Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Everton

A great outcome for Arsenal who appeared to adopt an oddly shaped 2-6-2 formation despite being setup in a notional 4-2-3-1 prematch.

Feb 18 Ars vs Eve

Feb 18 Ars vs Eve(1)

While Arsenal only marginally dominated possession (58% possession to Everton’s 42%), the Gunners were able to capitalise on Everton’s naive decision to commit players in attack and allow the game to become vertically stretched as opposed to adopting Swansea’s counter attacking template from Arsenal’s midweek loss.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
While he was forced off with an injury half way through the second half, up until that point, Cech was solid without being seriously challenged as Everton’s shooting was inaccurate (2 out of 11 shots were on target). He also did well when called upon to deal with Everton’s 22 crosses for the match.

RWB: Bellerin
A solid tackling performance from Bellerin (2 tackles). That said, Bellerin’s positional play was again poor (0 interceptions) and he failed to cut out his opponent Martina’s cross for Everton’s goal. Offensively, Bellerin showed very little attacking intent with his dribbling (1 successful forward dribble). While he showed more attacking intent with his crossing (2 attempts), accuracy was again an issue (0 accurate crosses from his 2 attempts for the match).

RCB: Mustafi
An excellent tackling display by Mustafi (5 tackles) but his defensive positioning wasn’t the best (1 interception). His main opponent Bolasie really struggled to make any impact on the game (0 shots on goal, no attempted through passes and 2 successful forward dribbles). In addition to his aggressive tackling, Mustafi kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 8 clearances, and he was exceptional aerially (8 successful aerial duels).

LCB: Koscielny
A quiet day defensively for Koscielny (0 tackles and 2 interceptions) as his opponent Niasse struggled to make any impact on the game (2 off target shots and 1 successful forward dribble). That said, Koscielny could have been more aggressive in his tackling to snuff out the limited impact Niasse did manage to make. Koscielny also got beaten aerially against his opponent (3 successful aerial duel to his opponent’s 4 successful aerial duels). Nevertheless, like Mustafi, Koscielny kept his game nice and simple, with 9 clearances and he managed to pick himself up a goal for good measure.

LB: Monreal
A solid tackling performance from Monreal (2 tackles) but like Mustafi, his defensive positioning could have been better (1 interception). His opponent Kenny offer nothing in terms of a dribbling threat against Monreal (0 forward dribbles for the match). That said, Kenny did manage to attempt 3 crosses and while all 3 were inaccurate Monreal needed to be better at preventing Kenny’s crosses from getting into the box. Offensively, Monreal rich vein of form came to an abrupt ended as he failed to execute a successful forward dribble and just attempted the 1 (inaccurate) cross for the match.

RCDM: Ramsey
A mixed defensive display from Ramsey (1 tackle and 3 interceptions) as he positioned himself well but lacked aggression in his defensive approach. Offensively, he was clinical with his finishing, with 3 goals from his three shots on goal. Outside of his hat trick, Ramsey’s passing accuracy (91%) was excellent. That said, his transitional passing and dribbling was very poor (0 accurate long passes out of 1 attempt and 0 forward dribbles).

LCDM: Xhaka
An excellent defensive display from Xhaka (4 tackle and 2 interceptions) as he expertly screened Arsenal’s centre backs. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (94%) was excellent, as was his transitional passing from defence to attack (4 accurate long passes out of 6 attempts).

RCAM: Mkhitaryan
A mixed night for Mkhitaryan with an underwhelming 1 successful forward dribble, 2 shot (1 of which was on target) and only 78% passing accuracy but a delightful through pass and a hat trick of assists. Like Ramsey, Mkhitaryan’s overall performance wasn’t great but his assist output was fantastic.

LCAM : Iwobi
A solid albeit slightly underwhelming performance from Iwobi, who positively recorded an assist, had 87% passing accuracy, 1 accurate through pass and 3 successful forward dribbles but had no attempts on goal. Despite his solid recent performances, I feel Iwobi will soon lose his spot in the starting 11 to Lacazette.

CF: Ozil
Like Iwobi, it was a solid albeit slightly underwhelming performance from Ozil who again took up more of a second striker role than a central attacking midfielder. While his passing accuracy was excellent (90%) and Ozil recorded 2 successful forward dribbles and a through pass, Ozil only had 1 shot for the match (which was off target).

ST: Aubameyang
A great start to his Arsenal career, with a goal on debut from his 3 shots, 2 of which were on target. Very interested to see how Aubameyang goes against a side that likes to park the bus.

A great outcome from Arsenal and there is a lot of this Arsenal squad that reminds me of the Borussia Dortmund side that dominated under Tuchel. That said, I’m reluctant to get too excited as but for his goal and a counter attack in the first half where he was released in on goal and had his shot saved by Pickford, Arsenal failed to create any further clear cut goal scoring chances for Aubameyang. That was down to Wenger’s trademark slow and largely purposeless passing approach (which is unlikely to change). In light of that and with most teams being unlikely to play so openly versus Arsenal as Everton did and I fear, like Lacazette experienced, clear cut goal scoring opportunities for Aubameyang will become increasingly few and far between as he and Arsenal face more teams happy to position themselves in a deep defensive block and play on the counter attack.

