Playing out from the back? Arsenal need a Plan B


While watching the game at Liverpool, so many thoughts were going through my mind.

Firstly the optimism of fans before the match. So many expected us to get something out of the match. You won’t blame such fans if you put our recent two showings against Liverpool into consideration.

Liverpool players expected some levels of bravery from us, especially at the beginning. We ended up encouraging them with the way we set up and the lack of individual bravery from our players.

The way we played out from the back in that game was poor. It is no longer news that Leno isn’t good at that. A reason why the sale of Martinez might come back to haunt us. Luiz, who stands as a major player to receive such balls from Leno, lacks mobility. Furthermore, I saw rooms for plan B which were never utilized.

Liverpool play a very high set up with the quality of their defenders and their wingers pressing. We are surrounding Leno with five players when playing goal kicks was simply playing into the hands of the opponent. It made Liverpool to chase down our defenders, which made them to give up the ball repeatedly in our own first third. Goal kicks are supposed to give us an opportunity to retain possession and make the opponent retreat. Instead our goal kicks were giving Liverpool room to attack us.

Arteta should find for the players to have 50/50 decision about playing out from the back due to the obvious weakness Leno is showing when playing teams like Liverpool to have a better chance to score. More so, he should scold players who make reckless decisions. How can Pepe play a corner kick so recklessly when we needed a goal badly without a warning from the coach? He repeated the same act because he wasn’t questioned in the first instance.

While expecting that, a quality addition in the midfield before the close of this transfer window will determine our upgrade from last season. That will be the only possible relief for selling Martinez.

Tags leno


  1. We need plan B
    In Wenger Era hé never played out from back but still his style of play or football was not at all boring…

  2. I think playing out from the back is inviting pressure on. When you have a goal kick the team should push up and put pressure on their defenders…

  3. Playing out from back is a recipe for disaster. We lack the technique and the quality for what Arsenal is trying to do, don’t forget that this are the same players that got Emry sacked with their kamikaze performances.
    If you don’t upgrade in the right places don’t expect good results .
    Another issue is the selling of EMI Martinez, he is by far a better goalkeeper than the current number one. He earned it and should have been given to him. If Arsenal fail to improve in the midfield , the consequences will be there to see

    1. I agree.

      It’s an old age wisdom ” Dont change the winning formula if you’re still winning”

      We changed it by selling emi

    2. Absolutely agree. The club have made some “very bad” decisions or the last few years. I hope EMI won’t be one of them?!

      I just hope they don’t continue the trend of bad mistakes by not rectifying our midfield issues in this transfer window. The club cannot ignore the facts this time. If they fail to address the problem we could end up in a mid-table tussle again. Or worse?!

  4. Playing from the back is the ultimate test of calmness, which if we want our team to be under pressure, we have to keep playing out from the back. Only then the necessary changes will happen to the players. What we need is someone in our back three or back four who can telegraph the ball straight to our Wingers and strikers, with great precision and accuracy, which would make the opponent be wary when pressing high.

  5. We actually need a Plan A. At Man City Arteta and Pep played four at the back. Four at the back is the only way to play the lesser teams. With our midfield of Elneny, Xhaka, Cebbalos and Willock we are not going to have creative football. How bad can our midfield get selling Torreira and Guendouzi. At least Guendouzi had some creativity. Would anyone believe, after getting Gabriel and Saliba, that our midfield will put them under more pressure than our opponents midfield. Mess….big mess. 5 days of the window to go.

  6. Playing from the back isn’t helping. Arteta shd have an alternative. We can’t keep playing like this.

    1. We never had problem playing out from the back when Martinez was there..Leno is the problem he doesn’t know how to time himself

      1. exactly. we dont have the correct players for out of back play. Leno takes too long to release the ball

  7. I don’t have a problem with playing out from the back, but I have a big problem with doing it every time. The opposition know what you are going to do and can set themselves up to prepare for it and put our defenders under pressure. We need to mix it up and keep them guessing.
    Also the expression is playing OUT, not side to side. To be continually playing it across from one side of the penalty area to the other side after possibly a dozen passes just invites danger

    1. I wonder if they are told to stick to the same thing for 90 minutes. Players are not programed robots. surely they should change tact as the game progresses or demands.

