Arsenal 3 - 0 Burnley: More of that, please

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Post by Jay29 Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 18:13

If we disregard the fact that Burnley are a Championship team merely carrying the label of a Premier League team for a moment, there were a number of encouraging signs from Arsenal in today's win.

Home game against opposition like Burnley have often been defined for Arsenal's laborious performances. Against well-organised and dogged defences, we've often lacked the tempo, the creativity and the precision needed to win this season. That wasn't the case today.

From the off, we played at a high tempo. The unfussy pairing of Arteta and Flamini recycled possession and got the ball to the more exciting and dynamic forward players. Alexis drove the team forward from a central position, while Chamberlain tore up the right flank. Supported on either side by Gibbs and Chambers, Arsenal were threatening and they made chances.

All that was missing was someone to apply the finish. Welbeck was unfortunate to have a shot cleared off the line after some fine work beating three defenders in the box; Cazorla had two good chances, one he put wide, the other blocked; Alexis stung the palms of Heaton twice coming in off the left flank, and curled one just wide of the far post. Burnley hung on with a 0-0 until half-time, but you felt that if Arsenal could replicate that first half display, it would only be a matter of time.

The goal came later than we all would have liked, but once we got that first, more quickly followed. The quality of our crossing was excellent all game, and Alexis took advantage of one from Chambers, showing the sort of desire that typifies him as a player to beat the Burnley to the ball and nod in from close range. Chambers then got a goal himself, scoring from close range after another Welbeck shot was stopped on the line. Alexis got his second and Arsenal's third late on, turning in Gibbs' driven cross at the back-post.

And really, it could have been a lot more. Podolski had a volley saved by Heaton, and then hit the post with a thunderous attempt. Walcott and Ramsey had good shots saved. Cazorla somehow failed to convert from six yards out. We really could have racked up the goals.

Still, let's not too greedy. The fact that we produced the most dynamic performance we have all season is reason enough to be pleased with today's work, and with three wins in all comps – two wins in the league – in succession, it seems we're starting to build a bit of momentum. The signs are there that we're improving.

Of course, it needs to be stressed that Anderlecht, Sunderland and Bunrley aren't the strongest of teams. How we fare against better sides will ultimately determine where we'll end up this season, but regaining that consistency against the weaker sides is a good place to start.

Anderlecht on Tuesday gives us an opportunity to keep the winning run going before we visit Swansea next weekend. With any luck, the likes of Cazorla and Welbeck will get back in amongst the goals, and with Walcott back we'll be able to give Alexis a bit of a breather.

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Post by EL Patron Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 18:25

3 points at home and 3 goals, no much more you can ask from the team today.Only negative today is that apart from Sanchez, the others don't look like scoring especially Santi. Its a weird one with him because usually he sticks the ball in the back of the net no problem.
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Post by RealGunner Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 18:31

Granted that was Burnley, there was a lot of positive to take from the match as Jay said. Most of all is the consistency of winning matches. 3 in a row now. If we win against Anderlecth then that's 4 and a solid run.

You can already see some of the guys coming back in terms of confidence. Oxlade played much better. Cazorla was bad in finishing but looked sharper. Sanchez is just on another level right now.

Walcott's cameo was great lol. Could have even scored. But he needs to take it lightly. Another 10-20 mins cameo in midweek should be fine. Podolski looked good too and Ramsey needs more minutes to get back.

We are 4th atm after the mini crisis. We can really chase City for 2nd if we can pick it up.

Feeling positive ffs.
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Post by Jay29 Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 18:35

I thought Welbeck was unlucky not to score. Two shots cleared off the line; any other day he gets at least one goal.

Santi is a bit more concerning. For whatever reason his shooting technique is letting him down. At the very least, he's getting in good positions to score and if keeps that up he'll start putting them away again.

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Post by Sri Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 18:44

Anyone else noticed that it is not 4-1-4-1 any more? The improvement in performance isn't coincidence..

