A systematic Analysis of Arsenal’s problems

By on November 25, 2010

the emirates

Written by guest writer sanchit.

The past two weeks have left me astounded. They say that the EPL campaign is unpredictable, like a rollercoaster, it can go up and down. Why is that, with Arsenal, we go to the summit, and then come crashing down to the base? We will win 2-3 hard games, and where it is taken for granted that we will win, we slip up like only Arsenal can.

I have thought about this a lot, and pondered over the Great Arsenal Inconsistency. And I think we need to break down everything to get to the core. It is not the simple thing of one or two players under-performing. It is something that is plaguing the whole system.

Defence

GK – Lukasz Fabianski

A positive point. He has been keeping exceptionally, better than most in the Premier League. Fabianski has really emerged from the short shadow of Almunia and proved that belief can override criticism, and God, has he had a lot of it. If he can keep up such performances in the future, at least we don’t have to worry about the man between the sticks for once.

For now, Almunia should be second choice. He doesn’t deserve returning above Fabianski.

RB – Bacary Sagna

An above average performance from the French RB. He has been focussed, accurate, composed and he even scored against Everton. He has been able to balance defence and attack, and has made one or two very crucial blocks to save the day for Arsenal. Really not a lot of complaints here.

CB – Laurent Koscielny – Sebastien Squillaci

Discussing Arsenal’s defence is like walking through a minefield. This has been our Achilles’ Heel all season. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t tense when the ball entered our side of the final third. Arsenal have always been unsure and wary about their defence this season, and you can put that down to two completely new Centre-backs. However, that doesn’t excuse our poor defensive performance.

Koscielny has been Arsenal’s talk of the transfer season, but boy, has he failed to deliver. He is certainly no Vermaelen. He can be brilliant at times, but very poor otherwise too. He lacks the concentration and focus of Vermaelen, and his work rate is comparatively very poor. I wish I could say that he has something special in him, but that would be a lie. He missed sitters against both Chelsea and recently, Tottenham, which in both cases would have turned the matches around. He isn’t very tactically aware, and has got sent off twice already (although against Newcastle, his red card was intelligent defending. We would probably have gone 2-0 down if not for him). Certainly not one of Arsene’s best transfers.

For all the talk about his experience, Squillaci too has failed to deliver. He is slow, he too lacks focus, and is anonymous. He doesn’t come out and command the back 4 like he was expected to do. He often loses track of his position, and has been caught flat-footed on numerous occasions. Yes, he has put in reasonably good performances too, but you have to do better when you are an Arsenal Centre-back. I don’t know why we didn’t sign Mertesacker or even Gary Cahill. Mertesacker is a brilliant defender, and he would have been perfect. But, it is Arsene’s penchant for French players that has brought its share of good and bad players to North London. It’s certain though, that both Squillaci and Koscielny are not transfers to be remembered.

LB – Gael Clichy

Don’t even get me started on Clichy. There have been enough articles on him. It is time he was put on the bench and Gibbs be given a chance.

Overview: Needless to say, our defense is one of the worst I have ever seen, and without Verminator, we can’t really rely on our back 4 to deliver when they need to.

CDM – Alex Song Billong

Solid performances from him. He just needs to remember that his primary objective is to cover the back 4, and not to score goals. He should limit venturing forward too much, as our back 4 are certainly not the most alert when it comes to defending counterattacks (Ahem, ahem, Tottenham’s 1st goal, ahem, ahem)

CM – Francesc Fabregas

It is time our endearing skipper left. This one line sums up his game for Arsenal in recent weeks. It appears that he plays only for the sake of playing, and not because of any responsibility to the club. He hasn’t been true to the armband too. He hasn’t inspired the players, there have been no late comebacks this time around. On the contrary, we have been losing won matches. So much so for keeping Arsenal’s boy wonder at home. He can leave next summer and we can get a quality CB and a striker in.

