Arsenal 2 - 2 Hull City: Struggling

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Post by Jay29 Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:48 pm

It's something of a struggle watching Arsenal play at the moment. I'd stop short of describing our performances as turgid or abject, but the fluency so often associated with us has been missing all season and it's making our team frustratingly ineffective. Neither solid defensively or incisive going forward, we're dropping too many points and seeing any hope of having a successful season disappear before we even get to our traditional poor months.

We started well enough. Hull struggled to get into the game and we looked bright. We even scored an early-ish score through some great play from Alexis, but after Hull found their way into the game and equalised, our performance dropped. The Diame goal was a combination of sloppiness at the back and poor refereeing. Diame clearly pulls Flamini back as he tried to burst through, but the fact that four Arsenal players couldn't dispossess him before he even got that far should be a cause for concern.

The fluency left our game after that. Hull were more confident and defending strongly, but we couldn't find the necessary cutting edge to carve out another chance before half-time. For all that's been written and said about Ozil, it's very clear that we struggle without him in the side.

The second half got off to the worst possible start. Hull kicked off, stroked it around for a bit, sent the ball into the box and scored, just like that. Arsenal didn't even touch the ball, and when the ball came in, Mertesacker was caught flat footed by Hernandez. Now a half that was already going to be difficult had become even harder.

At this point, you'd expect Arsenal to be all over Hull; pressing them at every chance, hemming them in, putting their defence under pressure with waves of attacks. But in actuality, Arsenal didn't do any of that. Instead, they let Hull pass the ball around the back, and when they got the ball back they passed aimlessly through midfield. Zero opportunities were created – not even a half-chance or pot shot from distance to get excited about – and when we got into the last 20 minutes I was convinced Hull had secured the three points.

Wenger tried to add some drive to the team by introducing Ramsey and Campbell. Both did well in their cameos, but couldn't make the difference. It took some more individualism from Alexis to finally create a decent chance that Welbeck put away extremely well. Arsenal had at least rescued a point.

The simple fact is, though, that a point isn't good enough. It's easy to forget but Arsenal have only lost once in the league so far, in that game against Chelsea. Yet, after eight games, they have a pathetic return of 11 points from a possible 24; just two wins and a worrying five draws, the joint most in the league with Sunderland, a team that lost 8-0 today.

Why are we drawing so many games? It's as I said earlier: not defending well enough, not creating enough; a frustrating no-man's land that's seeing us conceding sloppy goals we weren't conceding last year and not creating enough to compensate for it.

Injuries aren't helping. They never do. What was once a settled back-line is now changing every week. Koscielny's recurring problems has seen Chambers play centre back. Debuchy's injury has resulted in Chambers and Bellerin sharing that right back slot. Monreal is having to play centre-back. It's a far cry from the Sagna-Kos-Mert-Gibbs backline that played over 40 games together last season.

The organisation isn't as good as it should be. The shape has been disrupted by changes of formation and personnel seemingly every game. One week it's Arteta-Ramsey-Wilshere, then it's Flamini-Cazorla-Wilshere, then it's Flamini-Cazorla-Chamberlain and so on. One game Ozil is on the left, the next it's Alexis.

This has an impact on our attacking play, too. We're conceding too many, so have to work harder to score, but it's just not happening. Again, players changing positions on a weekly basis doesn't help. Injuries to key creative players doesn't help.

Perhaps that's the main difference between this year and last year. Last year we had a settled team; a “best” team. You knew the team would have Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla and Giroud and it didn't matter who got that last spot because the other 10 had a good understanding. You can't quite say the same about the team this year.

In my mind, what we do from here should be to get a settled starting eleven going. Give them time to form an understanding and find form and maybe the consistency will return. Wenger's got to make some decisions as to who should play or who shouldn't and the sooner the better.

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Post by Twoism Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:23 pm

I really cant bring myself to discuss game anymore, it's horrid to watch. Forget Top 4 or CL, work to get better 1st since I seen zero improvement in the last 8 games. Mentally we're not in it either, look at Per, where were the marshall last year?

It's pointless to discuss individual performance when the whole team play like bunch of noobs after 1 goal down except our new boys. Alexis and Danny were probably confused out of their mind. Or maybe that's what staying at Arsenal did to you, a carefree, doesnt give a damn attitude. I looked at players today and yes everyone has gotten worse year by year.
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Post by EL Patron Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:25 pm

I don't like blaming individuals but some players need to be held accountable today. Seriously how many points has Flamini cost us so far this season ? its ridiculous even if Arteta comes back how long before he gets injured and Flamini comes back costing us more points. I like the effort but he is out of his depth at the moment. Ox was probably our worst player after Flamini, his passing and decision making was off. He gave the worse individual performance i have seen since Eboue against Wigan when he got booed. Ox has to improve, he is capable of much better. Big year for him, if he doesn't improve when Theo comes back then it will be back to the bench again.

