Go hard or go home by Tom
Football can be a simple game if you allow it. It became more complex when opponents marked space rather then players – and a once lively Arsenal team became passive and lacked concentration in recent years when areas where closed on the pitch (but with gradually seeping into our play over more previous years) It’s meant we have fallen out of the top 4.
The task at hand, Tottenham Hotspur. We innovated, we made north London attractive. But recently Spurs have been knocking. In truth, they are doing alright. But in Unai I feel we have a passionate workaholic who wants to improve others. We have seen that on Thursday. But this demand doesn’t rely all its efforts on the north London derby. The demand should be from the time he is here.
I think when we think of Arsenal now, we must think about 4-3-3 and 3-4-3. On an on song day you think 4-3-3, and on a tactical day you think about 3-4-3. Against Spurs, it might be 3-4-3 that we rely on those individuals. It could even be 4-3-3 considering we are at home. But 4-2-3-1 Which we played regularly under our last gaffer, is not something I think we will play much longer due to the fact it’s easier to formulate 4-3-3 (by that I mean marking space then players).
If we start with 3-4-3, then, I’ll look at its benefits. Man City, Liverpool, Barca, PSG, Juve… predominately play 4-3-3. Liverpool’s threat is based on their top 3 but City is in both sets of 3. They can play Mahrez, both Silva’s, De Bruyne or as sometimes…Gundogan in either of the base 3 (either side of Fernandinho) or top 3.
So, in a 3-4-3 the 4 in the middle will be so important in trying to stop attacks while trying to build attacks for us.
I am not one for transfer rumours or pulling names of players out that we should buy. But if I was to be ruthless (and therefore give an example) I would want someone like De Jong from Ajax. Every top club know about him and although this article is not about him specifically, it does underline our need for a solid base to our midfield.
The case for numbers here is important. City have the names mentioned, we had Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles.. and with all due respect – no one excites me from that list. If your 4 is Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka and Monreal we are relying on Torriera to push up and support. As much as Torriera has shown his tenacity in defending, he’s a more slightly forward of DM type who defends further up. I think he can play both. But with Xhaka he plays further forward. So a 4 with Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka and De Jong (left footed central defensive midfielder). It can suit both Monreal and De Jong – and if Gendouzi comes in, the average age of 22.5 does not change much. A 22 year old set of midfielders will mean our near future in these positions is set! Are we really one set away from our midfield being set?
In a 4-3-3 the 3 in the middle can be Torriera, Gendouzi, De Jong and on the other end of the pitch, up top I think Arsenal could do with someone like Maxwell Cornet (again don’t focus on the specific player). A top with Cornet, Laca and Auba could be an exciting set if you consider Ozil, Iwobi, Nelson also. Are we really one signing away from the top set really being set?
For the immediate future a LB and CB is needed. For the diehard fans we have always screamed we need defenders, I’ll speak with you. Personally I am happy to see Mavropanos under Unai and see what he can do with him. Holding is slowly building his reputation as a defender. Sokratis will be needed for another few seasons – mainly to take off the pressure from Koscielny, and Mustafi and Chambers can fight the others for a spot. If in a back 3 you have Holding, Sokratis, Mavro then that I am intrigued to see. But with a back 4 you can partner Holding and Sokratis or Sokratis with Mavro… But still have 2 further defenders in the wings – plus the one who misses out. Sooner or later at the end of next season one of Mustafi and Chambers will go. It’s at this stage you see the young defenders progress and complement them with an experienced defender..
I know much of my ideas are not about the here and now. But go hard or go home is the title of this article. It refers to the idea you start the process now. Unai in his first 3 years at Sevilla won the UEFA Cup. After selling Silva, David Silva and Mata, Unai finished 3rd behind Barca and Madrid with Valencia. After a faltered first season (of politics) at PSG, Unai won everything domestically.
Although I say we start now it doesn’t mean the pressure is on Unai and therefore he doesn’t need to do magic against Spurs. But winning against a team that just beat Chelsea and Inter will go a long way.