Posted on August 17, 2014 by ADMIN

Arsenal tactics – Time to abandon Zonal Marking?

Maybe it’s time Arsene changed tactics and made our players take responsibility! by GunnerJack

I don’t usually criticise AW and I am a big fan. However when a system is used which repeatedly did not work throughout the whole of last season and has already failed in our first game this season then maybe a case can be made for Arsene to consider changing tack.

What I am referring to is the ‘Zonal Marking’ system we use because when using that system no one is really held accountable when things go against us. If we switched to ‘Man To Man’ marking then the responsibility/blame for an opposition player causing us problems or worse still, scoring, would be immediately obvious.
By the way I am talking about all our players here, attackers as well as defenders, and if one of our attackers had been given the specific task of marking Hangeland whenever and wherever he was when we lost the ball yesterday, then that player would know exactly what was expected of him and could concentrate on that job alone. After all if we don’t have the ball what better job could our players do? As an example of our attackers being given specific instructions on who to man-mark then in yesterday’s case the job of man-marking Hangeland might have fallen to Yaya Sanogo, though I am definitely not having a go at him.

Perhaps Arsene does not want to burden our players with such a responsibility as the blame for an opposition counter attack, corner or goal would be immediately obvious. Then again, maybe our players should stand up and be counted!

The 6-0, 5-1, 6-3 and even 3-0 scorelines against us by our worst enemies last season made me sick to my stomach and I definitely do not want to see any more like that . . . unless we’re dishing them out of course!

So, should ‘Man To Man’ marking be given a try at the risk of upsetting the sometimes fragile egos of some footballers or is AW correct to stick to the zonal system and so absolve everyone of direct blame when the opposition stuffs us? Over to you . . .


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72 thoughts on “Arsenal tactics – Time to abandon Zonal Marking?

  1. Gavana

    Man U fans were calling for the sacking of their manager Van Gal even before Arsenal kick a ball for the new season. Seriously? Van Gal! If not him, who then? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 2

  2. phil-thompsons-nose

    This article is about as shite as sterlings Barnet..

    Who cares..!

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 12

    1. Dan.M

      Dislikes ? Just now Liverpool looked like they had nothing one pace run and pass and they’re ahead .. If that was us we wuld just be passing side to side with our fake wingers who r slow

      Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 18

      1. Jim A

        The line that Southampton are playing is nothing like the banks of 4 CP played yesterday. Don’t worry if teams play a high line like Southampton we will also see Alexis and Theo burn them.

        Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 0

  3. Matt

    Come on Southampton! Prove that these Scouse benefit grabbers cannot cope without Suarez and that they’ve overspent on mediocre players!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

    1. juhislihis

      Oddly, they are fielding only one overpaid player they bought this summer. : D

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. Goontz

    I don’t see how zonal marking means players have less responsibility. Each defender is supposed to defend his zone of the pitch, so if an opponent gets through in his zone, the defender is clearly at fault. Zonal marking is better for our style of football where we need to transit from defense to attack quickly, and so every player should already be in position when we get the ball back. Most big teams use zonal marking, just look at the CL. Maybe you mean changing to man marking for setpieces only? It would make sense, because it’s much easier to defend setpieces by man marking.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

    1. Jim A

      Goontz great post. If you have Mert in front of Schez and OG a bit to the side but also in front of Schez a ball with not enough height doesn’t get through 90% of the time. So having those 2 in zonal marking is a huge advantage.
      I also agree with you as man marking is much easier to do on set pieces rather than corners.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0


    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Out of tune?. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 24

    1. Tidan2

      well, we had to bring on monreal for gibbs and we had to take sanogo off for giroud because Giroud needs game time because he isn’t fully fit yet (and also Sanogo isn’t ready for 90 minutes) so that left us with only one flexible substitution.

      Ox is not a bad option and even though he didn’t play well he injected pace in the whole team almost instantly.
      Campbell will play soon for sure, we have Besiktas on tuesday, then Everton on Saturday, then Besiktas again on wednesday, and then Leicester on sunday; 5 matches in 15 days.

      As for Chambers, he was really good and is definitely good enough to replace vermaelen.

      You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

    2. SaveArsenal

      What game were you watching?
      Chambers was absolutely outstanding for a 19 year old playing against Pullis inspired ork trained players.
      The kid was snuffing out runs and made a lot of mileage on the pitch, I saw him chasing down attackers, slow? you are deluded!

      Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  6. Jim A

    Wow the article is about man marking or zonal coverage and we have Man U Liverpool and directness why bother with the articles.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. Cal

    We had the best defensive record against set pieces last season

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

    1. jermaineBryan

      There is nothing wrong with our zonal marking having the 2nd best set piece result shows it’s working . Only Mertasaker is a match for someone like hangelaand. We should have had the migits like Sanchez and santi on both post

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  8. John Legend

    He should just try both methods and see which one suites his crop of players more.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  9. leo

    Pre world cup Cesc found out AFC delegation were in Barca. He thought it was for him, delighted he called Arsene wenger to find out it was Alexis. lol

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 55 Thumb down 1

  10. Hafiz Rahman

    liverpool, chelsea and city are real strong this season….

    if we still dont spend big, we will be challenging for 4th spot with RVP Utd

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14

    1. Tidan2

      typical, over hype every other team and downplay our own chances based on nothing.

      Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

  11. phil-thompsons-nose

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Out of tune?. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 25

    1. Tidan2

      why do you comment when you clearly have no football knowledge…

      Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 4

        1. th14

          “Why Wenger loaned out jenkinson and signed Debuchy who is slow and only slightly quicker than mertesacker ”
          Not only are you clueless about football your brain also lacks the ability to judge the speed of moving objects.
          You and davidnz are definately legends keep it up mate.