  8. Almost all teams are trying to play from the back these days. Watched Brighton team B yesterday do same against United and they executed it far better than us. This has nothing to do with Leno. If anything, he’s a lot better than Emi in that regard. It’s more about the defense and midfield having the quality to position themselves properly for the pass and having the confidence to play through the pressure that comes. Players need to be very athletic and constantly moving on the pitch to give the ball holder options.

    Until ceballos came in, can’t remember us stringing five quality passes together anywhere in the pitch (defense, midfield, attack). Liverpool simply outclassed us and made us look ordinary and jittery.

    1. If Leno isn’t the problem, then how were we able to play through Man City and Liverpool’s press repeatedly with the same players that you say lack mobility? Leno takes too long to choose passes. That causes opponents to gain better pressing positions. He needs to choose passes not just faster, but better.

  9. Playing out from the back invites pressure, thats the aim of it, to invite players to come press the ball.
    What this does if done correctly, is open spaces inbehind to be exploited.
    The issue we have is that players like Holding can’t do this without really feeling the pressure of a mistake and then making one.
    I’ve said this time and time again that Holding can’t do this and is only still here because he’s one of the few fit right sided CB we have. Both CC and Mustafi are much much better at doing this.
    Then you add the immobility of Xaka, Luiz and Elneny into the mix and then you see when we’re pressed by a superior opponent where we’re lacking.
    It’s a work on progress guys, we know and the club knows we need quality in midfield to help cover the frailties of our defense

    1. I agree Holding is not good enough at this. Mustafi is only marginally better. Luiz is not as much of a problem as the midfield. Xaka is terrible unless the left sided defender is free.

  10. Boubakary Soumaré is available right now. He is better than Partey. Why not Boubakary Soumaré and Houssem Aouar. Boubakary Soumaré is a Viera/Pogpa player. What is going on at our club. The end of the Window is in our face. Why not Boubakary Soumaré?????????????

    1. Sean: I am with you that we should be looking at Soumare and move on from Partey. He is younger, cheaper, has a good engine, has a good passing range, and is a fine dribbler. Yet Arteta has decided to put all his eggs in one basket. I hope his strategy pays off.

      1. Transfer Exchange – “Boubakary Soumaré is ‘NOT’ an alternative to Thomas Partey, he is a replacement for Mattéo Guendouzi. If #Arsenal cannot offload Guendouzi in this window they will attempt to in following windows then make an approach for Soumare”

        1. When I have seen him Boubakary Soumaré looks out of the same mold, except like Viera he does like a run forward.

  11. EMI was more intelligent with mixing up short and long goal kicks. The whole defence was also much calmer playing out from the back with him. Gabriel and saliba will give us more technique but I shudder every time Leno tries to pass out.

  12. During Martinez era we never paniced while playing out from the back but why is Leno’s case different..the problem is Leno doesn’t know when to play from the back and when to kick a long ball

  13. Can we please please ditch this playing from back, we don’t have the players with that kind of skill and plus in a game were a team is pressing you from front this can lead to more errors and additional pressure. It was very evident in the match against Liverpool when playing from back, the ball ended up with two of the guys who have the least composure as well as passing ability i.e holding and Elneny. Leno was very lucky as well bec he made a pass across the goal line n almost conceded a goal bec Liverpool player was inches away from touching the ball.

    1. Take ur old fashion tactics its new era of football to play from the back. Leno is the best like it or not. Emmi is gd but just look at aston villa game he made a mistake. Leno is human too

  14. We have the players to play out from the back,we just don’t have the right keeper…leno bores/annoys me a lot whenever he starts holding on to the ball too long trying to play out from the back.Bernd leno is our number one problem

  15. It’s slightly depressing to read all the negative stuff on playing out from the back with Leno coming in for criticism. I can only agree though, which makes me concerned for his confidence ending up in mistakes being made and it needs to get sorted- and quick!! I’d hate it if he lost his confidence to the point that it affected his ability to be a really good goalie

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