Arsenal 3-3 Anderlecht: Arsenal’s Shamblic Performance Analysed From Back-to-Front

By on November 6, 2014

Arsenal blew the chance to secure qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League after letting slip a three-goal lead against Anderlecht on Tuesday night. Here, Gunner333 analyses the teams performances.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

As Arsenal’s attempt to rectify their domestic form begins to take flight, the Gunners now had to return attention to the Champions League and a tie with Anderlecht, a side they defeated late on last time out.

The Belgian outfit arrived to play an incredibly attacking-minded Arsenal side, who took the lead inside the first half hour, courtesy of a Mikel Arteta spot-kick. Welbeck brought down in the box, for the Spaniard  to convert his first Champions League goal.

Arsenal’s lead was doubled moments later from another set-piece. Alexis Sanchez’ initial attempt looped into the air, to which the Chilean unleashed a drilled volley into the bottom corner of the net. Wenger’s men 2-0 up and cruising half an hour in.

The hosts exhibited much of the same intense, direct game in the second period, Alexis regaining possession and sliding through Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Englishman on it like a flash before firing a third into the far corner for 3-0. The Gunners well on top and near certain to make it a third win of their Champions League campaign.

However, there was little time for the Gunners to enjoy the three goal advantage as Anderlecht pulled one back with immediate effect,  Vanden Borre poking home Kawaya’s cross, hints of offside waved away and Anderlecht had scored what would surely be no more than a simple consolation.

After Welbeck missed out marginally on a fourth, Proto blocking the forward’s header on the line, Arsenal would in fact have more to worry about, with the Belgians doubling their tally via the second penalty of the night.

Nacho Monreal caught in a tangle in the box, with the Spaniard dragging down young forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, referee given no choice but to point to the spot. It would be Vande Borre who’d take the opportunity, making no mistake to send Szczesny the wrong way and close the deficit at 3-2.

The capitulation was complete late on when Najar whipped in a promising cross from the right for Serbian Mitrovic to beat Mertesacker to head home the equaliser in stoppage time. The full-time whistle unsurprisingly calling for a chorus of Gooner boos, Wenger under scrutiny yet again.

Many problems to discuss in this game now, as I shall now analyse the performance of the team from back-to-front and, due to popular demand, shall mark Mr. Wenger himself on his actions in this draw.

At The Back: 3/10

The defence was woeful from the start. Wenger himself criticised the nature of his back-line, particular concerns laying with Monreal’s dire positional sense and commitment issues of our two full-backs. Of course, Mertesacker himself is not free of any exposition, a lack of strength un-characteristically evident as well as an incredible lack of knowledge in dealing with Mitrovic’s runs.

Both Chambers and Gibbs played two high up the pitch and were lazy in dealing with movement down the flanks, undone many a time by some rather mediocre footwork. The display from the back was poor from the off, the complacency at such a lead no doubt making it worse.

Nacho Monreal may have looked a reasonable choice through the middle at times in recent games, but a truly abhorrent showing culminating in the former Malaga man giving away a lousy penalty for the second, may call for Wenger to re-consider his options.

In The Middle: 3/10

Going forward initially the midfield were fairly bright, but post the third goal, complacency set in. Firstly, we failed to deal with Mikel Arteta being forced off and protection of the back four was non-existent after the Spaniard departed.

As soon as Arsenal found themselves three to the good, Wenger’s men seemed incapable of turning off the attacking switch and revert to some less attractive defensive football, even for just ten minutes. Everyone was eager to press forward and get on the score-sheet.

The naivety shown by some of the players was worrying as nobody seemed to show the maturity to just sit back and kill the game when Anderlecht pulled one back. The lack of a world class defensive midfielder is also clearly hampering this team week-in, week-out.

Up-Top: 8/10

Given the embarrassing analysis of the other two departments, I deem it unfair to mark Oxlade-Chamberlain as a midfielder so has included him in the attackers category. The winger had Anderlecht’s back three in knots early on and showed great confidence in driving forward with the ball and rifled a fantastic finish to make it 3-0.

Alexis Sanchez, forever a spark in the Arsenal’s slacking contingent, was yet again on the score-sheet and although no player can ever be bigger than the club, he’s fast becoming our key player. His goal was breath-taking and he was once again the hardest working player on the pitch.

The final attacking presence, Danny Welbeck, continues to extend his dry spell but exhibited far better movement than recent weeks, his physical threat also pleasing on the eye, unlucky not to have score when rising to head at Proto.

Wenger: 4/10

Last season’s FA Cup triumph is doing little to make Wenger’s position any more secure as our poor start to the season is resulting in ever-growing pressure on the Frenchman’s shoulders.

Although the majority of fault lays with the players in this clash, Arsene made cataclysmic errors himself. The substitutions were made far too late and even then there was no thought of shutting up shop and seeing the game out. He made like-for-like changes in Rosicky and Podolski replacing Welbeck and the Ox which only further increased the pressure from the visitors as we had no pace in attack and therefore no out ball.

It was clear there was no game-plan to protect the lead or strategy to deal with the increasing pressure from Anderlecht during the final stages of the game. Obviously the players should know better, but it’s down to the manager to react to the game and set his team up accordingly. Which Wenger failed to do.

Generally whoever one decides to point the finger at, all can agree that the main reason for failure to win was due to the inability to play scrappy football and have the intelligence to defend a lead, the defending is a growing cause for concern and a lot must change ahead of Sunday’s trip to Swansea. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

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2 Comments

  1. John

    November 6, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Spot on Wenger lacks idea, He should have kill the game off at 3-Mertesacker lacks leadership at the back he can’t jump he can run so what on earth is he doing?. Papa Wenger can no longer read games the man is on the downward trend and believes he knows more that everybody reason new coaches disgraced his tactical aptitude.

  2. John

    November 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Spot on Wenger lacks idea, He should have kill the game off at 3-1 Mertesacker lacks leadership at the back he can’t jump, he can’t run so what on earth is he doing?. Papa Wenger can no longer read games the man is on the downward trend and believes he knows more than everybody reason new coaches disgraced his tactical aptitude.

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