A bit more fight and a new formation, but still lots of room for improvement. by Konstantin Mitov
Arsenal won a game! It truly was an Easter miracle hey? Jokes aside, we actually won a game, away from home. After losing 4 in a row (the worst in Arsene’s history at the club) losing this one would’ve truly killed it. And Arsene decided to change up the formation and we won. The first time Arsene played 3 at the back since 1997!
The performance was still bad though. And we beat Boro simply because we have quality. We have Alexis and Ozil and they don’t. It’s what bigger clubs are about. They have better players. Whether we’d have them next year is uncertain, worse, it is unlikely. We’ve talked a lot on that topic, so let’s talk a little bit about the game.
First the new formation. I don’t think it really worked, but it was a welcome sight nonetheless. We played 3 at the back and we dropped Mustafi, who’s been awful since his injury return. Rob Holding had a great game in my opinion. Overall I’ve been crying out to change the system, and use one that fits the players we have.
Giroud was isolated yesterday. With him up top, you need crosses coming up left and right to play to his strengths. We don’t have proper wingers though. We try Ox and Walcott who aren’t consistent and we put Alexis on the wing, but he’s not the type to just whip in crosses. I think our usual formation doesn’t work for us too well either, but I think it will return for City in the FA cup.
On the game itself at our first goal, Guzan was shambolic. He had 7 players on the wall, yet he kept yelling all the time and when the ball went over the wall and under the bar he was a statue. And it went like 2 yards off the post. If it was top corner, than you have to applaud, but their goalkeeper was really poor on that so we got a 1:0 lucky lead at the break, which honestly we didn’t deserve too much.
Yet we still conceded, due to some mistakes, but the way we allowed their striker through 2 of our center backs was bad. Good thing is that we produced one more moment of quality which Ozil dispatched and we won the game. This is relegation threatened Boro who’ve scored only 23 goals this season. Like I said after beating West Ham, drawing conclusions from this game is premature.
Still I liked the fact that players came to the fans after the game. Would be nice if they did it when they played like sh*t, but yesterday there was a bit more fight. Nacho’s crazy celebrations when we scored was a welcome sight! The Ox looked determined too and look, if we give it 100% every game and we sometimes lose, we’d say alright, we tried and it didn’t work, but the way Walcott said ‘Crystal Palace wanted it more’ is not good enough for Arsenal.
Now looking at the context of the league, we are still sixth and the top 4 is only slightly possible if we win all our games, and honestly the performance of yesterday won’t win half of our remaining games, let alone all of them. And looking forward to City, we just couldn’t afford not to win this one. Imagine had we drawn, or lost?
Arsene would have all the questions he dodges like Neo dodges bullets in the Matrix back at his face. Not that he was spared them yesterday, but when you win it’s easier to deflect them. It’s a result based business, when the results are good, you can’t complain too much. Ours have been shambolic.
I can put bad statistics one after the other this season, but we’ve only won one game out of the last 38 where we’ve conceded the first goal. When we concede first, our heads drop, our tactical awareness disappears and we flop. The real run in of games starts now. If I have to chose one top four team I’d fancy us to play right now, it’s City.
They are unstable, but they got Kompany back and if he sorts out their defence, we’ll struggle, cause up front they have goals in them. Still our record against them is not too bad and if we come out focused and play with desire, we might get something. But looking at our form from the start of the year I don’t think we’ll realistically make it.
And it’s come to the point where, if we don’t win a game, all the hate is back on Arsene and I’d like to finish with this. I’d bite your hand off if you give me a 4th place finish, and I’d bite your hand off if you tell me Arsene is leaving. If we can get both, than excellent, problem is I think we’ll get neither and that would be worse.
Changing the formation for one game, doesn’t mean that we’ve changed. Can we put up a fight that would win at White Hart Lane and kill Spurs title dream? Then we can talk about mental strength. Don’t put up too much faith in the season just because of one win against a bad team. Whatever happens until the end of May, Arsene must leave for the better of this football club.