Birmingham Goal: Analysis Using Snapshots

I don’t think many would disagree with the opinion that Arsenal have a shaky defence and struggle to hold on to a lead. This doesn’t mean that we have a relegation quality defence, just that we are not as good as some of the other top teams.

The goal we conceded against Birmingham is a perfect example of how poor our defence actually is. We lack organization, our midfield doesn’t contribute and there is general sense of panic in the air. The snapshots below illustrate our problems.

It’s important to note the positions of our midfield when Diaby misses this header. They are more than ten yards away from the defence and there are four opponents between them and the defenders!

This was not from open play and the ball was in the Birmingham box when the foul was conceded. If the Birmingham players can reach so far before the free kick is taken, you have to wonder why our mid-fielders aren’t in better positions.

Kevin Phillips came on late in the game. Since Wenger didn’t bring on an extra defender one would assume that one of the defensive mid-fielders would be playing really deep along with the defence to counter the extra striker. Denilson is in no man’s land between Nasri and Diaby. Brilliantly reading the game from a distance!

Next see the amount of space Kevin Phillips has when he receives the ball.

I can’t understand why Sol backs away from Phillips. Song could have covered behind him as he wasn’t marking anyone. If Sol had been tighter he could have pounced on the loose ball as striker’s touch was quite poor.

Have you ever seen an Arsenal attacker get so much space in such a position, especially when chasing a game!? Can you imagine United or Chelsea giving the opposition player so much leeway. Interesting to note that Denilson is still ten yards away from the play.

Then Fabregas leaves his man alone. I don’t want to be too critical of El Capitan as he works really hard and has to carry the creative burden. In other teams the left winger would be closing this man down but Arshavin was near the Birmingham penalty area.

As the ball is played to the right, every Arsenal player is either chasing the ball or is caught ball watching. Kevin Phillips is left completely unmarked. Just look at Denilson’s position.

There are five Arsenal players between the guy who crosses the ball and the man who scores. None of them is in a decent position to block the ball, or to tackle the guy on the ball, or to mark the goal scorer. Denilson is perfectly placed to launch a counter.

After this Sagna tries a ridiculous 180 degree clearance instead of knocking it away for a corner. If he’d left it we might even have got an offside but that’s an impossible decision in such a big moment.

Ultimately, the mistake by the keeper was horrible. Almunia should have clawed it away if he couldn’t catch it.

I still think it was a freak goal. The ball somehow went in between five players and the clearance from Sagna hit Phillips in the perfect spot. Anywhere else and it would have fallen kindly for us.

The point is that as long as our defence is so shambolic, we will always run the risk of conceding freak goals. Blaming one or two individuals is a meaningless exercise. We need better organization and our midfield needs much better awareness. We also need to cut out ball watching and ball chasing habits. Most importantly, we need to overcome the panic that sets in amongst our ranks when a long ball is punted forward.

Guardiola must be scared to death!


37 Responses to Birmingham Goal: Analysis Using Snapshots

  1. munala says:

    we need depth n quality depth in our squad.
    Who is our defensive coach ?
    Av always stated da fact dat some players esp arshavin should add more seriousness 2 his game.

  2. Dushyant says:

    Good analysis Desi…but I still think you should stop supporting Almunia. He was horrible last nite…HORRIBLE!!!

    • desigunner says:

      I agree Almunia made a horrible mistake. I’m not defending him at all.

      My point is we have a much bigger problem in front of him and one that cannot be solved by buying one or two players. Moreover, that problem will make the life of any keeper difficult so the assumption that buying a keeper will solve everything is extremely flawed.

  3. harryo says:

    we cant hold a lead. west ham brum liverpool champ league and the 4-4 , the list goes on. sana should have went to centre half and song should have stayed in dm with eboue going right back but wengers lovechild dennishite had to get a game. as for our keeper. i think the whole world knows about him bar wenger. i fear for us on wed if this clowns between the posts and dennilsons about

  4. Let forget about Saturday, whatever happened had already happened. I am not elated at all but this is not the time to be negatives. During the summer transfer, it is imperative to strenghten our defense with a top goal keeper. I rather stop here now. I AM NOT ELATED AT ALL.

  5. keith says:

    Its a shame because we are just a few players short of a great team if Wenger does not buy this summer sack the mother fucker
    Our weekeness is Almunia,Sagna,Denilson and Bentner all not good enough through Walcott in to that as well ok with nothing spent for years there must be a bulging pot and by selling Bentner,Denilson,Vela,Almunia,Sagna and would raise 45 million
    so here we go players needed an suggestions maybe i could maage aresnal i wold buy 1.Goalkeeper Joe Hart8 million 2.A defender Jagileka 12 million 3.holding midfielder Ya Ya Torre 15 milion 4.striker Torres 70 million total outlay 105 million take away the 0 million raised would be investment of 60 million
    So starting 11 next year
    Hart
    Eboue Jagelka Verminator Clichy

    Nasri Cesc Ya YA Arshavin

    RVP Torres

    • Gooner4Lyf says:

      the problem with your solution is that Rvp and Torres will be out injured for half the season. What will we do then?

