Clive P’s 5 Points is back…..
Big weeks get you thinking. Chelsea our nemesis – we have won 4 out of the last 24 games vs this team.
Roman has changed the landscape of English football and London football.
· Chelsea have more money injected by the ownership model.
· Chelsea have a better up to date training ground inclusive of the academy.
· Chelsea have more coaches at all levels.
· Chelsea have a better medical science department with more data than any other club to allow accurate decisions.
· Chelsea have won the Champions League.
· Chelsea have won 9 trophies in the last decade.
Money does make a difference – But We have 3 major achievements over CFC at present.
· Arsenal have the best ground in the league.
· Arsenal are the only team in the modern era to win the league unbeaten.
· Arsenal under Wenger always plays the best football.
That last point. Do we play the best football?
Do we and should we always play the best football. How do we compete with a machine that is super focussed on smashing Arsenal out of London. How do we respond. It’s time for Arsenal to re-write modern history. While we mock CFC they are creating history that is current and now they are building a dynasty that is focussed on a good buying policy and an even better selling policy.
Arsenal are a smart club – They are positioned perfectly to fight in this modern FFP era when the financial balance is as equal as it’s been for the last 10 years. No one can compete with CFC and over £800 million of the owners money supplementing a club since 2008.
That has to stop with FFP – now Arsenal can be as big as we are.
Back to on the pitch how can we beat them. For me it’s not talent it’s the mentality. At one time we had the mental edge and went 17 games undefeated against CFC. But before we overcome those mental hurdles tactically we have to adjust and set goals during a game.
How to beat Chelsea:
· Effect their mentality – hurt them at their strong point. Make them nervous.
· Challenge their core physicality – Costa standing up to JT was pivotal in the CL semi
· Score the first goal – CFC when nervous like vs Atletico Madrid are very human
· Accuracy – No Mistakes. CFC are very good at feeding of your errors it’s so important you play in the right areas.
· Pace – You need to always have pace as it means their back line cannot push up and use their small pitch to squeeze you
· Transition quickly. Make CFC run backwards Ozil key to the transition game and smart on the break decisions
· Be in the game last 25 minutes – No ‘Wenger I’m gonna play you’ ego just be in the game for the last quarter
· Score First – Crucial
Watch the video of the CL semi vs Ath Madrid last season and understand even a Jose team fully focused can be beaten at its own game.
2. Santi Cazorla
I have an admission to make. As many of you know I favour players naturally like the Ox, Diaby, Vieira – pacy physical talents that can play.
I’ve struggled to fully appreciate the talents of a Santi Cazorla. When we judge a player we have our own structures of interpretation. These unconscious biases lurk deep within all of us and cloud our ability to see clearly the game and it’s players. Those with the ability to clear their mind of bias and in my opinion factually , emotionally understand the structures of a game and how a player or group of players impact it is key to any real assessment.
This week vs Galatasaray when the team was named I tweeted immediately ‘that we will see the future today with the OX in the number 8 role’
Soon as the game started I was made to look even more foolish than I normally do as we decided to go with that pillar of the Arsenal central midfield Santi Cazorla in the Aaron Ramsey role – But WOW how well did he play!
Santi understands football and certainly understands the role of a central player. His ability to go both ways off either foot is not suited to wide positions. What surprised me was his defensive effort and positional discipline. Always supporting from behind the ball. He has wing mirrors and always turns back into known space, then back again using his low centre of gravity to turn away from the monsters around him. Small players attract physicality, they attract the press and Santi uses this so well by never stopping the ball and always changing the direction of his touch his pass or his run.
Now you can’t play him there Vs CFC Clive I hear you all cry – But ask yourself this. Why not?
We could play Jack in there and he is just as small (nearly) he has a hot head and in my opinion not as tactically disciplined. Santi showed Ramsey what he should be doing for Arsenal. Don’t be the hero just play the game. Control the game. Your job as a central midfielder is to be the brain of the side, allow the ball to travel though you, through the middle third of the pitch. Connect the team technically. You cannot leave your partner isolated as that does not allow any DM to engage in the tackle properly.
Defensive distances is key for Arsenal and I’m afraid Aaron’s desire to be the match winner and not read his offensive triggers correctly means we are too open in centre mid. We are all focussed on the DM position and yes Arteta and Flamini could be improved upon but It’s a collective issue and Santi showed that you can fix this up to a point with tactical intelligence and an understanding of your role.
We all love Jack and Aaron and they are our future but both could learn from Santi Cazorla
3. Welbeck and Chambers
Injury Arsenal are experts at injuries. It’s one trophy we hold the league table on www.physioroom.com But sometimes it leads us to forced decisions that just work.
It’s quite possible that 2 of our form players right now maybe nowhere near the first team or even Arsenal were it not for injuries.
