Sunday 7 February 2010

Defensive frailties wreck a decent performance

Firstly it was a big improvement on last week's showing, there was a lot more hunger and fight from the off, Chelsea were made to look second best in footballing terms for long periods, we pressed them effectively, we were more robust in the tackle and we showed some desire. Unfortunately what I thought was a pretty decent team performance was wrecked by the two very sloppy goals that we conceded early on.

The first saw Terry win a header easily from a corner, he flicked it onto Drogba who tapped home at the far post from about three yards out, Song had lost Drogba and the man on the post was not in evidence. It was a cheap goal to concede. The second was even worse. Chelsea broke, unlike against Manu we had enough men back, strangely Clichy got sucked into the centre of the field and left Drogba in far too much space, Clichy then sprinted across to Drogba and committed to a tackle, when he should have stayed on his feet and showed Drogba to his outside, Drogba cut inside and the rest is history.

In between those goals Arshavin missed our best chance of the game, firing straight at Cech's rather fortuitously placed left leg, anywhere else and I suspect it would have been an equalising goal. A lot of our build up play was pretty, but for long periods our lack of a proper forward meant than we struggled to convert our possession and midfield domination into chances. Diaby and Song were both excellent, muscling Chelsea players off the ball left, right and centre. Cesc had a quietish game, it was tricky for him to find any space with Chelsea having so many men behind the ball after their early goals.

Nasri had a much more effective game, he worked a good opportunity for himself in the second half but delayed at the crucial moment, allowing the last ditch Chelsea tackle to save the day. Theo was decent and put in a good workmanlike shift, actually helping Sagna out defensively on a number of occasions. The little Russian Andrei Arshavin was cruelly left to fend for himself against the big Chelsea centre halves, it was tough for him, he is no centre forward but did his best. Bendtner made an immediate difference when he came on, his physical presence seemed to create a bit of panic and suddenly a few more chances fell our way. Cesc forced a decent Cech save with a hard low shot from a free kick that Bendtner had won, then Bendtner was a bit slow to react to a knock down allowing Cech to nip in.

Overall you simply cannot expect to get anything out of tough games like this making the schoolboy defensive errors that we made today. The defensive errors are especially hard to come back from when we lack a fit recognised centre forward to lead the line, it was far too easy for the Chelsea defense today as a result of this. Whatever the reasons for our defensive frailty, they need to be addressed fast, otherwise we may drift down the league table like a sinking stone. I am still encouraged by the overall way we played though, if we can show that kind of drive and fight for the rest of the season then we will always have a chance. A word should also go to Mike Dean whose refereeing performance was truly shocking, when I can find the energy I shall dismantle his woeful decision making on another day.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

first Goal today,


ClockEndRider said...

Fair comment but for me two things stand out. Firstly, we still carry passengers. Walcott's best work seemed to be done in nullifying Ashley cole. It's a sad indictment that he's of more use tracking back marking a fullback then with the ball attacking the opposition. Arshavin is played out of position but even so, he was poor. Bendtner came on and was as immobile as ever.
Secondly, despite last week and all the evidence of the last four years, Wenger clearly incorporates no form of defensive drills whatsoever into training. As defenders, most clubs in Europe would like to have the individual menbers of our back four. The only reason I can find for their persistently letting in sloppy goals is that they don't do defensive drills. Both goals today and at least two last week were the result of the kind of errors which would never have happened under the Graham back four. Given that none of that back four was anywhere near as talented as footballers as the current incumbents, the only thing left is that one lot practised drills and organisation and the other lot don't. Nobody wants to go back to the dreary latter Graham years but there must be a halfway house....

JKC said...

Yes we were a better side compared to the United game however it's not good enough to be competing for the title.
One thing which REALLY got to me is Clichy. What has happened to him?! Against Untied he wasn't his i blame him for the first goal! Why did he come off his post and move to the front post when Sagna was already there?!
The 2nd goal...he left Drogba alone n then couldn't even chase after him!

Anonymous said...

very simple.

V's Utd lost twice conceded 5

V's Chelsea lost twice conceded 5

Teach basic defending and we're close, buy a striker and we're at least equal

Anonymous said...

