Arsenal bosses tactics NOT too defensive at Tottenham

Don’t blame the boss! by Sam P

A lot of Arsenal fans will blame Arsene Wenger for this disappointing defeat away to our north London rivals today. Because while Tottenham played well and put us under a lot of pressure, the Gunners seemed content to sit back and defend while hoping to hit them on the break. So did Wenger set his Arsenal team up too defensively and hand the initiative to the home side?

In a way perhaps, but I don´t think we should be too hard on the Frenchman. After all, many of us expected Arsenal to approach the game in this way. Did we really want the Gunners to go straight back to the bad old days of being too attack minded away from home and seeing the game all but over in the first half an hour.

The truth is that the win away to Man City a few games ago has shown that Arsenal can defend as a team and use this tactic to good effect. The problem today is that we didn’t play as well both collectively and on an individual level. Cazorla was nothing like the player that did such good work all over the Etihad pitch.

Ramsey also had an off game as did Bellerin and most of the Arsenal team to be fair. So it was not so much the fact that we sat back and conceded possession because we have been doing that more recently. The main problem for me was our use of the ball when we had it. Our passing accuracy of less than 70 percent tells a big story. Compare that to the 85 percent last week or the 77 percent against Man City.

It was a bad day at the office for Arsenal but I lay the blame at the feet of the players, not the tactics. What do you think Gooners?

Tags Cazorla Ramsey Wenger


  1. Im just as dissappointed you guys, but lets move on and get a win against leicester city on tuesday at the emirates! Coyg!

    1. gutted
      had chips thrown at us by twat yids at the station.
      little pikey spuds throwing water bottles into the crowd
      beer bottle thrown an almost hittin gooner kelly

      dont worry u little b*stards, we wont forget this when u come to the emirates

      we have self respect, we have manners, u cant win with decency can u –
      i f*cking hate spuds

    2. If we dont upgrade our central midfield in summer with guys who are ready to fight for the ball hoping Ramsey and wilshere become our Viera then we are in hot soup next season.We cant wait for guys who need 3/4 of the season to gain some form. I remember some guys saying Ramsey is World class. You cant become world class in a period of 5 months, you need consistency.

      1. when we had possession, they too often managed to get it off us. given that we are so good at passing, we need to be better at holding the ball: you cant defend at the 18 yard box for 60-70 mins. you need to be able to keep the ball away from opposition at the 40yd-70yd segment. we’re still missing that killer world-class scorer at the front.

        1. exactly but my main concern is central midfield. Teams are dominating our midfield these days. Everything is done in the middle of the pack

          1. The reason why Spurs dominated us in terms of possession and control of midfield is because our keeper Ospina kick everyball long handling easy possession to Spurs and our front three gave Spurs too much room to play from the back, their defence was allowed to thread ball through us straight to thier midfield.

            Arteta is tha player who tend to give us more possession and he also control the flow of Arsenal attack, when he plays we tend use the overall pitch better by moving the ball in all differrence direction and at the correct pace, he also seems to have the most touches of the ball which means that our game plan stems from him.

            Arteta attributes is missing in Arsenal play.

    3. Just move on? We were absolutely murdered by Spurs a few hours ago, what fan can say just move? They’ll come a point to turn attention to Leicester, but you can’t ignore shitshows like today and pretend it was just a bad day at the office.

      It’s these days that strengthen the Wenger in or out conversations. Today was another measure of ourselves against a good opponent, and rival. We did well against City, won against teams we should almost always beat, and now got walloped by Spurs.

      How we do against City, Chelsea, United, Liverpool, and Spurs is the barometer for how we stand in this league. Our record AGAIN this year is dire, but we ignore it because of 1 good performance vs City away. We’re 2 or even 3 (given Ramsey’s form) players from being truly ready to compete, I wish some fans would stop letting single performances and 3/4 game spells create the illusion we’re suddenly title ready.

  2. I must say alexis fighting spirit and never say die attitude on the pitch, as well as his workrate was sorely missed on the pitch today!

