Did Wenger’s team and tactics make Arsenal players awful?

Not many expected Arsenal to beat Man City at Wembley in the FA cup semi-final on Sunday, but I think even less will have expected a resolute, fighting and determined performance from all the Arsenal players to get it, especially after some of the lily-livered and lacklustre dross they have been serving up since christmas.

So how do we explain such a speedy return to that ponderous, nervous, error strewn and basically bad show from the side in the oh so lucky win over Leicester? Is it a fault in their characters? Some will say yes but one of our most disappointing men on the night was Alexis Sanchez and no matter what you think of the Chilean he is well known for giving his all.

I personally think that the team selection and tactics used by Wenger did the players out on the pitch no favours at all.Taken individually I can understand the changes. Theo Walcott was fresh whereas the Ox was maybe not even fully fit, for instance, but on the whole it felt like Wenger had ripped the heart out of a team that had just saved his bacon and just to add to the confusion he shuffled and tweaked an already new system.

Why no target man if you are going to used width? If we and the TV experts were confused imagine what the players thought. Even the fact that the boss had got it wrong might not have been so bad if he had reacted to fix the problem, but instead he sat on the bench saying nothing and waited for over an hour before making the change that most felt was needed about a minute in.

Is it just me? Am I being too harsh?

Darren N.


  1. TH14atl says:

    I think you’re being a bit harsh. It’s a new system and the players are being asked to do different things. I would imagine that like with any system, it’s a bit easier to find your footing defensively and have an understanding of where you’re supposed to be, than it is offensively which is much more fluid.
    Add to that, LCFC are an experienced team defensively, gained a lot of experience in the UCL playing against some big teams, and don’t fear coming to Arsenal and sitting deep and making it hard for us to score. People act like just because we take the field we’re supposed to win. That’s not going to happen.
    Add to that the fact that Theo Walcott is not much of a true footballer, and we’er basically attacking with 2 players against 5 or 6. I guess you could say still having Theo on the payroll is Arsene’s fault, and you’d be right there.
    Where was the OX? Oh that’s right, injured again after a run of 2-3 good games. That sounds quite familiar.

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Spot on mate ?

      I like to Add that ?? our lads were Like Virgins in and around the opponents Box… Absolutely clueless, maybe they should have asked for a fart or something? Just to give them an idea on where to stick their balls! ?

      1. TH14atl says:

        Hahaha, right? Just so unsure in the final 3rd, and LCFC sitting so deep didn’t help one bit.

        Theo had no idea where to be as there wasn’t any space for him to sprint forward with his head down in to. Alexis kept trying to come back and get it because LCFC were sitting so deep in their box and he was never going to win an aerial duel. Mesut is still trying to figure this out because in that system he doesn’t have the freedom to just drift where he pleases. The coquelin/Xhaka partnership hasn’t yielded any offensive advantage or benefit this season, so I have no idea why Arsene went with that partnership again. (I would take a technically skilled Iwobi next Xhaka or Coquelin or the Ox next to Xhaka or Coquelin, rather than Xhaka and Coquelin together. Nothing good comes from that. They both like to sit in front of the back 4 and take up the same areas. Push one out of that area and he’s a fish out of water.

        Could Lucas do well as the CF in this shape? I think so. Gives us pace to get in-behind, and also height to get on the end of crosses. Also has the footballing ability to link up with the two underneath him.

        I like the Ox, like him a lot, but like Theo, Jack, Aaron, Wellbeck, Gibbs, Diaby, Thomas Vermaelen, Van Persie to an extent before him, he just cannot stay healthy. Thus we play the what-if game with another player, hoping that he becomes good and we can put our trust in him. That feels like 4th place.

  2. gotanidea says:

    The players looked awful because:

    1. The 3-4-2-1 is a new formation. Keown has said that it is not easy for the players to adjust to a three central defender formation, after playing with 4-2-3-1 for years. It will take time for them to get used to it.

    2. The players’ quality is below the current leading European teams’ players. The board, manager, staffs and scouts are responsible for getting these players in. Arsenal should be more careful before buying new players next season. The only players I deem having exceptional football talent and skills in the current Arsenal squad are Sanchez, Cazorla and Iwobi. Most of the other players have to be replaced if Arsenal want to compete with the other rich European clubs.