Freddie08

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

Arsenal Player Analysis: Swansea vs Arsenal

A bad performance and outcome for Arsenal who appeared to adopt a 2-4-4 formation despite being setup in a notional 4-3-3 prematch.

Jan 18 Swansea vs Arsenal

Jan 18 Swansea vs Arsenal(1)

While Arsenal dominated possession in the match (74% to Swansea’s 26%) it was yet another match where Arsenal’s passing was purposeless and the Gunners lacked of any form of defensive strategy to actively recover possession of the ball when it was ceded (trademarks of Wenger’s tactical approach or lack there of over the past decade).

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
It was a howler from Cech for Swansea’s second goal but apart from that he was solid as usual both in terms of his shot stopping and aerial dominance.

RWB: Bellerin
A very quiet day defensively for Bellerin (0 tackles and 0 interceptions) as his opponent Olsson failed to really contribute offensively (2 attempted and inaccurate crosses for the match and no forward dribbles). Offensively, Bellerin showed good intent with his crossing (4 attempts for the match) but his accuracy again let him down (0 accurate crosses) and he failed to trouble Swansea’s defence via the dribble (0 forward dribbles for the match). With Arsenal selling Debuchy, Wenger has successfully managed to rid Bellerin of any internal competition at right fullback, despite the Spaniard’s repeated poor performances in the position.

RCB: Koscielny
A challenging day defensively for Koscielny who turned in a poor defensive performance (1 tackle and 1 interception) against his opponent Clucas (2 goals and 2 out of 3 shots on target). That said, Koscielny was frequently left stranded in defence as Wenger’s refusal to implement any sort of coordinated defensive strategy, burnt Laurent once again. He was strong aerially with 4 successful aerial duels.

LCB: Mustafi
A sensational tackling display from Mustafi (5 tackles) who did well to largely contain the impressive Ayew (1 goal, 1 out of 3 shots on target, 3 successful forward dribbles). Despite his excellent tackling effort, his defensive positioning was poor (0 interceptions) That said, the German, like Koscielny, was frequently exposed by a lack of defensive screening by Arsenal’s midfield. Mustafi was very strong aerially with 7 successful aerial duels.

LWB: Monreal
A strong tackling display from Monreal (3 tackles), though his defensive positioning was at times questionable (1 interception). He largely contained his opponent Dyer, who struggled (1 shot on target from his 1 attempt on goal, 1 dribble and 1 accurate cross from his 2 attempts). Offensively, he scored another goal with a well timed run and was very impressive with his crossing (2 accurate crosses from his 6 attempts). My only criticism of Monreal was his lack of penetration via the dribble (0 successful forward dribbles).

CDM: Elneny
A relatively quiet day defensively for Elneny (0 tackle and 1 interceptions) as his opponent Ki struggled to exert any influence on the game (1 off target shot from 1 attempt, 0 successful through passes and 0 successful forward dribbles). That said, Elneny again failed to place his opponent under any pressure when they did take possession of the ball and he failed to appropriately protect Arsenal’s central defenders. Offensively, Elneny’s passing accuracy was perfect, but his range of passing (1 accurate long passes out of 1 attempt and no attempted through passes) was very poor.

RCM: Xhaka
Another underwhelming defensive performance from Xhaka, who had a couple of nice interceptions (2) but his defensive intensity and tackling effort was poor (0 tackles) and he failed to put Swansea’s midfield under any pressure when they did have the ball. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (94%) was exceptional as was his long range passing (5 accurate long range passes out of 5 attempts) but he again failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles or creative passing (no attempted through passes). He also showed minimal goal scoring intent with only the 1 off target effort for the match.

LCM: Ramsey
A poor all round defensive effort from Ramsey on his return to the side (0 tackles and 1 interceptions). While Arsenal dominated possession, Ramsey failed to put enough pressure on his opponent Fer who, with 1 shot on target, 2 successful forward dribbles, 2 out of 5 accurate long passes and 1 attempted through pass, did exert some influence on the game. Offensively, while Ramsey’s passing accuracy (88%) was excellent, he only produced 1 off target shot from 1 attempt for the match, had no forward dribbles and failed to attempt any through passes. A poor display from the Welshman.

RFW: Lacazette
Playing in more of a inside forward role on the right rather than a centre forward role, Lacazette really struggled (0 attempts on goal
and no dribbles) as the likes of Bellerin, Xhaka and Ramsey, in particular, failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for the Frenchman. The way in which Wenger is grossly misusing Lacazette is depriving Arsenal of a player who has exceptional (and proven) finishing qualities.