    1. …and that’s what you exactly need when you expect to be on the backfoot in some parts of an away game. Fighting spirit! Fighting for every ball in the air & on the ground, fighting to be first in that space before the opponent utilizes it, fight for all the lost causes! That’s what Alexis brings to the game. Unfortunately, he can’t do it on his own, and what’s even more unfortunate is that our players have yet to embrace that part of the game. Judging by the way Man City played today, one can’t help but wonder if we gave our team too much credit for that performance when what it was more a case of City being piss-poor. What’s most maddening for me is we claimed 3 points at The Etihad only to hand them over to Spurs!

      1. I understand trying to hit teams on the break. Chelsea does this a lot, but usually aren’t getting shot on every minute. Conceding multiple corners. The tactics were wrong. The subs were wrong. I said it before, we needed to keep possession and Coq needed a good game. Their pressure killed us. Reminded me of beginning of season. Wenger deserves some blame.

        1. compact defence type 1: what we did today.
          compact defence type 2: keep possession! when one arsenal player has the ball, all the others need to be right near by so we can play keep-away at the 40yd to 70yd: not 18.

          1. I just kept waiting for some conservative possession to diffuse the pressure. But no, they would quickly win back the ball and have some more shots on goal. Everyone was out of position defending the whole time. I feel like we would of win if we held the ball and slowed the pace.

    2. Fully agree… and against teams who are struggling we sure do shine, with or without Alexis.
      As Kipling might have said: “It`s Alexis this and Alexis that and Wenger leave me out, but, it`s `Mister bloody Sanchez` when the guns begin to shout”. No, we`re not a one man team!
      By the way Ozil is not physical enough for Premier League. In England he would do well in the Championship division.

      1. Yeah, this is a man’s game – and you cannot possibly hope to suceed with skill alone in the hardest most physical league in the world. Players like him, Silva, Eriksen and Countinho have no chance. Championship more physical than Premiership though.

  3. The players did not look no where near as pumped up as they did against city! All round sloppy play from us today….ramsey was probably the worst for giving the ball away but its no all his fault as the whole team was poor (except ospina who was class) hopefully liverfool beat the yids tuesday and we beat Leicester

    1. Nope I totally disagree. We were too defensive without having a game plan when we have the ball. We did not even drop this deep away at city. The whole idea is to drop deep a bit while putting pressure on the opponent when they have the ball. Secondly we lacked two types of players today. The midfield dribbler who can carry the ball out of our own half and the pacy player who can beat the offside trap, should we decide to play long balls while counter attacking.. Ox and Rosicky are the two players who can do this. But rosicky was benched. Secondly, Theo would have dragged them in all sorts of directions which would have diluted the potency of their attack. Bht we lacked these elements so they took their time and stroked the ball back and forth and kept chipping at our amour until we started crumbling. I dont lkke our tactics today at all. We made spurs look like barcelona which is just terrible. Well, sh1t happens. Up until now, we have done quite well so I am willing to forget about this horror show.

      1. For Arsenal to pay £42.5 million and £35 million on transfer of players and then go and play defensive counter attacting style football with little possession against even weak opposition.

        No, you do not spent large sums of money to play like.

        1. Sorry but there is no correlation between transfer outlay and the style of football you should play – accept perhaps Real Madrid (who lost 4-0 today). Most top teams play a form of counter attacking football – but most of them play better possession football when they have the ball. Our possession play today was horrendous, I had no problem with the intent – just the execution.

  4. I can’t blame Arsene for today, I blame the players, Ramsey looks to be back to his old shit useless self. There’s still a long way to go, Spurs are only 1 point ahead and let’s hope United loose at West Ham tomorrow, remember Spurs are away at Liverpool Tuesday so we could easily leap frog them again which will be all the more sweeter seeing as we lost to them today and their fans are gobbling off yet again about how they will apparently finish above us this time when they haven’t even managed to do that in the last 20 years or whatever it is. It’s hard to stay positive and believe me I’m not feeling positive at the moment but we have an easier run in of games now so let’s see what happens from here.

