Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Schalke 04 v. ManU

I watched the ManU game last night from the perspective of a compare and contrast with the Arsenal style of play post Sunday’s debacle at Bolton. Admittedly Schalke 04 were pretty poor  though Neuer had an outstanding game – it seems he’s committed to leaving Schalke at the end of the season so we will see ManU or Bayern splashing the cash to gain his services.

My thoughts on ManU:
  • Strong central defence around VdS, Rio and Vidic (though not really tested last night).
  • Pacy full-backs who are better getting forward than defending.
  • Central midfield without a recognised enforcer although, as Souness pointed out, the modern game is less about crunching tackles than positioning and intercepting. Carrick stayed relatively deep providing a Gilberto-like wall in front of the back four.
  • Pacy wide-men who are willing to take the opposition on.
  • Pacy front two who show strength on the ball with a willingness to take the opposition on and commit players.
  • Break from defence, especially after defending corners, with pace.
  • Not afraid to play the long ball either from defence or cross-field.
  • Get bodies in the box.
  • Great movement and inter-changing from the front two and wide players.
  • Disciplined defence and high work-rate from the front –six when not in possession.
  • Confidence and belief.
  • Confidence and belief.
  • Confidence and belief.

The biggest differences for me are the tempo of the game, the movement and willingness to take risks by playing the longer ball. In my opinion, there’s not a lot of difference on paper between the ManU first XI and ours, though their strength in depth is greater.

The problem for Arsenal is that, unless the approach changes, bringing in new players and outing a few won’t make a whole lot of difference. The new players will be inculcated in the Arsenal way and any proclivity to get in the box or shoot will quickly disappear.

Bolton v. Arsenal

Random thoughts on Bolton away:

  • Why wasn’t Davies booked for that tackle on Song?
  • How does Davies, a big strong English centre-forward, draw so many fouls by falling over at the slightest contact when he has his back to goal?
  • Why was Theo taken off with Bolton visibly on their last legs?

The team looked as if they had no desire, as if all the fight has been drained from them.

Reasonable Balti pie - a bit small and chicken was small cubes but quite acceptable overall.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

3-1 and we f**ked it up (again)

Not much to say really. The inability to hang onto a lead is now totally expected!
Theo started brightly and took his goal with aplomb but, as the game wore on, he was increasingly making those runs where he hides behind a defender so is not available for a pass thereby absolving himself of any attacking responsibility. This, together with a less than committed work rate when we didn't have the ball meant he had the 'best seat in the house' - you can't get closer to the action than that.
In the second half, Fab4 gave the impression of being a) tired, b) injured or c) couldn't be bothered - perhaps all three. His work on the ball was ok-ish though his tendency to dwell and slow the tempo plus some misplaced passes meant it was not one of his better games. His work rate off the ball and his desire to regain possession were poor.
At 3-3 there was only going to be one winner, luckily Spurs didn't score again.
So nothing really changes - lots of possession, few chances, Hlebitis (the proclivity to pass in and around the penalty box rather than shoot), no leadership, substitutions by numbers (of which Bendtner for Walcott with B52 playing wide right is the most egregious).
All in all a fairly negative post but the problems with the team have been apparent for some time now.

Blackpool away - The Tangerine Army!