Arsenal simply couldn’t win because of Emery’s choices of players and tactics

We lack creativity and can’t keep playing with 7 defensive minded players.. by Eddie

Good day everyone, I sat down after the game with my phone in hand, staring at the league table, the more I stared, the more pissed I got. I’m sorry I used a lot of swear words last night in some of my comments, I’m a passionate fan and games like that gets to me. I had to retire to bed early, I raised my voice at my fiancée, who I apologized to immediately Lol. She’s aware I’m a strong supporter, she requested I explain to her what happened or went wrong, I could only tell her how important those points were and how the team messed up. She understood my anger, and I have to admit I’m one lucky guy to have her!!

So once again we’ve dropped valuable points and Manchester United are just below us 6 points away now, which is troubling. I wrote two articles on how we can’t keep playing with 7 defensive minded players on the pitch and why we should drop the high line until we get proper players. Yesterday’s game was another solid example and proof of my observations, we keep repeating the same mistakes time over time.

It doesn’t take rocket genius to know against teams like this, you need all your best creative players because teams will sit back and you have to break their defence. Playing with a team made up of Litchsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi will leave our attack limited. These guys aren’t creative enough and can’t make final passes, all they do is make long passes from our end. Just like I don’t expect Ozil to play like a defensive midfielder, I don’t expect Torreira and Guendouzi to play like an attacking midfielder. They can’t do that, only few players could do that.

I really don’t believe in these excuses that our players are injured, Arsenal fans are used to that. What we do is figure stuff out and we make readjustments. So why is Emery struggling to readjust? Is Xhaka a favourite player? Is our academy so much bad that we can’t call up a defender for cover? Is there a vendetta between Ozil and him? Should Lacazette be treated this way each season? So many questions to be asked – but all will get no answers because there’s no direct communication line to the club.

In the race for top four, games like these are most important ones. We can’t afford to drop points like this. Emery, for all the amazing job he has done since he was appointed, has made a few bad decisions. We are a team that needs investment and new players but until we get what we need the best solution is making use of what you have left.

We don’t know our style of play yet, so much of the pressing and pressing and yet with the ball we look like a team with no style of play, the back passes, the sideways passes stayed with the team. We can’t attack properly. I once made the case of Aubameyang and Lacazette being each other’s strength. We should stick with Lacazette up front or we should play Lacazette whenever Aubameyang plays. These guys so much know each other, Aubameyang plays like a complete striker when playing with Lacazette, gets involved in games. So much that whenever Lacazette isn’t on the pitch Aubameyang is one useless striker who brings nothing to the team. His only goal yesterday is a proof of how they work well with each other.

I think Emery needs to take the risk, man up and face the challenge. Since it’s his first season, most people will give him a pass. He needs to take the risk and call a defender from the academy, ask any Arsenal fan and they’ll tell you Medley would be a great option from our academy. I don’t mean to sound negative about certain players but the truth is Litchsteiner and Koscielny are both done. Koscielny can’t even play a full game, his Achilles was a big problem before he got that injury. He’s finished, and Litchsteiner? You know the rest.

Emery also needs to sort this problem with our attacking players. Ozil is so so poor and inconsistent we all know, so but with how inconsistent this guy is, not one single player in the team can make a final pass or create a chance, not one, not even Iwobi.

This leaves so many questions to be asked, Ozil could’ve been told “Look you have just fifteen minutes to lead your brothers and find a way for them then I’m getting you off”. My point is Iwobi could’ve done anyhing, for all his contributions what we needed was someone who could play a pass and not dribble with the ball. Hell I even failed to see him make a dribble. This loss isn’t on Iwobi, it isn’t on Ozil, it isn’t even on Aubameyang who people keep saying blew a chance, it isn’t on Torreria who played with the brakes on. It’s on one man. He made the selections and chose to field players we all knew shouldn’t be on that pitch yesterday. Why do we pay Ramsey’s salary? He could’ve started that game, he’s leaving for free but for now are we paying him or not? Emery needs to find a way to make use of these players.

