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Fulham v Arsenal: analysis of patterns of play

Arvind

I started a little series a week or so ago where I’ll look at the games we play in the league and try and understand the little patterns of our offensive and defensive play, as well as how certain opponents seem to play us and how well that worked.

The first game that I did was the game against Aston Villa and I received a lot of encouraging feedback from a lot of readers, so here I am with a look at our win against Fulham.

Arsenal Offense:

Olivier Giroud had an absolute stunner this game. I touched on him being a fantastic pivot in the Villa game and this game was no different. He tends to be there in the right positions to play a lot of little 1-2’s with all of our runners or is drawing players to him and giving the number 10 more space to operate in.

Having said that the first part of the game was all in midfield; we had all of the ball and played a lot of 1 touch football but couldn’t get Giroud or Poldi into the game. The entire game was overloaded towards the right; maybe this is because there are conscious instructions to hit Walcott as quickly as possible.

Slowly Giroud started dominating the aerial challenges; he dragged 4 Fulham players with him once…four..that’s rare. I think he won every single ball in the air that first half. His goal was a very good goal too..a bit of luck .. yes..but well taken. He is not just a big old fashioned centre forward; he’s much more than that and quite skillful for such a big powerful guy. He isn’t ever going to have the finesse of RVP for example, but he probably gives us a big option in open play and a big outlet with the long ball if needed. With RVP, you’d have to play to feet despite him being pretty good in the air.

Aaron Ramsey started deep that day but burst forward a great deal. More examples of the rotating midfield. It’s going to be brilliant to watch all season, especially with Ozil too in the mix now as the number 10. The amount that he’s run that game is huge. Up and Down. Left and Right. The second half Rosicky was sitting much deeper instead of Ramsey. Whether that was deliberate to allow Ramsey to play his natural game a bit more or more for fitness reasons, I don’t know. But they switched all game.. and I can imagine why it was a nightmare for Fulham, specially after Jack came on.

Giroud’s take down for Goal 3 was an absolute stunner as well and Poldi’s technique on both finishes was high quality. I’m struggling to pick the best goal of the lot..you know. It’s probably the 3rd goal though..it’s easy to put that strike wide of the far post.

Theo’s corners are pretty good too to be frank. I don’t get why people moan so much about him taking them. Sure there’s others who take them well too, but he puts a lot of balls into great areas.

Cazorla is an absolute joy to watch with his quick feet in those tight spaces. He was double and triple marked time and again but somehow kept wriggling out of those tight spaces, running across the pitch and somehow finding space to make a good pass.

Oh and finally? The counter attack is back. Oh man. I am so pumped to see that again. When you combine that with 1 touch movement as well, it’s just beautiful.

Arsenal Defense

Szcz had a great game and made a brilliant double save early in the game after we scored. He made several great saves throughout the game. I wonder if he could have held on to the ball instead of pushing it out to Bent for their goal..but it was raining such a lot that it couldn’t have been easy. And either way I have no idea why everyone got sucked to the ball and left Bent open at the far post to tap it in. Their goal started off due to Gibbs giving the ball away in the opposition half, he gets back in time but can’t prevent the cross from coming in, then Per doesn’t get tight enough to Berbatov, Szcz doesn’t hold the ball and no one marks Bent. It’s a horrendous piece of how not to defend as a team and I hope we learn from it.

Jenkinson was targeted all game and was dead on his feet at the end. Just as well that we were 3-1 up. He struggled a bit at the start but got better as the game wore on. He does get forward but is a little bit nervous at RB. He’ll learn. It’s a huge step from Charlton in the Championship to playing as an offensive right back for Arsenal.

Ramsey has a fantastic engine which helps him recover a lot of situations but he did give the ball away a few times. He wasn’t perfect by any standards. The overall team play contributed greatly to covering up for any individual mistakes though. The Fulham offence was practically non-existent and that is also a credit to the entire team for their pressing. Gibbs had a fantastic game and combined really well with Monreal on the left side who was playing LW towards the end of the game.

Poldi’s work rate is up and down. At times, I was wondering he was being a bit lazy closing down at Left Back while casually tracking back. Other times though, he closes down really well in the offensive third; I need to watch a few more games after he recovers.

I watch Jack Wilshere very closely these days. That’s for 2 reasons: To see how much he’s targeted all game and how much rotational fouling is there and secondly to see if he’s really as good as is made out to be.

This time when he came on, the energy he showed, the purpose in his running and the ability to turn a random ball in midfield into a brilliant counter attack..was just a joy to watch. It’s just that he seems to be able to do so many things, that the question arises..what does Jack actually do? The signing of Ozil is brilliant for Jack too as he can be eased into the squad, specially once Arteta and Rosicky are both back.

That apart everything was quite good apart from a quite horrible back pass from Per towards Szcz which he somehow managed to control and send to safety. Why that pass was needed I do not know.

Summary:

A very comfortable game in which we pretty much dominated and Fulham didn’t really do too much to threaten us. All the same, we won and kept the away run going. All good.

Previous analysis:

AstonVilla Home – http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/31182

The books…

The sites from the same team…

11 comments to Fulham v Arsenal: analysis of patterns of play

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Arvin for this article.

    About the Fulham goal I thought actually that it was a great save from Szczesny at first. Berbatov is a quality striker and his show on a wet surface was hard and low. And it was just outside his reach to smother the ball with his body.

    If we have to blame it to something I would think that at that moment we looked a bit too certain of the victory and dropped a bit. Also keeping in mind we were playing the CL qualifiers in those days so maybe that crept in the back of the head of some players also? They still had a very very important job to do.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    show should have been shot!

  • avatar Gf60

    @walter
    “show should have been shot!” …so should Anthony Taylor!

    @Arvind. Good reading. Hope you keep them up. Thanks

  • avatar dan

    Anyone notice the media silence on the latest Ashley Young dive?

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    GF60,
    yeah it was not how I intended but I admit it could sound strange ;)

  • avatar para

    @ dan
    “Anyone notice the media silence on the latest Ashley Young dive?”
    It was to be expected really, but Moyes really admitted it was a dive (even though he “said” it was both players”) with his statement.
    And on it goes.

  • avatar bjtgooner

    A good analysis and an enjoyable one to read.

  • avatar Mark

    Lots of talk about Ramsey with lots of the pundits eating their words! Wouldn’t it be strange if Bendtner suddenly lives up to his potential! I recall that Wenger said he was loaned to Juve because he still saw a future for him at Arsenal. Clearly Wenger is correct about his potential. Now if Bendtner can just work at 110% to achieve it!

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    off topic but congrats to the history site for their mention on Arsenal.com :)

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    @ Arvind – Nice write up . I’ve yet to see the full game but managed to watch the highlights .

  • avatar Arvind

    Thanks to all who read the article and liked it.