Why Arsenal tactics work so well against weaker teams

How fitness can affect football games by KJ

I noticed something on Saturday that was rather surprising (and I’m not talking about our defending). It was Everton’s fitness levels. They were struggling massively after the 80th minute and the only real reason we scored was because they had entirely switched off at that point. I’m sure if the match had lasted 5 minutes longer, we would’ve ended up winners.

I wanted to address fitness and how it affects football matches. Everton is one example but another is the game against Besiktas. They failed to capitalise when we went a man down simply because they were too tired at that point and if anything, we looked more likely to score.

This is one thing Arsenal are good at, we have generally been really good at preparing our players for the early part of the season and we usually start out brightly. This is important considering the possession game we play. Teams who play us at the Emirates usually sit back and defend as much as possible. But they will tire eventually and that’s why we always manage to break through against weaker teams at the Emirates late on. They just don’t have the stamina to keep up with the onslaught. This is also why Chelsea are so good at sitting back and defending. They are probably one of the fittest teams in Europe and can therefore sit back against stronger teams when needed as they can physically compete for the entire 90 minutes.

It was particularly odd that Martinez’s Everton were struggling late on. With the bigger teams, they are always fitter than the weaker teams and it’s an integral part of their success as a bigger team. But Everton were very leggy against us. I don’t know if Martinez failed to build up their fitness during pre-season or whether we had tired them out. Either way, it’s clear to see how important fitness and stamina are to the modern game.

After the game on Saturday and the influence fitness had on the match, I felt it was important to highlight that and hopefully we can appreciate that aspect of the game a bit more and how it impacts the phases during a game.

Tags Besiktas Everton Wenger


  1. That is no excuse because we played in midweek and Everton didn’t. Factor in jet lag and less rest then if we hadn’t played the ucl qualifier then we would have won comfortably.

    1. our tactics will work against bigger teams if we add a carvalho + Falcao to the team. trust me we would be able to compete with any team in europe. you guys see we are just two signings away from being a strong force. a total of 70 million pounds away.

      1. We already can cope with any team in Europe. People saying that we need power to stand a chance is rubbish! Carvalho is strong and technically gifted and I agree that we need a holding midfielder but the notion of pace and power is rubbish considering that Barca and Spain have been successful for the last 10 years and Xabi Alonso aint the quickest or strongest like Arteta. The key to invisibles wasn’t the size but preparation. When Wenger came he introduced plyometrics and isometrics which allow you to get stronger without bulking up and explosive power in muscles which is why Walcott can hold off huge defenders.

        1. Arteta’s days are numbered buddy. You have to accept the fact that he is no longer able to cope against the bigger teams in the league. We need a young and strong holding midfielder and dont forget the BPL is the roughest league of all. and look at city they have 3 world class striker. we should have at least one world class striker. Giroud is great but everyone will agree he is not world class. so that leaves us with this fact again. we need 2 players like Carvalho and Falcao

          1. This idea of the PL being the “roughest” in the world is a nonsense peddled out time and time again. The days of rough, tough, physical football is now a footnote in the history of the game. Tackling is dead – period. Do we really think that there is something peculiar or unique in the English psyche that makes our league stronger than tougher than the rest of the world? What does elevate the PL is the pace of play and the lower incidence of cynical play. We need a CDM who has pace, endurance, stamina, anticipation and intelligence – not an orc who looks hard in the tunnel and will kick you all over the park.

    2. The Wizard @wizardpc
      How much longer are Arsenal fans going to make excuses for #Ozil? About as effective as Lee Chapman so far.

      Mark Reid @MarkReidMITM
      I can’t get over how over-rated Mesut Ozil is. Haven’t seen him play well since the 2010 World Cup. #Ozil

      Tommaso @Tometek
      #ozil always floats around the pitch against physical teams #arsenal #Everton

      Different but off sentiments views which I strongly support..
      Giroud scores and he is still blamed somehow ( because of his sex escapades ) I dn’t call dat being a gunner or hving knowledge in football..

      Its being sentimentally retarded…

      Ozil is not good and will never be good until he learns to be good and fight to be good..

      1. Who the f**k is Mark Reid and Tommaso? Keep it simple here – judge on the effectiveness and end product rather than demeanour. He is very “vorsprung durch technik”. Personally I don’t get excited about “bleeding red and white” and all that macho neanderthal malarkey. If you are impressed with blood and thunder then fair enough, MO will never be your man. He does need to step it up this year though and I expect him to after his OK first season.