Jack Wilshere

One of the top talents of this season, but he still has a lot to learn. What he has in skill and sheer composure on the ball, he lacks in maturity. He is impulsive and eager. While this might not be a bad thing, he needs to restrain himself. I see a future Fabregas, but he has time left.

Wingers – Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin

Samir Nasri has been Arsenal’s best player this season. He has really come into his own, he has scored goals, inspired the team, and given it his all. He truly deserves the superlatives that have been bestowed on him.

On the other hand, our other winger, the Little Russian, has looked as flat as ever. Arsenal fans might remember Arshavin’s 4th goal at that historic night at Anfield. Walcott had the ball at 50 yards. Arshavin made the sprint of his life from Arsenal’s box to 30 yards from the goal, got the ball, and finished calmly with his left. Where has the spirit to get the ball gone? Where has the will to score gone? Where has that charismatic, clever Russian gone, and who is this lazy, half-hearted winger we have now? At least, there is one thing about Andrei. He admits that his form has dipped. He has been as good as old in some matches, but he is not the match winner we all wanted and expected him to be. He needs to pick himself up. Fast.

Strikers – Marouane Chamakh and Robin van Persie

Chamakh has been our best buy since Tomas Vermaelen. He, unlike Arshavin, has taken up the striker’s mantle in RvP’s absence with relative ease, and has scored and created quite some goals. It is clear that he has exceeded expectations, yet he is not the match winner in the team. His actual role is that of second striker, and he will be more effective when he plays behind the main striker, because he has shown that sometimes he lacks the finishing touch, and also the legs.

RvP needs to go in the summer too. He has been a great Arsenal player, but his injuries have run havoc for Arsenal’s title chances. He is a great player on the pitch, but he is rarely on it nowadays. It will be a teary farewell for RvP, and I recently posted an article on his prospects at the club, and unless he gets into his old game and scores consistently for Arsenal for the coming games, we cannot afford to have him with the club. He can be the best striker in Europe when at his best, but his best is always interrupted by injuries.

Parting comments:

We need to stop overelaborating, and passing the ball when we have to shoot. We also lack a good finisher, and players like Arshavin must start performing. Our defense is embarrassing to say the least.  Verminator, we need you back!

For the first time we have an almost injury-free team, only individual performances are holding us back. We have the wrong people, and Arsene should start spending that huge profit on bettering the club’s reserves.

Transfer suggestions:

  • A big, strong CB, like Per Mertesacker.
  • A strong attacking midfielder, i will require suggestions here.
  • A proven goalscorer, Benzema is always an option. Others might include Luis Suarez, Romelu Lukaku.

It is time we started buying established players, instead of making them. We are missing some essential quality in our team, and its about time the Boss realised that.

Comments are always welcome…..

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29 Comments

  1. Aaron

    November 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Big CB like Mertesacker or Subotic
    Felipe Melo and Gokhan Inler (the latter being a free in the summer) for defensive cover
    an out and out midfield maestro in Ashley Young.
    and a proven goalscorer is already in the league, Darren Bent, yes I might get slagged for this, but how many goals would he score with our support?

  2. Dude

    November 25, 2010 at 9:39 am

    arsene is greedy , he wants it all

    maintain very profitable football club while staying at the top ?
    i think he has gotten used to his own penny pinching ways since the new stadum was built imposed on him by the board or his own ways ?
    trophy winning doesnt really matter to him i tihnk
    from what ive seen so far
    i would rather arsenal fail to qualify for cl so arsene gets to wake up and change something to repay the long suffering fans !!!
    i guess wat matters more is the balance books of AFC..? sigh .

  3. Ishqms

    November 25, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I was seraching for articles like this to heal the wounds for supporting Arsenal and wondering what is wrong with the club. I am sure Sanchit has the same feeling of mine and put in nice format.
    Now i don’t need to search another article. every reason are damn true. so Mr. Arsene what are you gonna do in the Januar transfer window?

