Less possession, more clean sheets, more goals, what changed? by KM
So a lot was said about Arsenal in the last two weeks. After a bad start to the season and the New Year, we’re having the absolute best part of our season. We won away at Man City by outsmarting them, we’ve gotten 3 wins in a row for the first time this season, and we survived the FA cup giant killing.
What changed really? Well Mertesacker came out and said the players sat down, talked about the problems with not defending and we can see the results. Player talks are something we underestimate. Liverpool did a talk of reviving their Season and they’ve also picked up their form. It’s really good to see the players caring for the game and not just their salary.
Questions as to whether it should be the manager that’s doing this, when things go bad. But hey, 8 million a year don’t cover this part, do they? Anyway my point is we are playing to our strengths and it’s paying out. The players have realized we cannot dominate every game the way Barca did, but they know they are good players. And adjusting our style a bit makes a huge difference.
Another interesting thing. We gave up the possession. Against Stoke, Man City and Villa we had some of the lowest possession stats over the past 5 years and we played some of the best games I’ve seen for a while. Our midfielders use their great ability with the ball for setting up lightning counters that shock opponents. We look a bit like the Dortmund that won two tittles on the trot.
Another change in our midfield was Coquelin who’s been immense. Finally someone who’s caring about the defensive part of our game. Ramsey has also moved back to his regular (NOT Beckham) position. He’s neither the defensive midfielder, nor is he the number 10, but he’s the balancing point and the fans love a player doing his defensive duties as much as the players who score.
Our wingers have also started to give their support to the full backs. And the full backs have really improved. Nacho Monreal silently shoved Gibbs on the bench and I’d pick the Spaniard all day long. Yes he’s not that attacking minded, but when it comes to defending there’s only one left back I’d pick. And Bellerin? Super fast and calm. What a performance from that lad in recent times.
And finally, David Ospina. His collection of the ball has impressed me. Something Szczesny has been missing for all his game time. He made 2 saves vs Villa, one at 1-0 and one at 5-0, which tells you something about how much a clean sheet means and that his concentration levels were high throughout the whole game.
So all and all, we’ve started to do things right. Question is how far will we take it? I hope we don’t fall back to the all out forward approach. We have a very good squad that when set up correctly can be up there challenging the very best. Our next game needs no introduction. They are on a good run as well, but we have the better squad. We’ve played some pretty wild games against Spurs lately. A win would set us up with a very good chance to finish in the top four having played most of our opponents away.
Have a great week!