CF: Ozil
A mixed performance from Ozil who again took up more of a centre forward role than that of a central attacking midfielder. To that end, while his passing accuracy was excellent (94%) and he tried hard to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for others (2 accurate through passes from 3 attempts), resulting in an assist for Monreal’s goal, Ozil only had 1 shot on goal for the match and only 1 successful forward dribble.

FWL : Iwobi
A solid performance from Iwobi who recorded 1 shot on target from his 2 attempts and had 2 successful forward dribbles.

I’m praying that Arsenal’s recent recruitment of Mislintat, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang are all signs that Thomas Tuchel is going to replace Wenger at season’s end.

For me, that can’t come soon enough as what is fundamentally behind Arsenal’s depressing slid into mid table mediocrity is Wenger’s lack of a clear and pragmatic vision of:

  • how the team are going to regularly create clear goal scoring opportunities;
  • how the team are going to recover possession from the opposition; and
  • how to accentuate the strengths of each player in the team and mitigate their individual weaknesses.

Without that vision, the quality of Arsenal’s on field performances will continue to be poor, irrespective of what players the club recruits.

Freddie08

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

Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Chelsea

A great outcome for Arsenal who appeared to adopt an oddly shaped 1-3-6 formation despite being setup in a notional 4-3-3 prematch.

jan-18-arsenal-vs-chelsea.png

Jan 18 Arsenal vs Chelsea(1)

While Arsenal barely shaded possession in the match (52% possession to Chelsea’s 48%) and produced a disjointed and underwhelming offensive performance, the tackling display from Arsenal’s back four was fantastic and central to enabling the team to eek out a victory against Chelsea.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Ospina
It was a relatively quiet day for Ospina who was protected well by Arsenal’s back four and was helped by Chelsea’s wayward finishing.

RB: Bellerin
A strong tackling performance from Bellerin (3). That said, Bellerin’s positional play was again poor (0 interceptions) as he struggled to cut out his opponent Alonso’s 6 attempted crosses for the match. Offensively, Bellerin showed very little attacking intent with his dribbling (1 successful forward dribble) and he failed to offer much in terms of crosses (2 attempts for the match).

RCB: Koscielny
A sensational defensive performance from Koscielny (4 tackles and 3 interceptions) as he was seriously challenged by his opponent Hazard (1 goal and 5 dribbles). That said, Koscielny could have cleared the ball more frequently than he did (4 clearances). He wasn’t really challenged aerially.

LCB: Mustafi
A relatively quiet day defensively for Mustafi (2 tackles and 1 interception) as his main opponent Barkley struggled to make any impact on the game (0 shots on goal, no attempted through passes, and 2 forward dribbles). While Mustafi could have shown more aggression in his defensive play, he kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 11 clearances, and he was solid aerially (3 successful aerial duels).

LB: Monreal
An excellent defensive performance from Monreal (3 tackles and 4 interceptions) as he engaged in a good battle with his opponent Moses (2 shots (both off target), 3 crosses (1 of which was accurate) and 1 successful forward dribble). Like Koscielny, the Spaniard could have cleared the ball more frequently than he did (3 clearances). That said, he was solid aerially (3 successful aerial duels).

CDM: Elneny
A relatively quiet day defensively for Elneny (1 tackle and 2 interceptions) as his opponent Pedro struggled to exert his influence on the game (1 shot on target from 1 attempt, 1 successful through pass from 1 attempt (which resulted in a goal) and no successful forward dribbles). That said, given the defensive production of Arsenal’s back four it was evident that Elneny struggled to screen them appropriately. Offensively, Elneny’s passing accuracy (91%) was excellent, as was his transitional passing from defence to attack (6 accurate long passes out of 7 attempts).

LM : Iwobi
A very strong defensive performance from Iwobi, who made a total of 5 tackles and 2 interceptions for the match. Offensively, though Iwobi struggled in term of his passing accuracy (76%), passing creativity (no attempted through passes) and dribbling (only 2 successful forward dribbles). He also showed minimal goal scoring intent with just the 1 shot for the match.

CM: Wilshere
A strong tackling effort from Wilshere (3 tackles) but his defensive positioning was poor (0 interceptions) as he failed to put enough pressure on Kante who, with 2 successful forward dribbles and 3 out of 5 accurate long passes, did exert some influence on the game. Offensively, Jack had a mixed performance with an excellent 93% passing accuracy and 6 forward dribbles but no attempted through passes and he showed limited goal scoring intent (1 shot on target from 1 attempt).

RCM: Xhaka
Another poor defensive performance from Xhaka, who had a couple of nice tackles (2) but his positional play was poor (no interceptions) as he struggled to curb Bakayoko’s influence on the game (5 forward dribbles and 4 accurate long range passes out of 4 attempts). Offensively, Xhaka’s transitional passing was a little down on his usual high standard (2 accurate long range passes out of 3 attempts) and he failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles or creative passing (no attempted through passes). That said, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (86%) was very good and he showed great goal scoring intent with a goal from his 5 attempts.

