Tactics and Character needed by RPK
With Arsenal set to face the Champions of Europe, Barcelona, what it really provides us is a real test of character and tactical flexibility.
Arsenal and Wenger have come up with it in recent years, and the most recent being the home game against Bayern. However, this is an entirely different preposition. Arsenal having lost in the same round for the last 5 years, and having been handed a very tough tie, may want to prove a point. When we observe Arsene Wenger’s press conference, he was very clear on one thing – “We have conceded too many goals at home and made it difficult to progress”. So Wenger may take a leaf out of the home tie against Bayern in the Group Stage earlier this season.
However, we had a different game plan with Cazorla and Coquelin playing in the middle and Ramsey playing wide. Walcott played as a striker and stretched the opposition defense at every possible opportunity. But with Cazorla still not fit and Walcott now coming on from bench, it may mean we might not see a similar style. However, I think we should slightly tweak our formation to suit this match to 4-3-3 and close the gaps between the lines. Elneny, Le Coq and Ramsey will be the three in the middle with Ox/Campbell, Oz and Sanchez the front three. The advantage with this set-up will be Elneny and Coq may have a better chance of protecting the back four.
Also we can deploy one of the three to mark Busquets, who really drives the rhythm of the away team. Even though, this team can not be compared to the days when Xavi played, they still boast quite a strong number of passes per game when compared to other top teams around Europe. Moreover, Ozil may play close to their defence and make those telling passes with Alexis, Ramsey and Ox/Campbell making runs on either flanks.
Having Elneny and Coquelin, will ensure there are enough bodies at the back and both of them can make a tackle or two when required. Also Elneny looks comfortable with the ball at his feet and looks to have a good array of passes in his armory. However, if the need comes, Wenger may bring upon Giroud, Welbeck or Walcott from bench and change the tactical approach.
Having said this, I still feel it will take quite an effort and some luck going our way to get a positive result.