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August 2021

Tactical analysis: Arsenal – Tottenham

By Arvind

I’m slowly getting through all the games that we’ve played. Hopefully sooner rather than later, I will get through them all and be able to write about the recent league games instead of older ones. Until then, bear with me and I do think all these games offer some interesting insight into how we have played. This time it’s the big Tottenham game which we won 1-0.

Arsenal attack:

The game started off with Rosicky running the game as he usually does in every big game. I’ve hardly ever seen the guy have a bad game when he starts a big game. It’s all because he presses so well at the top end of the pitch. Then you have Cazorla is a similar type of player, except that he looks to keep the ball a bit more than Rosicky. Cazorla drifted all over the pitch here – he rarely stayed on the left wing. He had quite a good start to the game especially with a couple of good free kicks. The goal was a very simple goal. Rosicky got the ball in midfield, Theo stayed onside, ball to the inside right channel Giroud made a near post run..precise cross and a neat finish. It’s actually these kind of repetitive goals, where you do not have to think too much but know exactly what to do are the ones we have to continue to be more efficient at. The wonder goals like at Norwich City are all great but these are the ones that matter most..because the probability of getting these right is much higher. The rest of the half really, apart from an excellent tackle by Lloris to deny Walcott..the game was played completely in midfield with neither side looking like they would score. The second half .. Walcott was through again and denied by Lloris.. and Monreal missed an opportunity to score soon after coming on, but really there isn’t much more I can write about in an attacking sense. It was a cagey defensive game – played entirely in midfield. So I’ll talk more about that instead.

Arsenal defense:

Giroud did a ton of defending this game. Winning headers and holding the ball up, running back to win the ball, blocking in his own box and defending corners and all this after scoring the winning goal – this was a clear MOTM performance for me. Theo doesn’t “properly” defend enough for me. As in, I understand he has to stay high enough up the pitch so he can use his speed and score goals..but when he does drop back I don’t think he gets tight enough to his man to prevent a cross coming in. Still he’s so good on the counter and has become quite efficient with his passing in the final third so it makes sense to start him. Specially considering that we’re playing on the counter most of the time..his role becomes important. Still I wish he got a little tighter. Cazorla had a funny game, his workrate was quite high but he gave away an unusual number of balls in midfield. He had some moments of brilliance of course and his two-footedness is a joy to watch but him and Ramsey who has an unbelievable engine both made quite a few bad passes. They weren’t punished as the team overall kept its shape and had multiple lines of defense. Ramsey still holds on to the ball a bit too much at times for my liking but unlike the years that have gone by, he’s so much more confident that he’s actually doing really good things with or without the ball. I counted at least 3 really good tackles that he made..good clean tackles. As did Rosicky.. he’s just a joy to watch play..even in defense.

Once Flamini came on and I thought he had a great game in the DM slot, he was helped by the fact that Ramsey sat much deeper in the 2nd half and Rosicky stayed up. This meant a sacrifice offensively but it definitely made Arsenal much more solid. The 2 foot tackle could have easily got a red in my opinion – I think what saved him was that it was made in a place where there was empty space, the player hadn’t yet arrived. If Rose (I think) had already been present and Flamini had dived in, I’d have no hesitation giving him a red. That apart, he had a great game too.

Per and Kos were excellent as usual – it’s amazing how a good CB pairing can help the entire team do well. It’s tough on TV5 not being able to come into the team but there’s no way you can break this partnership up unless there’s an injury. Jenkinson had a nervy start as usual and got skinned on the right thrice in the first 10 minutes, but overall considering he was told he would play very late, he did well and as is always the case grew into the game. Gibbs had a fantastic game and was up and down the left wing the entire game. The Monreal substitution is an interesting one as he’s more often than not played ahead of Gibbs and obviously has enough quality on the ball to play in the attacking third.

Szcz made a fantastic save late on to keep Defoe out somehow and he seems so much calmer these days while still retaining the eccentric streak which a lot of great keepers seem to have.