Nobody expects a miracle from him but he’s responsible for his decisions and selections. Torreira looked average because he couldn’t even do his job because he was being cautious. It’s not rocket science to know Torreira is a battler who you can’t ask to play cool, and yet he was thrown on the pitch and made to play cool. He was ineffective, afraid to make tackles, couldn’t go deeper forward like he normally does. A midfield trio of Xhaka-Torreiera-Guendouzi is too defensive minded, I have no problem with playing such midfield against the big guns but against mid table teams? Come on Emery you can do better than this. You built a midfield pairing of Xhaka-Torreira, one that’s been our strongest since the Cazorla-Coquelin pair and then you destroy the pair just because you don’t want to give a young CB the chance to play. Come on man, you’ve got this. Restore the midfield back to its perfect order and see the defence you’re so scared of get the cover from them.

I won’t repeat much because I’ve said it all in my previous articles. We need to stop playing a high line with these finished defenders that we have until all our other defenders get back and we sign world class defenders, and we need to stop playing with seven defensive minded players on the pitch against these average teams. Like I said before, I’ll prefer winning a game 6-2 than struggling to win 1-0, 2-1. Nobody will question your team if you win games like Spurs did against Everton. Bitter truth, Spurs seems the better team in North London. Come to terms with that. Until Emery improvises with his choice of selections, we’ll keep struggling to attack and defend.

Eddie Hoyte

Updated: December 27, 2018 — 9:38 am

41 Comments

  1. Couldn’t even bring myself to watch the highlights on Sky or MOTD…. I saw more than enough during those 90 minutes!
    Jeez every forward step we take is followed by about 4 going backwards (or sideways 😆) that’s another 2 precious points dropped…. another crap performance…. I’m really pi**ed off (yet again)

    1. One of the worst games ever. Emery isn’t familiar with the culture of smaller teams against us, they know we are vulnerable at the back so they just keep sending higher balls, and it does work pretty well in fact very effective. So why he has not thought of correcting that especially away is the reason I was so angry yesterday. And our defensive tactics and ability were lacking. The midfield collapsed, so automatically the attack didn’t function. It’s so shameful to watch.

      1. “they know we are vulnerable at the back so they just keep sending higher balls, and it does work pretty well in fact very effective. So why he has not thought of correcting that especially away”

        Oh Pat oh Pat if only people saw what you saw they’d know he’s the cause of it all with how he sets the team up.. Like you said, why he hasn’t corrected that weakness at all is a surprised to me as well. We conceded lots of goals that way, once they get the ball, they play it higher up field because our defenders can’t do anything about it, they don’t even have the pace to chase and cover for those balls back, yet he insists on that style of defending

    2. Your so right sue, backwards football no movement going forward not a clue.

    3. Honestly I’m beginning to think Wenger wasn’t the problem afterall.

    4. I really couldn’t add more on this article, thats the plain truth Eddie, I was way the match with much hope when I first saw the line up, up until I realized that lichsteiner was having an off day, I mean how many times did he make poor baby shorts at very crucial part and time of the game in the first half? At least mess once and make two good passes and one of them would’ve been an assist, but you can’t waste 3 of them and still continue..
      I totally lost hope when Emery changed Ozil for Iwobi, n to make the mater worst, he later withdrew lacazzete while we are chasing goals,, Emery really??
      There and then I lost my hope in the game

  2. We need to take a look at these players IMO:

    Thorgan Hazard, RW (best player in the Bundesliga atm. Contract until 2020)
    Adrien Rabiot, CM (free agent in the summer, Ramsey being linked to PSG)
    Willi Orban, CB (best defender in the Bundesliga , gets rotated a lot)

    If the rumors are true and PSG is really interested in Ramsey, we should swap him with Rabiot. PSG would agree to that, because they are in a similar situation with Rabiot. Both are eligible to play for Champions League and Europa League respectively.

    Hazard has stepped out of his brothers shadow, taking Bundesliga by storm. His contract is up in 18 months, and he hasn’t signed an extension so this would seem like he’s ready to move on. Papers valued him around 30-35 millions, which is well in our range. He plays mainly as RW but has played LW as well. Arsenal on the other hand, doesn’t have ANY wingers.

