Have Arsenal REALLY fixed the BIG game struggles?

First up for Arsenal after the international break is the Premier League clash at home to Liverpool. While this game is important in the course of our season, with a win vital if we are to keep up the momentum and stand any chance of challenging Chelsea for the title, it also gives the Gunners another great chance to put that unwanted tag of flat track bullies further behind us.

Having won away at Man City and Man United this season and with no heavy beatings, Arsenal have already moved on from the horrors of last season, when we almost might as well not have bothered to turn up in the big away games. The question is, however, can we now expect a lot more from Arsenal in the big games?

I personally think so and I put a lot of that down to Francis Coquelin but also the way the whole team works harder for each other, especially without the ball, and the fact that Wenger has realised we cannot just attack all the time. But I also feel it is a bit early to say and we should have a clearer picture at the end of the season.

As well as the home game against Liverpool, we also play host to Chelsea at the end of April and must travel to Old Trafford again in May. No defeats and a win or two from those three should further dismiss the suggestion that Arsenal cannot cope with the big teams and should give the players plenty of confidence that we can beat anyone.

Do you think that Arsenal have really put our big game woes to bed or is there another painful drubbing waiting around the corner?

Tags Chelsea Coquelin Liverpool Wenger


  1. It’s not really big game struggles. It’s off days. We got battered by Southampton, Monaco, Liverpool, even Stoke and Tottenham. Not really ‘big’ clubs, but if those clubs had the quality of Chelsea or Man City up front, we could have easily lost by 5 or 6 on those days. Last season those days just happened to be against the top clubs.

    Under no circumstances would any of those teams, except perhaps Liverpool, beat us if our players had just ‘average’ games. All 11 of our players have terrible games, out of the blue. They can’t pass, run, tackle, shoot, or do anything on those days, honestly a kid’s 7-a-side team looks more talented. Why they happen I don’t know, but they need to be stopped asap.

    1. What an arrogant and stupid comment. Yea let’s deduce a repetitive outcome vs good opposition as simply “off days”, then suggest our average performance could beat spurs/Monaco/Southampton. If we played average vs any of those teams I’d fully expect us to get slapped.

      Monaco beat us over two legs, and Saints beat us 2/3 times this season and dumped us out the Carling cup at home. But you’re right, our average game would wipe the floor with them. Sound logic.

      1. My suspicion is that there is a single cause: u cant have all players go off simultaneously. i suspect its Wenger’s fear or something that is transmitted in those “big” games.

      2. I can sort of see what you’re saying, and I’ve certainly no lack of respect for teams who have beaten us and even Chelsea – but I think the point is that if Arsenal played Spurs and both teams were at the average level they achieved over the whole season, then Arsenal would win. The league table doesn’t lie.

      3. To be honest the most consistent team has been Chelsea, that’s why they are going to probably win the EPL this year. Liverpool, City, United, Tot, South, and us are all finding and losing form consistently. I worry as more options come back for Arsene, the more off games we will have.

    2. @Mick The Gooner, you say “it’s off days”?

      Damn it! Whoever’s been granting those off days had better left already becuase they’ve cost us so much.

    1. Good question. We take the ball into the opposition box and wait for them to give us room to tap in, and we struggle when that doesn’t happen.

      If only we would start shooting on target from outside, we won’t be too predictable.

      1. thats not fair: we’ve been shooting more from outside. giroud had a screamer against manu. ox and caz especially have been trying from outside.

        1. We have been shooting from outside more but still not nearly enough. If we did start taking a pop whenever in space well then defenders would have to come forward more which plays into our hands.

          1. We need people to take shots like with Coutinho I can count 4 screamers this season that he’s had which were game changing

  2. We have 9 points from 27 so far vs top 6 teams, so obviously there’s no basis to sit and say we have improved that aspect.

    We’re on a run of 11wins in 14, whereas we’ve won 2 of 9 vs top 6 clubs. It’s abundantly clear where we can make the biggest improvement.

    Wins at City and United, while good, do not outweigh the dropped points in games vs the other good teams. We beat the small teams well but Arsenal struggle against better opposition, and that has to be a priority going forward.

    1. I won’t go as far as saying we’ve completely fixed all that, I’d just say we’ve drastically improved and it just goes to show if you do the right things, you’d get the right results. The right team selection plus good tactics guarantees good performance, which guarantees good results.

