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Watford – Arsenal : 2-2. Why are we playing out from the back

By Walter Broeckx

As Lacazette was out with an ankle injury we might have expected a few changes. A first start for Özil in this campaign and Ceballos getting a starting place.

Arsenal team at the start: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang
On the beach: Martinez, Chambers, Torreira, Willock, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli

A first shot after minutes from Watford but Leno managed to hold on to the ball somehow. Arsenal trying to attack but playing at a pedestrian speed in the opening minutes. Watford trying to attack with speed and Leno has to produce a good save on a shot from distance. Watford have another shot after the corner but Leno with a good stop. Watford again using speed when they go forward but the shot this time off target.0 –0 after 15 minutes.

Finally Arsenal with some speed in the attack but the shot from Pepe went wide. Kolasinac with an interception on the halfway line after a good touch from Ceballos. Kolasinac runs up to the penalty area, gives it to Aubameyang who turns and shoots: GOAL! 0-1 to The Arsenal after 21 minutes.

A dangerous cross is just missed by Aubameyang. And shortly after another dangerous cross from Özil but Watford can somehow clear for a corner.

Pepe almost send away by Özil but he just couldn’t pick up the ball and keep his speed. 0-1 after 30 minutes.

Arsenal passing the ball around. Özil with a great ball to Maitland-Niles and his simple pass to the middle finds Aubameang who taps home his second of the afternoon. GOAL!! 0-2 to The Arsenal after 32 minutes. Great passing move and excellent run from Maitland-Niles and vision from Özil.

Watford with a dangerous attack but Kolasinac can clear the cross with a firm header. Arsenal then trying to commit suicide with Guendouzi losing the ball from the goal kick at our penalty area but Leno can stop the effort from Watford. Could we please cut out that Russian roulette game please please please….

Arsenal overplaying it at the back a few times putting ourselves under pressure. We stopped too much playing forward after doubling our lead. Kolasinac goes in the book after a late tackle. A result of too much playing around our own penalty area. Leno can catch the free kick. Delofeu almost away but he was outcrowded by the Arsenal defenders. Pepe unhappy with a strong kick in extra time leading to some pushing and shoving.

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Could we please keep away from those things as it only will lead to yellow cards. Guendouzi is the one for Arsenal and Cholevas for Watford. These yellow cards can come back to haunt us later in the season (or in the match if you get a second yellow card….). 0-2 after 45 minutes.

Guendouzi again with a disastrous ball in the own penalty area giving an enormous chance to Watford but luckily Xhaka was on hand to kick the ball away before the Watford player could pull the trigger. Again a result of us playing too slow around our own penalty area. Özil with a nice move but the shot from Xhaka was always rising. Ceballos with a good defending action before Delofeu could get dangerous. Again Arsenal being careless and losing the ball deep in our own half. We are putting ourselves under pressure that way and give hope to the opposition.

And we keep on playing it and give the ball in the feet of Cleverly who can score from our own goal kick. This is disgusting! 1-2 after 53 minutes. I wonder who keeps on giving this order to keep giving the ball away like that deep in our own half and in our penalty area.

I think we are in for another difficult end of the match. Kiko gets a yellow card for pulling Özil back. After 60 minutes Willock comes on for Ceballos. Still 1-2 but Watford who looked dead and buried full of hope to produce a comeback.

Arsenal clearly nervous and not able to set up a good attack since we gave that goal away. Sarr with a good turn but his effort from 6 meters out goes wide. A backheel from Watford goes wide. Torreira comes in after 66 minutes in the place of Guendouzi. Another shot goes just wide. After 70 minutes Nelson comes on for Özil.

A shot from Nelson but too central for the keeper to beat him. Aubameyang and Nelson combine but the last defender could cut the danger out. Leno gets a yellow card for time wasting. Pepe with a good action followed by a shot of Torreira but the keeper saved. At the other end a player goes down and the ref gives a penalty. Perreira scores. 2-2 after 80 minutes.

