Arsenal 1 - 2 Manchester United: Poor defending down the flanks costs Arsenal the game

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Arsenal 1 - 2 Manchester United: Poor defending down the flanks costs Arsenal the game Empty Arsenal 1 - 2 Manchester United: Poor defending down the flanks costs Arsenal the game

Post by Jay29 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:03 pm

Arsenal's weakness in the past month or so has been their lack of available full backs.

Manchester United's strength for a long time has been their pace and quality down the flanks.

Put the two together, and what's going to happen? Inevitably they're going to score.

The first half Arsenal were sloppy in just about every capacity. The passing was okay, but whenever Arsenal got into United's third there was either no one to pass to or the wrong decision or pass was made. Defensively it was either worse. United bypassed our midfield far too easily at times and committed men down the flanks which Arsenal did not deal well with at all. The wingers seldom tracked the United full backs and the midfield didn't press United's midfield enough, thus resulting in many balls being played out to the flank.

On the left side it wasn't too much of a problem, since Vermaelen was doing well against Valencia and Walcott was tracking back to help out. The real problems were coming from the left hand side, where Djourou's positioning was poor and Chamberlain's inexperience showed.

Djourou did not get close to Nani once the whole time he was on the pitch. He was always too narrow and too slow to close Nani down. Manchester United were happy to keep playing the ball down the left, since they knew that Djourou would have trouble against Nani and that Chamberlain, who had switched sides with Walcott, wasn't helping as much as he should've been.

United scored their first goal exploiting this. The ball gets played out to the left where Ramsey is covering and he holds up the man with the ball. Giggs makes the overlap and Ramsey actually points to him, telling Djourou to go and track the run. Djourou didn't track the run, in fact he just stood there, and by the time he finally decided to go and close Giggs down, Giggs had already put in a great cross.

Vermaelen doesn't cover himself in glory here, either, when he lost out to Valencia at the back post which, with Vermaelen's leaping ability, is difficult to excuse.

That goal had been coming and Arsenal really need a kick up the arse at half-time.

Wenger reacted at half-time and swithced Djourou with young Nico Yennaris. A risky move, since Yennaris is another make shift full back and was making his first Premier League appearance, but given Djourou's poor display it was a risk worth taking.

Yennaris had some trouble but did do a better job marking Nani and United's threat down that side was pretty much nulified for the whole of the second half. Arsenal, as a whole, played a lot better. Their attacks carried more threat and United were penned back a bit, which relieved some of the pressure on the full backs.

Arsenal managed to make a couple of really good opportunities and really should've taken the lead earlier than they did. Rosicky managed to steal the ball from Smalling and unselfishly played the ball across goal to Robin van Persie. Van Persie did well to work the space but failed to score with the goal gaping. Uncharacteristic of a man that has scored so many goals in the last year.

Not long after, Ramsey managed to find some good room but fired his shot over the ball. Chamberlain also had a shot go just wide of the post, and Rosicky had a shot excellently blocked. It seemed like the ball wouldn't go in for Arsenal.

They eventually found a way to goal though and it all started at the back. Koscielny tackled Rafael brilliantly and played it out. The ball was sent to the other flank and was controlled very well by Chamberlain, who then cut inside and played a great pass into van Persie. The Dutchman made no mistake this time and equalised for Arsenal.

From here on, with the momentum behind Arsenal, you'd expect them to go onto win. However, the subsitution of Chamberlain for Arshavin really kill that momentum (and I will talk more about that later on). Arsenal, rightly or wrongly, had replaced their brightest attacker. It would be Arshavin's error which would lead to United's winner. The Russian failed to make any sort of effective challenge and Valencia ended up setting up Welbeck for the winner. It was a real killer blow and Arsenal didn't look like recovering from it.

The Chamberlain Subsitution
To be honest, my initial reaction to this was one of disbelief and anger. What was Wenger doing, taking off our best player for Arshaivn, who had been so disappointing for so long? I hadn't considered that Chamberlain might have had a knock or tweak. My only thoughts were that he was playing really well, had just set the equaliser up and would be riding high on adrenaline. Tiredness wouldn't be an issue.

After the game, I thought about it more and considered the reasons for the subsitution and I've changed my stance from "wtf Wenger" to "okay, fair enough Wenger".

