A clash of the tactical masterminds by JA
Hey guys what’s up? I know you had a great weekend just like me! I’m completely over the moon from yesterday and I’m absolutely sorry I doubted some of the Arsenal players.
From a tactical point of view, both gaffers did their best to outfox the other subtly but our manager won. So here is my analysis from the game…..
First and foremost, I’d like to commend Francis Coquelin on such a mature game yesterday. 2/2 tackles, 6 interceptions, 6/7 aerial duels, 11/11 clearances are just the stats part of his good game. It appeared to me that his first half task was to stop David Silva mainly, and he did that better than I expected. I really didn’t expect Coquelin to be able to track Silva all over the middle but he did! And with a high level of success too. I loved his intelligence again in the second half. City moved Silva away from the middle and it initially drew the young man’s attention, hence their ease in punching holes through the middle at the beginning of the second half. But Le Coq recovered really quickly and concentrated on his tasks again. Kudos there lad.
Also kudos to the manager trusting him with such a difficult instruction as tracking Silva.
Hector Bellerin and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the same flank was another tactical yes please from Mr Arsene Wenger. Gael Clichy is an important part of the City attack, always providing an extra man from out wide. Wenger knew that both Bellerin and the Ox could challenge Clichy for pace and that would keep him quiet, more kudos there to the Boss.
In the first 10-15 minutes of the first half, City almost run us ragged with wave after wave of attack, but Wenger went with his Stoke plan from the last game. Rough the opponents up till they can’t take it anymore, then express yourself, and that too worked.
I must commend Pellegrini though for his piece of ingenuity when trying to give Clichy more space, taking off an out and out winger in Milner for one who would more often opt to cut inside in Jovetic. It was really smart, but even better was Oxlade and Bellerin teaming up to stop it.
Then there was my big surprise. Who knew that Giroud could pick up a ball and drive at the heart of an opponent’s defence? That he could beat anyone on the dribble at close quarters? That a match would be played and he’s lost the ball less than Sanchez? He had the game of his life yesterday, it’s amazing the kind of things confidence can do for you huh? I was so amused when he ran onto a lose ball and tried to dribble past Kompany, and it wasn’t even a lame attempt. I saw him pick that ball up, face Kompany and I thought “what’s he gonna do now?”, then “voom” – the abrupt change of pace had to force Kompany into a foul. Then at some point in the second half, he runs about 10 yards with the ball, straight at the city defense, and I’m thinking “holy Jesus, where did he get the confidence from? Just great from the big man. Whoever is teaching him to do that kinda stuff should get a pay rise, because having a Giroud that can dribble springs up a whole lot of new surprises!
Pick up the ball, lay off Frank lampard, lay off Kompany, then Fernando and technically the whole Man City midfield are on their asses behind you – and your name is none other than SANTIAGO CAZORLA. Damn what a game, even if you leave the goal and assist out Santi was unstoppable yesterday. He just bossed the midfield like a Godfather! Man of the match – no contest.
Honourable mentions to; the BFG for a great performance both aerial and being solid with Aguero running at him; Ramsey for a great shift; Kos for that discipline after picking up an early booking; Monreal winning the penalty and rendering Navas useless. Sanchez wasn’t at his best but Caused trouble still.
Play like that and, believe me, we’re going be in the Champions League final. And if we play like that in the Final, we’re gonna WIN!
Joe (JA) from Kampala. Have a great week!