Spurs had a lot of space to play in, specially in the 2nd half and more after Capoue went off injured. Lamela in particular got on to the ball too much for my liking and I’d love to see us close space down better than we did in this game. Yes, we didn’t concede..and well done, but there’s definitely moments where we were lucky in this game.

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This game was all about Arsenal keeping the ball and playing almost the entire game on the counter. We’ve become better at soaking pressure up in midfield and then breaking on the counter. The whole idea of the counter is a smart one, because teams have looked to do that to Arsenal for years by putting 10 men behind the ball and hitting us with a long ball on the counter. By playing on the counter, Arsenal are essentially telling the other team – “Go on..lets see if you can play football”. And when they do play, at times we will concede but we’re also likely to score more. This game was a strange was definitely one where the intensity was high but where Spurs despite having a lot of the ball weren’t efficient enough at all in the final third.

I’ve done 5 games now and I can draw a few small conclusions – overall. As I do the other games I’ll update this list.

–          Teams attack our right side a lot. Sagna while still great seems to lose a few more races than he used to. Jenkinson needs to start games better.

–          Gibbs needs to play the safer pass more. He’s a LB, an excellent one and a bit more focus on defending even while going forward would be great.

–          Everyone kick Wilshere. Period.

–          Ramsey hogs the ball a lot but is also scoring and doing everything right so all is well.

–          Giroud is now very close to being a world class forward. I hope Arsenal can keep him away from Bayern Munich in the next 2 years and get him to sign a new deal.

–          Likewise Kos. Can we keep him away from Barcelona next year when Puyol hangs his boots up? I hope so.


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12 comments to Tactical analysis: Arsenal – Tottenham

  • WalterBroeckx

    If any of our regular readers has troubles in posting a comment you can always contact me ‘walterbroeckx(at)’ and then I will see if we can do something about it. Tony is out for the moment and so I am the last man standing as Billy The Dog has been kept in quarantaine as he could have caught a bug. 😉

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  • HenryB


    I enjoyed the positive nature of the Post, and more power to your elbow! 🙂

    Being somewhat less charitable than you I must say that although I am satisfies with Gibbs, there are occasions when he makes 5 metre passes straight to the opposition when I wonder if a visit to an optician may be in order. 🙂

  • bjtgooner

    Nice write up. I would qualify your summation of Ramsey slightly – I have noted him provide some super through passes – he played a great pass to Gnabry late in the match against Man U.

    I really appreciate these write ups, it is good to review each match in this way.

  • para

    As much as i like Giroud, i fear he does lack a little bit of sharpness at the moment, he tends to give the ball away too much, and he does not seem to move around, i know he is not the quickest, but we’ve all seen what he can do, and hope he returns to his best soonest. Still think we will get another striker/forward though, either in Jan or Summer, as we have many games to play.
    The rest of the team is growing every game and are also learning more the intricacies of the game, the tricks, the way how it is played, in previous seasons we were a little to naive and depended solely on our brilliance, but now we are playing the game and are aware of the tricks opponents use, and can use them ourselves if necessary.

  • just testing a post, if it works, thanks Walter for sorting it out

  • WalterBroeckx

    Like I said if you have any trouble posting please send me a message as it can be something minor in our settings that stops you from posting.

    I just sorted out Paul as he was blocked for a long time without us realising it

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice work , Arvind , and that being a game the AAAA were hoping we slip up , we did just the right things to win and maintain our shape .
    Many were pissed off with our controlled performance on that day .

  • vacong

    Giroud goes back to defend and assists he does more than a straight forward foward, he maybe a bit tired so after the break he should be better!

  • Yassin

    Giroud might not be the best finisher, but what he does is brilliant. And his work rate and passion make me happy with his goal more than a thousand goal ny other. He can finish hard goals so good, cause he doesnt think about it. But when he has the time to think, all the pressure goes on his shoulders, and that is normal, so sometimes he waste an easy chance.

    no matter what he won our hearts for his fight, now its time to win him his confidence and give him full support, and i believe we as fans are doing that now.

  • Yassin

    On another point, cause he was brilliant, we didnt give Ozil time to gel, just imagine next season when he knows his teammates better.

  • Arvind

    Thank You all who read and liked the article.