      Arsene seems to be positively changing, but the change should be rapid.

      1. Over the season as a whole.. no we didnt do enough in big games. When we stopped playing tit for tat football deciding instead to play defensively then countering… yes we have changed and are a match for che now.

    2. The average points total required to win the PL is 86 points. Which teams would you ask us to drop the requisite 28 points against? The better ones or the lesser teams? Our record sounds appalling the way you trot out the stats but apply a little context and a reasonable person would conclude we are off the pace but not in a slitting wrist unmitigated catastrophe sort of way. It would be nice if we could improve to Chelsea’s level who have won a mighty 3 of their 9 games in PL against top 6.

      Aren’t you supposed to drop more points against the better teams in around your level? You keep accusing posters of being “arrogant and stupid” for disrespecting other teams how does that stack with this idea we should be taking the 3 points off the top 6 every time we turn up? MC and Chelsea and Man U have 14 points to our 9 points. Which tells us straight away that MC and MU are sloppily dropping points elsewhere where they shouldn’t. Our performances have improved against the top 6 this season, perhaps not to the level you demand but the results bear this out. Perhaps the better time to debate this further is after we have completed the full PL schedule and have played Man U, Pool and Chelsea again.

      1. It is arrogant and stupid to belittle teams as good as Liverpool/Southampton, and I’ll tell commenters so. There’s been several instances of arrogance this year that have resulted in us looking stupid as a collective. Monaco might be the greatest example. Just no need for it.

        Quite where you get the idea I’m suggesting we should win all our games vs top 6 opponents is anyone’s guess. You love comparing us to Chelsea and so on, how’s that relevant to OUR success? So Chelsea or united or city lose to more poor teams than Arsenal, how does change the fact Arsenal have a poor record vs top 6?

        I don’t care if Chelsea have 0 wins vs top 6, WE consistently beat the lesser teams and have a poor record vs the top 6 teams. That’s Arsenals issue, and the only one I’m interested that gets addressed. And there’s no improvement vs the top teams so far this year in terms of result…we’ve lost more than we’ve won.

        1. I am only trying to add context and Chelsea happens to be the present benchmark. Losing 3 times ain’t great but we won the PL in 1998 and lost 4 times to top 7 teams. I agree the results are on paper no better but you should acknowledge the performances have been better. I also tend to look at the 4 main rivals for the top 4 places (CFC, MU, MCFC and L’Pool) rather than throw in the constantly changing 6th and 7th place teams that seem to change every season when I think of “big” matches. City have lost twice to us and salvaged a last minute draw since our 3-6 mauling. We drew at Anfield courtesy of a 96th minute Skertl goal and have beaten Pool twice more since the 1-5 drubbing. We’ve traded blows with Utd this season, one win each, by neutral consensus a deserved win at OT in the FA cup and an undeserved freakish loss at our place. Chelsea remains the real boogie man but I thought we were OK despite in our 0-2 loss at the Bridge via a pen and a hail mary Costa goal. A minimum of a win and two draws in our remaining fixtures against Utd, Chelski and Pool would suggest further progress in my humble opinion.

          Whilst I take the point regarding results against the top teams our properly shocking results this season have been against Monaco, Swansea (h), Stoke (a) and Hull (h). If we had treated them with respect and performed we would be last 8 UCL and a minimum of 6 points better off in the league (should have won 2 home games and min of draw against Stoke) ie: a point behind Chelski.

          1. You’re not adding context, you’re attempting to deflect the issue by referencing the fact we won the league in 1998 with 4 losses against the top sides. That’s almost 20 years ago…..in the time since we’ve, more often than not, been terrible vs the top teams in the league and almost clinical vs the ‘lesser’.

            I couldn’t disagree more about what you consider the “properly shocking” results. If you split the league into ‘lesser’ and ‘good’ teams you’re looking at a split of 13 to 6 (or 15 to 4 if you go by your metric of what a good team is). Our points gained far outweighs our points lost vs the lesser teams whilst it’s the complete reverse vs good opposition. Do you expect us to be flawless vs the lesser sides? Or is it more reasonable for us to be even or slightly positive in the matches vs top 6 opposition?

