Typical Arsenal blow it, just when you start to get excited. by Konstantin Mitov
Hello lovely Arsenal people. I warn you, it’s a long read, but there is a lot to discuss. The team managed to hit the self-destruct button, again. Honestly it really hurt this time, because under the previous 2 managers, I just accepted that we are weak and nothing will change until they are gone, but under Arteta I was seeing some improvements, but I was reluctant to post them here, to avoid having an egg on my face when we capitulate and that’s exactly what we did.
Arteta got outsmarted yesterday. Olympiacos were sitting deep hoping to catch us on the break or get a set piece and it worked. We left their player completely unmarked and we conceded another corner. We’ve been having regular problems defending set-pieces since at least 2010.
The collapse itself is typical for Arsenal of the past decade. We played too many balls sideway rather than having a direct threat. We lacked players who could dribble past someone and take an opponent 1:1. Pepe made a good direct run in the first half and I’m thinking OK, we have the pace to scare them, then this didn’t happen once more till the end. A lot of twists and turns and no end product.
Another typical problem were the late subs. Martinelli had immediate impact, because he was the only player past Aubameyang in their box, but it was enough to cause a confusion and to score a goal. His energy could’ve surely gone in sooner? Then there is the question of why isn’t there 1 senior player on the bench who can cause an attacking threat? But we will get to that in a second.
To finish the topic, this game so badly resembled Arsenal of the latter parts of Wenger’s tenure because of the fact we kept Ozil on the pitch for some reason. I can’t see how this man stays past this season. Surely we will free those 350k a week, to ease the burden of the fact we’re most likely not playing Champions league football again.
There are too many players that need to be replaced and no money to do even half of it. If I had to keep players from the side, right now it’s only Saka, Aubameyang and Martinelli. You could make a case for Leno, but look, we need to hold on for 5 minutes until the end of the game, and you try to control a back pass which you can easily kick away. Then we’re immediately under pressure and we concede from the cross.
Not that they couldn’t have scored from another chance, but there are times where you just need to avoid being stupid. He also doesn’t command the box from set pieces and I remember his mistake against Chelsea. This was another game that could’ve given us a glimmer of hope to reach the champions league, but I just can’t see it happening.
Not because the 7 point gap to 4th can’t be undone, but because there is a lack of mentality and quality in the side. We surrendered a lot of leads this season. Remember Watford away? We could’ve cruised it. Crystal Palace at home, a 2 goal lead surrendered again. Sheffield at home, where we were missing chances to score a second only to concede a sloppy goal. Then Brighton where they reversed us at home, with like 10 minutes left. Just the same as the Chelsea game. Those are like 10 or 12 points, which would put us in a delicious position to get the holy 4th spot.
I watched Man City at the Bernabeu and I look at De Bruyne dominating play, controlling the game, by direct passes, running past players, taking the responsibility when he has to, putting in free-kicks, corners and so on. Then Sterling comes on and you get energy and the ability of a man to dribble past someone and create something on his own. And then you remember we paid over 110 million for Ozil and Pepe combined. City paid probably twice or more less for their two players. Even if their money comes from Petrol and all the the FFP story, the moral here is that money alone doesn’t do it. You need to buy quality.
We’re in desperate need for a new midfield. Three different managers don’t drop Xhaka even though he flipped off the fans, which indicates he is supposedly our best midfielder, and that alone tells something, when you compare us to the monster midfields of Man City and Liverpool and even Leicester if we have to be brutally honest.
Finally, I’d like to finish with the whole “vision”, “project” and “style of play” thing. Arsenal football club should have abandoned the tiki-taka style after 2010, when we had a lot more players capable of playing. Football now is a lot more direct and Liverpool are a prime example. We’ve failed to make the best out of the squad we have. We lack wingers, so we put our top striker there. We don’t have a good number 10, yet we play Ozil. Under Emery, and even now, we sometimes try playing from the back with players not capable of doing it.
If we have a grand idea of how we want to play, we need to buy the players who would fit it, if not we should sacrifice some parts of that, in order to get the best of what is available right now. Unfortunately we blew the budget on Pepe and next year, we’ll suffer, because Aubameyang will leave and I just don’t want to know where we would be without him.