    Willi Orban, has been very consistent this season, and actually past seasons as well. 2 tackles and 2 interceptions per match on average and also wins 5.1 aerials which is 2nd highest in Bundesliga (Van Dijk has won 4.3 in comparison). He’s a tough tackling CB and the captain of Leipzig who have conceded the least amount of goals this season. Why would he move? He gets rotated a lot. Leipzig got younger, more expensive CB’s in Upamecano and Konate.

    We are also linked with a swap move between Özil and Isco of Real Madrid. Oh gods I wish this was true..

  3. And why we need players?

    Özil – AWOL
    Ramsey – good as gone. Do we want to lose him for free?
    Welbeck – out for the season and gone after
    Holding – out for the season
    Mkhitaryan – injured until mid February

    And lets not forget suspensions as this team seems to be more rash than Wenger’s.

  4. Every match is a gamble…even if you get everything right, there is no guaranteed results.

    But there is a glowing need for the team to strengthen itself come this January. We will be wrecked if we don’t buy. That is quite certain, looking at the rate we are conceding.

    We can’t seem to be able to defend properly. Has this got to do with the coaching staffs?

  5. I wouldn’t agree that we lost the game because of Emery’s tactics or choice of players (as if he really had a choice in defense )

    We missed few clear cut chances,should’ve scored there and would have won the game.

    We lost the game because of the silly error by Lichtsteiner.

  6. we need to go back to 4-2-3-1 so we can have torreira and xhaka back playing together in the midfield and if aubameyang has to play on the wing, so be it because something must give. Our team is to unbalanced, we lack wingers and proper defenders. I think emery is still confused on the best way to set up the team to make use of every player properly because no matter the system he plays, someone will be left not playing their best position e.g auba, ozil, xhaka, kolasinac. I also agree with your point about the high line, emery need to stop it because of the quality and profile of our defenders. The glaring truth is we need about 200 million over the next 2 windows to compete with man city, liverpool and the rest for the title but that will never happen under this owner. Good defenders now cost 50 million and look how many we need, not to talk of wingers which i think we desperately need. For instance, Pepe from lille will probably cost at least 60 million and he has only had one good year thereabout. The bottom line is we need to sell some players to raise funds, ramsey should have been sold when we had the chance, ozil should have been sold when we realised he was regressing before giving him an outrageous wage. We wouldn’t get anywhere near the league for years until we replace average and underperforming players. As a club, we shouldn’t always rely on finding gems at cheap prises, the biggest clubs buy the best players they can get first and then supplement the rest of the squad with hidden gems.

  7. Arsensl couldn’t win because we have a squad of heartless, useless, slow, lazy pre-madonas who can’t kick snow of a rope!!!! Dock their wages and give it to charity. That was totally embarrassing last nite.

    1. Bur really!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought we won some games already? Or haven’t we? Because your comment is so harsh it felt like we haven’t won any game this season at all. Anyway I thought Emery still isn’t choosing is tactics well against so small teams. He need to choose when we need to sit back and defend even if it is just a goal, allowing these teams So ball possession, and we can go on the counterattack. To leave our defence so vulnerable and allowing opposition chances has been our main defensive problems

      1. Pat did you watch the game last night? Do you think that display was acceptable for a team who has top 4 aspirations. Totally embarrassing. There was a severe lack of ambition, some of the passing was SHOCKING!! People pay their hard earned money to follow that crap. Those players have to have a good look at themselves.
        Yes we had some good results but then you get a lazy display like last night. Rubbish!!!!!

    2. Oh thanks for that”pre-madonas” which gave me the best laugh this Christmas. I doubt that you care ( or you would and could have checked first) but it should read “prima donnas”. Two separate words!

