IN ARSENE’S WORDS – SO CAN HE FIND SPACE FOR LACAZETTE? by Nicholas Oyoo
Every Arsenal fan must agree this was a winter window like no other. We brought in three players. Two in attack and one in defense. But it was the players that we moved out in the attack and brought in in that department that raised eyebrows. We sold – Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez, Coquelin. We pursued Johny Evans from West Bromwich Albion but everyone watching could see that it was not a spirited as we pushed through the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In Aubameyang’s case we had three officials in Germany to push through the deal which almost did not go through.
Basically, we lost players in the Defensive Midfield department and we were not keen on making additions. We added in defense but not really for first team and we knew we wanted another defender but we seemed not very desperate to get someone. But in attack we were relentless and if rumours were to be believed we searched far and wide and players like Malcom Filipe from Bordeaux, Lucas Moura from PSG – Now with Tottenham, Cristian Pavón of Boca Juniors, were routinely featured as possibilities.
But perhaps the most telling is these words attributed to Arsene Wenger that tell the story behind the highly ‘Attack reorganization’ Window purchases.
“The danger is when you are an attacking team that you don’t score and then of course you create your own problems,” Wenger told the official Arsenal website.
“We don’t necessarily need relief but we want to be more efficient on the football pitch because when you say we’ve conceded too many goals, I think we don’t score enough goals.
“That’s our basic problem. That’s not only defensively but offensively, we don’t score enough goals.”
(Attacking) “That’s our DNA. We are an attacking team,” he added.
“That is why we have to work on that and find the balance.
“Without destroying our offensive power, we have to find the balance so we are better defensively.”
Well, against Everton we scored a tonne of goals, 5 to be precise, but of course one game is not really a measure that our goal conversion rate has really changed. But, we saw Ramsey of old again, he showed he can score lots of them if the opposition tries to mark out Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Ozil off the game.
So on this statements I agree 100% with Arsene Wenger assessment. I hope he find the balance to keep our DNA intact. I suspect he realized the mistake of the removal of one attack minded player who was transferred to defense in the latest 5 defender setup with three in the back and two wingbacks who could also add in attack. In this game, he must have realized the wingbacks are normally isolated and dealt with easily if not specialists in the wings so the CBs were invited to come over and assist in attacking too. Then perhaps the leaks in defense began and therefore everybody was invited to defend and attack at the same time. The game must have lost rhyme and ended up with Arsenal taking too long building up, taking wayward shots and not converting enough shots taken. On the defensive end we soon were being caught out more often. Keeping clean sheet used to be routine but lately, Cech may just fail to get that 200th clean sheet he seeks so much. But I think if we organize well, we could give him that – If he will shake off his injury that he picked up against Everton.
If Arsene is seeking the great balance, there is actually a pattern that can deliver just that. Balance in attack, meaning it can accommodate our super attack of Lacazette, Mkhitaryan, Ozil and Aubameyang – LMOA. The pattern promises more. It can draft in Ramsey and Wilshere too. The pattern is 188.8.131.52.
There is concerns that if Lacazette and Auba play together in one team and even Arsene must be wondering how? People also wonder that there will be no one coming from the bench for Giroud-like rescue cameos. People are forgetting there is Welbeck, Iwobi, Reiss Nelson, Edward Nketiah who can sit on the bench and come in when one of the two needs to rest and so one does not have fears that after using the two there is no one popping from the bench who can play super sub…If Aube or Even Lacazette is not able to play, you would be surprised at Nketiah and Nelson…but even Welbeck and Iwobi playing with another attacker may just become very good players that we might have not noted about them. Walcott is already firing in all cylinders at Everton suggesting we didn’t see the best of him. Iwobi did not play so bad against Everton
It would be a bold line-up if Arsene went for it but look at the advantages. Lacazette is already showing great link up play with his colleagues and can play the second striker. Aubameyang at the CF role but biased to the left so he can take advantage of the width in the left to initiate attacks and stretch the defenders, Lacazette plays second CF but biased to the right so he too can stretch the defenders. Ozil and Mkhitaryan play a rear but potent attacking Mid-fielding duet, and can proceed to take chances and score. Ozil has already shown he can get the goals if called upon and has gone double figures once for us. Everton Proved that Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubemeyang can indeed play together seamlessly. Iwobi too was involved in that match so indeed room for another attacking minded player into the mix exists. The concern is how to defend well after fielding a super attacking side where the play is more about efficient forward movement. But when Aubameyang puts in the world class movement and less wasteful world class finishes like he did against Everton, We know we pin back any team and that’s the first rule in defending, attacking competently.
Kolasinac and Ramsey provide the width but can cut inside and offer assistance to Wilshere in the Anchorage role and overload the attack from the centre by making those late runs Ramsey is famed for. Ramsey was extremely lethal against Everton and in this setup he can do exactly that. If Xhaka can prove he can play in the left side of the Centre-Mid three, he too has those long range shots he announced himself with to the EPL with when he arrived. We have not seen that side of his play for some time now. There will be no need for Bellerin and Monreal to spend too much time attacking and can stay back to defend 80 percent of the time. Xhaka should be retrained in the new Arsenal pattern and must find his way back in, by displacing someone, maybe Kolasinac if Kolasinac does not deliver. In there we also have Elneny with a chance.
Does Wenger need to consider a super-attacking side against Tottenham?