Good Day Gooners!!
Another Matchday is upon us, and its Arsenal v Chelsea at the Bridge. Well, last night Liverpool gave Manchester United a real thumping. Considering everyone was tipping them into the top 4 places, they have crashed down sensationally. Even with a certain Christiano Ronaldo scoring 15 League goals at the age of 37. Although, Ronaldo was missing last night because of the death of his new born baby, still Liverpool have rolled over them easily.
So to our team and Arteta somehow needs to instill a little belief into his players so that they can make a fight for it. Particularly considering that in the last 3 matches, we were mentally not in the game for the first 15 minutes.
Looking at the final few games we have it as follows:
|1||Arsenal V Chelsea||Away|
|2||Arsenal V United||Home|
|3||Arsenal V West Ham||Away|
|4||Arsenal V Leeds||Home|
|5||Arsenal V Spurs||Away|
|6||Arsenal V Newcastle||Away|
|7||Arsenal V Everton||Home|
Looking at the above list, I’ve marked games against Chelsea and Spurs for judging Arteta’s tactical flexibility. We all know, Arteta is slowly moving towards his more favoured 4-3-3 formation.
In an interview in Dec 2020, Arteta publicly admitted :
“We want to move to a 4-3-3 but for that, you need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions, we don’t have it,”
To add to the above statement, we have lost the most important element of this formation in Thomas Partey. Further, the injuries of the two starting full backs- KT and Tomiyasu has turned this into a nightmarish few weeks for us.
To draw some parallels , imagine Liverpool losing Alexandre Arnold, Robertson and Fabinho/Thiago (Any one of them) all at once. Similarly, City losing Cancelo, Walker and Rodri/Gundogan. Chelsea losing James, Chilwell and Jorginho/Kante/Kovacic (they have so many). Even though, the above 3 teams are well advanced of Arsenal in their progress, the point is still valid.
Obviously, in case of City and Chelsea over the years, they seem to have unending wealth to buy top class backups. Even considering all this, losing such key players at once might derail the whole season in a few weeks. Unfortunately, and it has been the case seemingly for us since forever. Whenever there is a crunch time, we get injuries to key players and do not have the class of replacement.
The task at Arteta’s hand is immensely difficult but I’d like to take our minds back to when he initially took over. I think, there is no shame in reverting to a more pragmatic approach and go for a 3-4-3/3-4-1-2 formation. Specially against Chelsea tonight and Spurs away in May.
I will pick 4 key games from recent past:
1. Liverpool V Arsenal (Home) – Premier league July 2020- Scoreline 2-1 Arsenal
2. Man City V Arsenal (Wembley)- FA Cup Semi-final 2020 – Scoreline 2-0 Arsenal
3. Chelsea V Arsenal (Wembley) – FA Cup Final 2020- Scoreline 2-1 Arsenal
4. Chelsea V Arsenal (Away) – Premier League May 2021- Scoreline 1-0 Arsenal
Excitingly, we won all the above games and the starting formation was 3-4-3/3-4-2-1. We also pressed and defended very well in those games and were structurally very good. Out of the 4 , Thomas Partey only featured against Chelsea last Season.
We have to utilize the pace of Saka, Martinelli and ESR on the counter in specific phases.
I fully trust Arteta’s ability as a Coach, but he needs to somehow get his tactical set up right and forget about the injuries that have piled up all of a sudden, because at the end of the day, people only remember the results. Currently, we are desperate for them.
Secondly, he needs to broaden his view on certain players and try to utilize whatever depleted squad he has available.
So Here’s my predicted lineup for today:
SCORE PREDICTION : If we play with the above lineup- I think we will give Chelsea a very tough time and might just nick it 1-0 or 2-1.
32-year old Arsenal FC fan since 2002. Started following Arsenal because of the gorgeous style of football they used to play and soon fell in love with WENGER-BALL. Still can’t believe how Mr. Wenger managed to make a very complex game look so simple and beautiful. Keen observer of tactics and love to analyse data and statistics. Passionate about writing on Arsenal-related stuff.