      1. Enraged, but thought it was a good one.

  8. Worst game of the season from a fans point of view ,the team is a million miles off top 3 let alone top 4 .
    Also the games we have won haven’t really been convincing .my gripe is the state of the defending ,it’s comical at times and the amount of abuse that wenger got for the defending side of his game just shows it’s not easy to get it right .i would go as far as saying that this team is actually worse than last season ,and let’s not use the “its wengers players “ because he bought in 5 defensive players in the summer and he’s now had 19 games to get his views across .
    Obviously it’s a transitional period but he needs to be backed in the summer because if old Scrooge dosent spend what needs to be spent we are going to fall so far behind the other teams and it’s a long road back to the top

  9. Liverpool will destroy us on the 29th, tearus apart and I fear the score line.

  10. It’s a dogs dinner of a football team with players out of position and unclear about their roles …. sad really as there was a lot of good Will for emery on his arrival … and I was happy about his arrival albeit mainly to see the back Of wenger … he has 4 months to prove he is capable of making it in epl … that means standing up to Kroeber and he should insist on serious money this window or quit as this squad can’t make top 4

  11. Totally Unia Emry so poor mind and slow creativity because he didn’t know his players and who siutable this match.
    Look at well how Xhaka and linchestain are playing also look at what Koscenley did every match all those guys are son poor he didn’t change any one of those and he changed our best one who was created more chances (Lacazette )
    Please Emry don’t do like this distrupt again.
    Liverpool match please play this formation
    Leno
    Niles. Sokratis. Mavropans. Kolasnic
    Torriera. Xhaka
    Ramsey./ozil Ozil/ ramsey Iwobi/Auby
    Lacazette

  12. Emery has a lot on his hands atm.
    No other manager would have achieved anything better at this stage given the squad and the resources at his disposal.
    Our squad is not flexible it takes a lot of planning and preparation to field a match day squad at arsenal these days the risk of losing is equal to the probability of winning. Kinda a lot like rocket science
    There was no guarantee that if ozil stayed on the pitch we would have continued to create chances on the pitch he stopped running at the half our mark and we needed extra motivation to push as forward.
    The job is not as easy and as straight forward as many of us think.
    Many other managers would have been sacked at this stage of the season.emery has over achieved
    Give him two more transfer windows to sort this out.its not like we were expecting abrupt change at arsenal. even some of us expected things to get worse before they could get better

    1. I fully agree. It’s not easy inheriting a team that was in such a bad state that Wenger left it in. I do feel Emery had over achieved and even made us all start believing again. He needs a few more transfer windows to get in his type of players. I just hope the useless board and owner actually give him money because by the looks of things he hasn’t got much so far. The one thing I don’t agree with though is how he is using Ramsey and Lacazette. I feel some changes are needed to use them more effectively. And I for one think Ramsey actually fits his high press game and we should let Ozil go and keep Ramsey.

      1. Apart from the strange substitutions, can anyone suggest a better line up for yesterday?

        I think fans would go berserk if we are to be beaten heavily by Liverfool. Honestly, we have to save some energy against them and hope for the best.

        But January is here doom, we will finally see who is holding us back? Kroenke or AW? The decade old mystery will finally be revealed.

        1. Again… not doom. Auto spell again

  13. I have had enough of these Emery’s criticism. ‘ We lost the game because of poor tactics and players’. Does he really have any choice? How many players does he really have at his disposal? The whole team was very poor and lethargic yesterday. Those guys need a hair dryer. I was pissed up with their back and sideways passing, slow and lethargic movement. I actually guys who were sitting out there in the cold watching this.

  14. Wow people are praising Emery way too much , if you think our squad isn’t good enough to win against Brighton then you don’t know anything about football , our yesterday’s game had 4 new players (torreira , guendouzi , Leno and lich) with Auba , laca and Ozil whom are proven players , so if emery couldn’t win with those players against Brighton then it shows how average he is as a manager , it’s getting disgusting how much people are bashing our squad while forgetting that same set of players have been fantastic in their previous clubs , it’s all Emery’s fault if you want a good future for Arsenal football club then Emery should leave the club and a statistically proven manager like Jardim comes.