We shot ourselves in the foot with tactics I have called out in all the matches so far. And that against a team that was dead after 45 minutes. Another shot from Watford goes just wide. Leno with a match winning save in extra time (well a point winning save) when a shot is taken almost from the penalty spot.

Arsenal with a hopeless performance in the second half with a disastrous tactic that got punished and that cost us the 3 points.

22 comments to Watford – Arsenal : 2-2. Why are we playing out from the back

  • GoingGoingGooner

    The tactic of bringing our CBs into the box on a goal kick is questionable…it allows one forward to attack the ball and the other to pressure the keeper without any worry of a forward, press splitting pass to the holding midfielder. The pass back or the lateral pass to the other CB has to happen very quickly and any hesitation or error is punished. Today was a case in point. EEEEEK

  • Menace

    The passing out from the back is absolute rubbish because the system is not understood as the goals for process are not being achieved. YE is the coach that introduced the system & has not taught the players the process. The players are absolutely naive about the threats and seem to be following without thought. UE must change the process or get advice on how to impart processes on naive footballers.

    It is truly an embarassment for the supporter. Christmas has come early for our opponents.

    VAR will not look at the commencement of play but should look at the goal and as a result see the false start – ruling out the goal.

    Anything else is a corrupt attitude. IFAB create rules that subsidise Laws but VAR decieves the truth by selective blindness (a PGMOL speciality. No1 on their menu of cheats.)

  • Thank you so much for the review Walter.

    I agree there is a problem with playing the goal kick out – the aim is to pull the opposition forward and then break at speed, but at the moment it is not working.

    However also at the moment we only have 25% of our back four in the team, so maybe we can improve…

  • Thank you so much for the review Walter.

    I agree there is a problem with playing the goal kick out – the aim is to pull the opposition forward and then break at speed, but at the moment it is not working.

    However also at the moment we only have 25% of our back four in the team, so maybe we can improve…

    Oh and please forgive me Walter, I have changed the headline on your article a little.

  • Bobome

    We did ourselves in – the role of VAR and the referee were secondary. It seemed our boys were not interested in winning! Another penalty gifted with a pass for another goal by our CB pairing. That is getting worrying the team needs to sort it out before it becomes second nature.

  • WalterBroeckx

    No problem Tony.
    For the moment a corner or a goal kick seems to have the same effect : it can result in a goal for the opposition. I now even feel happier when the ref gives a wrong corner against us. I can live with a goal from a corner. I can’t live with a goal like the first one we gave away…..

  • nicky

    “At the other end a player goes down and the ref gives a penalty”.
    Rather an oversimplification if I might respectfully say so, Walter.
    My recollection was that an Arsenal player deliberately hung his foot out so that the Watford guy had to fall over it.

  • Gord

    OT: LeedsU

    Eddie Nketiah came off the bench on 70m, and opened the scoring at 84m. Lees went on to win 0-2.

  • EJ

    I wonder what you would have said Walter if the incident leading to our first goal had happened against us, just wondering..

  • mikeinatlanta

    time up Emery

  • PG GUNNER

    worrying to see how easy watford played through or midfield from 1st minute even at 2nil we wernt comfortable Auba shouldnt have to drop back into his own half to win ball Pepe has to learn to play in a team for 90 plus min. playing out from the back was always a disaster waiting to happen as the 2nd half proved we are going backwards very quickly.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I strongly suspect Emery needs to sort this, and quickly, either that, or hope that the returning injured are better placed to overcome these issues, as I suspect they may well be.
    But how long will Hector, Tierney, Holding take to get up to speed?
    Surely there is a case for a Chambers recall on what we have seen in recent games? The numbers really do not look good in terms errors, penalties against etc.