      Funny, no Song in your team!

    • arsenal says:

      you clearly dont support arsenal, and you clearly dont watch football

      that team isnt actually that good and is very unrealistic.

      our current team is great as it is, we just lack a world class keeper, we dont need all of these fancy players you have mentionned like torres.

      you should go and support chelsea or man u, bc your definitely not an arsenal supporter and you’re not realistic.

      in a season where most people wrote us off from the start, we have come very close to winning the PL, so clearly we’re not doing badly. we are possibly only one player away from being a great team. the point about defensive coaching seems very valid, and i think very necessary.

      a new defensive midfielder to play next to song and fabregas would be ideal, song intercepting, tidying up and playing the ball, and the new guy to add some aggression and tactical play to our midfield is what we need. flamini was perfect but he chose to run off and clean the boots of the first team in milan instead

    • critic says:

      what an idiot….

  6. GoonerGaz says:

    If Bendtner is not good enough then why include Arshavin,he is a complete joke in comparison.Denilson is not everyones favourite but if you compare his contribution to Arshavins this season he looks phenominal.Worst performer for Arsenal this season including keepers and the real reason we did not win at the weekend.Complete dogshit and if he does not find his form of last season must be sold as we simply cannot carry dead wood.

  7. BimGooner says:


    The goal we conceded against Birmingham is a perfect example of how poor our defence actually is. We lack organization [and] our midfield doesn’t contribute.

    Well said, Sir!


    It’s important to note the positions of our midfield when Diaby misses this header. They are more than ten yards away from the defence and there are four opponents between them and the defenders!

    I remember feeling exceedingly appalled and thinking, “What the hell are FOUR opposing players doing there?! Where is our midfield?!” And then they scored… Great analysis on your part, as usual.

  8. adam says:

    I think the blame must lie with Wenger, he knows how to attack but i’m not sure he’s too clued up in defense. Almunia has lost his form, no doubt costing us the title as well. But be honest did you really think we would? When have you really felt totally confident watching Arsenal in the premier league? It’s like watching England play, on paper we should hammer most teams but in reality we struggle. I think Arsenal lacks British spirit and defensive instincts, we should be buying more brits to strengthen the team. Walcott??? Well Wenger’s been playing him out of position for ages. Get him in the middle just behind a more centralized Bendtner and he’ll do the business. The boys got blistering pace and every defender in the world would crap themselves if he was running at them through the middle. No instead we stick a boy that can’t cross out on the wing and the wrong wing at that! If he’s got to play on a wing it’s got to be the left, and get him to cut in Overmars Stylee. Wake up Wenger you’re ruining an exciting talent by playing him wrong! Shit what do i know!! Respect and Peace!

  9. IceMan10 says:

    Offside…if the defender wasn’t in an offside position the defender wouldn’t have had to clear the ball and it wouldn’t have ended up with Phillips. Sick of us Gunners being f**king robbed coz we aint english enough.

    • desigunner says:

      We always get a raw deal from the ref’s but it’s time we acknowledge this and prepare for battle against 12 or 14 men in each game.

  10. Ole Gunner says:

    Situations like these occur several times in a game. Fabregas should have made sure the Birmingham player couldn’t play the ball. On another day he’d have done that.

    But once the ball was played, Birmingham were VERY lucky thst the ball struck Philips and took it towards goal and that Almunia palmed it into his goal.

    A freak goal as you concluded. To compound the bad luck the goal occured in the 2nd minute of 3 minutes of extra time.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree that such situations occur in many games. Most of the time everything doesn’t fall in favor of the attacking side. If you have seen the Wolves V United game, you would remember how the ball fell to the sub with an open net yet he missed. In our case the ball somehow finds the back of the net even when the striker has no clue what hit him!

      Nonetheless, we have definite room for collective improvement in our defense and this should not be ignored.

  11. rabshaqa says:

    Great analysis.
    I belive that Wenger knows all this and more. But he wants to play the total football with emphasis on attacking. His vision is to outscore the other teams. If the team can respond and live up to Wenger’s expectation, then it won’t matter if the defence or the goalkeeper make mistakes.
    The problem has been with the front line not capitalizing on the numerous chances created by the midfield and the fullbacks. Birmingham didn’t have a single clearcut chance to score yet the scored from one of their haf chances. Many other teams scored against us from similar occasions. On the other hand, Arshavin, Bendtner,,,etc.. need to miss three sitters in order to score one goal.

    • critic says:

      totally agree with u…..bendtner has now missed two sitting header by anticipating it to be cleared by defender, other 1 was against porto…somebody has to tell him he is there to score goals not to clear it…

      lesser said of arshavin is better, he says he wants 3-4 more players, and blah blah….as he’s been missing chances equivalent to 3-4 players, idiot….