    1. tuOhremE, what happened to Jardim; he was sacked at Monaco? Arsenal and Monaco great Thierry Henri was mooted by many on here to be coach of Arsenal. How well is he going now at Monaco? They are heading towards the relegation zone.
      Given the amount of transfer funds allocated by scrooge Kroenke, who would take on Arsenal if Emery left? It is already known that Allegri didn’t progress in the manager stakes to replace Wenger, because he wanted too large a transfer budget. We are all disappointed about the performances at Southampton and Brighton, but how can you compare the squad Emery has at his disposal, given the injuries, with those of Arsenal’s competitors for the top four?
      Unfortunately Arsenal will depend on the ability of the Trinity of Sven, Raul and Emery to select and coach players within the funding constraints imposed by Kroenke. Next summer will give a good indication of Arsenal’s future under scrooge Kroenke. The comparisons with the Kroenke US sporting franchises do not auger well.

      1. 👍🏻 There were lotsa deadwood after AW left. One problem that is too obvious to miss, defending.

  15. Eddie Hoyte Thank you for the contribution.I do agree with most of your arguments.But Wenger did make mistakes by playing out off position(which is a silly mistake given his managerial experience).Unai is repeating same mistakes(when you need goals you sub. creative players is a silly mistake given that he understands his squad within 4/5 months)….Why it is difficult for Wenger and Unai suffering from injury crisis(given that the approaches of the coaches are quite different including food and drink preferences), Why the same mistakes are repeated time and again so that we are obliged to question tactics of managers(which covers the responsibility of the board)….From my observation, there is timing(when January approaches and when arsenal is in a good shape) that arsenal suffer from injuries…..The solution for all I mentioned and you mentioned is I think spend big, bring quality players(not like lechinster)…..Yesterday we should not drop those valuable points.

  16. Aubameyang missed easy chances that could have put us 3-0 Up in first half and put the game beyond Brighton reach, but he characteristically missed those chances. Despite his goals, he is a bit too wasteful for my liking. We got punished for Missing those chances. Spuds played 7 shots against their opponents yesterday, and scored with 5 of them on target. They are clinical, we are not. It was same story when we played against spuds in the league cup.

    Our defense is useless, and has been for a long time. But if we have Lacazette and Auba being more clinical than they are currently, we could cover for our poor defense.

    Lichsteiner is a waste of space, he should be gone by summer. He is the S.I unit of poor defending. He cost us the game yesterday. Can’t believe I was yearning for him to replace Bellerin at the beginning of the season.
    Lichsteiner is not good at crossing, running, dribbling,basic ball sense or defending. He can’t also score. He makes Bellerin look world class. Many times he got in good crossing positions yesterday and totally miscued the ball. What a disgrace.

    Ozil is simply not worth his wages. I don’t care what anyone says. Even Messi do put in defensive shifts for his team. Ozil is no where as talented as Messi. Ozil fans need to decide whether they love this club or Ozil more. Ozil should be moved on in summer.

    Iwobi is Championship standard.

    Maitland Niles is league 1 standard.

    Leno is not an upgrade on Cech. They say he is better on his foot, yet anytime he plays the ball infield, he fails to find an Arsenal player.

    Guendouzi atleast has the passion, despite little end products. I can endure that, knowing that he is only 19yrs with so much room for improvement, definitely will make a better player in the near future.

    Koscielny is done and dusted. Should be benched till season end. We are not going to make top 4 at this rate, better give the chance to a young academy player with promise. We all knew we wouldn’t make the top 4 at the start of the season, but Emery gave us false hope, and now, we are all being brought back to the earth to face the staggering reality that we are just not good enough.

    I can’t believe some people are blaming Emery. He has overachieved with this our sub-par squad. I saw nothing wrong with his substitutions yesterday.
    With the way our players are dropping like flies with injury, I don’t blame him for substituting Lacazette when he did. He(Lacazette) wasn’t making much impact, and with Welbeck out of the season, we were simply in no position to risk our only two top players on a bad day.
    Ozil substitution was apt too. If you can’t work for the team, then you have no business staying on the pitch . There should be no sacred cows anymore. That era ended with Wenger.

