier League match, Arsenal are slipping further and further behind the likes of Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Tottenham the longer Wenger remains in charge.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: Manchester City vs Arsenal

A humiliating defeat for the Gunners, who failed to execute in key positions, thanks in no small part to poor team selection and tactics.

Arsenal returned to a notional 3-4-2-1 formation prematch and largely stuck to that structure throughout the match. That said, Arsenal’s central midfield again positioned themselves far too high up the pitch as did Arsenal’s the wingbacks , which left Arsenal’s central defenders exposed and stretched horizontally.

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With Arsenal facing a team with a greater desire to retain possession (reflected in Man City’s 57% possession to Arsenal’s 43%), this match presented Arsenal with a rare opportunity to focus on counterattacking and using he vision of Ozil and Wilshere and the speed and off the ball runs of Aubameyang in attack. However, poor attacking execution from Ramsey, Wilshere and Ozil cost the Gunners.

In terms of the individual performances of Arsenal’s players during the clash:

GK: Ospina
Ospina wasn’t at fault for any of the goals and was strong when required to take action on Man City’s 12 crosses for the match.

RWB: Bellerin
It was a relatively quiet day defensively for Bellerin as his opponent Sane (1 off target shot, 2 successful forward dribbles, 2 inaccurate crosses) struggled to make an impact. That said, Bellerin struggled again with his defensive positioning (0 interceptions). Offensively, while the Spaniard’s transitional play (2 forward dribbles) was solid, his end product was non existent (0 attempted crosses).

RCB: Chambers
While he was turned by Silva for Man City’s 3rd goal, it was a strong defensive showing by the young Englishman (2 tackles, 4 interceptions and 6 clearances). One of the few Arsenal players who produced on the day and his reward from Wenger was to be hauled off after 64 minutes.

CB: Mustafi
A very poor defensive performance by the German with a positional error for Man City’s opening goal and just 1 tackle and 1 interception. But for the inaccurate shooting of Mustafi’s main opponents on the day, Aguero (3 inaccurate shots from his 4 attempts), the final score could have been much worse for Arsenal. That said, Mustafi did attempt to relieve the pressure on Arsenal’s defence at times with 4 clearances and was solid aerially with 3 successful aerial duels.

LCB: Koscielny
It was an underwhelming performance by Koscielny (2 tackles, 0 interceptions and 2 clearances). While his main opponent on the day De Bruyne was solid at best (2 inaccurate shots, 2 forward dribbles and 1 inaccurate through pass), Koscielny was not aggressive enough in his defending to put the Belgian under any sort of pressure. His aerial strength (4 successful aerial duels) was the one positive from his performance.

LWB: Kolasinac
An very quiet day defensively for Kolasinac (1 tackle and 0 interceptions) as main opponent on the day, Walker, failed to make any sort of offensive impact (0 forward dribbles and 1 inaccurate cross). Offensively, Kolasinac was poor, showing very little attacking intent with just the 1 forward dribble and 2 inaccurate crosses.

RCM: Ramsey
While his defensive positioning was at times okay (2 interceptions), Ramsey was simply too passive defensively (1 tackle) as he failed to effectively protect Arsenal’s back three. Offensively, Ramsey’s passing accuracy was woeful (63%), he largely failed to transition the ball from defence to attack (2 forward dribbles and just 1 accurate long range pass) and showed no creativity or risk with his passing (0 attempted through passes for the match). Ramsey also failed to show any real goal scoring intent, with just the 1 shot for the match. Put simply it was a bad performance from the Welshman and another example of how he does not suit playing in a 2 man central midfield.

LCM: Xhaka
Xhaka showed some excellent defensive awareness in the match (4 interceptions) but like Ramsey, he was nowhere near aggressive enough defensively (1 tackle). Offensively, while Xhaka’s passing accuracy (78%) was below his normally high standard and he wasn’t creative or risky enough with his passing (0 attempted through passes), his transitional play was very good (6/8 accurate long range passes and 3 forward dribbles).

RCAM: Ozil
A woeful performance from Ozil who only attempted 1 forward dribble for the match and failed to attempt a shot on goal or a through pass. Combine that with a significant drop in his passing accuracy (76%) and it was a match to forget for the German.

LCAM: Wilshere
A mixed and slightly underwhelming performance by Wilshere who tried his hardest to penetrate Man City’s rearguard with 6 successful forward dribbles. While his passing accuracy (83%) was also very good, his end product in terms of through passes and shots were lacking (0 attempted through passes and just 1 inaccurate shot).

