MAKING ARSENAL’S 3rd GOAL AGAINST WATFORD A HABIT by Nicholas
Arsenal have their first win in this season’s Premier League and it came against Watford, 3-1 to the visitors to Vicarage Road Stadium. Of the three goals, the third goal is perhaps something we would want to see more often. This is not because it was scored by Ozil. Neither is it because it came to ensure the game was out of reach from the opponent. Rather, the buildup suggests just how we can be devastating, especially with our new signing Lucas Perez in the side.
It happened that Ozil was at the end of the effort, but it could have been Giroud, Walcott, Perez or anyone for that matter. That goal suggests that we can set up the side in a manner that such kinds of successful attacks can be realized more often than not. With Sanchez the architect, it reveals why he was largely successful at Barcelona when he played with Messi, Neymer and Pedro.
First, Sanchez needs world class willing-to-sacrifice players alongside him. The attitude that Ozil had at that moment to read what Sanchez needed, and respond in lightning fashion, with the Watford side left awestuck, is something we must drill into the side both in terms of providing the architecture for as well as the hunger pangs to be able to execute – not once but rather routinely.
Second, world class does not mean the best in the world. No, ‘world class’ refers to the willingness of players to remain in the hunt, and hungry to execute what they did yesterday, today and tomorrow without ever stopping to say – this is enough. That’s what Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Cristiano and Ibrahimović are all about. That’s what sets a player aside as world class. The third goal coming after two others had been executed and flowing from the boots of a Sanchez who, on the day, was already very successful and could have said ‘enough’ but did not – confirms that Arsenal this season have the capability to be the best if we wanted to, with these set of players.
Third, the manager must be willing to set up the architecture to enable the team to play at their optimal best. In my view, both Sanchez and Perez are free spirits whose best form plays out when not tied to too many responsibilities on the pitch. Ozil shines in the number 10 role behind a fast breaking line of strikers ahead of him. Giroud is best when playing together with another striker where his best form bounces off the other player. Walcott too loves the confusion created by a fast paced attack and often overruns the defensive cover of opponents when such quick and confusing melee is generated.
We have supporting casts in the defensive midfielders and the defenders. It is clear that Cazorla and Xhaka are quickly forming the best tag team in town in this role and should be encouraged. The four-man defense with Koscielny in it is continuing to look a tighter, meaner and more less breached side. It’s a bit too early to speculate what will be the impact of Mustafi in this but one would hope that in the absence of Koscielny, maybe due to injury or suspension, Mustafi would provide the ‘Koscielny effect’ for the defense.
This article was about the best attack Arsenal can muster based on the relative strengths of the players available to Arsenal this season as, last season, a certain poverty of attack robbed Arsenal the bragging rights of title holders. Having said the above, the system that would best secure this attack above might be as follows:
188.8.131.52 – System
I know, two Sanchez’s and 12 First XI players. That’s because Sanchez is given a free role to turn up at any spot around the attack. He will be performing nothing very different from Perez only that Perez will have a smaller radius to execute the same, and Giroud stays put in there most of the time as the target man. With more understanding even he will begin to explore his link up play potentials and become mobile too. Walcott deputizes the two attackers and can start some games that require more mobility.
Ox-Chamberlain will do exactly what Sanchez does easily and would be a great deputy to the Chilean. Elneny and Coquelin will deputize both Xhaka and Cazorla so effectively and one of them will soon replace the aging Cazorla.
If the third goal against Watford is anything to go by, then the above would see Arsenal at the optimal best which is better than any side in the EPL and Europe – Come On You Gunners!