There are times when 140 characters just won’t do. Right now, as the Spurs fans you forgot you knew suddenly appears back into your life, I have moved on from ‘they deserved it’ emotion to ‘Arsenal why did you let this happen’ emotion? I did not think I needed reminding, but we should never let them beat us. Never take our superiority for granted. I’m going to analyse the game in a player by player format:
Ospina – 6
Recently he has given us the serenity we craved since Saints away. His mere presence and the fact he does not do stupid things when you least expect it has been enough. His distribution is excellent, and he collects crosses smartly. Ok, we all thought – he will do. Predictability of performance is comforting. Suddenly yesterday he lost that cloak of assurance. His early unnecessary save from Kane and a mystery injury? Slow distribution is nearly resulting in charge downs. Was he injured? Are we now remembering Sanchez was not so bad, after all? If Ospina cannot give us the serenity, we crave then maybe it’s time for the mad man we know and love to return.
Bellerin – 5
I tweeted before the game:
|clivepafc It’s an away game. Spurs are not fast but Kane is strong and drives well. So… Chambers or Bellerin? 07/02/2015 10:11|
My concern was Spurs focus very much on the left side. Spurs used to be a Walker/Lennon right-sided offensive team but now it’s Kane and Erickson coming on from the left and shooting with their right foot. It’s sometimes not how we view our players that counts but the opposition view them. Spurs played on Bellerin. They focussed on that channel and yes he never got beaten for pace, but this was not about pace this was a POWER game. This was about engaging early in the tackle, forcing them back, transitioning from front foot defending but Hector and others were too passive and too focused on spaces between them and lines rather than man on man tackling to retrieve the ball rather than intercept it.
I felt before the game this was one for men. Chambers although a right centre-back by trade has that presence in the challenge. It was not a running game, so his style of defending was more suited in my opinion. Bellerin should have been rested for the nice open wide space of the Emirates on Tuesday vs. Leicester. The Swansea away game has made many lose trust in Chambers, and I feel that is unfair and short-sighted. He is a well coached and technical player that we need and should support more. Monreal – 7 I can barely remember anything he did wrong. His improvement is marked. He used to be the one teams played on but now his engages so much more robustly. He looks more English that Gibbs in his style of play. Gibbs is a non-contact defender who steals and runs away from you. He defends link a silent assassin – Monreal has improved his presence. We can see him now. He is better on the ball and now better in the challenge. Competition has stepped him up. Now Gibbs has to respond.
Koscienly – 7
Kos always gets a seven as without him we are not a team that has any stability. He is our MVP. He has this side to him – this brittle side when at times he looks, well to me he looks under prepared. I’m glad as if he was focused all the time Bayern would have bought him by now as he has all the attributes off a modern defender. It’s those lapses that cause doubt from observers. At Spurs, he was ok but then a moment when you thought there was no danger, and he just knocked off by a yard and Kane scores. When he loses a challenge, it’s surprising, and you immediately expect more from him as he is so good.
BFG – 7
His channel was overworked and he did well. His talent is positioning of his body and reading the game. He is able always to not just break up play but with one touch pass it to our midfield. Everyone focuses on his lack of mobility but his regain of the ball and retain the skill is what makes his an Arsenal centre back. It’s what Wenger likes – your ability to see an early picture and keep the ball
I’m waiting to see Gabriel and we already know he is quick and aggressive, but let’s see how he is at keeping the ball under pressure. I see a real player in him. A future leader.
Coquelin – 6.5
He started the game immaculately. Intercepting tackling is passing quickly. First twenty he dominated his area. We scored and suddenly like the team we dropped off very deep. Coq has given us so much recently compared to Flamini, who has become frantic in his play offering no assurance. Coq engages he steps into his man and drives past him. Technically improved on the ball he finds good passes. He has reigned himself in from those longer expensive risky passes that get intercepted and become efficient on the ball. Yesterday he got deep like the team and stood where Flamini normally stands and that disappointed me. We needed an adjustment and needed him five years higher, but he was concerned with Dembele and the fact his partners were not keeping the ball. So he dropped deep to protect reactively rather than the pro-active way he has recently. Not all his fault but I hope he learns from this. His starting position and the way he reads the play is what has got him his deserved contract. He must keep doing this.