CF: Aubameyang
A very difficult game for Aubameyang. But for a weak cross from Ozil and a hopeful long ball, which Kompany swept up majestically, Aubameyang was deprived of any clear cut goal scoring opportunities. Given Aubameyang’s proven goal scoring record, his 1 shot for the match (which was on target) tells the story of a manger whose tactical system, like in the recent loss to Spurs, failed to accentuates Aubameyang’s strengths and exposed his weaknesses.

Overall it was a pretty depressing experience for Gunners fans and a poor performance from the team. With the exception of Chambers and to a lesser extent Xhaka and Aubameyang, Arsenal’s players underperformed. Maybe it’s the optimist in me but I can’t help but feel that Gazadis in sanctioning the purchases of proven attacking talents in Lacazette, Aubameyang and Mykhitaryan this season has issued a final challenge to Wenger to prove during the second half of this season that he still has the tactical capabilities to covert Arsenal into a genuine Premier League title challenger for next season. If Wenger’s fails to prove his tactical nous in the next six months, it will give Gazidis all the ammunition he needs to call for Wenger’s tenure to come to a close at season’s end. If my assumptions are correct, Arsenal should have a new manager come the start of season 2019/2020.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Oestersunds

A disjointed performance from the Gunners punctuated by some excellent defensive play from Kolasinac and some fine dribbling from Iwobi.

While Arsenal setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 formation prematch, they appeared to adopt more of a 2-3-5 formation in game.

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Arsenal surprisingly only shaded possession (56% to 44%) but were undone (again) by poor tactics which resulted in too many players occupying advanced positions and Arsenal’s central defenders being exposed to counterattacks.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Ospina
It was a solid performance from Ospina, who wasn’t responsible for either of the goals Arsenal conceded and he made 2 vital saves which prevented the Gunners from being bundled out of the competition. The Colombian also did well when called upon to deal with Oestersunds’ 12 crosses for the match.

RWB: Bellerin
It was a strong tackling performance from Bellerin (4 tackles) but again his defensive positioning was questionable (1 interception) as his unfancied opponent Sema, dominated the Spaniard (5 successful forward dribbles, 5 crossing attempts and a goal from his 2 shots on target from 2 attempts). Offensively, Bellerin showed very little attacking intent with just the 1 successful forward dribble and 1 (inaccurate) crossing attempt, which somehow was credited as an assist for the Spainard. Despite an improved tacking performance, Bellerin’s defensive production per game (1.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions) remains poor and while his transitional play (1.5 forward dribbles per game) is good, his end product (0.4 crosses per game) is not good enough. Arsenal need to make a change at the right fullback / wingback position if they want to improve as a defensive and attacking unit. Bellerin is not the answer.

RCB: Chambers
An underwhelming defensive performance from Chambers (0 tackles and 1 interception). While his main opponent on the day Hopcutt was solid (2 shots both of which were off target and 2 successful forward dribbles), Chambers failed to put him under any real pressure. Chambers also failed to simplify his game and just clear the ball when the opportunity arose (0 clearances for the match). That said, aerially he was very strong when called into action (4 successful aerial duels). Overall it was a disappointing performance by Chambers who needs to make the most of his limited first team opportunities if he holds aspirations of commanding a regular spot at centre back for Arsenal.

LCB: Holding
Similar to Bellerin, it was an excellent tackling display by Holding (4 tackles) but his positional play was poor (1 interception). While Holding was effective at shutting down his opponent Ghoddos’ direct goal scoring threat, he failed to apply sufficient pressure to eliminate Ghoddos’ creative influence (2 assists and 1 accurate through pass) which had a telling impact on the outcome of the match. While he was marginally better than Chambers, Holding too should have simplified his game at times and just cleared the ball when the opportunity arose. He wasn’t really challenged aerially.

LWB: Kolasinac
But for his error on one of Oestersunds’ goals it was a very strong defensive performance by Kolasinac (3 tackle and 2 interceptions). Offensively, while he scored a goal from his 1 shot for the match, he was largely underwhelming, with only 2 forward dribbles and 1 attempted (and inaccurate) cross.

CDM: Elneny
It was another awful tackling display from Elneny (1 tackles) who, despite with some strong defensive positioning (3 interceptions), struggled to effectively screen Chambers and Holding. That said, some of that criticism can be mitigated by the fact that his fellow central midfielder Maitland Niles abandoned his defensive responsibilities in order join Arsenal’s attack. Offensively, Elneny’s passing accuracy (90%) was excellent as was his long range transitional passing (7 accurate long passes from 8 attempts). That said, he again offered nothing in terms of transitional dribbling (0 forward dribbles) and he also failed to offer anything in terms of creative passing (0 through passes). While his passing accuracy and transitional passing was again excellent, it was the same old defensive frailties from Elneny. While the woeful defensive performance of his central midfield partner, Maitland Niles, overshadowed the Egyptian’s defensive frailties in this particular game, the longer Wenger deploys Elneny in Arsenal’s central midfield, the more Arsenal’s central defenders will be exposed.

