What We Must Do To Beat Chelsea
A 1-apiece draw in the North London derby was a tad underwhelming on Saturday it must be said. Arsene Wenger must learn to stop trying to please individual players and pick his team according to form.
Before the game Wenger cancelled out the Capital One Cup exit in midweek and counted the Aston Villa win as a contributor to momentum going into the derby, but the rhythm was interrupted upon a return to the 4-3-3 formation.
The boss has reverted to this system to cover up our deficiencies in midfield and our lack of presence there. It’s to give the holding midfield players in Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini as much protection as possible whilst accommodating both Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.
We’ve seen some of our most sluggish and lifeless performances with this system however and it needs to be abandoned as far as I’m concerned.
The problem is that Wilshere and Ramsey seem to believe they have even more license to explore further up the field and it leaves our DM incredibly exposed.
Ramsey’s injury is a big blow, never good to lose your top players but let’s hope he can use time off to reflect on recent disappointing displays and therefore come back a lot stronger.
I’m tempted to say that this injury could enhance our performance because we can bring in different players that could bring different uses however it’s unlikely this will be the case. Santi Cazorla will probably replace Ramsey due to Wenger’s reluctance to minus the creativity from his side and we’ll go as we were.
That’s annoying because we should now be looking to be as solid as we can in midfield and let Mesut Ozil dictate the tempo centrally.
Although I expect it from Wenger, we really can’t go to Stamford Bridge lined up the same way we’d play a mid-table side.
I’d partner Abou Diaby alongside Flamini to form our most physical midfield possible. Flamini needs support. Quite frankly he’s a very limited player who has now been responsible for conceding in our two biggest Premier League games to date. Personally, I think Francis Coquelin could offer us more than Mathieu but Wenger seems to have frozen him out.
I like the front three that finished the game on Saturday and I think we should start with that against Chelsea because we’re able to hit them on the break with pure speed, which of course Ozil will thrive on.
Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can replicate Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling in the style of an SOS attack – I’m convinced. They’re all pretty comparable to each counterpart and will scare the life out of defenders. We have Ozil to provide them with the opportunities to run at them.
Wenger has to realise we won’t control the ball at every ground we play at this season but his knack for placing playmakers out wide goes against this and it’s quite a defensive formation in some ways. We have to be able to pin Chelsea back and pace is crucial for that especially when you consider Chelsea’s severe lack of it at the back.
Diaby is our most dominant midfield player and he really should get some game time in midweek to prepare him for this game.
Defensively we look a shadow of how we were last season and that’s disappointing and although I like Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers seems to improve our defence a little more. I think it’s due to being a defender first and foremost, that he gives us similar assurances at the back that Bacary Sagna gave us, and offers Per Mertesacker much-needed protection whereas Debuchy tends to get caught out up field.
Our lack of a mobile DM won’t help cover for that either
Chambers and Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed like they’ve been playing together for years, very close friends behind the scenes having had similar starts to their careers being picked up by Arsenal before fully establishing themselves at Southampton initially.
I’d love for that partnership to continue on the right. I’m not sure how long Wilshere is out for if he even is out but unfortunately we might be better off without trying to compensate for him, Ramsey or the possible incoming Santi Cazorla on the weekend.
My team to get a result against Chelsea
With this side we’ll have more steel than we’ve ever had in the middle with the two Frenchman being our most aggressive midfielders. This will also allow for Ozil to have most of the middle to work his magic and use that ridiculously quick front three to his benefit.
Ox and Alexis can change flanks from time to time and give both Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic something to think about whilst Welbeck could be a nuisance for John Terry and Gary Cahill.
Dare I say that we’d be able to match and maybe prove stronger than Chelsea in midfield with Ramires apparently absent, only leaving Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas. It’s possible that John Obi Mikel could come in but we’ll see.
The team I expect to see unfortunately
The contrast in power and pace is ridiculous and if anything similar to the second predicted team is sent out at Stamford Bridge then I’ll be gearing myself up for a battering to be honest.
One thing for sure is that we will learn a lot about how ready Arsene is to take us to the next level after next weekend.
Mid-week could alter my feelings but I’m quite pessimistic about the weekend that’s for sure.