    3. Giroud has got more chemistry with the team than you sweetheart Ozil… Giroud got more assists than Ozil, and Ozil id meant to be the pro assister..

      Giroud contributes to the team more than Ozil does… He might not be a £42 million player but at least he does not go missing, he uses his limited talent to help the team while Mr £42 million keeps going missing in every match…

  2. That is no excuse because we played in midweek and Everton didn’t. Factor in jet lag and less rest then if we hadn’t played the ucl qualifier then we would have won comfortably.

    1. Wenger is that you trolling out here???

      We cant always have excuses all the time men. If we fail tomorrow God forbid what will you blame it on, the pitch was too good / the coach wasn’t feeling too well / the coach was busy charting with the fourth official rather than discussing tactics with his assistant?

      Come February if we don’t strengthen to the current squad or adapter tactics according to our opponents you’ll be the heard of the Wenger out campaign trust me.

  3. Why Arsenal tactics don’t work well against the stronger teams?that’s an article I would like to read after suffering 6-3,5-1 and 6-0!

    1. Its because our tactics do not change we play the same way regardless of the opposition and that works well when you have the quality of say the Invincibles, we play our game against the very best and think we will come out on top. Its like Liverpool last night, yeah they went to City and gave them a go which is admirable but not a chance of getting the 3 points that way. Chelsea will not come to us, Liverpool or City and play the same way they play against Burnley.

      What is odd though is that AW can do it because it is evidenced in the Champions League in which we have a great away record, I remember the game at Dortmund last year which we won 1-0 we went there with a respect for the task at hand and battled our way to the 3 points we need to approach more big games like that.

      1. I have heard many times in many respectable coaches (Gardiola, Del Bosque, Pellegrini, Everton-Martinez, and yeah Arsene), and i am sure you too heard that. Every team plays for their coach’s philosophy and tactics. So, coaches pick their own team according to their philosophy. They pick player who can play according to their philosophy. That’s why Gardiola, Del Bosque, Pellegrini, Arsene’s teams do not know how to sit back and play. They always attack. On the other hand Morinho, Sieone, Scolari’s team always sit back and counter attack. They can’t attack all round. In general attacking is much much tougher that defending and attacking players are much much rear and costly. That’s the reason Arsene is leading a EPL top 4 team, not UCL top 4. If you want attacking football and do not want to loss in bigger match, then you have to pay higher. It’s financial, nothing more, noting less. If you can give Arsene the best players in your league, he can compete in Europe. That does not mean we cannot win, but less probable. Statistics is a beach, you know!

        1. In a 38 game season, most teams can’t match you and you struggle to beat the smaller teams like Chelsea. This Arsenal team is good enough to play in the philosophy against any team in the world now.

          1. In 38match league, of course we can be beaten by small team, that’s why I said “Statistics is a beach”, or may be “Probability is a beach”. But most matches we’ll win with this team. But for big matches against defensive teams, we need luck to beat them even if we have high quality player than we have now. But, with higher quality, we can increase our probability and decrease the luck part. Arsenal are not very away from that, need 2/3 upgrades, and we all know where.

  4. Everton were not only tired but they were happy to sit back and retain their 2 goal lead.

    I hope giroud is available for our next game.

  5. No we showed real intent to get something out of the game . Hence we scored twice. Simple as that

  6. I dont knw about us being fitter than them but tiring them out, on point, especially those teams that think they can als6 play football.
    Our players dont stress themselves as such in the first half, they play better in the second.

  7. I would like to ask the admin a question, why is the title given by the authors different to what you’ll post as titles? because sometimes the titles and the content of articles dont match at all. in this case it was fitness and stamina and NOT tactics..

    on topic: say what you may, the away game at Besiktas was played at a very high tempo and I assume was very energy intensive. so in short no more 4th place in future, just qualify for the group stages…and fitness is very important. so is player rotation. hope Arsene keeps that in mind

  8. Doubt we’ll get both Cavani and Carvalho together due to the price tag of both, so which duo would you prefer

    Cavani and Gustavo (Thumbs up)
    Carvalho and Remy (Thumbs down)

    1. Chambers is 6’1 and khedira is also 6’2

      But let’s all this stop now. Nothing is going to happen until our CL fate is decided.

      Let’s switch the focus to winning tomorrow and then push for at least 3 signings prior to Leicester, but if not at least by Monday 11pm

  9. Utd already signs Di Maria and Vidal

    and yet we are still doing nothing…..

    are we just simply not interested in winning?