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Post by Wilson37 Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 18:47

best performance of the season so far.. we looked a different team today.. played with lots of pace, tempo and directness than passing around to play holdup.. 31 attempts, 17 corners,.. i dont think remember such a match in the near past..

we are playing more of a 4-4-2 since last match as said by Arteta.. where Alexis is playing a free SS role and is everywhere.. loved the commentary when a cleared corner was tracked back by Alexis " and the ball goes to... Alexis again !! i think there is more than one in the pitch today " really amazing workrate and talent.. i just hope that we dont overwork and injure him.. the entire team was very good today except for Cazorla who surprisingly starts every match despite being poor except for in some patches, ever since his first season..

we again played a less adventurous defensive double pivot.. but we compensated for it by pushing the fullbacks up and attacking.. both Gibbs and Chambers came with top class performances.. Chambers is looking top class PL stuff just at 19.. what a signing..!
Welbeck played a very unselfish role moving around and opening spaces for Alexis and nearly scored a beauty.. Ramsey is trying too hard to replicate his goal scoring and needs to go back to the basics.. and .. and Podolski ended the match with bullets one on the keeper and other on the post.. while Walcott came and had a good shot which was well saved..

i hope we can replicate this performance against better sides...
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Post by RealGunner Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 22:50

Arsene on Sanchez: Since he’s played through the middle he looks more goal dangerous. Now it looks to me that he’s really dangerous through the centre of the pitch because he’s in full confidence, he’s physically strong, he likes to take people on as well and he makes perfect runs. Through the centre of the pitch maybe he’s more dangerous.


hmmm thoughts on that? We basically played a variation 4-4-2 with him and Welbeck today


Last edited by RealGunner on Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 22:54; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Chumlum Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 22:50

Slowly finding some form and momentum. I don't think I would have done what Wenger did in starting Flamini and Arteta, but it seems like it helped steady the ship and that might have longer term benefits in regaining form. Honestly, for all his old-age faults, Arteta really does tend to help keep things composed and metronomic. Supporters who shit on our captain are overlooking the fact that the dude's a model pro and he helps anchor the team. Nobody's even claiming he's a world-class holding mid.

I really want to take Alexis Sanchez out on the town and drain my checkings account buying him pours of expensive scotch. What a friggin' beast. Now the thing to do, ideally, is to integrate his status as elite matchwinner & 'wildcard' into the same disciplined form that marked our best patches of last season. We don't want to be a one-man-team but we don't want to lose that special Alexis-factor, either.

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Post by Chumlum Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 22:53

RealGunner wrote:Arsene on Sanchez: Since he’s played through the middle he looks more goal dangerous. Now it looks to me that he’s really dangerous through the centre of the pitch because he’s in full confidence, he’s physically strong, he likes to take people on as well and he makes perfect runs. Through the centre of the pitch maybe he’s more dangerous.


hmmm thoughts on that?



For as long as Özil is out, especially, I am great with Alexis being played in the hole, mostly centrally, or interchanging with the likes of Theo, Ox, or Cazorla.

With Özil, Theo, and Alexis all fit, my personal opinion is that 4-2-3-1 is still ideal, with Özil in the #10, Alexis left, especially when not in possession, but with a certain amount of swapping while in play.
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Post by El Gunner Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 23:15

Alexis Sanchez https://i.imgur.com/mo7zYc9.png

Let's go on a run now. A good run!
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Post by Jay29 Sat 1 Nov 2014 - 23:50

Alexis' best position is behind the striker, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he's doing so well in that role. Short term, it's ideal since it gets our most in-form player in a position where he'll be most dangerous.

Long term, however, I'd like to see Ozil there with Alexis on the left. Alexis was playing well on the flanks, too, and when you factor in the interchanging the players will do there shouldn't be an issue with getting the best out of him.

The only way of getting them both in their best positions is to play a 4-3-1-2 or 3-4-1-2, but it's very unlikely we'll play those formations.

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Post by djoe26 Sun 2 Nov 2014 - 12:38

Alexis is a beast! He works so hard during the game and thats what i like about him. Chambers and The Ox had a decent game too. Welbz and Podolski were unlucky to not score. Theo cheers
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Post by SamuelJayC Sun 2 Nov 2014 - 14:19

Fantastic result and one of our better performances, if not the best, of the campaign.