          Rate this comment: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

          1. phil-thompsons-nose

            Th obviously stands for Thomas hitzilsperger he was also gay!

            Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  12. Ronny331

    Not sure about abandoning it. Second line of defenders should have blocked hangerlands run and kos had no awareness, not once did he look over his shoulder. If we’d had a > 6 foot dm player on the pitch it nay have helped us!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. leo

    Sport 24 and Gazetta (Greece) reporting Manolas to Arsenal for 8m would be a great signing for us COYG’S

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  14. Ozil_Sanchez

    Wish Wenger would go for Falcao. Madrid have dropped out of getting him, or Martinez. Or at least another top winger like Reus, di Maria, Cuadrado, etc

    I was thinking about CDM, but after watching the CP match and watching Sanogo and Giroud not score, I think we need higher quality striker.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

    1. Hafiz Rahman


      players like Falcao and Cavani guarantee goals….just like Torres…

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

    2. josh37

      yeah… Giroud only set up the eventual winner in 30mins of game-time, but if he isn’t the one to hit it into the back of the net what’s the value!!

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  15. leo

    Nathaniel Clyne jumps to top of Liverpool’s list of “Southampton players we should buy”

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  16. Goontz

    Do you reckon Southampton fans will boo Chambers like they are booing Lovren? Anyways go on saints, prove a point today (and help us in the title race).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    1. jaggy

      Sagna was the only starter in that list and we’ve replaced him with Debuchy. We also have Bellerin as cover. Vermaelen was hardly in the squad and we have Chambers now.

      Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

    1. Hafiz Rahman

      With Cazola, Sanchez and walcott on the wings

      where will Ox, campbell find game time?? not to mention Wilshere tooo

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  17. BUR

    To me the defending of the corner which produced the Palace goal was naff. We don’t have an abundance of height on the pitch so a man on each post would be a benefit. This zonal marking was cause of concern in set pieces last season and looking at yesterday it will again.

    I also thought our approach to our corners was a complete waste, the majority never got past the first defender on the near post. I don’t know what the tactic was but it wasn’t very good or poorly executed.
    How and ever I am still delighted with the ugly three points.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    1. th14

      You do realise we had the best record defending setpieces in the whole premier league last season. And you do realise before we switched to zonal marking in the 11/12 season we used to ship goals for fun in set pieces.
      Any one who says zonal marking is a problem just listens to MOTD pundits too much and doesn’t actually think for themselves.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  18. Hafiz Rahman

    Arsenal top of the table with 37 games remaining……

    we need to spend big to remain the status…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  19. josh37

    Considering Giroud and Mertesacker who both played a vital role in minimizing our vulnerability to set-pieces last season were not on the pitch i wouldn’t read too much into it…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  20. Robin Vanpayslip

    So you call other people a clown and then come out with this drivel?

    Arsenal conceded 7 goals from set pieces last season – FACT!

    Stop being sensationalist and coming out with this nonsense because of one goal. I don’t remember you making articles after article the many many times zonal marking worked.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

    1. josh37

      haha if i was a celebrity i’d be locking myself at home where no one or thing can hurt me… they’ll be dropping like flies if there’s any truth to the curse!

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  21. Raja Danish

    Hello to all my fellow gunners… Just need to cope well in set pieces mark a man dont free him to score goal in set piece situation.. We r otherwise good in defending I m feeling exciting for this season as it progresses.. Optimistic that we will win the league INSHAA ALLAH come May but it will be a tough contest this season.. But I m a gooner and I will always support my team… Go go gunners.. COYG!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  22. josh37

    Even if for argument’s sake you are right and theo would score 20-25 goals there.
    do you think Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla, Podolski, Ox, Wilshere and Ramsey would score more goals with Giroud or Theo at striker?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    1. Jim A

      Well Ramsey scored as a direct result of a header. Even though no assist yesterday OG like you pointed out in another post was responsible for finding Debuchy wide open in front of goal. So yes OG will make all those others more goal threats.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  23. leo

    La Tercera: Eduardo Vargas has told his family he will join Arsenal this week on a season long loan deal

    hope this isn’t true we need cavani / reus

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

      1. Dan.M

        I reckon one year would be good .. We need the pace and then we can go all out for a striker next year

        Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    1. rock88

      Its hard to believe Dortmund and PSG wanting to lose their key player at the closing stage of the transfer window.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. leo

    Bacary ‘I didn’t go to Citeh for money’ Sagna is not even in the squad.

    Not even bench warming.

    Probably out shopping

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  25. forever-Arsenal

    Why can’t Wenger see our two glaring weaknesses?

    1. CDM- Lack of a top defensive midfielder
    2. Lack of a top striker which can be solved 2 ways:
    A. Buy a top striker like Falcao, Cavani. OR
    B. Buy Reus or Cuadrado and make Sanchez or Walcott a striker.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  26. gooner100

    Zonal works well and suits what ought to be our improved counter attacking style this season.

    For me it was simply an error probably by koz(?) not seeing hangeland coming and reacting. Some teams use zonal and have specific man marker for a dangerous player…shearer, Carroll etc who did or can excel at putting the ball in the back of the net from a corner.

    So it works fine, we just weren’t quick enough to react and seemingly had no one man marking hangeland.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. ruelando

    From what i have heard about Zonal Marking there are two layers, the first layer is to block the path of the runners and the second layer is to head away the ball, the first layer is also our counter attacking line.
    Unfortunately yesterday sanchez who was the first line choose the light pole to block, kos could not react in time and we were one down.
    Therefore i can say zonal marking is not bad its just the use of the team members in specific situation

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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