CF: Ozil
A poor performance from Ozil who again took up more of a second striker role than a central attacking midfielder. While his passing accuracy was excellent (95%), Ozil only had 1 successful forward dribble for the match, 1 shot on goal (which was off target) and he failed to attempt a through pass.

CF: Lacazette
Yet another difficult game for Lacazette who was deprived of any service from the likes of Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi and Monreal. He ended the match with just the one off target shot.

A great outcome for Arsenal but a very lucky victory and another poor offensive performance which failed to regularly create goal scoring opportunities for Lacazette. But for the tackling display by Arsenal’s back four and some wayward shooting by Chelsea, I don’t think Arsenal would have got the victory in this one. While Arsenal’s performance reinforces my view that the club desperately need to replace Wenger with a more tactically astute manager if they want to improve their on field production, another trip to Wembley for a cup final is undoubtedly something to look forward to.

Freddie08

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

Arsenal Player Analysis: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

A much needed victory for the Gunners, who appeared to be adopted an oddly shaped 4-1-3-2 / 4-1-3-1-1 despite being setup in a notional 4-1-4-1 prematch.

jan-18-arsenal-vs-cp.png

Jan 18 Arsenal vs CP (1)

While Arsenal dominated the match (65% possession to Crystal Palace’s 35%) and predominately attacked through central areas, it was a combination of Arsenal’s effectiveness at set pieces, the efficiency of Monreal in attack and some dreadful defending from Crystal Palace which enabled Arsenal to establish a commanding lead in this one.

In terms of individual performances:

GK: Cech
It was a solid performance from Cech who, while unable to keep out Milivojevic’s shot from a Crystal Palace corner, was able to repel goal bound attempts from Kelly, Zaha, Benteke and Sako as well as claim a number of crosses.

RB: Bellerin
A strong tackling performance from Bellerin (3) as his opponent van Aanholt showed little initiative to take on the Spaniard via the dribble. That said, Bellerin’s positional play was again poor (1 interception) as he struggled to cut out van Aanholt’s 5 attempted crosses for the match. Offensively, while Bellerin showed great intent with his dribbling (3 successful dribbles), he failed to offer anything meaningful in terms of crosses (0 attempts for the match).

RCB: Koscielny
A pretty quiet day defensively for Koscielny (1 tackle and 3 interceptions) as his opponent Sako offered limited attacking threat (1/2 shots on target and 1 successful forward dribble). While Koscielny’s defensive positioning was excellent, as usually, he could have shown more aggression with this tackling which would have nullified what limited threat Sako did offer. That said, Koscielny kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 9 clearances, and he was again very strong aerially (5 successful aerial duels).

LCB: Mustafi
A similarly quiet day defensively for Mustafi (2 tackles and 1 interception) as his opponent Benteke, like Sako, offered limited attacking threat (1 shot on target from 1 attempt and no successful forward dribbles). While Mustafi showed more aggression in his tackling than Koscielny, his defensive positioning was questionable at times. That said, Mustafi, like Koscielny, kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 7 clearances, and he was excellent aerially (9 successful aerial duels).

LB: Monreal
A quiet day defensively for Nacho (1 tackle and 1 interception) as his opponent Fosu-Mensah failed to challenge the Spaniard via the dribble (no forward dribbles). That said, Monreal’s positional play was a little underwhelming as he failed to deal with Fosu-Mensah’s 2 attempted crosses for the match.
Offensively, Monreal’s production was mixed, with no forward dribbles but 2 accurate crosses from 3 attempts, both of which resulted in goals. He also scores with a thumping header at the back post.

CDM: Elneny
A relatively quiet day defensively for Elneny as his opponent, Zaha, struggled to influence the match (1 shot on target from 1 attempt, 2 forward dribbles and no through passes). That said, Elneny’s defensive production (1 tackle and 1 interception) was relatively poor, despite Zaha’s somewhat underwhelming offensive performance. Offensively, while Elneny’s passing accuracy (96%) was excellent, his transitional play was poor with only 2 accurate long passes for the match and just the one forward dribble.

LCM: Iwobi
An indifferent defensive performance from Iwobi, who had a couple of nice tackles (2) and made an interception but was rarely threaten by his opponent McArthur (0 shots, 0 dribbles and 1 long range pass). That said, Iwobi failed to put any pressure on his opponent which certainly afforded McArthur the opportunity to influence the match much more than he did. Offensively, Iwobi show good accuracy with his passing (83%) and great goal scoring intent with a goal from his 4 shots on target out of 4 attempts. Apart from that though, Iwobi underwhelmed offensively with no attempted through passes and just the one forward dribble.

