Why Wenger got it WRONG for FA cup clash!

Arsenal tactics under question again!! by DN

It will not be a big topic of conversation among Arsenal fans this week, as we are too busy celebrating the Gunners reaching a record breaking 18th FA cup final. But the nerve wracking nature of another semi-final against lower league opposition should raise a few questions.

Arsene Wenger paid due credit to Steve Clarke and his Reading side and that was good to see from the Frenchman, but am I the only Gooner who thinks that we should not have found it so hard? I also think that Wenger´s praise of Reading´s efforts perhaps covers up the Frenchman´s tactical mistakes that nearly cost us a place at Wembley in May.

Many will say that Wenger paid the Championship opponents proper respect by only making a few changes, whereas he has previously made quite a few. But I wonder why he felt the need to make any changes at all. Not only did Wenger change both of the full backs, he left Debuchy without any cover in a game that could have and did go for the full two hours. That was as risky as hell, as the manager himself admits in an Arsenal.com report.

Wenger said, “He [Debuchy] came through, yes, but he had cramps after the normal game and in extra-time he just managed to do it because he’s mentally very resilient.”

And if he hadn´t been able to complete the game? Then you have the bizarre decision to play Ramsey on the right, weakening two positions with one stroke. This was a game for Rambo to help Coquelin in the middle and for width and pace down the flanks and it´s not as if we don´t have the players to do it, as long as Wenger has the courage to drop Ozil or Cazorla.

We also had the two key positions of central striker and keeper weakened so it is perhaps not that much of a surprise that we struggled and were not as fluent or confident as usual. We got away with it this time, just, but is it further evidence that the manager´s tactics are not all that we could wish?

Tags Ramsey Reading Wenger


    1. I agree, we get to the Cup Final and people still have to point out that our performance wasn’t perfect.

      I for one am absolutely delighted, I would say a win is a win, but I hate football clichés!

      All I need to say is performances tend to even out over the course of the season. We ran our socks off today. We can only take it one game at a time, and we wanted it more today.

  1. Gibbs and Debuchy are getting a lot of grief, but they are not bad players, they were just not match fit, so lay off them haters.
    I thought Giroud was superb when he came on he really swung the game in our favour. Mesut could of had 5 assists.

      1. ozil’s game face (such as it is) is back. doesnt have that despondent look about him anymore.

  2. I’ll bite: courage wasn’t needed to drop Mesut or Santi, it was needed to drop Ramsey. Mesut/Santi/Le Coq combination has sparked this run that we’re on. Trying to force Ramsey into the side based on last year’s form could be our undoing.

    Arsenal stumbled on proper balance based on injuries. We must keep that going, so Either bring Welbz back in or introduce theo out wide until AOC returns. Bring Ramsey off the bench to spell Cazorla.

    1. Except that Ramsey has not been an issue playing of the right this season. Why? Because he interchanges with Ozil who likes to drift over. So why was it a problem? Ozil wasn’t drifting wide but Ramsey continued drifting inwards. Why? Because Giroud wasn’t playing through the centre. Welbeck was drifting wide but Ramsey couldn’t interchange with him because he doesn’t naturally play that forward when playing off the right. Instead, Ozil had to move forward and not right, as did Sanchez as that is the empty space they were seeing.

      I don’t see how Ramsey was the issue. If anything, we only have really had Giroud or Sanchez scoring. Playing Ramsey on the right was Wenger’s way of getting an alternative genuine goal threat closer to the goal. It actually works in the best 11.

      No point in moaning when you don’t even get where the issue lies.

      1. Ramsey should of stayed out wide more often, he didn’t help Debuchy as much as he should of and he allowed Reading to play narrower with there 4-2 defensive play, this squashed players like Ozil and Santi who thrive on a bit more space.

        What side did the cross come from? Was it the side where Alexis was playing and chasing the ball back?

    2. Where does everyone get the idea of Ramsey being the weak link ?? He’s the reason Ozil is so good, they complement each other. Him and Cazorla add an extra shield for Coquelin. He wasn’t playing crap, his movement was brilliant and only gets better when Giroud is on the pitch, he was just having an unlucky day.

      1. Play narrow and you squash the creative abilities of Ozil and Santi, Ramsey is a great player through the middle but he allowed the opposition to get many players in a smaller amount of space.
        Ramsey also failed to support Debuchy as much as Alexis protected Gibbs or The Ox would of protected… Although I do think he protected Debuchy more than Theo would of through the whole game.

        Ramsey is a great player, just not a right sided attacker and it showed.

  3. Our problem was no width and no focal point in the attack. Welbeck had a mare. We had no outlet and we constantly stayed narrow and flat. Gibbs and Debuchy were rusty but not why we were struggling. When Giroud came on we looked 10 times better and controlled the game from that point. Welbeck cannot be played as a lone striker – top two or wide striker only please.

