Manager vs Players by RS
This is the second Arsenal article I’ve written for justarsenal.com. Last year I wrote a post about who would be the striker that we should have bought. If you recall I mentioned Bony, we ended up with Welbeck. And after watching yesterday’s defeat to West Ham and seeing the reactions from this forum I’ve decided to write a new article about mistakes made during the game.
When you see a situation that goes wrong during a game either one of these two is at fault: the manager or the players, simple as that. When I see that people on this forum write ‘Wenger out’, I look at the decisions he made before and during the game. The starting Line-up was as follows:
Debuchy Koscielny Mertesacker Monreal
Chamberlain Özil Cazorla
As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing wrong with this line-up. It is almost the same we have used against Chelsea and that went rather brilliantly. The only player that people would argue should have started is Walcott, but that would have meant taking Giroud out. People often look at Giroud in an offensive way, but I saw yesterday he managed to head some balls away from corners against us before the first goal. This line-up is on the defensive side seeing as both Walcott and Bellerin did not start, but in my opinion that was a good thing. It is better to start defensively so you can keep it 0-0 and try to score goals and use Walcott as a powersub when it stays 0-0.
Unfortunately, it did not stay 0-0 because of the free kick at the end of the first half. Two people made a mistake, Koscielny for not marking Kouyaté properly, and Cech for leaving his goal line and failing to intercept. I cannot see how this goal is Wenger’s fault. Should he not have selected Koscielny and Cech? I know no one would dispute me on this. Others might suggest that is the fault of manager for not training enough on defending set pieces, but this was not a collective failing, this was one defender that did not concentrate and we paid the price. The first goal was therefore not Wenger’s fault.
The second goal was very sloppy clearing from Oxlade-Chamberlain. Again, everyone would have selected him as a starter, not the manager’s fault for selecting him for the starting XI. Again Koscielny and Cech were at fault as well as neither reacted quick enough to neutralize the threat, therefore Zarate could score. These three individual mistakes from our star players are their mistakes, their responsibilities, not the manager’s.
If you look at our substitutions – Walcott for Coquelin, and Sanchez for Debuchy, I do not have a problem with that. Normally we slander Wenger for not substituting on time and for not taking enough risks, this time you cannot blame him for not taking risks. He risked playing our star man Alexis, even though he knew it could mean he would get injured because of lack of rhythm. That takes balls to take such risks.
So the reason why we conceded two goals was because of individual mistakes, the reason why we lost was because of lack of goals and attitude, something we clearly missed yesterday. You could say that the manager was at fault for not making the players sharp enough before this game but frankly, that is their fault, they earn 80k a week and part of that is earned by making yourself sharp before a game, the manager should not be a kindergarten teacher.
The players who we usually look for when we want attitude are Sanchez, Wilshere and Rosicky, all three of those have grit and pull themselves together when behind. If you looked at the faces of the players yesterday you may have noticed that nobody pulled open his mouth to motivate the team. I’m grateful that we have Coquelin by our side (even though he wasn’t in a good shape yesterday), but he does not offer enough leadership at the moment. That is why we do need a second DM, not only to offer competition but to offer leadership to a team when needed. What we are looking for is a player that speaks with his feet and his mouth, players like Viera and Keane.
Do not get me wrong, I am hoping as well for Benzema to come, but he does not offer grit or leadership. So these are the two things we currently still lack; leadership and clinical finishing. Benzema offers the second of those, Sanchez even offers both, but we cannot rely on Sanchez alone for leadership. What I am suggesting for the DM position are these players who I think could have made an impact yesterday:
Jeremy Toulalan from Monaco
Maxime Gonalons from Lyon
Gary Medel from Inter Milan
Ignacio Camacho from Malaga
Bruno Soriano from Villarreal
These midfielders offer leadership, experience and grit. They possess that cutting edge that would have been useful yesterday to shout the players awake and give them a kick against their backsides so they would put their heels in and scrape through. The hard thing about getting any of these players is the fact that almost all of them are captains at their respected clubs and are therefore hard to prize away. My personal preference goes to Jeremy Toulalan as he still has a few years left in him and would not cost too much. Also he is not too young so he is not a threat to Coquelin’s growth as our leading DM for the next years.
I hope you realize it was not Wenger’s fault yesterday – but his players – and that you agree with me about my choice for a new DM with leadership.