    1. not emotionally, but mathematically: 3 points at leicester worth just as much as 3 at spurs.
      i also wish we are better at holding the ball in midfield. i also wish we had a stronger B2B: just someone with more body strength than ramsey/wilshere.

  5. Just saw the PL Table. Wish I hadn’t
    Only good thing is Liverpool can’t knock us to 7th

    I would recommend to Wenger to start Walcott on Tuesday. Put Ozil in Cazorla’s spot (if Sanchez starts). Bench Ramsey


    1. i really like that lineup as long as ramsey is off: caz comes in as a B2B; will do better than ramsey.
      today: if sanchez plays, we win. hate to say it.

    2. Yeah that team would beat any mid table club… No problem. But against the likes of Chelski, City, United, Southampton, Liverpool, even a fit and firing Everton we would not be successful with Cazorla as a B2B, we need real hard players in there….

      Ramsey has just been a liability in there, I would play Rosicky as the B2B and that’s why I kept saying if we could get a Sissoko in right next to THE COQ…. Ramsey has to really step up now, we are tired of always waiting for players to gain form while they cause problems for us..

    3. Looks good to me. Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez YES!…Cazorla, Coquelin…YES! Back four??? Gibbs (if fit)
      Koscielny, Paul…? (new centre back) Bellerin. Ospina has done well so far. Let`s have Thomas on at the sixty minute mark.

  6. The disappointing thing was expected a different passionate fighting performance in second half but nothin changed and in end were just riding our luck!

  7. Nicely said. We had an off game and its the first one after five games. Sadly it had to be against Spurs and they played really well. At least the next 15 games, 9 off them (if i’m not mistaken) are in the bottom half. So hopefully we can collect the points needed there. COYG!!!

  8. I am just sad really. All the analysis can go take a dip in the drain. Derbies are never easy. Can’t recall a easy NLD. But the way the scoring opened, the way we shut them down in the first half, I thought we deserved something from this game.

          1. no worries, they have to play some heavyweights still. The 4th place is our births right, we will get it, lol ( imma sad but want to see the bright side of life, lol)

  9. Replace Gabriel with Koscielny!!! No one should feel too important. Making such a move will pass the message, that no one is too ‘big’ to be on the bench.

    Kozzer for all his superb defensive abilities and defense-calming-presence, goffed on that 2nd goal. He should have at least challenged that lad for the ball.

    Well, it has happened. We lost – and it’s painful when you think we coulda actually closed the gap on City today – but the boys have to get ready for Tuesday. Because like someone’s pointed up there, we have the chance to knock those scums from above us. COYG.

  10. He used the same game plan that he used against City.He wanted the team to sit deep and hit Tottneham with counterattack.
    The tactic is clear for everybody to see.The idea was to be defensive but they didn’t do much when going forward.Everybody knows they were trying to repeat the tactic they used against City.

    Blame both the tactic (no need to play defensive against Tottenham. you can play attacking football, while being disciplined at defence) and the players.

    1. If we did that and lost 5-2 to Chelsea, then Fans will be asking for Arsene’s head again, saying we were too open. You have to respect Tottenham and there is no shame in that. They are currently playing well and we were playing at their home. The problem in the game was The midfield players could not string any attacks. Everyone kept on losing the ball when it was time for the counter. Of course you can’t win in a derby wen you do not create ur own opportunities to score. You have to score goals. Can’t blame the strickers too much. I blame the midfield for not creating enough during the counter and the defence for allowing Harry Kane score the second goal. We looked like we were getting into the game to score a winner before that goal. The defence switched off…starting from bellerin (who i still love) to Kolsieny. Monreal and Coquelin were the best players on the pitch for Arsenal. That shows how bad the other players played. But there is still no need to panic. We can still make top 3 and win a trophy.

      1. good points. defensive midfield layer the weak point today. many times when we won possession in midfield, we lost it soon afterwards. need to learn to play keep-away.

  11. We gave away too much posession to spurs in the first place, honestly we gave them too much time on the ball, when our midfield should have moved swiftly, closed down and break up any play of theirs!