LCDM: Maitland Niles
After such a complete central midfield performance by Maitland Niles in the first leg, it was disappointing to see the youngest produce a woeful defensive effort in the return leg (0 tackles and 0 interceptions). That said, Maitland Niles was solid to good offensively, with 86% passing accuracy, 2 successful forward dribbles, 4/5 accurate long passes and 2 attempted through passes. There is no doubt Maitland Niles has all the skills to make an excellent central defensive midfielder. It is just a matter of consistently delivering complete performances.

RCAM: Mkhitaryan
A very poor offensive performance from the Armenian, with no attempts on goal, no successful forward dribbles and a paltry 63% passing accuracy. The only real positive was that he showed some creativity with his passing (1 attempted through pass). While it was a poor showing from Mkhitaryan, his career numbers are proof that the player has the skills and ability to be a fantastic attacking midfielder. The big question is whether Wenger’s tactics can allow him to consistently demonstrate those skills.

CAM: Wilshere
It was an underwhelming performance from Wilshere, who tried to be creative with his passing (2 attempted through passes, 1 of which was successful) and showed some goal scoring intent (2, off target, shots) but he struggled to penetrate the opposition’s rearguard via the dribble (1 successful forward dribble) and he passed the ball with less accuracy than usual (79%). With a glut of attacking midfielders at the club, Jack needs to vastly improve his offensive output if he wants to assure himself of a regular first 11 role. Then again Wenger loves to put square pegs in round holes, so we may see Wilshere at right fullback in the near future. 😋

LCAM : Iwobi
A solid albeit slightly underwhelming performance from Iwobi, who had 2 shots for the match, 0 of which was on target, 82% passing accuracy, 4 successful forward dribbles but no attempted through passes. While Iwobi has found some nice consistency in his performances this season, particularly in terms of his dribbling, passing accuracy and goal scoring intent, his shooting accuracy and creative passing needs to improve.

ST: Welbeck
It was an improved offensive performance from Welbeck with 4 shots, all of which were on target. That said, goals still elude the Englishman which doesn’t bode well for Arsenal if Wenger continues to place his trust in the player, in the absence of Aubameyang and Lacazette.

There was no particular revelations about Arsenal’s lost. In defence, Arsenal’s centre halves were again left exposed by a lack of protection from Arsenal’s central defensive midfielders. While in attack, Arsenal failed to create separation between their back six (i.e. their 4 defenders and 2 central defensive midfielders) and front four (3 attacking midfielders and 1 centre forward), which left the front four with limited space to operate. Those persistent tactical flaws coupled with some poor team selection (e.g. Bellerin, Elneny, Welbeck) continue to hold Arsenal back.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.

A tribute to Olivier Giroud

With Arsenal’s striking options lacking players with proven aerial strength, and Wenger’s preferred slow possession hoarding attacking approach and his desire to have his side compress the game into the opponent’s final third, denying Arsenal’s mobile forwards the space to be effective, I was genuinely shocked that Arsenal and Wenger sanctioned the sale of the clubs one physically imposing striker who actually possessed the ability to thrive in a crowed penalty box – Olivier Giroud.

Giroud could best be described as a physical penalty box striker, with an exceptional first touch and strong heading capabilities.

While often criticised for his lack of speed (which was never his strength), Giroud managed to score 73 Premier League goals in his 6 seasons with the Gunners at and average of 15 goals per season in those seasons where he started at least 15 Premier League matches.

The big Frenchman was also very creative on the rare occasions Wenger instructed the team to use Giroud as an outlet to execute one-twos in order for Arsenal to create shooting opportunities in the opposition’s often crowded penalty box. In total he finished his Arsenal career with 23 Premier League assist.

Giroud - Wilshere

Aerially, he was also very strong, averaging 3 successful aerial duels per match.

Despite being seemingly perfectly suited to Wenger’s desired tactical
approach (in that Giroud could effectively link with Arsenal’s midfielders when they attempted to penetrate the opposition’s penalty box as well as providing Arsenal with a strong aerial option when the Gunners were (frequently) unable to play through the opposition’s defence), Arsenal simply failed to play to his strength more often than not.

His departure from Arsenal is definitely in Giroud’s best interest, as a delusional Wenger had marginalised him in preference of more mobile strikers, who ironically don’t compliment Wenger’s preferred tactics.

I wish Giroud all the best at Chelsea and I hope that he can thrive from the crosses of Alonso and Moses and the quick interplay with the likes of Hazard, Pedro and Willian.

Freddie08