CM: Xhaka
A similarly, indifferent performance defensively from Xhaka, who had a couple of nice tackles (2) but was rarely threaten by his opponent Cabaye (0 shots, 0 dribbles and 1/long range pass out of 5 attempts). That said, like Iwobi, Xhaka failed to put any pressure on Cabaye who could have been more influential had he shown greater initiative. Offensively, Xhaka’s transitional passing was way down on his usual high standard (1 accurate long range pass out of 3 attempts) and he failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles. That said, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (83%) was very good and he at least showed some attempt at being creative with his passing with one attempted albeit inaccurate through pass for the match.

RCM: Wilshere
A bad defensive effort from Wilshere (0 tackles and 0 interceptions), who like Xhaka and Iwobi, failed to put any sort of pressure on his opponent Milivojevic who, with 5 out of 8 accurate long passes, did exert some influence on the game. Offensively though, Jack was very good with 82% passing accuracy, 3 forward dribbles and 1 accurate through pass out of 2 attempts. The only blight on his game offensively was his lack of goal scoring intent, with no attempted shots for the match.

CAM: Ozil
A mixed performance from Ozil who appeared to isolate between a central attacking midfield and second striker role. His assist for Lacazette’s goal was majestic, his passing accuracy (86%) and creativity (1 accurate through pass out of 2 attempts) was very good and his forward dribbling (2) was solid. That said, he again showed very little goal scoring intent (no shots on target and just the one attempt).

CF: Lacazette
A strong performance from Lacazette who finally had some goal scoring opportunities thanks to some more creative passing from the likes of Ozil and Wilshere. He ended the match with a goal from his 5 shots, 3 of which were on target.

A much needed victory for Arsenal and some more adventurous passing from the likes of Ozil and Wilshere was very much welcomed. That said, there was still incomplete or underwhelming performances from the majority of team, which sadly is likely to be masked by the result.

Freddie08

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

A tribute to Francis Coquelin

With Arsenal’s midfield bereft of players with defensive skills and more important defensive output, I was somewhat surprised that Arsenal and Wenger sanctioned the sale of their one midfield option who actually possessed proven skills in that area, Francis Coquelin.

IMG_1770

Coquelin could best be described as a front footed aggressive tackling midfielder who was also very effective at pressing opponents to force interceptions.

On the ball, he was a very accurate passer, averaging 85% passing accuracy during his time at the Gunners. The only criticism that could be level at Coquelin was his lack of transitional output (1.5 accurate long passes per game and 0.8 forward dribbles per game). That said, Wenger’s slow possession hoarding attacking approach and desire to have his side compress the game into the opponent’s final third, effectively denied Coquelin the opportunity to display any transitional skills.

Coquelin was undoubtedly a victim of playing in a system of play that failed to accentuate his strengths (pressing, tackling, interceptions) and exposed his weaknesses (creative passing). Funnily enough though Coquelin’s strengths actually make him well suited to playing in a side whose manager, like Wenger, likes to compress the game into the opponent’s final third. Unfortunately though Wenger doesn’t value or require his midfield (or even Arsenal’s wing backs) to actually contribute defensively Rather, Wenger places the side’s entire defensive onus on Arsenal’s centre backs, whether it be two or three. As a consequence Coquelin was frequently overlooked and undervalued, despite being Arsenal’s most productive midfielder defensively.

His departure from Arsenal is definitely in Coquelin’s best interest and I expect him to thrive at Valencia under Marcelino, who sets up his side to aggressively press opponents. I wish him all the best in the future.

Freddie08

A tribute to Theo Walcott

While not my favourite player, Walcott was undoubtedly a victim of playing in a system of play that failed to accentuate his strengths (speed, off the ball runs, clinical finishing) and exposed his weaknesses (poor touch and limited passing skills). Walcott’s skill set is suited to playing in a side that likes to either stretch the game vertically and utilise quick forward transitions or play on the counterattack. Unfortunately for Walcott, Wenger’s slow possession hoarding attacking approach and desire to have his side compress the game into the opponent’s final third, failed to allow Walcott to showcase his skills. The fact that Walcott scored over 100 goals for the club in spite of this was a remarkable effort from the Englishman.

He leaves the club averaging (where has started at least 15 games) 9.2 goals per season, from 4.4 shots per game.

I wish him all the best at Everton and hope that Big Sam’s tailors his tactical approach to suit Walcott’s skill set much better than Wenger ever did.

Cheers

Freddie08

Arsenal making transfer moves but underperformance to continue while Wenger remains the manager

With Arsenal having sold Coquelin and Walcott in quick succession and being heavily linked to Manchester United’s Mkhitaryan (in a swap deal involving Sanchez) and Borussia Dortmund’s Aubameyang, it appears as though Arsenal are making some significant moves in the transfer market.