    Arsen,,we are tired of your almost similar comments after winning as well as losing matches. we are witnessing this for last 5 years, come on man change the team or tactics or else do some thing to change the mind of arsenal fan so they can support another club.
    i remind Wenger “this team dosen’t deserve trophy with this style of play”
    .
    .
    from a heart broken Arsenal fan

    • sanchit

      November 25, 2010 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Ishqms, that was my exact intention. I wanted to highlight both the individual and collective problems holding us back at crucial times.
      We actually have an EXCELLENT finisher in Arshavin, just see his exploits while he played for Zenit. But he hasn’t found either his pace or finish at AFC.
      It is time we moved on from the the perfect club image, to the ruthless winning club image. Chelsea hasn’t done a lot for English football, or for football in general when it comes to youth talent, but it is winning the trophies.
      A practical approach is needed.

  4. nicky

    November 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

    It is many years since I read such a brilliant article…….critical yet constructive. It should be printed and forwarded to the Arsenal board and to Mr Wenger. WELL SAID!

    • sanchit

      November 25, 2010 at 10:31 am

      Thanks nicky, it feels great, especially considering I am only 15 years old 😛
      I actually anticipated a lot of criticism while submitting this article, because it is controversial in many aspects, and not the sugar coated stuff that fans want to hear, but I felt we needed to make clear what is going wrong with the club, because there is seriously something very fishy. We are a team ready to collapse, and our reserves are depleted.
      It is time those 55 million quid be put to good use.

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  6. Jon

    November 25, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Your analysis of the form of each of the players is right, but that doesn’t mean your analysis of the overall problem is right. Every single player in the Arsenal squad has the capacity to be world class, including the ones you criticize. The issue is, and has long been, complacency – too many players let their own abilities go to their heads, and then lose concentration. The Tottenham game was the absolute classic case – total dominance in the first half, leading to foolish camplacency in the second, resulting in defeat.

    I think the underlying issue is that there is no foil to Wenger at Arsenal. I continue to believe he is a footballing genius – he has consistently managed to produce a top four Champions League team on a shoestring budget. But from what I can figure out, there is no one at Arsenal able to challenge his thinking or offer a compelling alternative view. I don’t think Pat Rice can do it. My sense is that a huge amount would be solved by bringing in a top quality assistant manager; someone who is being possibly groomed to take over from Wenger, but offers something else – a bit of grit, determination and fire to balance Wenger’s artistic purism.

  7. nicky

    November 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

    sanchit
    As I am in my 88th year, praise from me is praise indeed!

  8. venky

    November 25, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Nothing wrong with our personnel but they lack comittment and are timid and a sometimes our tactics are naive. We should concentrate on defence for a while and forget about the beautiful football, we are one among the best on counters, so why not? If Newcastle can bottle up one of the best attacking sides in Europe let alone England and still win the game why cant we do it particularly considering our attacking prowess.
    How about trying 5-1-3-1? . some of us would think this peculiar but considering how bad our defence is, it wont be such a bad idea
    keep the option of 4-4-2 open about which we completely forgot
    Use two different teams for different competitions, yes, we have good teams with occasional mixing.This serves two purposes 1. keeps almost all players happy 2. players get to play only once a week so their physical and mental aspects would always be good and would be close to their best.
    Buy sakho and Henderson,give JET a start and Keep him in the mix particularly against big physical sides.

  9. Leebo

    November 25, 2010 at 11:32 am

    BLAH BLAH BLAH

  10. swikrath

    November 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

    sanchit, i’d idsagree with everything you have said here, well almost.. And here’s my two pence worth. And i am commenting on what/where i disagree
    CB – Laurent Koscielny – Sebastien Squillaci
    Koscienly is young and new to the club, you cannot expect everybody that walks in to any club to perform right away,you just have to look at man city for that and it really speaks volumes for what chamach has done for us.
    Le Boss definitely din’t have the intention to play to either koscienly/squillacci as often as he has had to. Nobody knew vermalean ,who was fit and firing the entire last season would be out that long.
    And you fail to mention how good a comeback djourou has made..And at 4th choice you probably have one of the best in the league..
    The reason for conceding so much is how poor we have been on set pieces which is certainly a major reason for concern and that is not because of frailities at the back, it has to do with the entire team..So blaming one or either of the aforementioned defenders for that is naive.