Wenger claims Chamberlain had cramp and tiring, so he withdrew him. It's easy to say that keeping him on might have won us the game, but at the same time you've got to think about the games after this one. Would you rather Chamberlain help us win this game but get injured for the next three weeks? Or would you rather he be fit and available for the games to come? It has to be the latter, since the former would have resulted in Arshavin being played and nobody would want that. Probably not even Arshavin himself.

And the thing is, we always have a go at Wenger for taking unnecessary risks. Well, he decided not to do so today. I can't complain about that.

So the sub wasn't tactical, nor was it with performance in mind. Chamberlain started over Arshavin, which is a big thing, isn't it? Wenger had enough faith to start the teenager. That's a step in the right direction. Now he can play against Bolton, and Blackburn and so on. That's a good thing, yes?

But why bring on Arshavin?
This is the real issues, I feel. Subbing off Chamberlain - fine, fair enough. But bringing on Arshavin? Not so good.

And to go deeper into the issue, there's not many options here. He could've put on Benayoun, which would've been marginally better. That's it. We didn't have a Gervinho or Henry here. All this really does is highlight the lack of depth in the wide positions, which is something we've known for a while.

Boos are unacceptable
Though my earlier reaction was akin to that of the fans in the stadium, I now feel that the boos were unacceptable. Regardless of your feelings towards a player, regarldess of your frustrations, the team needs the support of the fans. The team has just scored. They have the momentum and could go on to win the game. Why boo the sub and create a poisionous atmosphere? That helps nobody, especially not the player who just came on.

I understand it's a culmination of a lot of things and frustration boiling over, but there's a time and place for that. In the stadium when you're team are on the up is not one of those times.

Top four is not out of reach
I don't want to hear anything about us playing in the Europa League. Losing to United is not a catastophe. They are a title winning side, are they not? So losing is no shame.

It's a missed opportunity since all of our rivals dropped points, but it's still a four point gap between us and fourth. Still time to improve, still time to pick up the necessary points to get into the top four.


Last edited by GoonerJay29 on Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by The Verminator Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:05 pm

Summed it up pretty well with that title. Plus we couldn't dominate in the middle with the ball when we attacked.
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Post by REWB Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:05 pm

man utd the most overrated team omg. we would of crush them today if we had got wilshere and proper fullbacks back from injury. but ultimately we lost today because arshavin was brought on. when we could of kept OX on or replaced OX with ryo.
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Post by mani88 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:07 pm

Mertesacker was very good today. His best performance for Arsenal imo. Given today's second half performance I am sure we will make into the top four.
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Post by djoe26 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:08 pm

Kos and AOC :bow:
JD is awful in defending, specially playing as a FB. Verminator didnt have good game either as he was beaten many times by Valencia.

We simply miss Arteta and our fullbacks. So what do you guys think of us reaching top 4? is it possible?
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Post by djoe26 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:09 pm

Oh Mertesacker's save was great too and he also deserver :bow:.
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Post by REWB Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:10 pm

top four is possible ONLY IF WE buy a striker. WE HAVE TOOO 100% I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS, I CONNOT.
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Post by RealGunner Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:11 pm

Buy a striker and play him where ?
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Post by Raptorgunner Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:11 pm

Poor subs cost Arsenal, RVP shouting at Wenger and saying no and getting a mad just shows how bad that was.

RVP will leave and thanks to a stubborn Manager.

Hope Wenger is real happy for making the biggest fail sub.

Arshivan should never ever play again.

I am done with Wenger dont give a shit about him.

Arsenal played their heart out and we brought on a heartless useless player.

Walcott should should be benched from now on.


Last edited by Raptorgunner on Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by REWB Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:12 pm

merte was decent, but he nearly cost us a goal again by being too slow.
RealGunner wrote:Buy a striker and play him where ?

why does he have to be in the starting eleven? a replacement to give rvp much need rest and when he gets injured.
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Post by RealGunner Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:13 pm

Shit performance, it took us 60 mins to get going. Midfield was non existent, Ramsey should be benched when Wilshere comes back for a long time.

Oxlade was excellent, the only bright light.


Our lack of fullbacks cost us 3rd game in a row. Djourou isnt a RB, vermaelen isnt a LB. Yet they have to play there and that is costing us points. MAJOR points.


Forget about top 4, Prepare for life in the EL
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Post by Eman Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:13 pm

Djourou was just about useless in the 1st half. They just kept giving the ball to Nani, and every time he beat Djourou :facepalm:

Song wasn't great either, nor was Theo in the first half, and despite scoring, RvP was poor as well (I'm going to have nightmares about that miss). Mertesacker, Koscielny, and Rosicky I thought all did good jobs.