I thought we played some excellent stuff and we kept our heads and belief when it looked like Burnley might somehow sneak away with a point. The first goal from Alexis was vital. It was great to see him score a head - a 'different' type of goal. An "English goal" as Wenger put it.

It's very interesting the change in Alexis' positioning this week. We've changed from 4-1-4-1 to 4-4-2 against Sunderland and Burnley with Alexis and Welbeck up top and Flamini and Arteta anchoring the midfield.

It'll be good to see what happens when Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere and Ozil return to full fitness.

It was 'only' Burnley and Sunderland this week, though, so we can't get carried away. We've beaten perhaps the two weakest teams in the League. However, it's we can only beat what's in front of us.

So we play Anderlecht (h) & Swansea (a) next. I think against Anderlecht we'll see a slightly rotated team, even with qualification not yet assured. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bellerin, Podolski and Ramsey start. I think Walcott will again come off the bench.

Maybe something like: Szczesny; Bellerin Mertesacker Chambers Monreal; Chamberlain Arteta Ramsey Podolski; Alexis Welbeck /// Martinez Gibbs Flamini Wilshere Rosicky Cazorla Sanogo

I feel we can afford to rotate against Anderlecht but against Swansea we'll need our best XI again.
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Post by urbaNRoots Sun 2 Nov 2014 - 16:39

I would really like Wenger to change Cazorla's and Chamberlain's positions because Cazorla is getting in shooting positions but not scoring while Chamberlain is threatening even from awkward positions like those two shots against Burnley.

Cazorla is ambidextrous anyway so he wouldn't have a problem playing on the right the same way he does from the left.
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Post by VendettaRed07 Sun 2 Nov 2014 - 17:32

Sanchez has been out of this world.

But I'm disappointed in Welbecks play. He needs to produce more. I like his work rate and everything but work rate for a striker is meaningless if it doesn't lead to anything.

He needs to be more selfish and take more shots. He's too often screwing around just moving the ball turning his back to goal and laying it out. He just needs to turn and shoot more. He seems to lack confidence in his ability to finish

If he doesn't start producing more than I'd say bench him and just go with a 4-4-2 of Podolski and Sanchez up top.
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Post by Eman Mon 3 Nov 2014 - 3:01

During the week, I had an argument with a gas station clerk who happened to be a Liverpool fan about how good Sanchez was. He claimed that he was flopping as bad as any of their signings. I'll enjoy talking to him again on Monday Laughing
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Post by Sri Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 6:54

TACTICS COLUMN: FLAMINI, ARTETA PROVIDED BASE FOR ALEXIS TO FLOURISH

Arsenal fans clamouring for a new defensive midfielder might have seen significance in Mikel Arteta’s substitution on 63 minutes in the 3-0 win over Burnley, or at least, the symbolic nature of it. Because Arteta was once the undroppable; the metronome in a team who love to pass the ball. At one point too, Arsenal found it difficult to win games without him, further highlighting his influence. Yet niggling injuries this season mean he hasn’t been able to exert his style upon the team, while at the same time, Arsenal’s approach has changed too. They tend to pass the ball more methodically now which means as a result, play has become at times a little sterile. Naturally, this should see Arteta slot seamlessly into the side, yet it’s the other way round when Arsenal defend, which sees him not quite find a place.

In recent games, Arsenal have switched the formation to a 4-4-2, with Alexis playing behind Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Flamini and Arteta screening. It’s provided a neat balance, with the work-rate between the four players enabling the change. Alexis and Welbeck hustle and harry up top, while Flamini and Arteta covers. The strategy going forward, though, has much remained the same as what it was under the 4-1-4-1: the ball is moved patiently from side to side, using the whole width of the pitch and chances are fashioned of high quality: via cutbacks or shots from an angle into the corner. Alexis went close three times in the first-half with such efforts, looking to bend the ball into the far corner while Santi Cazorla missed another three opportunities from balls played in low by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The game became a little stretched at the start of the second-half with Arsenal increasingly affording Burnley chances on the counter as they sought to force a breakthrough. As such, it was no surprise when Arteta was withdrawn. He doesn’t have the mobility of Flamini, who was impressive as a destructive force in front of the defence, though this time in a dual role, covering for Gibbs when he scampered forward and generally looking to break up play. With Ramsey entering the fray, Arsenal probably needed as many runners on the pitch as they could find and Flamini, as the story goes, was signed on the basis of his astronomical fitness levels. In this system, in a sense, his role is not too different to what it was back in 2007-08, when he was such a pivotal figure at the back of the midfield, picking up loose balls and recycling play quickly.