Ramsey – 5
My wife says to me “stop picking on Ramsey.” 65% passing success – There lies the problem I told her!! I used to be a Paul Ince/Coquelin type tackling midfielder in my younger days and so I always focus more on centre mid. For me, Ramsey is our key player. We have a defensive presence and selection stability, but Ramsey is the one the number 8 the one who is given two jobs. Defend and attack. He is the one detailed to run the most tackle the most pass the most. He is this team’s Vieira so it’s crucial he is efficient on the ball as teams will focus on him after his scoring season of last year.
I have been chatting to @yankeegunner and @arsenalvision and questioned his efficiency on the ball. This is being shown up as Santi ands Ozil is super efficient, so Ramsey suddenly looks like his risky & the self indulged do what you like style just does not do it for me.
We have to have the ball moving quickly and intelligently. Ramsey is not tactically mature. Yesterday Mason and Bentaleb forced us back, and we needed Ramsey to adjust his game and secure the ball and keep it. It was not the day for Risky flicks but a day for retention at all costs. As soon as Arsenal got up to 4 passes we created easy chances or pressure. At City Santi, Alexis and the Ox dribbled our way out of the press. At Spurs on a smaller pitch it was not a day for dribbling but sharp one touch passing and Ramsey feels he is above that and refuses to join the pattern set by Ozil and Santi unless it results in a shot for him.
For me, the number 8 is true squad weakness we have.
A strong multi-functional midfielder who can defend, attack but stays around or behinds the ball providing a forceful platform. Players like De Brynne, Schneiderlin, Pogba Kroos, are the model Ramsey must follow and not be the do it all Gerrard who has big moments, but tactically hard to build a team around. The squad is big he has a lot to prove. Our season depends on him, and that concerns me right now. Sleeping at the back post for the first goal was the turning point. We can’t have that.
Santi – 5.5
I won’t dwell too much on Santi. For two months, he has carried us and given us so much to be happy about. Yesterday he got smashed and could not dribble out of the press like he did at City. Is Santi the answer longterm as one of the 2 in front of a pure DM. He is one answer but not “the one” – it’s a size thing – it depends on his partners and his opponents. A wonderful technical footballer. Bad day at the office for Santi. Move on.
A selection that caught some by surprise but showed Wenger’s commitment to the 4-1-4-1 and the type of player he wants out wide. He wants players that are midfielders when in midfield but can be strikers when we have the ball. Many expected Theo even Spurs expected Theo, but I do not have Theo. Danny was rattled by Rose, but he looked like he cared. He played like it was a Manchester derby and showed others around him that today was a day to compete. Fight fire with fire and do not go away. Loved the way he roasted Rose for the goal.
He normally keeps the ball very well but looked understandably rusty in possession and was part of the lack of ‘regain – retain’ accuracy. We got the ball then gave it back too quickly. As soon as we combined we got in. That was the theme of the game and Danny’s performance. Maybe a week too soon for him. But we saw his value in pure work rate when Theo came on and proceeded only to touch the ball six times and not press Bentaleb on the second Kane goal. Shocking lack of realisation of what was required by Theo and I wonder about him. Is his future at Arsenal. I’m not sure.
The Ox was missed. The Ox for me is the first choice on the right in the 4-1-4-1.
Ozil – 6
His game epitomised our game. He progressively degraded in performance as we got worn down. His goal was sublime his game was one we needed to flourish but he needs players near him and Santi was not quite at the races, so Ozil was isolated one on one when he likes to combine with short sharp first time passes. I looked at him and though he needed his centre mid to be stronger to help him and he could have helped them by being available. The link was broken well by Spurs to Ozil and our fluency of recent weeks disappeared. We just had to focus on playing, and we did not we focussed on defending and Ozil suffered.
The Giroud since QPR has been excellent. He used to be easily rattled off his game and given he is so spinal and important to our pattern of play we lose Giroud’s focus we lose so much. His recent aggression and presence have gone up a notch, but yesterday he did revert a little to the old Giroud. He was not protected by Atkinson, who seemed not tuned into the aggression shown by Spurs but intent on booking Arsenal players. Mason made seven fouls and got booked late for stopping a free kick from being taken. Giroud needed that protection and suffered from it. Spurs were tight on him, and he fought hard but just did not quite happen.
To conclude we have a chance to recover quickly on Tuesday and we must. I’ve never felt as confident going into a Derby as I did the bit yesterday we had to learn how to apply ourselves in these early kick offs. There was a lack of focus that the early goal added to. This result hurts, but it’s 3 points but to hear Spurs wanted it more disappoints me as I struggle to argue against the point.
Thanks for listening Clive.