Anderlecht 1-2 Arsenal: Back-To-Front Analysis Of Arsenal’s Dismal Display
Arsenal required two late goals from Gibbs and Podolski to secure a vital 2-1 win away at Anderlecht on Wednesday night. Here is an analysis from Gunner333.
Arsenal required two last minute goals to secure a vital 2-1 win away at Anderlecht on Wednesday night. Here is an analysis from Gunner333.
Whilst Arsenal’s domestic form has done little to ignite fans’ imagination this season, the performances in the Champions League have somewhat fluctuated, with an opening day mauling by Dortmund rectified by a thrashing of Galatasaray last time out. The third side in Arsenal’s group are Anderlecht and after a tough result against Hull, the Gunners were the heavy favourites to beat the Belgian outfit in their own back yard.
Despite dominating possession, Arsenal were able to do little with it, chances frequently cut-out by a frustrating Anderlecht back-line. A truly dire first-half came to a close with little goal-mouth action to speak of.
As the game wore on in the second period, still absent of an Arsenal goal, the home crowd grew in confidence and they finally found a way through when Najar found space in the area to head home the opening goal in the 71st minute.
Real gaps were evident in Arsenal’s defence and Anderlecht could have added to their tally but for some wayward finishing. Fortune was clearly on Arsenal’s side and we somehow found an equaliser with just minutes left on the clock. Chambers’ cross delightfully met on the volley by Kieran Gibbs who thundered a strike low into the bottom corner. A goal from nowhere had rescued Arsenal in a game which was slow from the start.
As if one were not fortuitous enough for the visitors, the hosts were harshly dealt a blow when Alexis Sanchez did well to dig out a cross and the ball fell at Lukas Podolski’s feet, who lashed it home an unlikely winner in the 92nd minute. Two goals in three minutes had rescued Arsenal and now we stand on the brink of qualification to the knockout stages with games to spare.
I will now analyse our performance from back to front:
At The Back: 5/10
A real gulf in class was present on paper between these two sides, with any potential slip-up most likely to lay with rookie keeper Martinez. Generally though, the Spaniard had a good game and in-fact denied a second late on and was lively to prevent any opportunities in the first half.
However, the defending in the second half left a lot to be desired as we were all over the place at times. The space we gave Najar to score the opener was bad enough but we left ourselves wide open on the counter at times during the closing stages and Anderlecht should really have killed the game off before we had a chance to turn things around.
Obviously we were missing Koscielny and his return will help matters, but even with the side we had out we should never have been troubled so much by a side like Anderlecht.
In the Middle: 4/10
Slow, sluggish and greatly lacking creativity. Wenger saw his middle-men switch-on cruise control from the off, possession aimlessly misused. Although Anderlecht may not pose the sort of talent as we do, they played with far more energy in the middle and their link-up play was admirable. The Gunners’ maestros however have had one to forget.
Guilty not only of playing in such a lethargic manner, the team were also far too desperate to create the perfect goal when chances did break. The tiki-taka method was increasingly frustrating. Chances broke down on the edge of the area, with some perhaps less attractive football required to change the game.
Furthermore, as if the Gunners were not bad enough utilising their middle men going forward, tracking back the performance was equally unconvincing. Frustrating again to see Flamini left alone, the Frenchman’s odd strive forward supplied Anderlecht with huge amounts of space and it’s clear that he needs more help in front of the defence.
Forward Men: 7/10
Once again, despite not scoring, the two forwards Sanchez and Welbeck are really the only two Gunners who can walk away, heads held high. The Chilean was dynamic and worked far harder than any other player on the pitch, whilst Danny did the best with what he got and was probably grateful to be replaced given the lack of service he was given.
The midfield were ultimately at fault for the loathsome showing in this clash and I feel the attack could have done little more. It was great to see Lukas Podolski playing again and his finish was emphatic to seal the win. But once again we only really came alive once we went behind and it’s a trait we need to stamp out quickly.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.
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