What Went Wrong? By Twig
After the midweek game against Montepellier, I had said that I was far from impressed. The team was static, lacked pace and had no penetration. The two goals we scored in the second half only masked what was otherwise a very mid-table performance. This is one of the slowest, most cumbersome Arsenal sides I’ve ever seen. Unless Walcott, Wilshere, Diaby or Arshavin (if you go by his masterclass against Reading) are playing, the team has no cutting edge and seems too laboured and ponderous. We’ve witnessed the same performance again today against a very average Villa side. Anyway, let’s analyse the performance of the following players:
Giroud and Podolski: These two are too similar. I have never seen a player as heavily one-footed as these duo. It’s not a big problem maybe, but when you have these two players playing at the same time, then, it really stifles our attack. Even though RVP was heavily left-footed, his right leg was not entirely useless and he scored a couple of goals with it too. His movement was slick and belied the fact that he was primarily left-footed. Podolski on the left is just useless. It doesn’t matter whether he has played 100 games for Germany as a left winger or not, the fact is that it’s not his natural position. All the goals he scored – bar few – came in from a central position. As a left winger he offers us no pace on the left and we can’t launch a counter-attack from that wing. The problem with these two is that neither player can ‘carry’ the ball.
Their ability to run with the ball is just abysmal: You’ll sooner see Podolski pass back to Gibbs than see him searing down the left taking fullbacks head on. It’s little surprise that Podolski is the most subbed player in the EPL this season. The solution? Podolski is a very good striker playing on the wrong side on the pitch. Buy a proper left winger and make Podolski slug it out with Giroud for the sole striking role in Wenger’s favoured 4-3-3 formation.
Arteta and Cazorla: When last did Arteta play really well for Arsenal? Is his horror-showing against Fullham still having an effect on him. I’m really concerned about Arteta and Cazorla and both seem to be going through the same spell of loss of form. The team has been heavily reliant on the two players and it is hard to see who their competitors in the team are. Cazorla is a tricky, nifty player but I feel he doesn’t control the midfield (as Fabregas used to do). He goes in and out of games far too much and sometimes seems to be too far from the opponent’s danger area.
The solution? Probably get another CAM to compete with Cazorla with the option of playing Cazorla on the right. Secondly, buy a proper defensive midfielder (Capoue comes easily to mind) to add some bite into the midfield.
Gervinho: I wouldn’t say much about Gervinho – I really don’t want to. But even when he was scoring the odd goal in the beginning of the season, I wasn’t really impressed. He loses the ball far too much (we saw that at least twice today) and seems to easily run out of ideas. The solution? It may be harsh, but I think Gervinho is not going to improve much on his current showing. He should be moved on.
Wenger: Wenger’s not a player, but he single-handedly cost us this game. He substituted late (on the 70th minute as usual) and the substitutions were not correct. Arteta and Cazorla were having very poor games and I thought Podolski was offering us nothing on the left and Oxlade-Chamberlain was looking absolutely knackered on the right. The solution? I wouldn’t canvass Wenger out just yet but I thought a more positive substitution was to bring Arshavin on for Podolski on the left; Wilshere on for Cazorla in the middle and move Cazorla out to the right to replace the tiring Oxlade-Chamberlain. And those substitions should have been made much earlier in the game.
Player Ratings: Szczesny 8, Mertasacker and Koscielny 7, Gibbs 7.5, Jenkinson 6.5, Arteta 5, Cazorla 5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Podolski 4, Giroud 5.5, Gervinho 3, Arshavin 5, Coquelin N/A