      1. Because he didn’t stay central. If he had then Ozil would have drifted wide when Ramsey came in. But he didn’t because the space that was empty was in front of him because Welbeck wasn’t there. That meant Ramsey and Ozil ended up in different places but always central.

        There is no point in Welbeck drifting wide if he starts in a central position because he has no one to aim for. On top of that, he stops Ozil from doing what he does best which is to drift wide which in turn nullifies anything that Ramsey has to offer.

        1. Or it could’ve been that every time Welbz got set to make a run Ramsey was right on top of him or already moving into his angle.

          Pretty obvious to understand where Giroud is coming back to the ball, but Welbz clearly has pace to move and get in behind. Ramsey refused to adjust his runs for Wellbeck.

          I love how Ramsey coming in and crowding the middle was everyone else’s fault for not adjusting to him.

          1. I have to agree with both sides here. Welbeck was not good. He was not getting into good positions and his hold up play is not good enough for the style Arsene wants to play.

            Ramsey is poor on the wing. I thought it was hilarious you put an all around midfielder on the wing and the DEFENSE was lacking. He drifted into occupied space too often and cluttered the center of the field.

            Walcott probably would have been the better choice here as he takes any opportunity to get to the middle, so Welbeck’s roaming would have left Walcott through the middle instead of Ozil. Ozil and Santi would have had more room to operate in with better width AND not having to cover the CF position.

            Otherwise, Walcott could have played through the middle. But then, he will still drift wide and someone will have to cover the space there. It is fine if there are 2 wingers comfortable in those spaces, but Ramsey clearly isn’t. I also think Walcott would stay more central if asked to, and the thought of space for Ozil/Cazorla/Ramsey coming in behind him must be a dream for those guys.

            On the other side, you could just as easily leave Ramsey in the holding position and sit Cazorla or Ozil. Takes out some of the possession and skill, but those weren’t the issue. I think the Coq/Cazorla/Ozil midfield was good for this one unless you wanted to rest one of them.

            No, for me the big issue was that they came out in the second half looking disinterested. Criticize the tactics if you want, but the biggest issue for me was that Arsene didn’t keep them focused and motivated through half time. It took giving up a goal and a couple subs to get the focus back and it could have cost us the game, as it has many other times in the past few years.

      2. No. I think we had a lack of width AND Welbeck was awkward as the CF. We have two forms of attack – passing the ball forward or getting it forward fast, holding it up and creating a platform to pass from. The only exception is us playing on the counter which is not going to happen against a championship side. My point about Welbeck is just that he shouldn’t be up top. Generally speaking our wide players (Alexis/Ramsay) also played poorly by cutting inside too much. That is something I say week in week out though. If we’re playing narrow with our wing backs overlapping that is fine, just we rarely got to that point because Welbeck could never hold the ball up to create a platform.

    1. I would agree with you currently, Welbeck would of been better played on the right and let Theo play as the CF.

      Welbeck does his job, he stays wide and makes space in the middle, he works hard and not scared to get back and defend.

      Walcott is good at playing on the shoulder of the last man and moving along the line pulling players around, his pace would of forced Reading to play deeper with there defenders and Theo is a much better finnisher compared to Welbeck. Oh and Giroud had to have a rest, we need the big guy for Chelsea ^.^

      I hope Welbeck finds his scoring boots, it took Henry a while so keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. At the end of the day, “a win is a win” whether its ugly or scrappy! When the ref blows the final whistle and you have defeated your rival thats all that counts! Coyg!

  5. We could not also afford to ruin some of the regular starters. He understood he could not drop too many players, that’s why you saw our regular central players in Defense and Midfield.

    Reading played like relegation battlers. Patience was needed to beat them. If Sczs was firm, we would not have conceded that goal.

  6. This article is spot on. Luckily for us we were playing Reading, and not a decent side.

    One of the major gripes I’ve had with Wenger in recent years is that he often weakens us before games, and the Reading game was a great example. I expected maybe two or three changes, but not three at the back, especially considering the personnel.

      1. Hahaha

        Okay, let’s applaud Wenger for putting a rubbish striker upfront, a central mid on the wing, starting a RB for the first time after months out when he clearly isn’t match fit, and dropping one of best keepers in the league this season.

        Shall I also applaud Wenger for no title challenge this season, despite strengthening the team, and a pathetic performance in Europe?

        My bad, you’re an AKB! You enjoy consistent failure.