The Gunners are reverting to a possession approach having flirted with the idea last season of a compact, cautious approach. The influence is distinctly German with Arsene Wenger is looking to emulate bits of the national team/Bayern Munich model (a tactical line which borrows from Dutch 4-3-3 model) where the attacking line occupies the width of the pitch, thereby always creating angles and options to pass to. As Leighton Baines says, in an interview for The Guardian when talking about Everton’s philosophy which goes along the same branch, “the really top teams who have mastered this way (Dutch Total Football), are the ones that gets success.”

On the other hand, emphasis on death by possession makes it tougher for Arsenal to defeat teams as often; opposition defences are set thus making it more difficult to get through. It has made Arsenal more sterile in effect, one of the things Wenger has previously striven to avoid. However, he has probably come round to see it as a necessary evil because sterile domination has also its benefits: if you pass it well, then it also protects your team from the counter-attack. This is where the Flamini/Arteta suitability comes in.

Both have their uses in the system but against Burnley, possession would be expected to come as standard and rather, the main threat is when you lose it, when there is more space to defend. Flamini made a couple of fantastic interceptions in the first-half, one acting as the last defender when he got into position quickly to poke the ball to Wojciech Szczesny, which probably made up Wenger’s mind on who to keep on. Flamini’s role, though, was doubly important, because not only was he the enforcer, but he provided cover for Arsenal’s play down the left-hand side.

As Calum Chambers reveals, the full-backs for Arsenal have more responsibility getting forward this season, with both players getting assists against Burnley not to mention Chambers’ goal, though, it’s on the left-hand side where most of the action happens. Here, the Gunners tend to leave the flank open for rotations, with Alexis or Santi taking turns to fill in or Kieran Gibbs aggressively pushing forward. On the other side, the partnership is more traditional with Oxlade-Chamberlain tending to hug the touchline therefore there is less demand defensively.

Flamini, though, on the other side must remain conscious of the space that Gibbs, Cazorla concede when they vacate their positions and against Burnley, he did this really well. The GIF here demonstrates that and though it’s Arteta winning the ball back, Flamini remains disciplined to cover for Gibbs. The subsequent passage of play shows what the perfect positioning should look like when a team is playing with two attacking full-backs with both Arteta and Flamini remaining disciplined and working the ball from side to side. “We’re trying to attack as much as we can from full-back positions,” Chambers told Arsenal Player. “For me and Kieran to both get goals [is good]. It is something we’re working on – to be more attacking and get forward more – so it’s paying off.”

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It’s interesting how the tactic will evolve especially with Ramsey returning. Wenger seems determine to keep it much the same with his recent comments urging Ramsey to play with more discipline. He certainly has the stamina to provide cover for when moves break down but for Wenger, it seems Ramsey’s natural role would be to eventually become the successor to Arteta in terms of playmaking. Wenger says goals for Ramsey should be a “consequence of the quality of his game. A midfielder is a player who defends well, attacks well and keeps his priorities right.”

The other issue is how long the 4-4-2 is here stay. Certainly there’s scope for more variation within this Arsenal side, but Wenger’s words seem to suggest that if not for a few select players – namely Alexis – the 4-4-2 would be hard to pull off. Indeed, it’s probably telling that when Theo Walcott entered the fray, along with Podolski, Wenger didn’t stick with a front two, instead reverting to a 4-2-3-1 with Cazorla behind Alexis.

In any case, Alexis showed with his two goals how important he is to the side. It’s not that he just scores; he creates, dribbles and has a predilection to the left-hand side as per a certain Thierry Henry. Certainly, his influence is becoming as large to this team as Henry’s was to previous sides. Generally, though, Henry had a prodigious midfield base to provide for him the platform to flourish in Vieira/Petit or Vieira/Gilberto. In the two games so far with the 4-4-2, Arteta and Flamini have too, provided the freedom for Alexis to cause damage.