  10. This is a long shot. But how about Hernandez? His deal to Juve hasn’t gone through yet, and he is a proven goal scorer in the EPL.

    He is quick as b*lls and VG clearly doesn’t like him. I reckon we could get him on the cheap, and he would be a welcome addition to the team

    1. he scores lots of goals last season when RVP was injured….

      wonder why after all theses years hes only a sub and both Fergie and Moyes refuse to give him first team regular football

  11. First Fergie refused him first team regular chance.
    Then Moyes tread same path
    Now LVG also…..
    maybe Chicarito is destined to remain second fiddle @ united.
    anyway, I like him but utd will never sanction his transit to Arsenal. You don’t just arm your enemy especially in Battle front.

  12. We need a quality striker. Im waiting for Wenger’s excuse for not signing quality striker. He will lie that Giroud is out for only 2 weeks.

  13. It is simple… They are weaker teams!

    Wenger has basically no solutions against proper high quality oppositions.
    He just does not know how to defeat them.

    The fact is he is rigid and still believe that we can win playing the Arsenal way…!!
    We are not in the 90’s anymore… We have to adapt our play to the opponent.

    We do not have the players able to come up with a solution quickly and effectively.

    I am convince that, with the players we have now, another manager, with tactical acuteness, passion, creativity, experience as footballer himself and “balls” would do a much better job than Wenger.
    For the size of his wages, it is just unacceptable that we have to finish fourth and go through the qualifying stage for the CL (and barely make it out of the group)… Sorry that is just not good enough.

    Nobody gives a f*ck about a meaningless FA Cup…!! BPL titles and CL trophies… That is a top club.
    Easy to say “We are a top club” (Wenger usual statement) and not show it on the pitch… Anything else means sh*t…!

    Wilshere is Arsenal number 10… He would not get into the top 6 sides in the league… That is how ridiculous the situation is. Gibbs is Arsenal number one LB… F*cking pathetic.

    We can turn it in every direction… We will have a run of excellent games (as usual), but we will always collapse when it matters.

    Right now we have no strikers…!! Lol (rather laugh than cry) And we have been needing a top poacher for years.

    Wenger said that Campbell could play there!
    Well, if Campbell is smart, he should think about his options. Because if Wenger rather play Wilshere (may be the worse player in the squad) and overlook how much better he is… I would wonder!

    Sell Podolski? And then what?
    I think we still need him. He has baggages of experience and he is not naive. Better have him here even on the bench.

    6 DAYS LEFT IN THE TRANSFER MARKET… Do you really think Wenger will buy 3 players in 6 days (DM,CB and striker)? Yeah right, I don’t think so!

  14. Wenger on Giroud” He will not play tomorrow (v Besiktas), we will see a specialist. It can be a long
    term injury but we will see tomorrow.”

  15. And Wenger stop putting Ozil on the wing… That is just daft and stupid… All that just to accommodate Wilshere (should not be in the first team anyway. Jenkinson is on loan ans Wilshere should have been too).

    We played Everton on Saturday and McCarthy was just millions miles away from him.

    Ramsey showed how you can become an essential part of a team with hard work… You don’t see him sipping champagne and smoking fags (twat)…!!

    Seen it before… He will end up somewhere in the lower part of the BPL.

  16. Every transfer window i find myself logging in and out of this forum and browsing transfer news on the internet but we are ALWAYS short a few players just before the window closes. I think i need a break from all this, just to relax, my heart can’t take much of this at my age (28) . But I have faith that Wenger has learnt from his past mistakes so i’ll be saying a few prayers and i’ll see you guys on monday at around 6pm to hear THE GOOD NEWS yea! Peace out.

  17. We should sign new LB this season or next. Gibbs injury record is terrible. Monreal is not good enough. CDM and ST has been needed since 100 years ago.

  18. If Wenger does decide to buy a Striker Don’t expect a Top Class Striker he will be
    CHEAP, a FREEBEE or some guy at the end of his Career. If you look at what he has realy spent so far it is very little. Wenger has not changer he is still a Scrooge. Ebonisa Wenger strikes again season after season nothing changes with Wenger.

  19. Arsenal’s current team is not just good enough to beat Chelsea and man city, therefore we are in for another season of living in denials of the fact that we are not good enough. Until Wenger changes his transfer attitude, I’m tired of being optimistically dependent on luck against Chelsea and city. Thanks.

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