    CM – Francesc Fabregas
    ridiculous, what do you expect from him huh?Boy o boy! You cannot question his commitment to the club. he played with an injury yesterday, whilst it wasn’t the best idea considering the long lay off it does speaks volumes for the commitment he has, else he would have just pulled a rooney..RIDICULOUS

    Wingers – Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin

    Please check the statistics kid, he has had so many assists this season and scored a few too..Or would you want me to dig it up for you?The only reason he appears ineffective is because he plays rather wide to accommodate 2 D.Ms and Cesc ..Just look at the game he dint play and you ll see how toothless we are on the left flank without him..

  11. swikrath

    November 25, 2010 at 11:43 am

    And what sort of systematic analysis talks without stats?I am sorry kid you are way way off the mark.What is guarentee that mertersacker ll do what a team collectively can’t? Buying one man at the wont salove anything.Nope

  12. dickson oge

    November 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    wow….all i gonna say here,let us still keep the faith,when u luv u luv 4ever,we got d quality wat is missin is leadership.n the shuld try 2 shoot 4rm side d box sumtimes than passin in d box.we got d quality,it’z 4 them 2 make decession to shoot or pass.pls let keep d faith[GUNNER TILL I DIE]

  13. katikiro charles

    November 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I agree with Swikrath. I think some of the articles are written simply because the team in the last two games has performed poorly, and the opposite will be true when things turn around. Not everybody is expected to perform instantly in totally new playing culture and team. Koss is classy defender and that will be proved over time. The same were being said about Song, and still is for Denilson. What I see is Koss was expected to get times learning and adjusting, which hasnt been the case with injuries to Tommy V. But to me, it remains the question of AW’s philosophy, which has drifted him away from the practical reality of footbal, that stength and height is pertinent in the CB and CF. he won the doubles in the past not with such kind of team morphology. Asnl is more of an institutional failure, either because of AW’s outlook or because the board is disinterested, rather than that of individual players failings. Force AW by whatever the means to change, so that he gets the right players in the CB and Cf, just one apiece, and c what will happen. The article suggests a team in decay, not a team in need of just few remedies, one or two! fans paying highly to watch Arsnl at the Emirates have powers to change that. They just need to wake up!

  14. killer

    November 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    you dont know football and you are uninjormed in your judgements.

  15. Dan

    November 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    You haven’t analysed the source of Arsenal’s problems: THE MANAGER!!!

    It was he who signed that donkey Koscielny and did not bring in a proper goalkeeper (Fabianski is not exceptional by the way). It is he who is persisting with a formation that doesn’t work and cannot adapt his tactics to suit the opposition.

  16. nicky

    November 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Sanchit
    You should never have released your age. Look at the ammo it has given your critics, KID!

  17. Sinbad

    November 25, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Some of what you said is spot on, especially about Clichy and Koscielny.

    Someone said Koscielny needs time to adapt which is true, but if you look at his mistakes, it’s basic defending. He’s also horribly slow and his tackles are poorly timed. He got skinned by El Hadji Diouf for god’s sake. He looks cumbersome, clumsy and a little bit thick to be honest. Get Djorou back in, he’s earned his place over the last few games

  18. Sinbad

    November 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Oh and lay off the kid for being 15, at least he’s doing something constructive instead of just pulling his dick like the rest of you did at his age!

  19. Fab4

    November 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Haha, nicely put Sinbad!

    I also have to agree with most of what Sanchit says. The problems at Arsenal are fairly clear. Those who say Koscielny need time are right, but that is a problem in itself. Why did we buy a defender who needed at least a year to settle? What we should have done is buy a CB who was already established and had Prem experience. At least Squillaci has experience on his side, what does Kos have….1 year in top flight French football?! And Arsene expected him to roll into the premier league and be ok?! No chance.