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Post by El Gunner Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 7:19

Interesting.

This 4-4-2 thing could work as I see Juventus pulling off that pivot all the time in Serie A with Pirlo the distributor, with either Vidal, Pogba or Marchisio being the hustler. And I've always thought that approach is effective. They also sent their fullbacks forward a lot and sometimes get some goals off a Llorente header. And it could work even better when Giroud comes back.

But that doesn't take away the fact that you need the right players to do this. And Flamini doesn't fit the hustler bill imo. Another fact is that you need discipline and balance for it to work, and that comes in time I think. But atm I say we still haven't found that and we still have some way to go, especially as our players keep getting injured.

And the other thing is if we continue with this 4-4-2 game, where does 'our' Laughing beloved Özil fit in? On the wings, is the only option imo, where most of you don't like him to play. And as said, for this type of play extreme hustling is needed upfront and in the midfield. Sooooo, Özil??? On his way out? Haha.
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Post by Sri Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 11:12

I think Özil can work still.

The formation is only one thing. There isn't much difference between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-2-2 : think about it. What changes is the role and position of the wide men and the the player in the 'hole'. It shouldn't be too difficult to push Özil up or play him slightly deeper. He constantly moves and draws players away - it would be a joy to watch him dovetail with Theo and/or Alexis (likewise, Ox and Poldi), behind Danny/Giroud. Arguably, Santi and Jack (and Rosicky) also are capable of that role.

What would be key is to not rely on one set up. We have been trying to do it and I am sure we can master it - our players aren't completely idiots (most of the time).

We were at our best last season when we switched between a 4-4-1-1 defense and 4-2-3-1 attack (which is arguably close to a 4-1-4-1 if you consider how Ramsey pushed forward).

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Post by Sri Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 11:16

That is also why it is crucial to have players who are quick on the turn, who can carry the ball from defense to attack and who can affect fast/pacy transitions. Those one or two players knit the defense to the attack. Ever so often, this is what we end up missing (especially when we play Flamini-Arteta).

These are the attributes that endeared Ramsey to the fanbase. This is what made Viera dangerous, and more recently Yaya Toure. I guess Gundogan and Vidal are also bloody good at this, although I haven't seen much of their play personally to make a legitimate conclusion on this.

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Post by El Gunner Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 12:16

Agree on the similarity of those formations part. Transition shouldn't be that difficult, it's just about finding the right balance and getting good discipline into our game as I said.

Ramsey is made for that 'hustler' role in the 2 men midfield imo. Another reason, why I think Wilshere's place in this team is still an unknown. I think we can all agree no matter which formation we play, if we play with 2 midfielders covering the defense or play with a pivot, than Arteta + Ramsey is our best option for this time.
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Post by Jay29 Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 12:42

I can see Wilshere playing left midfield in a 4-4-2 in a similar role to Cazorla's now or Nasri's/Rosicky's in the past. He's got the work rate to track back when need be, and he wouldn't have to be as disciplined as he would playing in a two man midfield.

Flexibility is very much a good thing to have. You don't necessarily need to pin players down to certain positions. Alexis is dangerous through the middle, but he's also dangerous on the flanks so when Ozil comes back you can quite easily play a 4-2-3-1; Ozil drifts wide, Alexis can cut inside.

What you also have to consider with Alexis playing centrally is that he takes more risks with the ball. He had a 71% pass completion against Burnley, compared to Ozil who usually has between 85% and 90% in that position. That's fine when you've 75% of the ball in a game, but against stronger sides better at keeping the ball and counter attacking, you need to take better care of the ball.

For that reason, I'd be a bit weary of playing 4-4-2 against Swansea on Sunday.

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Post by Sri Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 13:07

Özil is also highly crucial for any counter attacks that we mount.

He has the best final ball in our team by a country mile.

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Post by 6unner Tue 4 Nov 2014 - 19:42

In a 4-4-2 we will have to slow play down waiting for Giroud to actually get to the point. Welbecks speed and mobility is a bigger asset and not sure he will be replaced.

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