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Post by RealGunner Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:27 pm

I don't know where to begin.

The Arsenal we all knew and loved is long gone. I've said this about 4 times now, but I really don't know what's wrong. Why can't we actually play some decent football consistently? Why can we only do it for 20 minutes per 90 minutes?

It's so difficult to watch Arsenal these days. We have lost our identity. We look like 11 randomly picked players playing together for the first time, every single match. There is no cohesion in our play. We were known for our quick ingenious, imaginative play. Now we are known for our passive play along with negative possession.

Where is it going wrong though?

I thought about the match for a long time, analysed every goal. All the problem points to Arsene. And it's not even the problems which are unsolvable. They are so easy to fix but I don't understand what Arsene is doing.

Why is he forcing the system? We have had this problem for years where all the players are pretty much the same with no variety but we solved it slowly by buying Ozil and Sanchez. But the problem is still there because we are actually playing the same players on purpose in a system which clearly doesn't work but for some reason we are still persisting with it because Arsene has this vision of it being a CL winning system.

Sorry if it sounds like a rant but it isn't. It is how I see it.

Wilshere, Oxlade, Cazorla, Flamini constantly tried to do the same thing without any success. Ball goes out wide, then to midfield, then it's an attempt to play some magic ball and the play breaks down. The two times we tried something different was when Sanchez magic worked and we scored via his ability.

I really don't know what to think anymore. We will most likely win against Anderlecth, and people will forget this result and win against Sunderland too. But after that same problems will still arise and haunt us.


Anyways, talking about the players themselves, Bellerin impressed me A LOT. A 19 year old making his debut looked more threatening than Oxlade, Wilshere and Cazorla combined. Thought Joel was good too. Ramsey brought urgency and despite being rusty, his presence felt good. Hope he is fit for a long time. We need him.

Also can't help but miss Giroud. I know i have been critical of him, but we miss him. We had no ST on the bench. He would have made a difference by just being in the box. An outlet. Welbeck did great, but he was the only one in the box. Rest of our players were all lining up outside waiting for a clear shot like Hull were on our payroll.

Agreed with Jay about team's lack of understanding together compared to last year.

I hope Arsene can fix this mess, but I said this a month ago as well...
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Post by Jay29 Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:53 pm

Chamberlain disappointed me the most. He looked good in the last couple of games for England, but today he was wayward with his passing and couldn't dribble past anybody. You know he's capable of doing much more and if he wants to get more first team football he has to take these opportunities. It won't be long before Walcott is ready to return to the first team, after all.

I thought Wilshere did okay. He tried to drive us forward and played some nice passes. I don't think the balance between him and Santi was right, though. I wasn't sure what role Santi was meant to be playing - whether he was meant to be the 10 or playing deeper - and it didn't help with our fluency at all. One of these two needed to be closer to Welbeck.

Flamini doesn't offer us anything anymore. Good engine, disciplined and puts in the odd good challenge, but otherwise not contributing an awful lot to the team. Doesn't have Arteta's passing range or composure, nor does he have the athleticism he used to have that made him such a good ball winner. His role is important, not just for balance, but for being the player that resets our attacks and it's obviously not a good thing when that player can't play a simple sideways pass.

So there are two issues there: 1) our holding player isn't quite up to it and 2) the balance of midfield isn't quite right. The solution seems rather obvious to me: play Wilshere/Ramsey deeper to give Flamini more help, and allow the third midfield to play higher up the pitch. Everything is too flat otherwise, and you're placing a lot of responsibility on a guy not quite up to it.

Against Anderlecht, I wouldn't mind seeing...

Martinez; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Chambers, Gibbs; Flamini, Wilshere; Ox/Joel, Cazorla, Alexis; Welbeck

in hopefully a more defined and balanced shape.

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Post by RealGunner Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:33 pm

Think you mean Arteta-Wilshere?
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Post by EL Patron Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:44 pm

Well Arteta is a lot better than people give him credit for, he might not have the athleticism anymore but he has good positional sense and he reads the game well. He is also one of the best passer of the ball in this team, he rarely gives the ball away.

Is Jack even fit for Anderlecht ? He hurt himself trying to hurt another player  Laughing . Ramsey is back so Arsene will persist with the 4-1-4-1 again which is stupid especially with the lack of cohesion between players.
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Post by Jay29 Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:56 pm

I actually forgot Arteta was fit again. So yeah, him and Wilshere for Anderlecht.

Wenger said after the game that Wilshere was fine.