  17. Our lack of qua!ity defenders is the main reason we cannot function as a team.Only Bellerin,Holding and possibly Young Mav are remotely good enough and neither of them are top quality.There are very decent defenders out there who represent a meaningful upgrade on what we have, for example Boyata and Tierney of Celtic for starters.Boyata is a first choice for the highly ranked Belgium national side and Tierney is every bit as good as Andrew Robertson of Liverpool.There are hundreds more that are better than the likes of Lichtsteiner,Kocielney and Mustafi who cannot cope with average forwards let alone top quality individuals they will face at Liverpool on Saturday.

  18. I have been thinking the same. I mean why can’t Emery dip into the academy? Or even select Jenks over Leach (which I think he’s being ATM)? We have a new wing sensation in that boy called Saka or something that can do a better job than Iwobi so why are we suffering? Those boys play in those natural positions on a daily basis and they’re better than a re-positioned Xhaka any given day.. Guendozi couldn’t release passes quick enough and he will suffer against Liverpool if selected. They will target him and get the ball from him.. Play Medley. Also, Emery needs to learn that it has not been happening from inspired substitutions but rather smaller teams tend to lose concentration towards the end of a match. So from the last game I hope he learns. Elneny must be playing by now. And please leave Ozil to play. Kinda feel he has something against superstars.. Leave Laca and Ozil to do what they know best. Don’t the chief scout and the Director of football have a say on the game honestly? This guy is lost

    1. David…I do agree with what you said…yesterday players had to fight to get the three points and then one point against liv. would be the calculation……but we have seen how they were relaxed after the goal was scored…..after the equalizer there was no passion to score more……this leinchister…or inchscare…how he is supposed to be an arsenal player….below the standard….so January will be our time to bring new quality…

  19. How long is it gonna take for Emery to realize that Iwobi can’t change a game and no matter how Gwendouzi’s work rate is he can’t offer anything special?

  20. You are just hitting the nails on the head my brother. The bitter truth be told, Lightsteiner has no business in Arsenal and Koscielny if rightly finished. We are playing matches without intensity, very soft on the ball. We need very very good center backs by January. Xhaka has been poor at the make shift position he is been made to play at either at left back or center half. Emery needs to sit up before we become a midtable team. We need a direct link to the club to get some certain observations accross.. Accademy, yes, we have them abundantly. I kept wondering how other teams use their Accademy players well eg Liverpool or Tottenham. We are Arsenal please.

  21. Aubameyang missed easy chances that could have put us 3-0 Up in first half and put the game beyond Brighton reach, but he characteristically missed those chances. Despite his goals, he is a bit too wasteful for my liking. We got punished for Missing those chances. Spuds played 7 shots against their opponents yesterday, and scored with 5 of them on target. They are clinical, we are not. It was same story when we played against spuds in the league cup.

    Our defense is useless, and has been for a long time. But if we have Lacazette and Auba being more clinical than they are currently, we could cover for our poor defense.

    Lichsteiner is a waste of space, he should be gone by summer. He is the S.I unit of poor defending. He cost us the game yesterday. Can’t believe I was yearning for him to replace Bellerin at the beginning of the season.
    Lichsteiner is not good at crossing, running, dribbling,basic ball sense or defending. He can’t also score. He makes Bellerin look world class. Many times he got in good crossing positions yesterday and totally miscued the ball. What a disgrace.

    Ozil is simply not worth his wages. I don’t care what anyone says. Even Messi do put in defensive shifts for his team. Ozil is no where as talented as Messi. Ozil fans need to decide whether they love this club or Ozil more. Ozil should be moved on in summer.

    Iwobi is Championship standard.

    Maitland Niles is league 1 standard.

    Leno is not an upgrade on Cech. They say he is better on his foot, yet anytime he plays the ball infield, he fails to find an Arsenal player.

    Guendouzi atleast has the passion, despite little end products. I can endure that, knowing that he is only 19yrs with so much room for improvement, definitely will make a better player in the near future.