  12. GLOBALARSENAL says:

    EVERYONE STOP. STOP. STOP.
    FOLLOW GLOBALARSENAL on twitter to support them

  13. Tee Song says:

    I would take that whole sequence even further back and question why we didn’t take the ball into the corner and keep it at their end. The foul and resultant free kick was just after Nasri’s attempted cutback (when he was probably better off shooting) which resulted in an Arsenal throw in right next to the corner flag. Rather than just keep it in that corner, we throw it to Arshavin and he drives into the box, gets dispossessed, and then to compound that mistake, gives a cheap foul. If you look at the sequence of events starting with that throw-in, practically half the team made errors which led to that goal. Which is still the most frustrating thing about this team. Their inexplicable ability to compound individual mistakes with a string of mistakes which ultimately lead to disaster.

    • desigunner says:

      You are right about the mistakes at the other end. I didn’t talk about this because that would have made this post really long. Arsene did mention that mistake.

      I talk about this quite often in my match reports. Each goal we concede is normally the result of multiple mistakes and very rarely is due to only one mistake or some brilliant play by the opposition.

  14. Shillong Gunner says:

    Denilson is Shiiite!!! I saw the worst Arsenal midfield performance.

    • critic says:

      people say he is a different kind of defensive player…..
      a player who can’t run, a player who can’t pass forward, a player lacking upper body strength….

      but a player who can read the game….i think wenger is preparing him to be his successor…

  15. cesc says:

    we never look solid in defence when denilson plays. he’s lazy and shows no enthusiasm or committment to the team.
    watch how always strolls back when the o[pposition is attacking. never any urgency from the man.
    he gets brushed off the ball too easily and isn’t creative enough.
    sell him now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. cesc says:

    having said that. how do you expect to win anything when your team consists of a goalie like almunia and manure & notts county rejects silvester & sol.
    please tell me when was the last time a team won anything on the cheap.?

  17. Joe says:

    I totally agree that denilson is a damn worst player, he never contribute in defence, he never run back when rivals are attacking, and what he knows is standing and passing the ball like a 5 years old kid. I have no idea why wenger keep using such stupid player in the field.

  18. JohnW says:

    You all forget, that we had a make-shift defense and midfield. Had Song been in midfield, and Vermalaen in defense, may be this would not have happened. Denilson has never been a defensive midfielder, so that’s why he was well placed to make a counter attack. And lastly, these a freakish goals which happen every time. In fact we might even score one too very soon. Do you think Big Nick’s goal against Hull didn’t have a touch of freakishness? Denilson takes a long distance shot, which I must admit was not special, but the goalkeeper fluffed his lines. The Hull defence was also sleeping too to allow Big Nick to score. So please don’t fret, these things happen. I think even Almunia was surprised by the ball.
    Besides, I have a strange feeling that we will be champs. the moment we win Sp*rs and Man Shitty.

  19. JohnW says:

    Joe also says that Denilson is the worst player, I beg to disagree.Denilson is playing out of position, he’s 22 and is also coming back from an injury. He has scored three PL goals this season, 6 in all. Denilson will turn out to be like Edu.

  20. Hong_gunner says:

    @cesc – the last time a team won anything on the cheap was the Invincibles sides, constructed for a cost of £37.5m, excluding the Tax of U.K.

  21. nkunya says:

    i feel sorry,we will not win anything with our team
    in premiership with players of that standard in central defence like last sat.noway
    we shall remain playing entertaning footbal with no cups..
    what are the characteristics of a championship team.
    1. less injuries
    2. extra character of must die on pitch.
    3. no individual mistakes that cost points
    4.take yr scoring chances by 70% not bentiner type
    5. luck
    nkunya
    type my email i recieve comments of our fans

  22. tope says:

    guess it is time we accept our fate which lies in the hands of almunia to make that just 1 save which can turn the game around like he did against hammers. for denilson, it’s hi-time we forget about his critical situation, since he is just a fan like we guys, can only study the game more and if i get lucky to have a shirt to play in a match i might not perform better. i’ll advice him to get anew career.

  23. tope says:

    guess it is time we accept our fate which lies in the hands of almunia to make that just 1 save which can turn the game around like he did against hammers. for denilson, it’s hi-time we forget about his critical situation, since he is just a fan like we guys, can only study the game more and if i get lucky to have a shirt to play in a match i might not perform better. i’ll advice him to get a new career.

  24. […] discussed our lack of organization while analysing the Birmingham goal in detail. It was quite evident even in this game and I can’t imagine it being any different for the […]

  25. […] this season but not as bad as many believe. I’ve analysed some goals in detail to prove this – Birmingham, Blackburn – so I won’t spend any further energy in defending them because that’s not the […]

  26. […] one or two individuals for a collective failure. In the past I’ve showed, I believe conclusively (Birmingham Goal Analysis, Blackburn Goals Analysis), that there were at least four or five mistakes for each […]

  27. […] we’ve conceded in a great deal of detail. I showed the Keepers were not the primary culprits at Birmingham and Blackburn last year and I’ve done this analysis for many other goals but didn’t have the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s