Arsenal 1 – 1 Wolves: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

The second half onslaught was exhilarating but not quite enough to regain the two points that another freakish goal had taken away.

Arsene did rotate some of the players. Djourou came in for Coquelin, Rosicky for Ramsey, and Benayoun for Walcott. It was a strong team and one that should have secured the win with relative ease.

The first half was disappointing to say the least. Arsenal virtually had monopoly over the ball but most of the possession was ten yards either side of the centre line as Wolves got into a good defensive shape to cover the passing channels while marking the players getting into attacking positions.

Nevertheless, the Gunners had enough opportunities to score two or three goals. The fact that most of these chances didn’t even result in a shot on target said a lot. Arsenal lacked cohesion and understanding in the attacking areas. Part of it was down to the fact that two players hadn’t played often enough, then there was Van Persie who seemed a little too selfish in this game – uncharacteristically one must add, and the decision making from the man in position to play the final ball was either slow or just poor.

The early goal might also have worked against Arsenal in this case as the players became a touch casual, losing balls in midfield and allowing Wolves sufficient opportunities to get to the final third. There is a fine line between a patient yet probing possession game and a laid-back, toothless tippy-tappy approach. The Gunners were on the wrong side of that line, only just but it proved decisive.

Arsenal’s goal came in the 8th minute from a quick counter attack. Rosicky controlled a looping ball just outside the box and did well to accelerate across the halfway line. At that point, lacking the pace of Walcott or Gervinho, Little Mozart turned around to shrug off the attentions of two Wolves. Benayoun received a square pass from Rosicky and quickly thread one through to Gervinho who’d sped down the middle. The Ivorian beat the keeper by flicking the ball to his left in a somewhat unorthodox manner but that allowed him the chance to roll the ball into an open net so it should be considered a neat trick.

Apart from the goal, the only other noteworthy save came in the 30th minute from a Van Persie strike at the near post. Arteta’s tame free-kick, Rosicky chancing his luck from distance, and Vermaelen’s blocked attempt can’t really be classed as good chances.

The trouble for Arsenal in the first half was that Wolves were able to get to the final third with ease almost every time they regained possession. The midfield pressing wasn’t very good and the team couldn’t regain the right shape soon enough after losing the ball. For the visitors it was mostly about putting the ball in the box and hoping for a lucky break. Arsenal’s defence-by-crowd tactic was working for most parts – as indeed it did for Wolves at the end – but there was always the chance of one freakish goal.

Interestingly, the equalizer too came from a player controlling a falling ball on the edge of the Arsenal box. This time it was Hunt who brought it under control and unleashed a hopeful shot that was deflected towards Fletcher by a charging defender. On almost every other occasion this ball would have deflected to safety or for a corner that Arsenal could defend. in this case though, it fell invitingly on the head of the Wolves striker who deserves credit for calmly guiding it into the corner. Questions can be asked about Mertesacker’s positioning as he was marking the goal-scorer but I think it’s hard for defenders to read such deflections. The German was tucking in and keeping things compact in front of the goal, which seems to be the tactical approach anyway.

The second half was a different story as Arsenal slowly but surely showed more purpose. The Gunners had 19 shots in the second half compared to 7 in the first with 12 of those coming in the final fifteen minutes plus added time.

There were a number of positives for those taking an optimistic viewpoint. Arsenal got sufficient bodies into the box. The crosses weren’t all completely meaningless as they did lead to chances and occasionally caused havoc in the penalty area. The substitutes made an impact. The overall tempo of the game was raised and the players also showed a lot better coordination. A number of accurate chipped passes were very encouraging from a technical and understanding point of view. Corners had some variations and weren’t easily cleared away. Hennessey was forced into action regularly and might just walk away with the MotM.