Arsenal lack a striker who can make difference when required,unfortunately since henry left no one has covered his place v.p always injured and i dont understand why we didnt sign on january transfer window.
We will struggle to catch them for the title unless we win all 13 games left.

Ted said...

I agree that Clichy had a shocker for their two goals. I simply could not believe that he went walkabout for Drogba's first.

The Drog now has 12 goals in 10 games against us. He has never scored in the prem against Manure, and I think only 1 against the Scousers.

That is not a statistical blip. As i have been saying for a long time, our defenders are too weak. If we had Carvalho and Cech, we would be a force to be reckoned with.

robin said...

I´ve ALWAYS defended Clichy, but something is wrong with the boy...he was pretty good going forward today but he has NO BRAIN whatsoever when it comes to defending, WHY WHY WHY DID HE LEAVE HIS POST WHEN DROGBA SCORED HIS FIRST?????

Second goal!!! WHY can´t he just close Drogba down instead of these crazy kamikaze attacks?

Because he is CALAMITY CLICHY and he will NEVER change....

JKC said...

robin...that's exactly like me, i never used to say anything negative about Clichy but today has really left be baffled about him.

Basically this is season is over for us...yet again.

Danish Gooner said...

Wenger will rather die then change his philosophy that is why he must be sacked because his ideas and philosophy doesnt add up anymore.

Anonymous said...

Come back Adebayour, all is forgiven ???

Anonymous said...

We should not say anything-because Arsene knows and we should stop being doomers and "support Lord Wenger in all that he does" and recognise that our balance sheet is good and we have a very sustainable football club unlike some others.

Anonymous said...

O.K. so we play pretty football, even if we can't win any trophies. But we are financially sound with a great Balance Sheet and the directors are getting wealthier ---Hurray!! Mr Wenger is going to organize tour parties to see the Accounts Office. The football? Oh sod that.

Anonymous said...

You bet wenger will blame on the players, referees, injuries, opponents' tactics, ete etc BUT STILL BLIND TO HIS OWN FAULTS.

Anonymous said...

After failure to win the league in 2007 Rosicky pinpointed to the lack of expeience and identified Clichy's mistake that led to a penalty and cost us the mathc V Birmingham. However, Rosicky said with experience Clichy wouldn't make that mistake I disagreed and I am convinced that Clamity Cliche sould be repalc3d by reliable left back but kept as fine SUB a la Eboue. It doesn't matter how good you play against average strikers what matters is how well you can play against the best, and Clichy failed to do that again and again. Similary, Almunia should be dropped and replaced by a better goal keeper.

Arshavin is a flop and should shut up, if he doesn't think that Arsenal cannot win with upfront then why the hell is playing there. By his ridiculous statements he gives psychological edge to opponents.

GOOONER said...

This goals really killed us . .

Anonymous said...

Re: Clichy - I know he's not been great this season but today it wasn't his fault at all.

first goal he left his post because Cesc called him off it to cover where Arshavin should have been.

2nd goal Vermaelen had Drogba perfectly covered on the flank when Chelsea got the ball, but suddenly decided to run off back to centre back - leaving Clichy with a 15 yard sprint to get back to Drogba. If Verma had just followed Drogba there wouldn't have been a problem.

Check the replays and you'll see what I mean. Clichy got stitched up today.

Anyway regardless whose fault it was some basic coaching could have stopped it. Should have been nil nil at worst


Sounak said...

Key to me was starting Bendtner!
Arsene didn't, he paid for it!

I hope we correct that at least against Liverpool and get 4 points out of the Super-4 clashes!

marcus said...

A big problem is that we have a manager who refuses to change his tactics and approach regardless of opponent.

Ferguson, Ancelotti, Mourinho do adapt their tactics, formation and style according to their opponents, when needed. Ferguson and Ancelotti respect the quality of our team and so they adjusted their tactics to exploit our obvious weaknesses. And it was very easy for them to do, we are very predictable and one-dimensional. We do not worry them overmuch when we have the ball.

We have no answer to the tactical acumen, and physicality of Chelsea and Utd. (please don't mention our win at the Bridge last season--neither Drogba nor Essien played, and they had a poor manager).