That said, I can’t help but feel that Arsenal will continue to underperform on the field, irrespective of the players the club recruits and sells, while the side has a manager in charge without a clear and PRAGMATIC vision of:
– how the team are going to regularly create clear goal scoring opportunities
– how the team are going to recover possession from the opposition
– how to accentuate the strengths of each player in the team and mitigate their individual weaknesses.

Unfortunately Wenger’s no longer has that clear and pragmatic vision, is to egotistical to admit it and gracefully exit and Arsenal’s executive are too gutless to bring this train wreck to an end.

Its a point wonderfully articulated in Arsenal Vision’s latest podcast. I strongly encourage all Gooners to have a listen.

Cheers

Freddie08

Arsenal Player Analysis: Bournemouth vs Arsenal

Another humiliating defeat for the Gunners, who were again porous in midfield and impotent in attack, thanks in no small part to poor tactics and team selection.

B vs A

B vs A(1)

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

GK: Cech

Not much Cech could have done about either goal. Overall he was solid as usual. 

RWB: Bellerin

An aggressive tackling display by Bellerin (6 tackles). That said, he struggled positionally (1 interception) and again failed to cut out the crosses from his opponent Daniels. Offensively, the Spaniard was again very poor (despite the goal) with no forward dribbles and just 2 attempted (and inaccurate) crosses.

RCB: Chambers

A relatively quiet day defensively for Chambers as Bournemouth channelled most of their attacking play down the opposite flank. Consequently, Chambers didn’t have many tackles (0) or interceptions (2) to make/win. That said, when required to defend he was no nonsense in his approach with 6 clearances and he was strong aerially when called into action (4 successful aerial duels).

CB: Mustafi

A sensational defensive performance from the German with 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, 9 clearances and 11 successful aerial duels. By far and away Arsenal’s best on ground. 

LCB: Holding

Unlike Chambers, it was a busy day defensively for Holding, as Bournemouth seemed to target him and Maitland-Niles. Despite the volume of traffic, he was very good with 3 tackles and 3 interceptions. Aerially he was also strong with 3 successful aerial duels. My only criticism of his performance is that he should have cleared the ball more when under pressure rather than attempt to play out from the back under those circumstances. 

LWB: Maitland-Niles

An underwhelming defensive performance by Ainsley (2 tackles and 1 interception) as his opponent Smith beat him via the dribble on at least 4 occasions. Offensively he was solid if unspectacular with 2 successful forward dribbles and 3 attempted (albeit inaccurate) crosses.

RCM: Xhaka

A poor defensive performance from Xhaka (1 tackle and 1 interception) as he struggled to stop his opponent Gosling when he surged forward. Offensively, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (83%) was again very good, though he wasn’t creative or risky enough with his passing (1 unsuccessful attempted through pass). That said, he showed some goal scoring intent though his shooting accuracy remains a problem (0 out of his 3 shots were on target). 

LCM: Wilshere

A bad defensive effort from Wilshere (0 tackle and 1 interception) as he failed to put any sort of pressure on his young and inexperienced opponent in Cook. Offensively, his passing accuracy dipped (80%) from his usual high standards and like Xhaka he wasn’t creative or risky enough with his passing (just the 1 unsuccessful attempted through pass for the match). Jack did though show some goal scoring intent but his shooting accuracy let him down (0 of his 2 shots were on target).

RCAM: Iwobi

A good performance from Iwobi, who registered a nice assist for Bellerin’s goal and had 2 shots for the match, one of which was on target. He also recorded 2 attempted through passes, one of which was successful and his 82% passing accuracy was also good.

LCAM: Welbeck

Wenger’ experiment of playing Welbeck as a LCAM failed again. Welbeck again provided a very limited goal threat (only 1 attempted shot for the match), attempted no through passes and his passing accuracy was a poor 71%. Another selection bungle by Wenger.

CF: Lacazette

Yet another difficult match for Lacazette as the likes of Bellerin, Xhaka, Iwobi, Wilshere, Welbeck and Maitland-Niles again failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for him. As a Les Gones fan it is sad to see how Wenger is completely mismanaging him and failing him tactically. 

With Alexis on the precipice of jumping ship and Wenger continuing to fail both tactically and with his recruitment and team selection, it baffles the hell out of me how an ‘elite’ sporting organisation like Arsenal is happy to not only turn a blind eye to the root cause of Arsenal’s issues (i.e. Wenger) but is happy to allow the source problem to spend more of the club’s funds on misguided transfers. For me, logic would dictate that Arsenal should address its quintessential footballing problem first (i.e. replace Wenger) and then back the future manager’s forays into the transfer market to best implement his tactical vision for the side.

Freddie08

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

 

Arsenal Player Analysis: Chelsea vs Arsenal

A surprisingly attacking display from Chelsea which led to the game being more stretched vertically than I had anticipated.

Jan 18 Chelsea vs Arsenal

jan-18-chelsea-vs-arsenal-1.pngIn terms of the individual performances of Arsenal’s players during the clash:

GK: Ospina

Arguably Arsenal’s best on ground as he displayed his shot stopping skills to great effect (stopping 5 shots on target). Despite the plethora of Chelsea crosses, he handled them with assurance.

