Why can’t Arsenal dominate matches for the whole 90 minutes?

Why can’t Arsenal dominate matches for the whole 90 minutes?

Despite being on the back of an impressive run, one thing has still bothered Arsenal fans to some extent. It is their team’s failure to mount pressure for the whole 90 minutes.

Mikel Arteta’s men have been unbeaten since the end of August and see themselves three points behind Manchester City in third. They have also entered the quarter-final stage of Carabao Cup.

Few Arsenal fans would have foreseen it two months ago, on the back of an embarrassing defeat at the Etihad Stadium, losing 5-0. Although the Gunners have found some air in their sail, they still have to show that they are moving in the right direction, by being dominant for longer periods.

The team in Red and White have shown various instances of an old lighter. Few sparks at the start have followed with no fire.

Some fans have even shown their worry

The Gunners had a commendable opening 10-15 minutes against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace, scoring the opening goal. They looked like a team who were on the hunt.

But it was a fleeting moment. The Eagles took complete control of the game after conceding, scoring twice and looked likely to claim a deserved win.

Although Alexander Lacazette came to the rescue, it wasn’t nice to say that it was a point gained rather than two lost.

Going back a bit in time, the game at the Etihad Stadium was similar, where the team looked sharp in the opening 6-7 minutes, only for Bernardo Silva to score an eighth minute opener.

What happened next is better not put into words again.

It felt like history was repeating itself after Brendan Rodgers’ side came back into the game, after the London side completely controlled the first quarter.

However, the robust pair of Ben White and Gabriel plus the exceptional saves of Aaron Ramsdale were enough to pull the team over for at least this weekend.

We cannot forget that this is the youngest team in the Premier League. Many experiences that they will go through this season, will probably be the first time for many individuals.

The team reaction to the ever-mounting pressure from the 2016 Premier League champions deserved credit.

They now have to continue to show that this is a team of individuals who are willing to improve and sacrifice anything for their mates on the pitch.

That’s the only way this young team can develop into something special. Into something which Arsenal fans would love to see.

Yash Bisht


  1. I’m not overly concerned by this stat tbh

    With young players like we have we will encounter inconsistencies throughout the season.

    Last season MA spoke alot about the team need to learn to suffer in games, they did that alot last season and have seemed to build up a resistance while defending, then you have Ramsdale who has suffered all his career up to this point.

    Dominating more of the game will come in time
    you can already see from game to game that the ” bursting out ” from kick off has lasted a bit longer each time.

  2. Fitness is the main reason….we’ve been unfit since the Wenger days and not much has changed.

    We’ve all heard on multiple occasions of players being loaned/sold and they can’t play for a month or two until they actually get fit enough.

    1. The feyenoord coach shed light on that problem of the intensity at our training ground. You RN hasn’t played yet in Netherlands

  3. M A was a defensive midfield player.

    Many of us on here of course saw him play.

    He also seems to be a naturally cautious character.

    As teams play in the style of their manager, I think deep down Arteta is quite a defensive minded manager.

    Playing with the “handbrake off” for an entire 90 minutes (when ahead at half time for instance) doesn’t seem to be in his nature.

    If ahead at the half, he likes to manage the game through and take what we hold.

    Possession, shape, organisation, no mistakes and we take what we have and get out of there there.

    He has his keeper & defence he trusts in place now, and has faith in the team holding what they have.

    I would suspect many of us believe Arsenal are at their best attacking sides at pace, getting in behind causing problems (especially those on board post 2004 ish) – and indeed this particular sides make-up is geared to that.

    However, as things unfold (of late) it appears Mikel is of the philosophy hit them hard early, get in front and then see the job through.

    Certainly the fast starts are a pleasure to see, as the slow sideways sluggish stuff was painful to watch – may those days be behind us now.

    It would have been difficult to replicate the 1st half performance against Spuds in the 2nd half anyway – basically we didn’t want half time. The opposition will often have their period of ascendency in most games.

    But Leicester was a case in point .

    Two nil up, at half time.

    Second half – don’t give them anything, why chase a 3rd … we’ve got this and of course the game will open up with them chasing. We’ll sit and get them on the break if the opportunity arises.

    Also, the man is under more than extreme pressure to get results – he sniffs 3 points he takes them ……….. his way.

    There has been a definite change of approach since M A has his own team in place, and I suspect this will continue to evolve.

    A thought – How many times was Wenger slaughtered for chasing “that next goal” and letting games we dominated slip ?

    A frustrating one.

    Take what we have, or continue to go for the jugular ?

    The latter is what we’d all like to see, but M A knows right now his job is on the line.

    1. Arteta originally modelled his game on guardiola and played that way as a CM for PSG, I believe, but he was very much an attacking midfielder or nominal winger at Everton and I think rangers as well. He scored and assisted decent numbers. I wouldn’t call him overly cautious as a player, but I think Wenger liked the idea of an attack minded player who was disciplined enough to pay as a holding midfielder. He was good for us, nothing special in the grand scheme, but good.