    Clichy is worrying, he has been going backwards for a while now. Fabregas just looks fed up to be honest.

  20. Aussie Jack

    November 26, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Having read Matthew Norman`s comments (Daily Telegraph) which in itself is something more of a lesson in English rather than an objective criticism of Arsenal I can only say that the man appears to be something of an egotistical goose. The blokes down at White Hart Lane wouldn`t understand a word, but then they`d never read it. (Telegraph won`t accept my password, so stuff `em)

  21. swikrath

    November 26, 2010 at 5:01 am

    “Why did we buy a defender who needed at least a year to settle? What we should have done is buy a CB who was already established and had Prem experience”

    BECAUSE THEY ARE OVER RATED, WORTH HALF THE PRICE TAG THEY ADORN.. And its not about being used prem league, its about getting used to the arsenal way..most teams don’t play as further up on the pitch as we do..And about being able to converse with the back four(LOL) .. And whilst you have a go at his decrepity you fail to see how good his pisitional awareness is,how he out ran/muscled torres and apart from the one diouf incident i don;t remember how many we conceded from his fault..

    • Fab4

      November 26, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      Right, so EVERY centre back in the premier league is over-rated and over priced? Was Koscielny over priced at the reported £8m for a player who had only played 1 full season in top flight French football? I think so.

      Would it have been less of a risk to pay an extra £5m and snap up hangeland or Cahill? Most certainly.

      Positional awareness? Getting constantly dragged out of position and then being caught for pace when the striker skins him down the line?!

      • swikrath

        November 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

        hangeland is not for sale?Don’t you get it?just like how fabregas was not and now prise away player worth 10m you’d have to offer 15m,or 20m and that arsenal have never done before.Its not something the club stands for or ever will.

        • Fab4

          November 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

          Swikrath

          Every player has his price and if Arsenal were pro-active, we could certainly have bought Hangeland. you can’t compare Fabregas’ situation to hangeland’s either!

          We paid over the odds for Koscielny, which goes against everything your argument is about. Kos is only worth around £3-4m based on his ability, but we paid nearer £8m. So if we had to pay £15m for hangeland, so what?! You need to pay good money for good players that will improve the team. Has kos improved Arsenal’s defence for the £8m we paid for him!? No chance.

  22. swikrath

    November 26, 2010 at 5:25 am

    @Dan : It was he who also signed cesc,henry,viera.. strong memory you ve got there

  23. swikrath

    November 27, 2010 at 9:33 am

    and the article hear does not refer cahill and the players mentioned in it might do well on fantasy football and earn points there is also the fact as how the player ll take to our style.
    All we needed was vermalean to be fit.Period and strong mid fielder?? We already have nasri,cesc,arshavin,rosicky,theo,jack in mid field not to forget abou and song and denilson. Well now what?Sell them all cuz they are crap?
    Would you’ve an alex song had we done that? a samir nasri?
    where’s the author by the way? No offense intended..just my 2pence worth

  24. Steven

    December 14, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Arsene built the invincible team but his backline was as solid as ever tony adams and keown were rock solid. He rather then buying a establish CB is trying to plug the gap with rising stars hence the cost is lower. He needs someone who is a no nonsense defender Chiellini is i was wenger i would break the bank and even off van persie for him. Secondly Wenger’s wage structure might do the club finances good but it wont deliver you a trophy. When Henry left and Barcelona offered eto (who wanted to come) Wenger asked about his wages and ran awya like a french girl. (swapping henry and eto would have made Arsenal champions when we had flamini and hleb in our side EASILY). Wenger also bulked at YAYA Toure’s wages (he wanted to come to arsenal as well just see the reason why he left at half time against us this year). It’s simple Wenger needs to sign 2 star players and pay them for there work load can you imagine how good arsenal would be if we had chiellini partnering, vermalean, yaya toure and song behind fabregas (who will not want to leave with players like yaya and chiellini int he team) and eto to finish our 10000 chances we create. its all Wengers stupid wage structure he needs to bend the rules a bit if he wants to compete!

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