I have just read an article on Gunnertalk and I was amazed that the article stated that Guendouzi had been terrible, moreover the content was followed by several comments from followers who agreed with the writer. I have just seen how poisonous public media can be. Some of the claims referred to what should happen to Guendouzi for such a terrible performance, as did queries as to why Xhaka should be pilloried whilst the young Frenchman gets away with such a bad performance.
My own view of this is that Emery laid the plans and picked the team to carry it out. He resorted, once again to 3-4-1-2 which has not given us much success in the past.
The back three were Chambers, Luis and Holding. Chambers has recently been used as a CB, RB and right wingback. Our midfiled four were Bellerin, Torreira Kolasinac Guendouzi. Ozil was the link to the front two while Guendouzi was the box to box player. The commentators suggested that this was a solid looking team and the three CBs, were the best three we had at the club. It all looked very encouraging. Unfortunately, it all went wrong because Leicester started at 100 miles per hour and maintained their speed throughout the first half. Their passing was crisp and direct, and their method was tried and tested. They left Vardy to his own devices and he raced all-round the box forcing Holding, in particular, out of his comfort zone. Kolasinac had to come to his rescue several times when he was too slow to get back to his position after being drawn out by the movement of Vardy and Maddison in particular.
Chambers coped well with the opposite side of Leicester’s attack and some of the play was switched to infield where Torriera was kept busy. Guendouzi was trying to command that area by running with the ball and trying to mount individual runs into their defence. There was no coordination between him and Torreira and even less with Ozil. With the lack of coordination, it was inevitable that Leicester`s much more direct play gave our midfield and defence no respite and therefore no supply to Auba and Laca who, just as in the previous matches Auba was starved and Laca had to go fighting to get a touch at all. The breakdown of the passes was 477 for Leicester with success of 419 whereas Arsenal`s was 463 (almost as much as Leicester ) but the success rate was 386. On top of that Leicester`s passes were far more meaningful and were generally made forward and to the intended target. Arsenal`s were made either with panic and inaccuracy, or the reverse and much more methodical, and backwards and sidewards. How many times did we see Leo standing with the ball at his chest trying to pick someone to throw it to?
Torreira is a pocket bull dog and he will face anyone but unfortunately, he lacks the physicality for the job he is being asked to do. He needs a partner with muscle to carry some of the weight for the defence. Xhaka is not the man and neither is Guendouzi because he is a ball carrier first and foremost. He does not tackle well, though his effort to do so is commendable but he does speed the action up around him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to rub off on his colleagues, and we respond with aimless passes sideways and backwards. That is not his fault.
Emery has had more recent time in the Premier League than Rogers has, yet Rogers has his team playing his way and it is a neat, fast, committed style of football with most passes aimed forward and accurately. He makes the most of Vardy who never travels too far from the box and chases every ball. (this after 3 of Leicester`s best players have been sold!)
What can we learn from this? If we could work out a method for supporting Aube and Laca, I have no doubt that they could score much more goals than Vardy. We need intense training with our defence until it becomes second nature for them to win the ball without foolish dives, that they cover each other and that they learn to pass accurately. These are pure technique problems and should be able to be remedied with proper coaching. When a player in the top clubs gets the ball in midfield, there will be at least two players who will turn and run forward so that they are immediately available for a telling pass, they don`t stand around trying to decide what to do next. They know instinctively, it is trained into them that they hunt for the ball and they know before they get it what they are going to do. If Emery cannot make the necessary decisions to make all this happen, we are heading downwards and Auba and Laca will not be here next year
The good ship Arsenal is sinking, and the proper repairs need to be made or we face an ugly demise.