Saturday, 21 April 2012

WHOLLY TACTICS : Arsene , How about some Salsa on the Flanks !

In the last 2 years or so , i have become one of Arsene Wenger's  harshest critics , especially at the beginning of this current season , and how issues involving sale and purchase of players unraveled . Before i launch what probably sounds like another round of criticism of his tactics , it's only fair to applaud the magnificent run of winning league games especially . To be 3rd on the table with 4 games to go , and a champions' league place arguably in the bag ( once more ) means the Manager deserves a lot of praise ;  he got the team playing quick incisive foot ball again , and significantly with a pretty new  and hastily assembled team  after the shambles of a crushing 8 - 2 defeat at the theatre of dreams last August . Arsenal rose from the ashes of that  nightmare , and that is entirely to his credit !!! .

On monday night , just like many , I  turned-up to view ARSENAL  take on relegation haunted WIGAN.
Surely , Wigan won't stand a chance to the in-form team at the Emirates..... well ,  we all know the outcome.  It was a repeat of what has happened many times when Arsenal  play at home... the less-fancied team takes the lead -  smash and grab style , only to retreat into a barricade . Arsenal then have all the possession ,  but labour in-vain for a break through .  This recurring theme highlights a tactical flaw in Wenger's attacking philosophy , particularly since the move to The Emirates.  I'll spell it out -  Wigan being a case study. They take the lead , The Gunners begin firing in an attempt to blast a hole through Wigan's middle . Yes , predominantly going for one-two's to un-hinge Wigan's centre-halves ;  or recycling the ball from flank to flank , but all in front of  Wigan's  defensive positions . This action was so  repetitive one would be forgiven if they thought they were watching a game they had seen before . This tact is easy to defend against not because it is ineffective , but due  to Arsenal's lack of disguise , and variance in attack. Most of the attacking play is channeled through the middle , the wide players included have to come in-wards too often ;   while  taking the Wigan defense on the outside , forcing it wide , with pace and skill fragments it potentially ;  if Walcot , or Benayoun  took on the full back , took him to the bye-line,  before whipping a low ball in - trust me the barricade is less fortified ;  and most importantly it starts to feel vulnerable . This tact  should have been used in conjunction with attacking at the heart . From this angle , Wenger has been negligent since Jose Reyes departed. Walcot and Gervinho have not mastered this concept . They ought to take lessons from  ANTONIO VALENCIA and incidentally VICTOR MOSES
These two force the issue by pinning the full-back down - teasing and tormenting time after time... . This can be unnerving for the full-back , and consequently the entire defense. There is nothing as terrible for an attack like a defense comfortably repelling it .  It was amazing to see Victor Moses tear Bacary Sagna to shreds to set-up wigan's winning goal ; did anyone see Phlipp Lahm  work on Real Madrid's full back before delivering a cross close to the by-line for Bayern's winner in the champions league semi-final on tuesday.... Wenger certainly needs a bit of this to ally his favoured  approach ,  and unpick well locked defenses at the Emirates .