    1. 100%. Also that and our first and second touch was pathetic. We gave away the ball countless times in dangerous positions, where as Spurs were almost uncannily accurate and resourceful. I honestly believe they played out of their skins today though too and the ref helped their cause. Did you hear the crowd after the final whistle? It was as if they won a trophy…lmao. End of season we will be looking down on them as usual. Let’s dust ourselves off and focus on the next game (and also hope and pray United and the rest also have poor results tomorrow)

  12. we have an easier run, so probably get 4th like every year.
    deflated but on we go.
    u know what would make up for us…beating mourinho- ONCE- JUST ONCE

  13. You could compare their starting line up against ours before the match, and understand that it would not be easy. Us losing to them was no fluke. I am not even mad. This game reminds me with that against Liverpool. Us winning 2:1 till the end, only to see them draw the match to 2:2. It was fair. and today losing to Spurs was fair aswell.

    Spurs are a solid tam and well balances. I dont hate them way the locals do hate em. I do hate Chelsea, Manure and Barcelona more then i every other team in the world.

    I am just angry at Wenger for his incompetence. His wrongs tactics, his wrongs subs. If you play counterfootball then play players who can make it right. Walcott and such and not Ozil on the wings.

    Ramsey needs a Seza treatment to get his head right. One half season wonder doesnt make you into a star. This guy never proved himself right in my eyes. Even if he goes in a scoring spree it doesnt matter, bec to me he does very little for the game. He is not influental, and Wenger should consider benching him. which of course will never happen.

    Walcott needs to bring his form back. I know he was never that good in his first touch, but such things do annoy me. Against City, we startet a perfect count attack with Ramsey passing the ball, only for him to let us down bec his poor first touch. Today it was with Rosicky, with a nice first touch, Walcott could have been scoring through that chance and equalize the game.

    Kane>Giroud. Wonderful striker. I do salute him.

        1. I think he will stay good.Striker who come to the EPL from outside can have a good season and then melt away(Michu,Benteke..etc) but when they are developed in the EPL this hardly seem to be the case.This guy is here to stay…at least thats my opinion

  14. Listen, we lost this game because we were missing quality players like the OX and the super star Sanchez, plain and simple. Had we had ox on the right and sanchez on the left we would’ve won that game but lastly BFG’s days as a CB for arsenal are numbered, sooner or later Gabriel will be coming on to this team and the big german will be sitting where he belongs.

  15. Sh1t happens, we move on, beat Leicester midweek and spuds get mullered by Pool and we are back above them, simples!

  16. I hate to beat a dead horse because quite frankly they dont deserve it, but can anyone explain to me what Ramsey brings to the current team?

    Just cant comprehend why he is always an automatic selection to the starting 11

    1. we have too many on-form players now for ramsey to be in the first 11. but it also points up we dont have a strong B2B : thats our weakest link now.

  17. Just one of those days….big shame it was against the scum from up the road but hey ho.

    Don’t blame Wenger at all. Played as you’d have expected and agree that reverting to a gung ho approach would resulted in Wenger being slaughtered had we still lost.

    Ultimately had we had a bit more composure when we were on the ball and got a bit of protection from the ref (how Mason, Rose and Benteleb got through the first half with no bookings was staggering) and we could have perhaps got a result.

    Sanchez was def missed as was the Ox (think had we had them and their direct running and pace it’d have been a different game) and it was Welbz first start for a while. Ozil is ozil, but pretty consistently (every game) does something of real value…scores, creates etc.

    I’m sorry but no matter what anyone says Theo and Ramsay have to grow a pair and start performing. Both have been around too long now to be given any slack, they have to perform, every week, not one in three. Theo may make great runs and have real pace, but he needs to then deliver. He always seems to play within himself and to quote a wengerism play with his hand brake half on. He’s a timid character and needs to man up. As for Ramsay, personally I’m not sure what he is anymore. He isn’t a Cazorla or an Ozil, he’s not a Coquelin. He makes up the 11 but lately hasn’t contributed to the performance. Perhaps he’s lost in the current formation but he needs to know he has no right to start unless he can contribute. Not good enough really.