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Post by Raptorgunner Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:29 pm

A mid table club draws 2-2 with another mid table club, we should be happy cus we move up two places. A draw is like a trophy for mid table club.

we have struggled in EVERY match besides that Gala game, too many average players who are managed by a stubborn old man.

Jack, Oxlade, Flamini, Monreal, Mert, should not be starting for Arsenal. Our game is to convoluted and slow to flow and our players are too small because wenger wants them to be able to ping pong it into the net. The whole game I was screaming for our players to shoot, not sure what we do in training and what Wenger does at Arsenal? :facepalm:
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Post by Eman Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:10 pm

Alexis was easily our best player and Bellerin impressed me, but otherwise we were utter crap. Our offensive play completely lacked fluency and any sort of killer instinct when the ball came to just about anybody other than Alexis.

Does anybody know why exactly Podolski was not even in the squad? Was it pure selection choice or is he being given the cold shoulder for talking to press about his unhappiness at being a benchwarmer? I'm sure he could not have done much worse than some of the other guys we had out there today, and the only ST/winger on our bench was Campbell.
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Post by Raptorgunner Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:16 pm

Wenger only plays his favorite players, Podolski is not one of them. With Wenger in charge no mater who starts or sit on the bench still same boring result.

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Post by djoe26 Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:33 am

This result doesnt surprise me anymore. Now i may sound abit harsh but Wenger has lost it. He didnt buy the players we needed the most and thats what pisses me off. He had the cash so i dont know why he didnt buy a DM and most importantly a defender . His stubborness and his blind faith in players is costing Arsenal every season.
I hope he leaves Arsenal after this season.
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Post by Sri Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:21 pm

Raptorgunner wrote:Wenger only plays his favorite players, Podolski is not one of them. With Wenger in charge no mater who starts or sit on the bench still same boring result.




What is it about you and your coaching ideas that makes reinventing players such a key aspect of your work?
I was involved like that for a long time. For example, with Lilian Thuram, he was a right-sided midfielder when I took him and I put him at centre-back. Emmanuel Petit was a centre-back and he played midfield for us. When you make those kind of decisions you have analysed the player in detail, or you are not completely comfortable with the position he plays in. I bought Lukas Podolski to be a centre forward or a wide player but after a while I thought he is only a wide player, not a centre forward. He can play behind the striker but not completely at the top. Sometimes you have to revise your judgment.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/17/arsenal-invincible-season-arsene-wenger-inside-story

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Post by El Gunner Sun Oct 19, 2014 1:38 pm

I genuinely believe it's time we change our style of play.
Not only the system, but this passing, passing, passing shit of ours. We've worked with it for....what..7/8 years now? And at times it worked because we had a balance and flair in our team and players like Fabregas who was suited to making our midfield going forward click. But still even though we played extremely well during times with this style of play we only have one trophy to show for it, and it came last season when we were playing a more direct-ish style, instead, led by Giroud with Ozil and Ramsey in behind. That was better than this current shit tbh.
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Post by Jay29 Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:51 pm

I've re-watched the second half, just to see why we couldn't create many chances.

45-55: What was notable in the immediate aftermath of Hull's second goal was that our response was poor. The players lost their focus and looked lost on the pitch. The build-up play from the back was slow, there were loose passes and touches and only two or three players were pressing Hull. They were able to keep the ball, pass it around with confidence and keep Arsenal away from their third.

55-65: Hull were keeping the ball a lot better than Arsenal were. Arsenal's passing was very poor, usually only completing two or three before losing possession. Chamberlain and Alexis tried to make something happen by running the ball, but ran into too many bodies. Arsenal's decision making approaching the final third was poor. The one time Arsenal did get in behind Hull's wingbacks and stretched their back three, Cazorla had the opportunity to shoot but tried to play in Bellerin instead - it failed. Ramsey came on for Flamini. Hull time-wasted.

65-75: Wilshere is replaced by Campbell. Campbell showed more life than the other Arsenal players. His first involvement is to come inside off the flank, making space for Bellerin and play the Spaniard in. Bellerin was in behind the Hull wingback and got a good cross in. It was cleared. Arsenal stretch the Hull back three again when Campbell plays a very good pass into Chamberlain, and the left centre back for Hull is forced to concede another corner. Those were the two brightest moments for Arsenal in that period. Attempt to play through passes through the middle were thwarted by Hull numbers, and Arsenal's set-piece were wasteful. Signs that Arsenal were starting to win the ball higher up the pitch and disrupting Hull's shape.