  7. Almost like Wenger was counting
    on Utd to beat Chelsea so he
    saved many players for the Chelsea
    game anticipating it would be the Premier League decider.
    Szcz, GIbbs Debuchi Gabrial Arteta Flamini Diaby Chambers
    Rosicky Wilshere AOC Gnabry + Walcott have been invisible for months
    With Chelsea and Utd to come there are only 4 soft games left.
    Wenger needs to get all 13 invisible players on the field to justify their huge wages, to prove the medical team knows what they are doing and to justify resigning the players for next season. It also sends the message to other clubs that we have a fully fit squad and don’t need to pay over the top prices for any player we are interested in.

    1. Any big club will have some good players who won’t get on the pitch when most of the squad is healthy and the club is involved in fewer competitions.

      These are players who fill out the squad to cover for injuries and multiple competitions. Arsenal now have a mostly healthy squad for the first time in years and are involved in fewer competitions than earlier in the season – thus some players will not get on the pitch.

      That is just the way it is.

      1. 20 is all you really need.
        Chelsea use 20
        but rely mostly on 14.
        I think we should pick our best
        22 and add 3 signings.
        Sell/release/loan the rest.

        1. Really? When did Chelsea have the volume of injuries that Arsenal have dealt with?

          I remember one time when 8, yes EIGHT, midfielders were all out at one time. If you have 20 that is just 14 players remaining for possibly 4 different competitions. Not Smart.

      2. we used to complain AW under-rotated. at this time of season, if AW is going to rotate, its going to be a risk as all the games are v.important. AW did take the risk and i think it paid off in that we squeaked by: rest for bellerin, monreal, ospina and 1/2 rest for giroud. i agree w others that something w ramsey/welbeck/caz/ozil wasnt working. AW has to realize he has too many offensive threats now; cant play them all in 1 game. ramsey/caz are b2b. they’re not wingers and both on at same time is not as good as having a real winger (theo/ox). i cannot believe theo cannot be taught to defend. if he can, we should stop putting ramsey/caz on the wing.

  8. OK. Wenger did not get this one just right – that is probably true. But…….

    Wenger has been more willing than ever this season to make the right decisions and adjustments so it is not so bad that he did not get this one just right.

    Onward to bigger and better performances.

    1. Well done, spoken like someone who knows nothing about football. I assume that was your intention!

  9. Wenger is always wrong…

    he should listen to the fans….

    the fans know best…

    Wenger out!!

    1. I presume your posts are purely a wind up, let me rephrase that, I really hope they are!

      Wenger in, hafiz out!!!

  10. Hell yeah!!!

    This is the brutal truth, ENGLISH players are just too average.

    Theo Walcott- speedily over hyped but technically a drag. Arsenal have been dragging this dude for far too long, day dreaming he’s the real deal, wenger should wake up and see things without adding sentiments, it’s not rocket science BALE is a class act and theo is still babysitting. he has only performed once in nine (9) years and he’s not the magical thierry henry guess what, he will never be.

    Whilshere- Another one season or should i say a game (barca) wonder. He was hailed as the messiah who has come to don the number 10 jersey given bundle of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, he’s wasted it on dope and self appraisal with the help of the british hype, oh! Yet again francis coquelin is proving to be the raw talent, yet again stubborn dithering and chauvinistic sentiments will creep into le profs heart to ditch his (le caoq) projection.

    Gibbs- he is bound average, i reiterate once again (good/average defensive technique but poor attacking abilities) evaluating his overall performance in Arsenal, he’s best a squad player, very injury prone which distort his football education. By the way Bellerin has proved to be the man to bank on. Technically sound, great attacking acumen and good/improving defensive potentials.

    Ramsey; yes! I was gob smacked by his magical and unbelievable season last season almost literally shouldering the team but yet again he has gone under the weather, too slow and untidy passes. He may have something buzzing in him, right now he’s a shadow of himself and yet again wenger’s stubborn Preponderance may alter the mid field team cohesion, cazorla, ozil and coquelin. It’s just pathetic!!! ramsey should be a squad player coming from the bench to spell out cazorla and even rosicky.

    Before crack becomes canyons wenger should strictly pick the strongest first eleven by great work ethics, talent and performance.
    In addendum he should start making provisions for their replacements for futuristic reasons, either by looking inward or outward.

    1. LOL. Maybe, but in case you hadn’t noticed or seen us play recently the only one of your list that even has a 1st team slot ain’t English.

  11. @ johnestown 1

    Before you give me knee jerk reaction, read my contents and do not only NOTICE their english names.
    I know you will defend your chauvinistic turf vigorously but i’m here to spell out the fact aloud either on my tv screen or on my effing phone..lol

  12. so your suggestion is to drop our two best players of the past 3 months, arguably all season. Did you notice had two assists. Pleaaaase stop trying to be a manager, you are not up to it

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