    Still all to play for and and being positive its a timely wake up call. Can’t afford any more fcuk ups but hopefully back on track mid week and at least one of Liverpool or scum will drop points! Coygs.

    1. Walcott is a winger who doesnt want to be one. Same goes for Ramsey. He wants an another job. But his job is taken now by a player of the caliber of Sanchez. He needs to adjust his role in the team a new. I shake my head so often when i see him spend more time upfront then Sanchez. His must be: Orginising the miedlfield, protecting the back, passing the ball to the wingers and strikers, play safe. thats it.

      1. we need a b2b that wants to be a b2b . but dont want to put it all on ramsey: in the midfield, we need to play better as a team doing keep-away from tottenham. but definitely, ramsey is now the weakest link in our team.

  18. This defeat will be forgotten by next week as by that time we would have defeated Leicester and Boro. Fans again will be showing stats of how giroud is one of the finest strikers and how we will win champions league and Fa cup by humiliating Barcelona and Manchester United.

  19. I have never seen us play as bad offensively we never strung more then 5 passes together constantly giving the ball away and that allowed spuds on to the front foot for huge majority of game we got what we deserved absolutely nothing only bonus we have a game Tues that should get us back to winning ways!!

  20. I said yesterday that the game was going to be a contest between men and boys. Unfortunatly men didn’t show up for the party and boys stole the show
    Am not goin to lay blame on anyone feet,just as the writer said, its one of those bad days at office. Let’s just forget it and concentrating on finishing the season strong
    This kind of result just make top4 race interestin and probably help the pschychi of the players not to allow complacency

  21. Sounds like we all are thinking the same thing. We were sorely outplayed by the Spurs and everyone on the pitch should have done better + Wenger. On to the next.

  22. They were the right tactics but the players did not execute them.. None of the players today turned up, I just could not believe it… Every single 50/50 we were just hesitant. The players were reactive rather than proactive, I was like, come on guys anticipate where the ball is going to fall, but they all just looked like headless chickens always waiting for the ball to bounce or very slow to react..

    When Cazorla is not on his game our midfield sacks… What was wrong with Santi today? He looked so disinterested, looked tired and not up for the game. It was weird watching him today… But I love him, he was bound to have an off day soon, he has played every single EPL match since late December and he played 90 minutes in each.

    On to the next game now..

    1. To Santi’s defense, Spurs really packed the middle. They couldn’t get two dribbles out with a Spurs player on them. But I agree. Santi looked disinterested like you said which is odd for him. Hope he’s okay.

      1. santi’s been playing out of his skin. he’s tired. an earlier sub-in by roziscky would have been better. but its not just santi. in the midfield the players need to support one another and play keep-away: that requires high intensity, focus and drive. spurs had more of it today.

      2. Cazorla thrives on holding onto the ball in tight areas being pursued by 2 or 3 opposition player.. I don’t think had he not been tired he would have run that midfield like he has been. I think this game was a game too many for him because he has played at a high intensity level for 2 straight months…. So the NLD was a game too far for him, he needs to be rested for a bit now, let Ozil take on that mantle and lets see if he can cut it..

        I say rest Cazorla and play Rosicky and Ozil in Midfield…

  23. Spurs got their tactics spot on, attack in numbers and get in amongst us to disrupt our flow and play making. We didnt have a second on the ball.
    What was dissapointing for me was the likes of Ozil and Giroud flapping their hands around moaning about not getting free kicks etc. It’s a derby for gods sake what did they expect?
    Mertesacker was embarassingly poor today, whats with him hoofing the ball up the park all the time?!
    Dare I say it but this game may have suited a little grit from the likes of Flamini/Wilshire today. All the Spurs MF players fought hard, one or two of ours did.
    Lets hope we get back to winning ways in midweek, if not I feel it’s Europa league for us next year.

  24. I don’t like this formation where we play Giroud and Welbeck together, those games never work, whenever we play both we look so disorganized and so predictable, it all looks mechanical and no fluidity..