And taking off Oxlade-Chamberlain...Wenger, wtf :facepalm:
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Post by KMD Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:14 pm

you know RVP should've scored, ramsey is one unlucky bastard along with Rosicky.

But lets take a positive from this game, now im confident chamberlain is 100% ready for the first team.

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Post by Raptorgunner Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:18 pm

Buy Hazard at any coast, save the season Wenger stop being cheap spend the money, we have too many useless player.
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Post by REWB Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:21 pm

Raptorgunner wrote:Buy Hazard at any coast, save the season Wenger stop being cheap spend the money, we have too many useless player.

dont buy hazard, give ryo/park a chance, buy a striker. lol people just keep on forget about what is going to happen when rvp get an injury. WHO is the only 1 scoring goals? rvp...that is not acceptable
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Post by mani88 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:23 pm

We need to replace Arshavin and Walcott. Ox is one, we need someone who can play LW.

Gervinho, OX are two good wingers. Walcott is OK and Arshavin is bad.

We should try Song, Arteta, Rosicky trio now. Rozza is back, he was miles better than Ramsey today.
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Post by tsgooner1 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:23 pm

Havent posted for a while but i just had to post for this game. We clearly lacked wilshires ability to control the game in midfield... ramsey and rosicky had periods of bright spots but werent able to control the game, wenger made a great switch at half for yenneris and nani was completely taken out of the game but then wenger himself cost us the game by taking off AoC who was ripping uniteds defence to shreds. What a peformance that was, he has to be starting on a regulr basis, im actually quite proud of the team for giving it there all, i honestly thought we were gonna get blown out but a couple if a couple of bounces and some better finishing, we could have won that game, Btw, AoC needs to be trusted more by wenger, he did the same thing against man city(Carling cup) when he was easily the best player in the field, took himoff and we got caught on the counter. He needs to be given every opprotunity now.

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Post by tsgooner1 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:24 pm

We desperatly need an AM though.

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Post by Lex Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:26 pm

Who's our next game against? Hope it's a whipping boy so i can relax
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Post by SamuelJayC Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:27 pm

Anyone reading my twitter can see my opinions.

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Post by REWB Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:28 pm

tsgooner1 wrote:We desperatly need an AM though.

we do but wilshere will come back and we should aim for one in the summer, not jan.
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Post by tsgooner1 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:31 pm

RedEyesWhiteBeard wrote:
tsgooner1 wrote:We desperatly need an AM though.

we do but wilshere will come back and we should aim for one in the summer, not jan.

idk based on last year i saw wilshire as more of guy that controls the flow of a game, not the guy that provides movement around the box and creates chances. hes a very very good deep lying midfielder and he might be able to develop into an AM but it seems to me we lack more of a cutting edge. We get around the box and then dont seem to know what to do there. A striker is also needed though, we need more goals.

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Post by TalkingReckless Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:38 pm

Yennaris needs to start from now on until Jenkinson or Sagna are back

tsgooner1 wrote:
RedEyesWhiteBeard wrote:
tsgooner1 wrote:We desperatly need an AM though.

we do but wilshere will come back and we should aim for one in the summer, not jan.

idk based on last year i saw wilshire as more of guy that controls the flow of a game, not the guy that provides movement around the box and creates chances. hes a very very good deep lying midfielder and he might be able to develop into an AM but it seems to me we lack more of a cutting edge. We get around the box and then dont seem to know what to do there. A striker is also needed though, we need more goals.

Wilshere is really a AM....he played Deep last season because of Cesc....he played AM in reserves and youth team.... and his shooting and playmaking was great....



Last edited by imalegend on Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by tsgooner1 Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:40 pm

depends on the opposition though, dj was never gonna do well against nani and its not fair to judge him on that. he just doest have the physical attributes such as speed and agility. but against bigger opposition he is useful.

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Post by REWB Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:41 pm

tsgooner1 wrote:
RedEyesWhiteBeard wrote:
tsgooner1 wrote:We desperatly need an AM though.

we do but wilshere will come back and we should aim for one in the summer, not jan.

idk based on last year i saw wilshire as more of guy that controls the flow of a game, not the guy that provides movement around the box and creates chances. hes a very very good deep lying midfielder and he might be able to develop into an AM but it seems to me we lack more of a cutting edge. We get around the box and then dont seem to know what to do there. A striker is also needed though, we need more goals.

yeah i no thats why we should aim for one in the summer, but not in jan, we dont have time to get the right one. we need a striker first.
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