Chelsea started the season well and quickly built up a 10 point gap over a misfiring Arsenal side, but as tiredness and attacking injuries set in towards the end, Jose Mourinho used his park-the-bus tactics to gain points from Man United and also Arsenal. The cries of “boring, Boring, Chelsea” rained down from the stands, but the fact is that they came to the Emirates to do a job and practically confirmed their title credentials by leaving with a point.
Arsene Wenger was asked if he thought that the Gunners could wrench the title from Mourinho by playing their trademark attacking style of football, and Wenger replied: “Why not?”
“We have done it before. Manchester United have won it playing that way. Plenty of teams have done it.
“It’s not necessarily the type of game you play, it is how well you play it. For example, you don’t question Barcelona about the way they play football. When they started this way you questioned, ‘Are they not too naive?’ But when they win you don’t question it of course.”
Wenger has always set up his teams to attack and entertain the fans, sometimes maybe at the expense of leaving the defense exposed at the back, and Wenger grudgingly admitted that tactics still have a part to play over a whole season.
“You cannot play 38 games in the same convincing style,’ Le Prof continued. ‘You need to have a balance in your team so that if you are not at a level of fluency you can still win the game.
“Then most of the time it is the individual talent that prevails. We saw the other night with the Barcelona and Bayern Munich game, it was very level.
‘Then suddenly the ball goes to Messi and the game is decided. You have to accept that at some level — unfortunately — the game becomes an individual sport.
‘Will my philosophy remain the same? Yes, because you cannot influence too much a talent like Messi.
‘What you can do as a manager is improve the collective style of your team.’
Right now, Arsenal seem to have found a nice balance between defensive stability and attacking prowess, but the fact is that goals win games so when Chelsea “park the bus” they also lose the entertainment value and restrict goalscoring chances for BOTH sides, BUT they got the job done and are crowned Champions. Should Arsenal try to play like Chelsea or try and win the title with exquisite style?