    Either one starts but not both.. And in big games either Ozil starts or Cazorla, the team just seems too patchy. Players out of position, Ozil and Welbeck as winger?? What the fck???

    Ramsey has to to fcking step up now, we are tired of passenger in the team, he has been absolutely terrible all season.

    This is what was worrying me about all the players being fit at the same time, wenger forces players out of position just to accommodate everyone….

    I am so disappointed because I know we did not give our all, we could have made it a game today if all the players learned how to pass the ball, it looked like none of our players could make a simple pass.

    WOW. smh

    1. re simple pass: we’re going to have these opponents with high energy, pressing. dortmund did it to us. we need to learn in those games to play for each other and keep away. seen barca do it. every arsenal player needs to be thinking how he can help the other keep possession .

  25. the idiot 4th place junkies out in force…wenger has again proved that he cant take arsenal back to the top…its that simple…. he is an expert in underperformance…a club in the top 10 richest in the world, charging highest prices for tickets and paying its management top whack remains incapable of winning jack shit a position it has been in for almost a decade….a top club needs three things from its team power precision and passion and wenger aint able to deliver any of these things at required level…he needs to crawl back to alsace or wherever he is from and sit in some local cafe drinking his pernoud whistling john halliday toons and recalling better days….cos we aint going to see them again if he stays in charge

  26. I felt Ramsey was terrible today. Anybody know his passing rate on this game? He miss passed so many and never made a good use of the ball.Almost everytime he touched the ball it led to the end of our attacking phase. He rarely managed to get the ball out properly from midfield.

  27. wow piers morgan has now gone on talksport and five live within 30 mins….
    seems he really wants klopp

  28. At least Wenger said that he was not happy with the attacking performance during his post match interview, showing all this “score one goal then totally give up attacking” nonsense doesn’t come from Wenger.

    Wenger could’ve done more with the subs though. Theo’s pace always disrupts the opposition, and he should’ve been brought on at half time, or at worst 60 minutes, when it looked like we were well an truly in our shells. Why does it take the opposition to score, for us to suddenly wake up to the fact that maybe we should do some attacking?

    The fact that the ref was incorrectly giving us a lot of yellow cards when the spuds were play acting, and there was no contact, and that he was not penalising horrible tackles by said spuds might’ve made our players over cautious, I don’t know.

  29. I am surprised nobody noticed that after our goal, we played 10 men against tots 11. In a game where we had to defend for most part, I see no reason playing Ozil. Ozil offers nothing defensively. Ramsey, Cazorla had to defend for Ozil (this partially explains Cazorla awfulness today). I lost count of how many times Ozil gave the ball away. In a high tempo match like this, you can’t afford to give the ball away in this manner. I expected Rosicky to come in for Welbeck and Walcot for Ozil early in the second half, but the coach knows best. My 1 pound advice: stop playing Ozil in a high tempo match and against difficult opponent.

  30. To be honest was amazed when I switched on ten minutes into the game top find we were one up.
    From then on my expectations turned to disbelief, I couldn`t believe I was watching Arsenal. This must be a pub side being taught a football lesson, after all Wenger said his tactics would be to attack, with what? It was a woeful display, this man does the craziest things and just when you`re beginning to have faith.

  31. I’ve always thought Ramsey is shit and today was just further confirmation. The guy plays like he’s clueless what he’s role is. He is always out of position or not tracking his runner and he can’t pass at all. If a player in midfield keeps losing possession then that team is screwed.

    Even last season I didn’t think Ramsey was great, okay he scored a good number of goals but he never really performed his role. He never gave us that protection during defence and he never initiated any attacks with good passes. He just always seemed to be there to score which is NOT his primary job. This is no difference to having a CB who can’t defend for shit buy scores alot of goals…we wouldn’t consider him a good defender.

    We need a top quality B2B, someone who can be there during defence and also be able to initiate our attacks.

    Ramsey was REALLY awful today but to be fair most of the team was,including Wenger.

    Outplayed, Outfoxed and possibly out of the top 4.

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