            You’re sitting there with your ABC logic and ‘should’ve done this in this game or won that one’, but we can all play that. Fact is we’re consistently poor vs better teams and you’re trying to justify that by saying there’s a few lesser teams we should’ve beat. Do me a favour. If we were more competitive in the games vs the top 6 sides the past few years we would be challenging the league leaders.

  3. It’s about time we beat United and it’s about time we beat City. But we still at least have another 3 “big” games left.

    – Liverpoop. Nailed us to the coffin last season, outplayed us in Anfield this season. Coming off a disappointed loss against United which they were favored to win. Though they will be without Gerard and the Pokemon, they might come to the Emirates looking for blood.
    – The Vincibles (Chelsea). Buried us literally 6 feet under last year, beat us again this year, have been top of the table the entire season. Looks like they have faltered in form recently, but Jose has never lost to AW and we haven’t scored against them in a couple years.
    – Man U. Finally beat them but they seem to have found a spring to their step ever since our victory at OT. And though some of them have been out of form, Angel, Mata, Rooney, Falcao, and maybe RVP are a terror to play against when at their best.

    We have the talent and physicality to beat these teams especially with Coquelin as you said. But the mental game has stopped us before and could stop us again. Up to the Gunners to overcome it which I know they can.

  4. come summer we have to sign a new manager, spend big on quality players and win all small and big games next season…..

  5. Yeh … A tad premature but no doubt we have improved in our pressing and tactics versus bigger teams.

    As @Mick The Gooner said its not just against the big teams where we have slipped up, its the ‘off days’ and ‘no shows’ that we have been prone to have to date.

    Let’s hope the focus is now greater to maintain form/concentration and the effort to climb up the table and challenge continues.

  6. I believe the key for the victories which the Gunners have had in 6 CLs, 1 BPL & 1 FA Cup big games so far this season lied in the boss making the correct starts for those wins. A Gunners correct starts will ultimately gives a win, be it home or away. But a wrong Gunners starts will tantamountly caused a loss or a drawn game. To hit the nail on the head, the boss MUST start the correct Gunners starts for our home BPL game to Liverpool FC after the International break. The Gunners cannot afford to drop any points till the end of the season to lively keep alive their possible chance of picking up the BPL title this season. A possibility I see happening as long as the Gunners win all their remaining 8 League games which I think are within their capacity and range to achieve. The starting key to unlock the Scousers on the Emirates stadium playing turf when they ambitiously come on it with vengeance to redeem themselves from the predicament and setback they suffered at the hands of the Red Devils of Man Utd is known as: HULTING AMBITION GUNNERS STARTS. This is the key the boss and the Gunners will have to use on the 4th of April to unlock the Scousers game winning ambition Application plan to beat them beyond imagination at the Emirates stadium. Every game has it’s own complexion and a key for it. So, the boss must always use the correct key (the correct starts) to unlock the complexion of any game for the Gunners to start it.

  7. Have we improved in big games? Yes.

    Have we gotten rid of our problem? No.

    While we are not playing more as a unit and defending “well” at times, we are often times this season forgetting how to play football. Our biggest problem is being unable to actually switch between defence mode and attack mode. It’s like our players can only focus on one thing at a time and not just be aware of two sets of tactics. The biggest change will be when we can defend like we have in our best games against City and United but also transfer that into attack once we retain the ball. We still got run ragged against united and city even if we shut them out. Our best game this season was probably the 2-0 win at Monaco which was frustratingly easy going. That kind of level is what is needed in every big game – dogged, precise defending mixed with free flowing attack.

    What seems really frustrating to me is the “off days” other people are mentioning. The Arsenal team is so prone to complete capitulation and loss of ability it’s astounding. Take the Newcastle game – in the second half we could not make a 10 yard pass without it slicing off sideways to a Newcastle player. We CANNOT keep having days (or halves) where we totally fail to perform. Someone needs to address why that is occurring…

  8. Once upon a time we were one of the big clubs and everyone feared playing Arsenal. Smaller clubs were brushed aside but now we are up for the taking by any premiership team. We have actually struggled against the bottom three. We need to gain the recognition from other clubs that Arsenal are once again a formidable force in the world of football and I maintain Wenger is not the manager that can achieve this.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors