By Walter Broeckx
Last week was a bit of a hectic week. Our defeat at Chelsea was the chance for the moaners to come out in full force again. So let us try to do a little analysing of this first. We know the simple analyzing that is usually done by the non-existing part of our trophy hunting fans: Wenger out.
He doesn’t do tactics, he lost the players, he blah blah blah blah. Tactics. What have tactics to do with players losing the ball in dangerous areas? Or did Wenger order them before the match to do this on purpose? Can you imagine him saying to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla: now listen very carefully I will say this only once but make sure that in the first 5 minutes or so you deliberately lose the ball in dangerous positions so they score a few early goals.
That defeat was born by our players making individual mistakes. Now making mistakes is something that happens on the field. But not even in his wildest dreams Mourinho would have dreamed that the first two shots from Chelsea would result in goals. It somehow came together for Chelsea in that match. Two errors from Arsenal and two well taken goals. If Eto’o would have been to his usual standard the ball would have ended up between the Arsenal supporters. And the ball could have hit the leg of Koscielny and could have ended up anywhere. But now it flew between his legs and Szczesny was beaten again.
How many times do Chelsea score from their first two shots on goal on average? I think they only did it against Arsenal. And certainly not against Crystal Palace. That is just the way things go sometimes. You get all the luck at your side in one match and then the next…you cannot score at all. That is football. And in the match against Chelsea we should have been 1-0 up at the moment they scored their first goal. If Cech hadn’t stopped the goal bound shot from Giroud seconds before the match might have been completely different.
Did you also noticed how Mourinho laid the blame with his players after the Crystal Palace defeat? A bit cheap I would say. For those singing the praise of master tactician Mourinho I wonder if they now will say that Pulis must be the best manager and tactician of them all after Crystal Palace beat them. Of course not. But this is just the way it goes. Against Arsenal, Chelsea was lucky with the two early goals and now it didn’t work and they struggled.
Against Swansea Arsenal was still suffering from the hangover of the Chelsea defeat. And so it wasn’t the best match. But we managed to get over it and even managed to turn it around after being 0-1 down early in that match. Two quick goals seemed to keep the points at the Emirates. Until that terrible last minute.
Have you ever seen an own goal where it was 3 players of the defending team that in quick succession touch the ball to score? I really cannot imagine having seen anything like that. And in fact you cannot fault any player for this. Mertesacker with a great sliding tackle kicking the ball away. Szczesny was already going down for that ball and as a result wanted to sweep it away with his foot and hitting Flamini who was tracking back. How unlucky can you get?
But this double blow could have resulted in a complete meltdown against City and certainly when they went 0-1 up after again Arsenal losing the ball and being caught on a counter attack. And at the start of the match against City you still could see some nerves hanging round the team resulting in not the best of starts.
But the way the team fought back from yet another setback was warming for my Arsenal loving heart. The team did what was needed when it was needed. They defended when they had to defend with the whole team. And then they took over the match and were the better team for large spells of the second half.
I know the media in England reports that Arsenal was lucky to get a point and that City was the better team. I must say that in my country and they do like some Kompany ***-licking up there they thought that Arsenal deserved at least one point and that they had the best chances to win the match in the second half.
And then you can see again how much luck has to do with it sometimes. The goal bound shot from Podolski somehow hitting the heel of Hart and 9 times out of 10 it still might have ended up in the net. It probably would have at the other end. But this time Hart made a sublime stop without really knowing how he did it.
Of course tactics play a part but I think making or not making mistakes plays a much bigger part. Coupled with luck.
About not changing tactics I think we could look at other managers. Does Mourinho change his tactics that much? No he usually tries to hit the other teams starting from a defensive position. Hitting them with a fast counter. Certainly in top matches.
Another top manager and in my eyes one of the best managers of the last 10 years is Guardiola. Does he change tactics a lot? No, in fact he never changes his tactics. He used them at Barcelona and there was no talk of plan B. He only plays plan A. And now he does again at Bayern Munich. Just playing to your own strength. Wenger also usually wants to start from his own strengths. I think that is the mark of top managers.
But once out on the field it is down the players not to make mistakes. That is what the players did against Chelsea. They made mistakes making it impossible for us to come back. I will not mention the fact that the ref also made a mistake by reducing us to 10 man and making it completely impossible to do something.
I think football matches are won for 1/3 by tactics, by 1/3 by luck and the final 1/3 is about making or not making mistakes. When you get the perfect mix you will win. Otherwise you might struggle.
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