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A tactical and technical analysis of Arsenal and the Spuds

by Don McMahon

Let me state at the outset that I am convinced Arsenal would have won the game handily one way or the other, as the Totts were outmanouvered, outplayed and out-thought for most of the game.

I also want to mention that Mike Dean seemed on the verge of losing control a few times and that he was out of his depth on occasion, but did a decent job otherwise. His biggest error was allowing the temperature of the game to rise quickly by ignoring Dier’s initial fouls and by failing to keep up with play. That said, here is my analysis of the game:

The lineups – Emery did not use Ozil and chose a back 3 that was very solid all game. Mustafi seemed the only defensive player to have trouble adjusting to Emery’s game plan. His remaining choices were spot on. Pochettino, on the other hand, seemed to be mystified by Arsenal’s energy and commitment all game.

The overall nature of the game – It was played with extreme passion by both sides but particularly by Arsenal. This is a stunning change from Wenger’s approach to Football, where the team was encouraged to play the beautiful game, involving intricate passing, and avoid being too aggressive or passionate.

In my opinion, this reflect Emery’s approach to Football; high energy, close tracking, quick transitions from defense to attack, playing the ball out from the back where safe but also using the long ball to force the opponent to track back. Emery’s energy on the byline is reflected on the field where Aubameyang ran his socks off, Torreira the terrier nipped at his opponents heels, Sokratis got ¨stuck in¨ like an old fashioned centre back,

Indeed the wing backs spread the play out so wide that the midfield was often free of Spuds.

Technical issues – this was an extremely technical game which the Totts tried to keep up with and they had their moments. They are clearly a skilful team but the Arsenal displayed an admirable and impressive set of technical skills working on and off the ball.

Arsenal played it back to their defense when under pressure and used their dominance of the midfield to slice through the Totts defense at will. Iwobi and Mikhitaryn teamed up well but it wasn’t getting the results so Emery wisely substituted them for Ramsey and Lacazette at halftime. This changed the level of the game and Arsenal began to once again dominate the midfield and shred the Spuds defense.

I noticed that Aurier and Dier were slow to react and Vertonghen looked completely lost as a centre back. Delle Alli was played right out of the game and Kane looked like he wanted to go home early.  This was not lost on Emery and he had his team spread the play out even more on the wings which strecthed the Spuds defensive line to breaking point.

Tactical observations – Emery changed his lineup at half-time and used four at the back. He had Bellerin and Xhaka continue to spread out their play from the flanks and encouraged Torreira and Guendouzi to attack the Spuds high line, forcing them back to their penalty area.

The four at the back permitted a freeing up of space in the midfield and forced the Totts to commit numerous fouls, especially near the halfway line, giving the Arsenal lots of opportunities to attack in the Spuds half. Mustafi and Mikhitaryn were not as effective because they were slower and took too much time to get play going but they did position themselves very well. Holding was a rock and unafraid to get into the tackle, winning the ball regularly. What really struck me was the readiness for 2-3 Arsenal players to surround any Spud with the ball and often either win it back or force it out of play.

Player ratings:

Leno – allowed a very poor goal but did well to distribute the ball throughout the match and make some crucial saves (6)

Sokratis – as solid as they come and much faster than I thought (7)

Holding – very calm and composed under pressure (7)

Bellerin – makes some careless passes but is deadly with crosses (6)

Kolasinac – not an elegant player but tough and determined (6)

Torreira – the MOTM as far as I’m concerned,great goal,great engine (9)

Xhaka – makes a formidable team with Torreira (7)

Mikhitaryn – had trouble with the pace but showed real skill (6)

Guendouzi – showed his usual energy but made some rash moves (6)

Ramsey – definitely has it in for the Spuds; hurt them all over the field (7)

Aubameyang – reminds me more and more of Henry (8)

Lacazette – the Spuds couldn’t handle him and PEA (7)

Iwobi – looked very lively on the left and is getting better each game (7)

The Totts supporters were leaving in droves with 15 minutes left because the trek back to 7 sisters Road is sooooooooooo long when you lose the London Derby!

Don McMahon

9 comments to A tactical and technical analysis of Arsenal and the Spuds

  • U know who

    https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/11570704/ref-watch-jurgen-klopp-mauricio-pochettino-eric-dier-under-spotlight

    The campaign against Josè continues.

    Son simulated. Dean couldn’t stop us winning and our team is far superior they simply needed something t9 play for and reinforcements. Ben Vhillwell and I’m very happy.

    What’s all this leaving Ozil out? Told you so?

    I didn’t watch the London derby. Put that into perspective. I did bet on Arsenal t59 win, feeling quite confprtable they would deliver. I’ve been getting into them; millenials and social media!

    Anyways my favourite line is, I didn’t think it was a dive; so I don’t think it will get processed.

    As for getting better; all this questioning Arsene. We didn’t, Ozil rested, as did key players who never went to the world cup, and those who did largely didn’t play. Credit to Obama’s engine.

    Aubameyang took over the dressing room and he’s likely to be in so Alex, Mesut and the addiction of Matteo is genius and nobody other than SAF with more money than anyone can do that; Lprient, yes captain my captain.

