In the build up to the Premier League clash between Arsenal and Swansea City tomorrow, Arsene Wenger has been reflecting on what went wrong on Tuesday night at the Emirates, when Anderlecht shocked the home crowd and the Arsenal players with three late goals to rescue a point and stop us from booking our place in the Champions League knockout phase.
And while the Prof has pointed out in an Arsenal.com report a few key reasons for what happened, he has also played it down and suggested that it could actually help the team in the long term as it can serve as a lesson and should not end up changing too much as Arsenal looked set to come second in the group anyway.
THe lessons that Wenger really wants his players to learn from Tuesday night is to always remember that football is a team game and when players start thinking too much about scoring a goal or doing something individually, that is when problems can occur.
Wenger said, “It’s always good to watch a game again because our second-half performance was not that bad, but we lost urgency and maybe we moved a little bit from team targets to individual targets.
“We were winning 3-0 and maybe they thought ‘I want to score my goal’. A team is mature when, regardless of what the score is, they continue to respect the basics of the game, the love of the game and the urgency of defending together.
“As soon as you lose that, you can win sometimes and not be punished, but you can be punished. On that occasion we were punished.
“We are of course disappointed with the result because when you are at home, to [concede three goals] looks terrible. But I would like to highlight that we have a dynamic in the team that is very positive.”
THe boss also spoke about finding the perfect blend in his team selection, perhaps a little message to players like Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell who are clearly frustrated at lack of game time.
He continued, “You’re considering the build-up, final-ball givers, runners and the finishers. [Things like] the pace, the penetration, and the guys who can finish.
“It all has to harmonise well from the build-up through the back, and after, getting you to find the players who have the quality to give a good ball. After that as well, the guys that can make the runs and finish.”
So the message is clear to the Arsenal team. You have the quality, as long as you approach the game in the right way. But will we see a proper team performance from them tomorrow?