Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas: Analysis Of Arsenal’s Performance

By on August 28, 2014

Arsenal secured their place in the group stages of the Champions League with a nervy 1-0 win over Besiktas on Tuesday night, here are some talking points from the game by Gunner333.

Image: Express

It was a tense night at the Emirates but Arsenal booked their place in the Champions League thanks to a solitary strike from Alexis Sanchez just before half time.

We had our chances to put the game to bed but shortly after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed a golden opportunity to make it 2-0, the referee harshly sent Mathieu Debuchy off for a second yellow card despite the fact he clearly won the ball.

It was all hands to the deck for the final 15 minutes as Besiktas searched for an equaliser that would have knocked us out, but the players showed their grit and determination to hang on and secure a place in the group stages of the Champions League for the 17th consecutive season.

Here I will now share my views on the main talking points of the night.

The Good

1) Growing Physicality

Once regarded as an easy target for the more physical teams, opposition sides would frequently find themselves battering and bruising us until the death. Now though this seems to be gradually changing. The perfect example is this game. Besiktas are a Turkish club playing in one of the more minor top flights across the continent. Their domestic season consists of battles of brawn over style and so when they were drawn to play us, although they did exhibit a surprising amount of top-class football in stints, their Plan A was to stamp us into the ground through an aggressive rough-housing manner.

The likes of Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain were consistently on the end of some rather ‘committed’ challenges from Canadian Atiba Huthcinson or the remainder of the Besiktas back-line. Rather than falling to this over-powering tactic, we fought back ad gave as good as we got. Alexis Sanchez really is beginning to fit the jigsaw in more ways than one, his physical presence outshining that of Giroud.

2) Wilshere Revival

It seems many moons ago when Jack Wilshere impressed in a short loan spell at Bolton and ever since breaking into the first team, a spate of injuries have meant he’s never really taken off as the World-Class star everyone was expecting the boy to emulate. This season has been dubbed ‘his’ season. Ravished by injuries, games have come few and far between and he now looks set [fingers crossed] to establish himself as a vital starter for the upcoming campaign. And last night was our first insight in a while to the real callibre of the 22-year-old.

We once again saw those driving runs into pockets of space and he was playing delicate balls into Sanchez’ feet in tight situations, a department the Englishman is cementing himself in as one of the greatest. His one-two aided the goal and when teams press forwards, you can bet he is the man to unpick them at close range.

What Needs Improving

1) Focal Point In Attack

Each time we ventured forwards in this clash, we found ourselves near-enough playing the ball in circles, as Sanchez would often come deep into the midfield to create another passing option, only for there then to be no-man up-top to aim for. Olivier Giroud has been our most accomplished ‘target-man’ but is now sidelined for the long-term so Sanchez is going to have to learn how to be a focal point up front if he’s going to start up front regularly.

Love him or hate him, Yaya Sanogo is more of a target-man and would be the ideal replacement for Giroud if he could find the net more frequently. Theo Walcott is another option for the temporary forward role, but is similar to Sanchez in his style of play, as he loves to run with the ball rather than play with his back to goal. Whichever way we do it, even if it means adding a clinical powerhouse to the team  [Radammel Falcao was suggested for a loan-deal] , we must find a solution to the missing target up-top or else we may struggle over the next few months.

2) Create Our Own Tensions

Heading into this game, Arsenal would have been feeling confident and on any other day the Gunners may very well have put 3 or 4 past Besiktas at home. The occasion however, may have caused great panic in the Gunners camp. We started off well but as the game grew, so did Besiktas’ confidence and they played without fear, something we are in desperate need of implementing into EVERY game this season in order to win silverware.

We did of course put in a remarkable display at the back and have shown improvement on that part, as in previous seasons you wouldn’t have been surprised had we conceded a late goal. We held firm on Wednesday night, but I feel mentally we are still not ready to compete with the very best and must chalk out our own errors to give us the greatest chance of progressing in the European competition, now we’re qualified.

Congratulations to Wenger and the lads for getting us into Europe for a 17th successive campaign. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.

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