It is one thing for Arsenal fans to think that Arsene Wenger’s team simply had a “bad day at the office”, but it is quite another when the opposition admit that they knew exactly how Arsenal would perform, and how easy it would be to counteract their game plan.
The Monaco striker Dimitar Berbatov, who had lavishly praised Wenger before the game, made it clear that the Gunners had played into their hands. He was asked in the Guardian if he had been surprised to have found so much space in the Gunners defence.
“To be honest, no,” Berbatov replied. “Because Arsenal have very quick players, when they go forward they leave a lot of space at the back. We knew that, we prepared well and we took advantage of it. We knew what their weaknesses were and we exploited them.”
Are Arsenal really so easy to beat by top teams that study Wenger’s one-dimensional tactics? The Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, also revealed that he knew how Arsenal would be much weaker after half-time, so he sought to be “very organised in the first 45 minutes” and “take advantage of the space we were given in the second half on the counterattack”.
I guess that even the JustArsenal readers could have predicted that Wenger’s plan would be to go on all-out attack early on in the game and then struggle to maintain the pressure later on, as we have all seen this happen so many times this year. So how can we change our tactics to surprise our opponents once in a while?