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Redgun90 30 pts

The Giroud Delusion

Posted by Redgun90 over 1 year ago · 3 replies

This was a great match. Leicester supremely confident and playing their very fast pressing and breaking game. Arsenal beginning to find confidence and form again.

Leicester’s pressing style reminds me of Dortmund and the current Spurs team (yuck). When players are pressing so fast and so together, it seems to me to make them think faster, with the result that Arsenal looked ponderous, often playing passes that were intercepted with lightning speed by Leicester.

So why were we playing in such a measured way, rather than in the fast rapier style with which we dismantlwed Man U? One answer may well be that we were nervous of losing a top of the table match - nervous of conceding an eight point deficit. And, some key players have not returned from injury firing on all cylinders yet. Alexis, for example, seems to have recovered his ball retention and winning back skills as well as his ability to spot and execute a pass, but his shooting seems way off as yet. Ramsey is misplacing far too many passes (and I also thought he bottled out of that race to the ball against Schmeichel.) But I also think it has something to do with the current tactical set up.

We’ve been playing with Giroud up top, and, especially in the last couple of games, have looked to use him to knock down balls for others in the penalty box. And it’s worked well. However, I think it also stops us from looking for the ball behind the defence, as we can do when Walcott’s up top. This means the build up play is slower, because ther’e always a sense that when it goes to Giroud, it has to come back rather than forward, meaning that the team as a whole expects stop rather than flow.

And I wonder if this doesn’t have a braking effect on the whole team, somehow causing them to think slower, as well as move slower. Re-watching the game today, the only time when we started to play with real speed using one-touch passing, was the last ten minutes, when we had both Theo and Welbeck on.

Before this I was delighted to see Theo back on the right. My belief is that the reason he’s looked poor in the last month or so, is that he was asked to fill in Alexis’s role on the left, so that the way the team played could be preserved in Alexis’s absence. And, of course, Theo has a quite different skill set. To his credit, he has vastly improved his defensive intent (if not, always, effectiveness), but he’s looked like a square peg in a round hole on the left. On Sunday, playing on the right, he looked much more at home, and really pumped up - I thought his response to Giroud not getting on the end of one of his crosses quite telling. And, his ability to score the vital first goal (as in the cup final) is often underestimated in comparison with flashier later efforts.

None of this is meant to be critical of Giroud, who played his role with great determination and skill. All I’ve been trying to understand in this piece, is why we often look unsettled, and unable to keep the ball in the face of fast-pressing teams - why we look like we think slower than them.

All this said, it was the result we had so badly needed. A 6 pointer in our favour. But with this being the run in for the title, we are finally picking up momentum.

3 Comments

Ix Techau Evil Mastermind 14,229 pts
Posted over 1 year ago by Ix Techau

I think Arsenal have always struggled with fast-paced teams because it's the complete opposite to our own style, which is built upon patient build-up play and passing the ball into the net. While we're trying to find a perfect opening and a measured pass, Leicester doesn't give a fuck and just fire balls into the area to play the number game: do it enough times and someone will end up on a scoring position.

Ironically enough, one of the ways to counter such tactics is by going full Stoke and just kick them off the pitch. Arsenal won't do that of course, so then we're only left with the option of outplaying them and hoping we're the better team on the day.

Simply put: we looked slow and inaccurate because Leicester forced us to look like that. Massive pressure would make any team look like that. If we were a smaller team I'd like to see us adapt our tactics and try to beat Leicester at their own game, do what they do. Sit back, press like crazy and then counter. They're not used to that, and would not expect it. And player-by-player we have far better individual quality.

Ix Techau Evil Mastermind 14,229 pts
Posted over 1 year ago by Ix Techau

I think Arsenal have always struggled with fast-paced teams because it's the complete opposite to our own style, which is built upon patient build-up play and passing the ball into the net. While we're trying to find a perfect opening and a measured pass, Leicester doesn't give a fuck and just fire balls into the area to play the number game: do it enough times and someone will end up on a scoring position.

Ironically enough, one of the ways to counter such tactics is by going full Stoke and just kick them off the pitch. Arsenal won't do that of course, so then we're only left with the option of outplaying them and hoping we're the better team on the day.

Simply put: we looked slow and inaccurate because Leicester forced us to look like that. Massive pressure would make any team look like that. If we were a smaller team I'd like to see us adapt our tactics and try to beat Leicester at their own game, do what they do. Sit back, press like crazy and then counter. They're not used to that, and would not expect it. And player-by-player we have far better individual quality.

Morleys Mesut Özil > You and your mum, chief 4,424 pts
Posted over 1 year ago by Morleys

Desperate to see Welbz start up front again. Think statistically he's the best suited with Alexis in terms of getting the best out of him. Giroud the complete opposite iirc

JonWill 132 pts
Posted over 1 year ago by JonWill

Santi Cazorla being unavailable has also hampered our ability to get past a press. When he and Francis Coquelin were a pairing, Cazorla would often pick the ball up from one of the two center backs and he would carry it or knock it up-field if Arsenal were being pressed. So much so that it became a crutch. In addition, because Aaron Ramsey was stationed higher up-field, Cazorla/Coquelin often had him as an available passing option, because he likes to move towards the ball and generally understands how to make himself available for a pass in a good location. Not many of our right wing options do that.

Arsenal's form and confidence has taken a hit over the last month and a half. More and more, it looked like conceding that late goal to Liverpool hurt them deep. Arsenal had little to no control in that match, but to come from behind twice, go ahead, and then concede an equalizer in the last minute of injury time, is very demoralizing. Now that Arsenal have gotten some of their players back, scored an amazing winner in the last minute of injury time against the league leaders, they should kick on and go on a run. Should be reflected in their on-field play as well.

Ramsey actually didn't misplace that many passes against Leicester. I think he was at 90%. And I agree, I think he did hesitate a little when he tried to beat Kaspar Schmeichel to the ball.

Olivier Giroud has influenced our style of play, but he works better with Ramsey and Ozil, and there are signs that his on-field relationship with Alexis is getting better. And his movement has become a lot better this season. Say what you will about the guy, but he has markedly improved season-on-season in some way.

Finally, you simply cannot expect Arsenal to play a team off the park in every single match. Almost every, if not every, Arsenal player was extremely on point that day against Manchester United, and Manchester United's set-up and decision making also contributed.

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