The Perfect Showcase for Arsenal’s problems
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
Ordinarily, if you wanted to compile a snapshot of the problems at your club, you’d have to scroll through 3 or 4 games to find the problems.
You want to see ALL of them in one game? Watch West Ham vs Arsenal.
*Goal conceded by defensive error
*Lack of attacking rhythm
*Lack of connection between the lines
*Desperate need for a winger with high level of confidence to repeatedly take on defenders
*Wrong starting line up
*Lethargic first half
*No automatic connections leading to quick natural decisions
*Ball carrier needed in midfield
*Lack of creativity in the final third
*No threat on set plays
*Speed of play in midfield
*Formation that fits some, not others
A troubling performance.
* Six players returning at least gives us the option to change this situation.
* Defending set plays (until Xhaka)
* Ramsey tried to create. Not his fault that others weren’t at it.
* Koscielny looked better, Sokratis solid as ever
I’m struggling here
* One thing I’m not struggling with is to understand the Ozil situation.
All the clues are out there and maybe I’m more Clouseau than Poirot but here is my take.
Arsenal are short of money.
Arsenal are particularly hamstrung in signing players due to wage bill restrictions.
Ozil earns £350K a week.
He’s at best the solution to one of our needs, but more often than not he underperforms.
Emery is trying to establish accountability. The very worst player to be giving less effort and only playing to their potential when they want is the guy earning 2-3-4-5-6-times more than the others.
When Emery decided to do what Wenger never did and make ALL players accountable this was always going to be the outcome.
Ozil has won everything and is a coaster. A talented yet insanely overpaid coaster.
The club desperately needs wages available for transfers and you could get at least 3 very good players for what Ozil earns.
Emery just coached Neymar and I’d say his number one ‘this will never happen to me again’ standpoint is that he is not going to let any player bully his decision making.
So, as Ozil doesn’t want to leave, Arsenal are left with only one choice.
Force him to leave.
Unless Emery is told to include him, Mesut Ozil won’t play.
So, all those on social media who ‘don’t understand’ why he’s not included, I think Emery thinks he gives Ozil the power if he makes him feel like the solution when he’s simultaneously trying to make him feel like the problem.
For what it’s worth, I think Mkhi is gone too. £175K a week and similar inconsistent product.
£525K a week could fix every problem in the team.
And we wonder why Ivan Gazidis legged it!!
* The positive team spirit was a true thing a month ago. Players look bothered by something. That’s my take. I wonder if it’s the Ozil exclusion?
* Matteo Guendouzi has to learn to scan and play quicker. Always fighting to retain possession. Unnecessary.
* West Ham and Arsenal are similar.
Similar style of play, both weak at the back, lack of mobility in midfield and strength is upfront. Both teams were there to be taken in the first half. We were too narrow as AMN was tardy/too lazy to support and players were forcing passes into compact areas.
West Ham do however have a better dribbler in Felipe Anderson. A modern day wide guy too who defends. Arsenal may want to keep an eye on him.
* Iwobi reminds me of Nasri.
Samir Nasri always drove me crazy.
Soft feet, physically hard to shake off the ball but should do more with his ability.
* Not only are Guendouzi and Xhaka not mobile but they don’t move the ball fast enough. It’s concerning that they only have the option to pass too.
Neither are off the ball runners like Ramsey and neither are ball carriers.
I would not have taken AMN’s off. I’d have removed Guendouzi who was leggy and played LT and AMN as a ball carrier. He STILL has not been given the opportunity to use his best quality…. a ball carrying CM.
If we are not going to play a natural AM like Ozil then we need to have a ball carrier. If you don’t then you are hitting low percentage balls 40 yards to Auba and Laca.
* Are our problems stemming from the fact that Unai Emery studies both us and the opponent so much that he is an over thinker?
* Again, we hope that Emery gets the team to start games with intensity.
Here is an interesting way of looking at it….
Emery is very hard for opposing coaches to read. Frequently changes lineups and especially formations.
So, if the first twenty minutes is going to be a tactical puzzle for the opposing coach, why not start with intensity and purpose whilst they are busy feeling puzzled on the sideline.
By the time they’ve figured out how to deal with a look they didn’t predict, they now have a second problem, how to recover a two goal deficit.
Arsenal are starting to look stale again.
If ever there was a time for the club to purchase and refresh it would be now.
Need a spark as Chelsea and City loom.
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.