Ask yourself would we of purchased Welbeck if it were not for Giroud’s freak injury at Everton – I doubt it. Would Chambers be playing now so well if Debuchy has not had his freak injury. Both injured players are crucial Arsenal first teamers but it’s obvious to many Chambers and Welbeck bring something that has been missing from Arsenal for many years.
Smooth is the primary emotion that comes to mind. He is a player that understands how he wants to look on a football pitch. By that I mean he wants to look assured he will run hard when he needs to run hard and not a second before. Calmly assessing the game his head always up looking for the first time pass once he retains the ball. He is a leader, a pointer someone who sees the game rather than immerses himself so deeply that the game becomes something you react to. Chambers is pro-active in everything he does. Tactically for Arsenal much accused of having crazy fullbacks who leave their station regularly having Chambers who thinks his way through the game has brought some stability to our defensive Unit. Gibbs is a dasher a leggy runner. Chambers is cool and underlaps rather than overlaps.
Lauren used to do that.
Both Chambers and Lauren were educated as central midfielders both happy to tuck in rather than dash for the corner flag with no thought of the collective. Lauren and Cole were our best ever fullbacks in my opinion. In Chambers we have that fullback balance back and with it I’m hopeful of improved defensive stability. He will be world class very soon.
Why does it take Arsenal so long to realise what they are. In the Wenger era we have always been about pace, transition the ability to win the ball and quickly move through the pitch. In the era where defences know where to stand the only time most teams are not in position is when they HAVE the ball. Then you must quickly take advantage of that disorganisation if you can dispossess them.
Arsenal moved away from that with a more measured build up and controlling possession and wearing teams down over a period of time. I prefer the rapier approach and this is what Welbeck brings Arsenal. His work ethic sets a tone that others follow. His running presence dictates our offensive pattern of play. He is a connector centre forward who runs long distances and can repeat those runs time and time again.
Costa makes great diagonals and I’m worried about his runs behind the BFG this weekend away from Kos and his first time finishing. Welbeck runs are just as good and he is developing by the minute. Could we find a CF more suited to Arsenal right now. I’m not sure there is one out there.
He suits this group and the players seem to want him to succeed. He must improve his left side finishing and under pressure decision making in the box but his mobility and quick feet is perfect for AFC.
4. Take off the Handbrake
Arsenal don’t score enough goals. Home goals last season
· Man City – 63
· Liverpool – 53
· Chelsea – 43
· Arsenal – 36
· Everton – 38
Arsenal for a team that has many players who prefer to run forwards rather than backwards we do not create enough or score enough. Vs Galatasaray Did injury force Wenger to support our CF with 2 fast inside forwards and a creative ‘ten’ behind – in my opinion I would rather be Arsenal and lose like Arsenal than lose with square pegs in round holes not quite believing in our ability to hurt teams.
I don’t like having a Santi wide to give more technical possession/assurance as Santi cannot run with say a Schurrle and cannot stop a forceful fullback overloading down his side. You need Sanchez who works hard but threatens going forward with his pace. Also on the right the Ox does a similar job.
Arsenal must be brave and play the right profile of players in the right positons.
The modern game is based on competencies such as:
· Technical ability
· Physical dynamism
· Speed agility
· Speed endurance
· Jumping ability
· Mental intelligence
The best players have all of the above in various degrees. You then have to know your profile of what makes an Arsenal full back for example he must be quick agile feet, good at one on one tackles. He must be able to play out of the press be strong at ‘regain and retain’ skills he must be able to cross at speed. He must have the right level of defensive intensity and mentally switch immediately from defensive mind set to attacking mind set instantly.
Arsenal need to have pace to unlock this team to reach its goal scoring potential. Be brave take off the handbrake
5. Jose wants to be Wenger
Jose hates Wenger he hates the reverence by which Wenger is seen. Jose is from a different place. He has an inferiority complex about his true belonging in the game. He never played he is someone who developed his career through hard work, attention to detail and smart business decisions to always be in a club where money allows him to build and win for the short term. Jose then blows out leaving a wasteland behind him.
Wenger has built a dynasty, he has been given the time – Jose has never been given. That annoys him so he has made it his duty to show the world how normal and average Wenger is.
Wenger is smart – he knows nothing annoys a bully more than apathy. Bullies like to effect people make people talk about them notice them make people react to the bully. Wenger just keeps on his path, never knocked off his philosophy. Wenger has a self-assurance even Jose can’t undermine.
We call him stubborn but it’s utter self-belief of a leader.
Leaders don’t waver or they won’t be leaders – they set goals and people work for them try to achieve those goals.
One area where I think Jose trumps Wenger is analysis. Jose learns lessons quicker. He reacts he sometimes over reacts but he reacts.
Wenger is more holistic, he is human and interested in the person over the result. He respects people and their careers. Deep down Jose wants to be Wenger but he can never be. He is a over-reactionary street fighter that is super focussed but lacks the class and serenity of a Wenger.
I’m hoping this weekend class comes out on top.