      Maybe he is a bit cautious as a manager, but i don’t think his playing style has much to do with his coaching philosophy, I think he again models himself on guardiola

      1. Hi Davi.

        In all my time of watching the Arsenal in the flesh, I only ever saw him played as a deeper lying midfield player.

        You post was interesting , and prompted me to doubt my sanity.

        Quote ;

        ” Arteta initially started out playing as a number 10 in the Barcelona youth system, and was later shifted to the position of a “pivot” or defensive midfielder, as he was thought to be a player in the mould of Pep Guardiola.

        Arteta returned to his original deeper midfield role at Arsenal.”

        At our place Mikel played deeper in the middle of the park, ensuring the play was in front of him.

        I wouldn’t say he was attack minded, and certainly never a winger.

        I believe when working under Wenger at our place (where he was employed as confirmed above) is the role that greatly influenced his management style to date.

        And under Pep at City, possession is king.

        Still, we all view players and their roles in a side differently.

        1. Won’t involve myself in the other stuff – you are right about how he played at arsenal but I remember him playing for Everton and he was a creative midfielder. You got that from Wikipedia (which I also looked at after responding to check my memory) and you’ll note it does make reference to him being seen as a creative player, or a playmaker at Everton.
          Not a big deal in any case, I thought your original post was interesting and I was just being picky.

      2. Spot on Davi…It’s exceedingly obvious that the poster in question knows very little about the playing history of our current manager, which comes as no surprise since I believe he actually quoted Wikipedia in his rather smarmy and condescending retort…thank you for reminding him of the facts, even though his particular leanings won’t allow him to graciously accept your oh so generous mentoring

        1. Davi.

          Sorry you being used for other motives here.

          I openly admitted in my response to simply checking out what I had seen with my own eyes over the years in question, but he believes I rely on WIKI generally – he needs to grow the hell up.

          If I need to justify myself, I have attended Arsenal matches since the early 60’s and know a thing or two about our history – take it or leave it, it matters not.

          I am getting extremely tired of this.

          Despite a gentlemen’s agreement to avoid each other on here, which to date I have upheld, TRVL constantly snipes at comments I make on here.

          He postings are becoming extremely offensive and unacceptable to me, which he will take great delight in.

          I thought he may have hit rock bottom with calling for a “smothering pillow”, but on it goes.

          Just read his comment above.

          Whether you have made your mind up you like or loath me (in virtual terms), you can see right through his repulsive post – it has nothing to do with subject under discussion.

          I ask him publicly on here to grow up, and keep his worsening insults to himself – stick to the agreement WHICH YOU REQUESTED.

          Even on a football opinion site where all can disagree and get techy, angry and so on – you are a very nasty piece of work.

          1. @A J

            I agree completely with your statement and have warned TRVL on numerous occasions about his never-ending insults when he doesn’t agree with someone (probably even when he does!) and you are right that he seems to enjoy it, which realy gets my goat.

            This statement I agree with….”His postings are becoming extremely offensive and unacceptable to me, which he will take great delight in.”

            So, TRVL, after numerous warnings are you going to continue trolling other readers or are you going to just talk about football?

            Because just one more complaint and you are out of here…

            1. Let others defend themselves. One can not be supplicating to the admin to help him get rid of someone else.
              @A.J it’s either you tug it out with TRVL and the likes or better still ignore .
              Their comment ain’t all the more makes you popular inhere .
              But if you’re not interested then just ignore their response.
              @Admin, you can’t just intimidate us I’m here anyhow. Without us you’re nothing.

              1. Blaze.

                Know the facts.

                TRVL and I have an existing agreement in place to ignore each other – why break it ?

                1. As much as I wanted to stay out of your argument AJ ,last night you told me I needed help for for knowing what you was talking about ,which to me looked condescending .
                  TRVL is to the point ,but he’s no different to any other fan who believes he’s right ,I’m with Blaze there was a nothing argument but AJ as made it completely worse than it sounds .
                  I’ve falling out with TRVL but do you know what I didn’t cry and moan about it ,we argued and now talk to each other as adults .
                  Been on here long enough to not worry about some silly post form other posters .
                  You get on with it and move on FFS .

              2. Without me this platform would not exist, so get back in your box.
                We have grown to be this big because of my insistence that there will be no personal abuse towards other readers or my writers. We are all Arsenal fans and if you don’t like my rules then you can find another site that allows abuse.
                I assure you justarsenal can do without aggressive commenters like you and trvl, and if you don’t follow the rules you WILL be banned.
                Without you I am still the creator of a brilliant blog, and what are you with your petty threats, eh?