75-85: Dawson successfully wastes three minutes. Arsenal are keeping more of the ball but their play is too narrow and they repeatedly try to force it through the middle with little success. Hull, with five men at the back and four midfielders in front of them, had condensed that space completely and any time an Arsenal player got on the ball there they would be surrounded. Against that sort of set-up you need get in down the sides and stretch the three centre backs and Arsenal weren't doing it. The fullbacks needed to be right up, so that when Alexis and Campbell came inside they would still be width. Alternatively, Alexis and Campbell could've swapped sides. Either way, Arsenal weren't doing enough to stretch Hull - not surprising as this is a recurring problem for us.

85-96: Alexis becomes more prominent. He finds space in front of Hull's defence and plays a couple of key passes. He's the only Arsenal player that looks like he'll make a difference. He produces one outstanding run with the ball that disrupts Hull's shape; Chester had to step out of defence to stop him, and that left space for Welbeck to move into. Alexis finds him and he equalises. Arsenal are up now and are all over Hull. Cazorla has a good shot from distance saved and Campbell nearly takes advantage of the subsequent chaos. Alexis plays a brilliant pass in behind to Gibbs, coming in lade down the side.  Monreal misses a good chance right at the end.

So after all that, Arsenal's problems were a mixture of mental and tactic.

For the first 20 minutes in the half, the focus wasn't there. They conceded a poor goal, couldn't string passes together and weren't pressing well enough, allowing Hull to settle on the ball and give their defence a break. As a response to going a goal down, it was extremely poor and casts doubt on the team's mentality.

The remainder of the half saw us improve but we had the usual problems of being too narrow and trying to always force things through the middle. Hull had too many bodies in that area of the pitch for that to work and it was always going to take something special - a great pass or run - for that plan to succeed. What we really needed was width to pull the Hull defence apart. This obviously isn't a new problem despite its obvious solutions: either push the fullbacks up or have you wide players stay wide instead of coming inside all the time.


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Post by Hapless_Hans Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:14 pm

srigooner wrote:
Raptorgunner wrote:Wenger only plays his favorite players, Podolski is not one of them. With Wenger in charge no mater who starts or sit on the bench still same boring result.




What is it about you and your coaching ideas that makes reinventing players such a key aspect of your work?
I was involved like that for a long time. For example, with Lilian Thuram, he was a right-sided midfielder when I took him and I put him at centre-back. Emmanuel Petit was a centre-back and he played midfield for us. When you make those kind of decisions you have analysed the player in detail, or you are not completely comfortable with the position he plays in. I bought Lukas Podolski to be a centre forward or a wide player but after a while I thought he is only a wide player, not a centre forward. He can play behind the striker but not completely at the top. Sometimes you have to revise your judgment.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/17/arsenal-invincible-season-arsene-wenger-inside-story


SERIOUSLY?! :facepalm:

Wow, Wenger really coming across like an idiot there. It's not like Podolski was an unknown.
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Post by Raptorgunner Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:10 pm

Lets see what Wenger says when Sunderland beats us next week. :facepalm:
Some direct questions by the BBC reporter, Wenger really didn't like it. Laughing




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Post by RealGunner Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:14 pm

Those were stupid questions tbf
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Post by sportsczy Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:18 pm

The reporter did a good job.  Those were very on point questions.  Arsene was making crap excuses and cliche statements... she called him on it.

When you win 2 games out of 8 to start the season, the issues aren't circumstantial like Arsene wants to make it seem...  injuries are a problem.  But everyone has injuries and deals with them. If you don't deal with your glaring depth issues in the offseason and injuries bring those issues to the top... then you need to answer as to why you didn't deal with the issue when you had the chance.
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Post by MJ Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:11 am

Reporter was looking for a headline with the 'who or what is to blame' question.

Can't believe how overblown it got, to the point that eurosport called Wenger 'arrogant and patronizing'.

He was irate at worst. Sensationalist BS.

But the game was crap. No urgency until stoppage time. Makes no sense.
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Post by El Gunner Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:45 am

Raptorgunner wrote:Lets see what Wenger says when Sunderland beats us next week. :facepalm:
Some direct questions by the BBC reporter, Wenger really didn't like it. Laughing




looool the PL coaches have had a hard time this weekend the post match interviews.
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Post by Hapless_Hans Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:27 pm

RealGunner wrote:Those were stupid questions tbf
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Post by SamuelJayC Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:24 pm

Sigh. Another week, another disappointing result. When will it end?

2 wins from 8 League games and 11 points off the top. The only good news seems to be the form of Welbeck and Alexis - 11 goals in 20 appearances between them so far.

How many times have Arsenal dominated a game, with 60, 70 percent of the ball, yet rarely test the keeper and fail to win the game. It's poor. Our manager has been at the club for 18 years - as Mourinho said, if a coach is in charge of a team that long, the team should be close to perfect. Yet, we're miles off the top.

Now we face 2 massive games this week against very, very average teams, including one who have just lost 8-0. Only wins are acceptable.

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