  • MickHazel

    The fact that teams with supposedly inferior quality players, playing for clubs with far less resources than Arsenal are able to perform better defensively than we are surely indicates a fault within the coaching system and/or coaching personnel.
    We obviously do not know what goes on in the clubs coaching methods but there seems to be a lack of understanding within the whole team as to what is required defensively. Assuming that our players are just as intelligent as those in other teams and therefore should be just as capable of understanding instructions our poor defending can only be attributed to lack of work on the training pitch or poor quality defensive coaches.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Mick, quite a puzzle as to how bad we are defensivelyI, and often have been over the years,
    As for the present, think Emery has the wrong players for his preferred system, and we are suffering especially defensively.
    I am no expert on the man, but it seems his successful teams have been based on willing , aggressive runners and pressers, whereas we have, and continue to buy technical players.
    If emery had his way, I am sure the likes of nzonzi and benega would wear the shirt, if bought in jan, I am sure we would now be in the ECL, but it seems the club has other ideas for the future.
    Sadly, for a man proven to be a decent coach within his environment, unless he adapts quickly, cannot see emery around for too much longer
    Those who run the club are ruthless, and Emerys stats are not looking good. A shame, really think there is a decent coach in there, but maybe we as a club are just too steeped in another way of playing the game , which I suspect Edu will only enhance

  • George Ukaz

    With Unai Emery arsenal can never contest for trophies of any type

  • And what is the evidence of that George?

  • Menace

    The playing out from goal kicks does not work if not implemented with the alternative of a long ball. Manchester City with their much feted coach have had exactly the same issues but not had as much bad press (forgive the pun).

    It is so damned sad to hear Emery state that it worked well in training because live match pressing is brutal when officiated by PGMOL.

    When Nelson was fouled in the opponents third, Taylor didn’t see anything wrong, despite the foul being far worse than the one he gave a penalty for. The TV pundits & coverage are so biased that it begs the question why Arsenal allow these persons access to our ground.

  • Mikey

    @ Tony

    I’m glad you pointed out that we only have 25% of our back four fit. The entire media, and many of the commentators on this page, seem completely oblivious to this fact. With any other team, people would be making excuses for such a depleted defence but we’re Arsenal. Not only does the media completely ignore this fact, so do many of our own “supporters”.

  • goonersince72

    Mikey @3:12pm

    The question is, if you only have 25% of your back four fit why are you trying a risky tactic? And after a couple of near goals and an actual goal, why didn’t Emery call for a long ball out. Not the worst of strategies under the circumstances. The back four will improve when the injured return and there can be a preferred back four with some rotation. For now, as others have said (Mandy?), I’d give Chambers a go, he’s fit and has looked good since his return. Having said that, defence is a team effort and a mindset. Players are being bedded in, the attack is evolving as is the defence. The jury seems to still be out on Emery but sacking him mid-season will only bring chaos.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks for this review , Walter . I do get nervous whenever we pass in and around our box. And even in our own half .I would make it a crime to pass across our own penalty box and backwards.
    Please guys , pass/play it forward . Even hoofing it forward , or towards the opposition corners will allow us time to regroup .
    With the speed of our forwardline , or some mistake by the opposition , we have a better chance , than passing it to death to in our own box.
    I would beg them to it cross early , and into the box rather than pass it aimlessly around and then ending it up all the way back with our keeper . With their players rushing in to close him out .
    They had 31 shots at goal , and we 4 . Says it all really.
    This team has the personnel to make it work. So buck up guys !
    Up the Arsenal !

  • WalterBroeckx

    Menace, the problem might be just that our forward line will be the ones pressing in training. And we have a great forward line going forward but pressing is not their thing. Only Lacazette has a bit of pressing and tackling and aggressivity in him. Auba and Pepe are just running around a bit without closing people down and putting them under pressure. So I am sure in training it will work.
    But on match day when you get players who are willing to run their hearts out and tackle and kick and be aggressive things go horribly wrong. In fact we could and should have been punished earlier with this tactics than in the 5th match.

  • Seriously im no coach but how on earth do you take off Ozil amd Cabellos? They where not tired and it was a winning team. As i told earier looks like someone some where wants us yo be in Europa all the time. Why dont they birn VAR in Arsenal matches it does not work. Now with Manure game coming saften your belts. With no VAR for us and a defense with those two gentlemen it might be a massacre. But we still have time to make It right,Emery over to you.

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