            2. to be frank Admin, I didn’t want to reply right away as I didn’t want to throw salt into an already festering wound…in regards to the issue at hand, nothing I said was even remotely worthy of the overwrought and contrived response by the poster in question, which was clearly an attempt to not only put on a show for you, but was likewise meant to be a warning to others who might strongly disagree with whatever commentary he put forth, even when his “facts” were clearly erroneous

              btw the comments referenced by said poster regarding the “pillow” was an inside joke between DK and myself, which should never have been raised in this instance unless it was being used for dramatic effect…please ask yourself why would this even be referenced???

              regardless, I will abstain from going anywhere near this unnamed individual moving forward

              1. @TRVL
                You guys are a match made by Arsenal. We are all Gooners. We all bleed red but with different blood groups.

                1. Yes, you are right Blaze, as is Dan with “just move on”.

                  Probably got out of hand long ago, and should have stopped then.

                  So unnecessary.

                  The latest accusation is a mystery, as I am 100% correct – I was there throughout the years in question !

                  Well not so much a mystery actually, facts go out of the window.

                  The mention of “A private joke” confirms what I didn’t suspect, but knew what was happening here.

                  Well move on it is.

  4. Because Arteta tends to play safe, despite having some quick attackers like Smith-Rowe and Saka to press high up the pitch. The 32 years old Aubameyang won’t be able to do it for more than forty minutes, let alone the slow Lacazette

    Even the elite marathoners like Kipchoge would likely not be able to do high pressing for eighty minutes non-stop, because of the intense physical challenges and the time required to go back to the high-pressers’ main positions

    The only solutions are intermittent high pressing, better fitness level and faster high-pressers. Liverpool have Salah/ Mane and Man City have Jesus/ Foden/ Grealish to do that in the front line, so we’ve got to improve our stamina and pace

  5. As long as we win, dominating throughout the games doesn’t mean anything of it ends in a draw. You don’t get points for dominating your opponents, you get points for defeating them. Capello, mouriho, conte are coaches with lots of laurels and they don’t dominate games. As long as Arteta keeps winning, he won’t have problem

  6. The lack of a physically powerful, dedicated DM is in my opinion one reason why we seem to be unable to retain possession sufficiently to retain control.I we had a DM, Partey and Lokonga could be used in box to box roles to effectively contest possession further up the pitch.As it is,Partey has been obliged to take on a DM role aided by Lokonga, Odegaard or ESR and none of that trio is adept when it comes to winning the ball back out of possession.They all work hard on and off the ball but in the case of Odegaard he is poor defensively and does not have the pace to combat counter attacks.Basically, with a DM like Sakaria or the highly impressive Tchouameni of Monaco, we could defend further up the field and make it much more difficult for the opposition to rest control.ESR puts in a very good shift defensively when he is played on the left wing without restricting his attacking instincts but neither Saka not Pepe can emulate him .Therefore the onus is on the back four and midfield trio to push up in a compact unit together rather than dropping off which tends to happen when energy levels drop and the legs give out.Man City and Liverpool are the best examples of teams which control games with a DM and 2 B to B operators and without a nominated number ten.Of course they have strength in depth which means they can replace tiring players without reducing quality which we are not in a position to do in the central midfield area in my opinion.To sum up, had we been able to sign Bissouma instead of Odegaard, I am confident we would have improved our prospects of controlling matches.A thought provoking article.

  7. It’s down to having the players willing and able to operate the press, the training and discipline to do so, and the stamina.
    Our previous squad had too many players not buying into it for it to work. You need all 10 outfielders, but particularly in midfield and attack, to play it as you are wide open if it’s done badly. We currently have a first 11 wanting to make it work.
    You need to train a lot on the angles, who shuts down who, and when. That takes time.
    Finally you need the fitness and stamina to keep going. This is not about a couple of training sessions and a cross country run. The full press is the most physically demanding of tactics and the required levels to sustain it over a whole game can’t be reached in a few weeks.
    You need players quick enough in thought and action to play it. Arguably both Xhaka and Ode fall short here as they are slow and relatively clumsy on their feet.
    Finally, you need to actually win the ball quickly with your pressing, and be capable of keeping possession long enough to recharge your batteries to go again. Liverpool and Man City don’t press for 90 minutes either – perhaps they press no more than us, because they keep the ball, recover and then press again when needed.

    For me, as we learn to combine keepball with our rapid attacks, our pressing will at least appear to be consistant throughout the game. The two facets go together.

  8. It’s not the style of play that helps a team maintain possessions, it’s the skills of the players, if they can protect the ball and knock it around then it will be difficult for such a team to lose possessions irrespective of the manager’s instructions. The problem our team has is lack of cohesion among the players. A lot of them makes careless mistakes, poor decision, can’t play/decide under pressure, agile enough to win the ball back when lost, those are the few things causing our lack of possession in matches ( esp ball playing opponents)
    To curb this I think we need more smart drivers in the team, they make the work lesser for others.

  9. The most important fact is that we are winning games and winning points. Whether we dominate for 90 minutes is not that important here. Suppose we dominate possession and control for 90 minutes and still lose or draw than what is the point. Let Arteta play his style and as long as he is winning matches I have no problems.

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