West Ham 1 – 0 Arsenal: all of the Gunners’ problems showcased in one shambolic game [Positive Needs & Hopes]


The Perfect Showcase for Arsenal’s problems

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
*Unbalanced squad
*Ball carrier needed in midfield
*Lack of creativity in the final third
*Confused players
*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.

ozil emery

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?

arsenal defence


* 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.


(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)


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.


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One Response to West Ham 1 – 0 Arsenal: all of the Gunners’ problems showcased in one shambolic game [Positive Needs & Hopes]

  1. Victor Thompson January 14, 2019 at 2:35 pm #

    Your list of problems is 100% correct and I am delighted to see that at least one person agrees with me that Guendouzi has not built upon his promising beginnings. He is tall, long striding and competitive, but his physical attributes are not matched by a football brain. Much of his running is without purpose and his lack of insinctive movement means that he delays obvious passes and is forced into making short and inaccurate ones. He is consistent in losing the ball and turning our attack into defence by chasing the lost ball.

    I would make him sit down and watch videos of Santi Cazorla so that he can learn what a proper midfielder is. Xhaka is frustrating because Emery keeps playing him as a defender and he is trying to play a game which is unnatural to him. He is a creative player whose use is in varying tactics from short quick passes to long diagonal ones in particular.That is his international game for Switzerland and it works well for them.

    We are now back into the Wenger brand of slow,slow, quick, quick slow football. I have been enraged at this type of football for at least two seasons. We did it on Saturday against a poor West Ham team. Every manager in the Premiership knows how to beat us when that happens. Our so called “attack from defence” peeters out in midfield and the ball is played back wehere it alternates between the two Centre Backs before it is passed to a midfielder. By the time it ping pongs between the midfielders, the opponents have set up their entire two rows of defenders forming a barrier that we cannot penetrate.

    We inevitably lose the ball and it is delivered at once over the heads of our defence and midfield to sprinting forwards who fly past Mustafi and co. and score or cause havoc in our absent defence.

    We do not have the answer to packed defences because, as you say, we do not have a direct winger with speed who can carry the ball and deliver crosses for Auba and Lacazzette to get on the end of.

    We now have 2 points more than we had at the same point last year and the annual collapse is well on the way. Man Utd. have woken up and they are a factor in the battle for the top 4. That will not include us. Chelsea, Spurs and Utd will be competing for 3rd, fourth and fifth. Liverpool or City will be champions and we shall slip down another rung in the ladder. Our “goals for” figure is top 4 quality but our defence is closer to relegation status. We are a completely unbalanced team and that is the unpallatable truth.

    Kroenke does not see any value in shopping in the january window but he needs to reassess that attitude because if he doesn`t buy a winger ( Zaha? ) and a CB who knows the game and can direct the defence a short term solution could be Jonny Evans or Cahill. If one of them could make a an effective unit of our defence it would be money well spent and qualification for the Championship would replace £40m right away.

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