Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Poor excuses and defending

Having calmed down and re-analysed the Wigan goals from last night it has become rather more obvious as to what went wrong, those two goals killed us, even though we almost got back level, we just couldn't quite recover.  Arsene said:

"We conceded the first when Arteta was out and we could not put the player on because he is not ready. That penalised us for the second goal and after that we had a mountain to climb."

I am not impressed with this excuse.  Arteta was injured, this was key and I cannot argue with that, however we still had ten other men on the field.  Surely the team should have adapted and other players should have dropped deeper to cover Arteta?  This did not happen.

What happened was, Theo chickened out of a challenge to contest Sagna's knock down header, Wigan broke down their left.  Theo jogged back, Vermaelen and Song were nowhere to be seen.  Santos got dragged across to the Wigan left, Djourou and Benayoun were well behind Di Santo in the middle and couldn't make up the ground, that was the opener.  Great credit to Yossi Benayoun for tracking back and almost blocking Di Santo's finish, but where were the others, players like Song, Vermaelen and Djourou.  They were too slow to spot the danger and react for me, this is irrespective of Arteta's injury.

The second goal was poor but nowhere near as poor from a defensive point of view as the first.  Walcott lost the ball in midfield, dribbling where he should have known better, Wigan knocked the ball around nicely, Moses skinned Sagna down their left, then his cross somehow evaded our defence, we had enough men back, Song's position was not great, neither was Djourou's, and the latter slid in but got only minimal contact on the ball, Gomez then slid the ball home, Szczesny was inches away from getting hold of the ball.  It was a poor goal to concede.

Overall we just couldn't keep up our head of steam to get those two goals back, although we came close.  Looking back it does appear that this is a problem with both the team and individuals, it is systemic.  Just look how Benayoun saw the danger for the first and steamed back, it shows the importance of having a whole team of players with that mentality and team ethic, for that reason I really respect Benayoun, he is a true professional.  Walcott doesn't track back enough for me, Song doesn't show enough defensive discipline, Djourou is dodgy especially compared to Koscielny.

We just seem to have be so erratic in this regard, some games we do it, some we don't, the naivety and lack of appreciation of the danger in the build up to Wigan's opener was really depressing.  This cannot be blamed solely on Arteta's injury, we need to be more disciplined defensively in every minute of every game.  Sort it out Arsene, we need Champions League football next season.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree.We need players like benayoun who will always give 100% to the team in all games not some games like mancity chelsea tottenham and so just look at barcelona they that way for all the games not just against madrid even against granada.This is Arsenal's problem

Anonymous said...

The gunners defence is the worst of the top five clubs. I believe this is due to Wenger's attacking philosophy.There is nothing wrong with this. Football is a team game where every player is both a defender and attacker.With a hd line it is a recipe for a swift counter.
The buck stops with Wenger. He can't blame Wigan for time wasting.
Arsenal are also guilty of this.I am afraid tactically he has been sussed out and there is no plan b.
A golden chance to increase the gap significantly was spurned and this is not the first time.
If he thinks this squad with Wiltshire and OX can challeneg for the epl next season,he is deluded.This latest loss proves it.

Anonymous said...

It boils down to the same old thing, indiscipline. No structure when attacking or defending. Players bombing forward carelessly.

Theo wants to be Henry. What he doesn't realise or chooses to ignore is that Henry used to track right back to assist the team.

We have a bunch of plYers crowbared Into positions they don't want to be in. Song doesn't want to hold, Vermalean wants to play as holding mid, fullbacks thT were midfielders, wingers who want to be forwards, central midfielders played on the wing and on and on. Wenger needs to put people in the positions they want to plY in or if it doesn't suit his chosen system then get rid of them.

Some players are also simply not good enough. WhAT is Gevinhos purpose?

Anonymous said...

SOS.Same old story)The chance to make a statement of intent was spurned. Wenger seems to have a problem playing the bottom sides.
I don't know but I think the problem is overplay ie too many passes.
Wigan had a high ball and two three passes and they score.Arsenal take an age to shoot compared to other games.With a ten men wall,how to score?
It's the same style trying to weave a way thru as in the games against MU when Ronaldo was around and Chelsea in recent seasons.
And we know Rooney ,Ronaldo and Drogba scored so easily with time and acres of space.
If Wenger aint careful and decides to attack headon,Drogba could be given so much time and space it could be a repeat of the Spurs humiliation minus the refs goal.

Davi said...

I don't think Wenger blamed Wigan for time-wasting, he criticised the ref for allowing it to continue for the entire game and then not adding enough time to compensate, which is a decent point considering he and the entire stadium was highlighting it to the ref.
In any case, the two goals conceded were not great. I could accept one considering we were down to 10, but to let in 2 in such a short space of time is not good enough. Still I thought that if we could get one back before halftime, we would at least be able to tie the game. The biggest disappointment then was that we did not test them enough in the 2nd half, particularly when it got very close to the end - in the old days we would have at least made 2 or 3 very good chances in the final minutes.
I do believe that part of the problem was the poor choices in substitutions. I don't know why Wenger seems to believe Walcott is an absolutely vital player - he is a useful weapon, and can be a great source of goals, but it just wasn't happening for him, the LB was all over him so why didn't he just take him off?! And why is there so little trust shown in Oxlade? At the very least he always looks bright and likely to make something happen, and yet he seems to be last in line still.
I disagree that Arsenal has the weakest defence. We actually have a very good defensive unit, even without Koscielny, but Arteta is pretty vital to making it work, and we couldn't adjust when he went off. IMO we actually have the strongest defence of the four teams chasing 3rd/4th, but none of them are perfect.

Davi said...

"I am afraid tactically he has been sussed out and there is no plan b."
Wigan are probably the form team in the PL, perhaps aside from Man City. Very few sides apart from them have been able to cope with us recently. This comment is unbearably short-sighted, and completely typical of Arsenal fans who just love to go overboard with the criticism whenever we suffer a defeat.

Jaume said...