RWB: Bellerin

A quiet day for Bellerin defensively as his opponent Alonso, failed to dribble at the young Spaniard or attempt any crosses. Alonso was able to attempt 3 shots on goal though, 1 of which was on target. This was reflective of Bellerin’s struggle to track Alonso when he cut in field. Offensively, he was very poor with no forward dribbles and just the 1 attempted (albeit inaccurate) cross.

RCB: Chambers

A relatively quiet day defensively for Chambers too, as Hazard struggled to influence the game (only 2 successful dribbles, 1 (off target) shot on goal, and 1 accurate through pass). Consequently, Chambers didn’t have many tackles (2), interceptions (0) or aerial duels (2) to make/win. What really impressed me with Chambers’ performance though was his no nonsense approach to defending which was reflected in a whopping 9 clearances.

CB: Mustafi

Another solid albeit passive performance from Mustafi. His defensive positioning was very good, which was reflected in his 3 interceptions for the match, he took a no nonsense approach to his defending with 9 clearances and he was strong aerially with 5 successful aerial duels (to Morata’s 1). My only criticism of his performance was (like in his previous match versus Chelsea) his lack of aggressiveness. He was too passive in his defensive approach which allow Morata opportunities to strike on goal on at least 3 occasions (one of which was on target).

LCB: Holding

Like Chambers, it was a relatively quiet day defensively for Holding, as his opponent Drinkwater really struggled (only 1 successful dribble, 2 (off target) shots on goal, and 0 accurate through passes).  While his defensive positioning was solid (2 interceptions), Holding could have been more aggressive in his defending when Drinkwater did venture forward (0 tackles). Aerially he was solid (2 successful aerial duels) though not particularly challenged.

LWB: Maitland Niles

An underwhelming tackling performance by Ainsley (0 tackles for the match), as his opponent Moses dominated him (4 shots (2 of which were on target), 1 successful dribble, 4 crosses). Positionally he was okay with 2 interceptions but his defensive unsuitability to the left wingback role Wenger has shoehorned him into was again evident. Offensively he was poor with just the 1 successful forward dribble and 2 attempted (albeit inaccurate) crosses.

RCM: Xhaka

Great defensive positional play from Xhaka (3 interceptions) but he struggled to stop his opponent Kante when he surged forward (1 tackle). Offensively, his passing accuracy (83%) was very good, though he wasn’t creative or risky enough with the ball (no attempted through passes). He did though show some goal scoring intent and accuracy (1 out of his 2 shots was on target). However, he needs to shoot more frequently.

LCM: Wilshere

Not quite as good as Xhaka, but Wilshere’s defensive positioning was still solid (2 interceptions for the match). While his opponent Fabregas wasn’t particularly influential (1 shot on goal, no dribbles and no attempted through passes), Wilshere needed to be more aggressive in his defence (0 tackles) to unsettle his opponent. Offensively, his passing accuracy (93%) was fantastic and his through pass to Lacazette was beautifully weighted. That said, he offered no threat on goal (0 shots) and overall he wasn’t creative enough with his passing (just the 1 attempted through pass for the match).

RCAM: Iwobi

A good performance from Iwobi, who has come in for a lot of unfair criticism in recent weeks. Both of his shots were on target and he had 3 forward dribbles for the match. His 86% passing accuracy was also very good, though like his midfield colleagues, he failed to show any real creativity with his passing (no attempted through passes for the match).

LCAM: Welbeck

Welbeck was about as useful as tits on a bull (as the saying goes). Offered very limited goal threat (only 1 attempted and off target shot for the match), attempted no through passes and made just the 1 forward dribble. His passing accuracy (83%) was his only saving grace. A poor choice by Wenger.

CF: Lacazette

Another difficult match for Lacazette as the likes of Bellerin, Xhaka, Iwobi, Wilshere, Welbeck and Maitland Niles again failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for him. The only exception was Wilshere’s beautifully weighted through pass, which the Frenchman should have at least hit the target with. I have a feeling he is regretting joining the Gunners (at least while they are being managed by Wenger) and not waiting for Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban to expire.

Another match in which Arsenal’s midfield and wingbacks struggled to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for Arsenal’s centre forward, despite Chelsea’s attacking ambition. Defensively, the midfield continues to be porous and the back line again struggled to assert their presence when required to absorb pressure in their own half. But for Ospina and some poor finishing from Chelsea, this could have been another humiliating defeat for the Gunners.

Freddie08

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

Arsenal Player Analysis: Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

An entertaining match for the neutral but another disappointing outcome and performance by the Gunners. Arsenal, who appeared to adopt a 4-2-1-3 setup, dominated possession and field position but their attack was once again blunt with Arsenal’s goals coming from a scrappy goal mouth scramble following a corner and an error from the Nottingham Forest keeper.