  3. Jerick says:

    I think you’re being a bit hard on the team’s performance against Leicester. If I were to blame anyone it would definitely be the forward players namely Alexis, Walcott and Ozil. The midfield was excellent and the defence did their bit. Xhaka sprayed the ball left right and center but our forward players were clueless as to what they want to do with it. I doubt Sanchez completed 25% of his passes, Walcott got in a few times on goal and passed the ball instead of taking a shot. Let’s see how well this team will perform against the Spuds. We’ll see how good Xhaka really is playing against the likes of Dembele and Wanyama in midfield.

  4. summerbreez says:

    Arsenal played very well they got the ball very quickly and attacked the whole game many chances went begging for goal at the very end we won and we deserve to win too as for alixes it was well done time come on now Leicester should have been 10 men after the kick on the back of 12
    Well done Arsenal and here comes the weekend

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      That dirty Leicester player has come out and apologised, he thought that Giroud’s nickname was stepladder ?

  5. I elect Vanpayslip presidential MC says:

    Xhaka was good, Monreal really showed passion two games in a row and Gabriel looks a different player. But other than that it is difficult to see any positives.

    Why would Theo start ahead of either two strikers available in Giroud and Wellbeck or the third striker Sanchez where other options were available to fill where he played. This isn’t just hindsight speaking – logic dictates that if a midfielder has been sacrificed for a defender then the striker needs to be available in the box as the wing backs are going to have to compensate. So Theo as a striker in a team with a 3 man defence is just ludicrous.

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Sanchez was supposedly the striker and Walcott was attacking from the right wing.

  6. Goonerboy says:

    @ summerbreez..

    I thought I was alone in thinking that we played well, we showed urgency, and we were very sharp especially in the first half…
    Ozil (eventhough I don’t rate him) worked very hard and even did better than Sanchez imo…
    Leicester defended well, when Wenger saw that, he should have brought Giroud in latest by 60mins..

    But that’s gone already and am happy we got some luck, onward to the Spurs!!

  7. BfBW says:

    @summerbreeze, totally agree with you.

  8. John0711 says:

    what team tactics, it hasnt changed in years pass,pass,pass yawn

  9. Fatboy Gooney says:

    Firstly,You’re forgetting that Leicester are the reigning premier league champions and how their style of play won them that??.
    Secondly, We are the kings of trying to pass the ball into the back of the net and In all fairness, we were very lucky to get the 3 points.

    It’s nothing new that we struggle against teams that park the Bus and it’s sad that no one thinks to shoot from outside the box in those situations.
    Surely everyone can see that we end up giving the ball away 90% of the time, so why not shoot? there’s always a chance of a deflection or someone getting on to a rebound.

  10. ugabooga says:

    Spuds going to spank us

  11. Disappointment and disbelief that nothing will change the next 2 years, well stand corrected yes no CL and do not foresee we will be back under the current management….FA cup final well I guess that it was the goal all along the other one classifying for the CL don’t see it happening….winning to Man City is seen by some as a prowess and the resurgence of WENGERS glory days, well I don’t see it that way, some see it as an outstanding victory first because we were not beaten merciless and then we scratched a win to a Man City that btw is not at it’s best…we had an awful game yesterday, yes we got the points but unconvincing to say the least…WENGER is willing to change!!!!!!??? YES only when pressure mounted and for the first time his job was questioned, why did not happen before, we all know that the stubborn deluded man would have change nothing on his own accord if it wasn’t because he was against the ropes….this man took away the joy of watching our team play…here we are squabbling for the leftovers while he gets away with murder a 2 year contract and pocketing 16/20 Mill to give us more of the same……..win the FA Cup and retire if you have some dignity and show your love for ARSENAL that you so much praise….time to go

  12. Nomad says:

    Here we go again! One has to wonder why there are so many haters of Theo…19 goals says a lot. ….but still he is the scapegoat….I assure you if he had the right manager from the beginning of his career, he could have been one of the best forwarders in the game but clueless Wenger didn’ t give him the development he needed. The whole team is suffering and mark my word, they will continue to suffer as long as Wenger is in charge. We have a mix of very decent players but they had not the right manager for them to achieve their potential.
    Let us see how they transform once he leaves…at the moment, Wenger is like a general that his army is not willing to fight for him and it is his own fault.

    I believe these players have been very patient and tolerated a clueless moron who thinks that he is a great coach. He is nothing but a disgrace to Arsenal FC and if he had a drop of dignity left in his blood, he should have gone long time ago. Stop blaming the players as they lost their passion to play for him. Be fair and cut them some sluck as anyone of you would have done the same when you played 13 years and you don’t have trophies to show for that.

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