    Koscielny is done and dusted. Should be benched till season end. We are not going to make top 4 at this rate, better give the chance to a young academy player with promise. We all knew we wouldn’t make the top 4 at the start of the season, but Emery gave us false hope, and now, we are all being brought back to the earth to face the staggering reality that we are just not good enough.

    I can’t believe some people are blaming Emery. He has overachieved with this our sub-par squad. I saw nothing wrong with his substitutions yesterday.
    With the way our players are dropping like flies with injury, I don’t blame him for substituting Lacazette when he did. He(Lacazette) wasn’t making much impact, and with Welbeck out of the season, we were simply in no position to risk our only two top players on a bad day.
    Ozil substitution was apt too. If you can’t work for the team, then you have no business staying on the pitch . There should be no sacred cows anymore. That era ended with Wenger.

    1. I do agree with a lot of what you say 👍

  22. Damn that was a good article!
    Really enjoyed it Eddie.

    “These guys aren’t creative enough and can’t make final passes, all they do is make long passes from our end. Just like I don’t expect Ozil to play like a defensive midfielder, I don’t expect Torreira and Guendouzi to play like an attacking midfielder.”

    This is what I have been saying about football being a team game, no human is perfect and all have flaws, a good team will help cover each others flaws so that we can benefit from their talent.

  23. Backwards ans sideways passes always invite the other team to come to us and why sub laca ?

  24. Eddie,
    You have read my thoughts on this after the game. I think we can all agree that drawing against Brighton is not good enough. We can all agree currently we are not effective on attack enough as we can see – as you have highlighted the amount of attackers vs defensive minded players.
    Any one who did a little bit of background check on unai will see he is pragmatic – which considering the Spanish teams he managed it explains a lot of his approach.

    But this doesn’t mean for me we are going to go ultra defensive…and I know that is not your point but the idea of a high back line is progressive and we cannot drop this plan because holding, mustafi bellerin are out and kosciency is not probably going to be 100% back to his best this season.

    I guess we should consider the goals we have concede and the Brighton goal was conceded not from a high line but from a corner. Burnleys goal was not from a high back line, saints 3 goals were not conceded from a high back line…

    We want to be progressive to get ourselves back up there. By playing a high line the idea is to make the pitch smaller and give the opponent less time with the ball. Teams trying to dominate the match tend to the technical teams but to meet the outcomes required, the whole team need to press…otherwise you have your defence exposed – not by a high line but by giving the opponents the chance to get the ball forward.

    If you look at saints goals, they get the ball comfortably into zones just outside our box (without pressing) and are allowed to get crosses in.
    It bothers me more that they can get the ball from their box to just outside our box without any press offered by us.

    Bringing in unproven young players from the system won’t change this point.

    The reason ozil has been taken off or left out is because the tactics requires everyone to work hard. It’s the same for Man City, Liverpool, Spurs…

    As much as I am a fan of ozil’s talent with vision and technical skill, he does not help his team mates either with position or pressing.
    If we account for ozil in this mood we have to therefore loss the now greater risk of also playing high and also (ironically) losing advance space and that space for ozil to operate in.

    Once footy was that you had a single defensive midfielder like a vieria with lauren and Cole pushed up pressing while gilberto and our CB sat back. The counter to this was what fergie adopted and marked zones on the pitch and lead us to areas on the pitch where the ball was won back – from there the counter was on.

    The game now is to be able to be a ‘wenger’ and ‘fergie’ in game time. Be able to dominate opponents but also to press areas on the pitch when you don’t have the ball or loss it.

    Pep and Klopp and Poch are great examples of this.

    Keep faith in the process, I do not expect to be in the same situation next season. I don’t expect us to be competing for the league, but definitely not gripping on to the ledge of the top 4.

    If we are, we need to consider if unai is being supported and if so, and it is not working we need to consider our options.

    All I know is against Spurs we pressed and we dominated and yet in most other games since we have not given the same intensity. Now whether that is because of a lack of rotation of players in a busy period (let’s also consider this is a new thing for 5 of our current starters) or because the players cannot adopt the mentality required I do not know.
    But losing a high line is not going to solve that.



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