Jan 18 NF vs Arsenal

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

GK: Ospina

There wasn’t much Ospina could do to prevent either of Forest’s penalties or Lichaj’s volley and he wasn’t helped by Wenger’s decision to play two slow central defenders and employ a high defensive line.  To that end, the Colombian did come up with a couple of fantastic saves to prevent further humiliation for the Gunners. That said, Lichaj’s opening header acutely exposed Ospina’s aerial weakness.

RWB: Debuchy

Debuchy wasn’t particularly challenged defensively as his opponent Clough rarely dribbled at him. In the few instances Clough attempted to cross the ball from Debuchy’s flank, the Frenchman’s positioning was very good and he was able to intercept the ball. He was unlucky with the penalty call as replays showed he got the ball first. Offensively, he needed to be more aggressive with his dribbling (1 for the match) and while his crossing intent was great (6 attempts for the match) none of his attempted crosses were accurate.

RCB: Mertesacker

Attempting to play a high line with Per’s lack of pace was always doomed to fail. While his positioning at times was okay (2 interceptions) and Forest channelled most of their attack down the left flank, Per’s lack of speed meant he was a virtual bystander when Forest’s attack drew him into action. On a positive note, he was very strong aerially and he took his goal well.

LCB: Holding

An aggressive tackling display by Holding (4 tackles for the match) who was kept very busy by Forest’s striker Brereton (5 attempted shots, 4 of which were on target). While his tackling was aggressive (and in the case of the penalty he conceded, too aggressive), his positional play was poor (1 interception) and that he failed to adjust his defensive positioning to account for his lack speed relative to that of his opponent. Holding, like Per, was another victim of Wenger’s decision to play a high defensive line, despite his evident lack of speed. Aerially he was quite strong with 4 successful aerial duels.

LB: Maitland Niles

Another aggressive tackling performance by Ainsley, with 3 tackles for the match. Positionally he struggled as he was beaten by his opponent Cash on at least 3 occasions which led to dangerous crosses, one of which resulted in a goal to Lichaj. Offensively, he was very strong with 3 successful forward dribbles and 5 attempted crosses. That said, much like Debuchy on the opposite flank, Ainsley’s crossing accuracy let him down with none of his attempted crosses reaching an Arsenal player.

RCM: Elneny

It was a poor tackling performance by Elneny (1 tackle for the match) but his defensive positioning (3 interceptions) was very good. Offensively, his passing accuracy (95%) was exceptional but he failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles, through passes or attempts on goal.

LCM: Willock

A very poor defensive performance from Willock, both in terms of his tackling (1 tackle for the match) and positional play (0 interceptions for the match). His poor defensive performance resulted in Dowell having a substantial influence on the game. Offensively, his passing accuracy was almost perfect (98%), though he, like Elneny, offered nothing in terms of forward dribbles, through passes or attempts on goal.

CAM: Iwobi

A solid performance from Iwobi, who showed good goal scoring intent (3 shots for the match), made some nice forward dribbles (2 successful dribbles) and attempted Arsenal’s only through pass for the match, which ultimately resulted in Welbeck’s goal. His passing accuracy (85%) was also very good. Unfortunately, his shooting accuracy (0/3) continues to let him down.

RW: Walcott

A strong showing from Walcott. He showed plenty of goal scoring intent (3 shots for the match), tried to provoke danger with 4 forward dribbles and completed 83% of his passes. Like Iwobi though, Walcott struggled with his shooting accuracy (0/3). In addition, he needed to be more creative with his passing (no attempted through passes).

CF: Welbeck

A battling performance from Welbeck who got limited accurate service from the likes of Debuchy, Walcott, Elneny, Iwobi, Willock, Nelson and Maitland-Niles. His goal was good reward for his hard running in the lead up. That said, he needed to adapt his game in order to offer more of a goal scoring threat when it became evident Arsenal’s midfielders and fullbacks were in effectual at creating opportunities for him (only 2 attempts on goal for the match). Aerially he was very strong with 5 successful aerial duels for the match.

LW: Nelson

Was Arsenal’s best player on the field. His forward dribbling was excellent, with 6 successful dribbles for the match. His passing accuracy was also excellent (87%). My only criticism of his performance was his lack of goal scoring intent (only 1 off target shot for the match) and his lack of creativity with his passing (no attempted through passes for the match).

With the systemic issues plaguing Arsenal this season, it wasn’t a total shock to see Nottingham Forest get the win. That said and what was most concerning about Arsenal’s play in this match and in recent seasons, is the lack of clear cut goal scoring opportunities Arsenal have been creating and the team’s reliance on possession of the football as their defensive strategy (as opposed to actual defending). Until Wenger addresses those tactical issues and deploys players with complimentary skills to implement his desired tactics, I fear more bad results are to come.

Freddie08

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