    If anyone else had identified that, it would have been clarified. Now so with Niles lining the bench you can change 2 at half time. The switch of formation made us more capable of man f0r man coping with Spurs in the midfield and defence. Leaving us mano-a-mano with their back line.

    Pace is the reason you get 2 from Pierre. 14 proves dominance.

    Lucas and his endeavour was missing in previous games and credit to his reading of the game. 3-1 up his position is covered and he’s there to breach the defence and without breaking stride despatch his first goal in front of the home fans in the London Derby. Hail the little S. American Napoleon.

    Low centre of gravity against behemoths; I’ll take it. Th is is genius in action. The only thing needed was to push them harder and give them cause yo fight. Hector is progressing, Sead slowly buy surely. And the reinforcements came exactly when they wanted them to.

    What will you sacrifice for the team? Nothing more than your job, to know the economic policy. That is a leader and a half.

    Article 3 protocol 1 received, Office Jeremy Hunt 🤣🤣🤣 window for full strike open. We at operational. 10 days and you are all green light.

    As I said to the key personnel. Np celebrating. AGAIN!

    8 points I expect to be made up against Chelsea, Liverpool and City.

    United tp go! We raise the game and they are dead meat. Ate they improving? No some are developing and others are about to play the best football they ever had. The squad blanchè is Reiss and Ben Chollwell we replace some, but we have a bunch of young 30’s and they just needed the chance to win.

    #makewengerproud; is my reason they should play!

  • Menace

    The fouling by Dier, Alli, Kane & Vertongen was generally shown a blind eye. Vertongen got a second yellow for a straight red foul. Alli was trying to niggle Arsenal as there was not much ball for him to play with. Kane was his usual backing into defenders & going down demanding a foul witha lisp ( and an appropriate amount of spit). Dier got away with some nasty tackles that Dean did not get back to after allowing advantage. Dean did speak to him but might have been arranging a night out at the kasbah. It is about time the referees radio was broadcast for all to hear & give us transparency of the onfield commercial trade (after all Football is a business).

    A lip reader would be able to clear the conversation that Dean was having.

  • omgarsenal

    Menace…..hearing what the officials say over their mikes would not help, as they are savy enough not to incriminate themselves. I think dean was equally weak for the spuds as he was for the Arsenal, we were just better all game.

  • Menace

    I’m not expecting legal substance from the on field radio but there are aspects of friendly conversation as well as some abuse that we miss. The more important information is the calling of fouls by assistants and the action / non action taken by the referee.

  • omgarsenal

    Menace…agreed but what can we do if there is clear or questionable bias or failure to act on assistants’ advice to the re. He or she has the final call.

  • omgarsenal

    U Know who……who are you and what are you smoking?

  • Pat

    I take exception to the suggestion Arsene Wenger’s teams weren’t passionate and didn’t play a fast paced game. When Wengerball was at its finest with fast passes moving up the field and a great goal at the end of it, it truly was a joy to behold.

    I support our current manager and I am pleased we are doing well, but we are in danger of forgetting the number of matches this season when we struggled to achieve a draw. Not every match was like Sunday’s. Our players seem to have all absorbed the special atmosphere of the biggest derby of the season.

  • Kurt

    Pat, absolutely spot on regarding Mr. Wenger. The 5-2 fixture that we won when going behind showed how much passion Arsenal was then. Sagna scored the first, and RvP equalised before half time. We went on and won the 5-2 at the end. Pardon me for not remembering the date of the Match! There are many examples to show how passionate our teams were. The other being the New Castle game, where the captain V (who was sold to Barcelona later, forgive me for not being to spell his name), charged up from the backline in our own half – almost 3/4 of the field) to score a last-kick-of-the-game goal and won the match! No passionate? The readers be the judge!

  • Don, the author of this piece wanted to post this report to Pat and Kurt yesterday but technical problems on the site prevented him so doing. I’ve therefore posted it myself on Don’s behalf…

    Pat and Kurt….first off, thanks for participating in UA’s debate….it is welcome and essential to promote intelligent iscourse, but please reread my post as you may have missed the subtle reference to ¨too much passion¨, I do recall many instances of the Arsenal showing passion, especially against the spuds and Manure but maybe I didn’t phrase my article well enough? My hypothesis is that the Arsenal reflected the man behind them at the time…Arsene Wenger, one of the coolest, least demonstratiove managers I had seen until that time. When compared to other teams, the Arsenal played a beautiful, elegant game but were too often bullied off the pitch by taller, bigger brutes like the Orcs and the Mancunians. My observation of Emery’s team is that they reflect his philosophy and passion, which is more hot-blooded and Latin, ready to give like for like and take the game to their opponents, regardless of how ¨tough¨ or ¨manly¨ the press and pundits love to eulogize and hyperbolize such ¨football¨. Perhaps it is too early to judge,reader or pundit but there is a visible shift towards da team that can carry the day anywhere and anytime. My proof, our away record this year where we got points we’d likely have dropped last season….and our strength at home, after our first opening matches.

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