It is only One match but is this ‘The Transition and Speed’ that can break the cycle of Arsenal Implosion?

Power and Pace

I have been quiet in recent weeks because frankly, it is hard to find anything new to say about Arsenal. We are roughly in the same position at this stage of the season that we always are. In the top four, challenging weakly to win the Premiership whilst having to keep an eye out for the teams behind us who are challenging us much more seriously for the places in the top four.

The team has played well at times but badly at other times often in games we would expect them to win. Dropped points since we destroyed Chelsea 3-0 have probably put paid to our chance of being champions so my expectations are that we may finish second and for once, we will beat Bayern and progress into the later stages of the Championship. Why do I have these expectations?

The game against Southampton has encouraged me. I am aware that we faced a team with 10 changes from their last match and many of those changes were academy players, but Southampton, over the last decade or so have had a conveyor belt of first-rate youngsters coming through. I doubt if any club has produced more. We fielded two of them in Walcott and Ox with Chambers out on loan. We also brought out some of our youngsters in Holding, Miles and Adelaide, with Iwobi coming off the bench.

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The outcome of the match was far more than we expected but it was not just the score that enthused me but way in which it was achieved. It also suggested we might well cement our status as the leading scorers in the premiership. Danny Welbeck was back at last, in the starting team and Theo was back after yet another injury.  Many of the papers on Saturday morning had Coquelin and Chamberlain as our holding midfielders and when I saw young Miles in the starting line-up, I wondered where our defensive cover was coming from. I needn`t have worried. Mustafi kept himself in a central position and he covered well with Holding, who continues to impress. Bellerin was slightly more defensive than usual and Gibbs was solid on the other side.

Awesome dislplay

The Ox was awesome and for me this was his best game in an Arsenal shirt. He supported the forwards, he covered the gaps in midfield and he delivered passes that caused the BT commentator to remark that “if it had been Ozil making those passes everyone would have been raving about them”. Miles was outstandingly mature in the way he disciplined himself to snap up the ball in our defensive areas and without fuss, to play it upfield. There was little evidence of the defensive panic we have seen in recent matches.

From the kick-off we moved with speed and purpose. Wellbeck everywhere, dragging defenders out of their comfort zone and creating spaces and opportunities for the likes of Walcott to exploit. His touch was superb and he was a constant threat that the young Southampton Defenders could not handle. The speed of the game only relented after the first hour when the effectively the game was over as a contest. Perez was really intelligent with some of his play; he hardly wasted a pass and was always instrumental in causing panic by linking with almost everyone in our forward line. He was an example of not over-elaborating when he got the ball and it all added up to such an improvement in our quality and speed of play.


Walcott was lethal and I am glad to see that he has resumed his keenness to chase the ball and go for goal at the earliest opportunity. That terrifies defenders. Alexis is proof of that.

I am aware that our next matches against Chelsea and Bayern will be much different. We will not have the open spaces to play into that Southampton`s inexperienced kids allowed us, but I am encouraged that we now have an element of speed about us. That could be invaluable against Chelsea`s back three. I can see Luiz and Cahill struggling with that. As far as I am aware, Bayern are in a bit of a transition and that same speed will be a problem for them. If we can win both of those games, our season can be transformed. Our curse of imploding at this time of year can be put to bed and we can all look forward to some glorious days ahead.

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2 Responses to It is only One match but is this ‘The Transition and Speed’ that can break the cycle of Arsenal Implosion?

  1. Ray January 30, 2017 at 1:52 am #

    Chelsea and Bayern will cope much better with the permanent high press we did on Southampton. They won’t be so wasteful in possession. If we high press the whole game, and if we can’t make it pay off we will surely get caught on the counter.

    In turn, they will put a slow press throughout the game denying us time and space like we had at Southampton, and also from time to time turn on a high press, steal possession and counter effectively.

    Our whole mind set will be much more conservative I think. Like away at Man City and Man Utd, where we didn’t look good at all. The speed and transition will be vital if we are to be a threat on the counter, which we didn’t display particularly well at Etihad and Old Trafford. Even still, the chances will be few and we need to be clinical.

    Alternatively, we fight tooth and nail for every last inch, and a little bit of magic and a little bit of luck might just be enough.

  2. Victor Thompson January 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    Thank you Ray. I am aware that we wont be given as much room as we had here but what was encouraging was the injection of speed the youngsters gave us. We have a host of deadly strikers available now provided that the ball is moved faster than the other side`s defence can cover it. If Welbeck plays as he did, he will open up Luis and Cahill. Van Persie used to do that against Terry and Co. Sanchez and Walcott will love that.

    There may be problems if we are forced to match numbers in midfield with Chelsea, because we are short on holding players. I don`t think that we should dwell on what Chelsea may do to us. I think that if Mustafi and Kos remain disciplined in the centre of defence we can outgun them in attack. How we start will be important. We need to immediately start to play at speed. I think Ox has earned his place in midfield and he should play. He must look for the same sort of passes he produced on Saturday and our runners have to make themselves available to receive them. I am confident that Welbeck will draw fouls out of Luis and Cahill, and that will induce panic for them.

    Monreal should be dropped and Giggs played instead. He has beeen caught out too often lately with speedy wingers who turn him. Navas will be aimed at him as our weak link.

    Anyway-fingers crossed and our guys are up for it.

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