There is usually some consolation when the opposition Keeper looks like their best player on the pitch but it is rarely enough to mask the frustration of the result. On the negative side, apart from the obvious issues in the first half, I thought Arsenal lacked a bit of maturity in the attacking areas towards the end. There were really no attempts to play combinations in the box from the crosses. The crosses were being put in and any player getting on the end of it was trying to direct it towards goal. While the general crossing and attacking the ball was an improvement over many past efforts, one gets the feeling there was a goal to be had if the Gunners had shown better awareness inside the box.

Given the fact that Arsenal got a man advantage after the red card in the 75th minute, the number of chances was understandable but more is expected from a team looking to capitalize on the points dropped by their rivals.

In my opinion, an interesting, crucial and somewhat worrying factor was that too many players had a mixed bag in this game. More on this in the player analysis.

The stats show Arsenal had complete dominance over this game.  Possession 73-27, Shots 26-6, On Target 11 – 1, Clearances 15-49, Tackles 34/47 – 17/38. But the only figure that mattered at the end was 1-1 on the score-sheet and consequently, the points table.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Didn’t have much to do. Couldn’t really have done much for the goal. Those talking about communication and organization skills of the Keeper might want to explain why the freak goals keep on coming.

Djourou: I liked his desire to do something with the ball but he didn’t really know what to do with it once he got into advanced areas. Fairly stable defensively and made a couple of good tackles. Also won 7 of his 11 ground duels and both his aerial duels. Made the most clearances.

Mertesacker: A harsh critic might blame him partially for the goal. I thought he had an excellent game starting with a big block early on. His positioning was excellent as was his reading of the game. Won all his duels, 5 on the ground and 3 in the air, apart from winning a number of headers that contributed to the 5 times he won back possession in the defensive third and thrice in the middle third. Forced a good save from a header at the back post, could have done better to attack a Gervinho cross.

Koscielny: Once again made the most passes and most accurate ones, with the second highest touches as Arsenal played around at the back quite often. Was involved in fewer duels and tackles – four in total with a 50 percent success rate. Made a couple of promising attacking runs. Won back possession six times – most often – in the defensive third.

Vermaelen: Produced a battling display on the left with a vastly improved attacking effort. Had a couple of shots at goal – one blocked and one saved late in the game. Won 5 of his 8 duels and the only tackle he made.

The defenders had a good game despite not keeping a clean sheet. The number of freakish goals conceded by Arsenal is a clear indication of structural issues that lead to more opportunities for the opponents. As I have said for close to two years now, personnel changes on the field is not enough for solving this.

Song: I got a feeling he was a touch casual with his passing and movement in the first half. Had the most unsuccessful touches in the side, which looks even worse when seen as a proportion of total touches (5/69). Lost the only ground duel he contested and didn’t have any aerial duels or tackles, which was surprising. He did win possession back in midfield thrice. Could easily have seen two yellow cards for successive rash tackles within a moment of each other. Disappointing on the whole.

Rosicky: Played a key part in the first goal. Also created 4 chances. Was third highest in terms of passes but also lost possession most often, largely due to the fact that majority of his passes came in the attacking half/final third. Rosicky’s 43 attempted passes in the FT was almost double the next best 26 by Arteta. He also put in a good defensive shift. Little Mozart had a very good game but there were moments when he could have done much more in or around the box, especially in the first half.

Arteta: Once again had the highest number of touches (0 out of 102 unsuccessful!) and was instrumental in keeping the ball when under pressure. Got back into defensive positions whenever needed. Also won possession back most often – 4 – in midfield. Won all three tackles and four of his five ground duels. Created 4 chances – 2 from open play and 2 from set-pieces.

The midfield saw a lot of the ball and was generally comfortable in possession but one would expect more when a win is a must. Song had a mixed bag as he seemed a fraction off pace. Rosicky was very, very good for most of the game but there were moments when he could have played a better ball, shown greater control, or been more decisive. It’s unfair to nit-pick but the difference between one point and three in such games is usually in the little details.

Benayoun: Excellent assist, and made a number of intelligent runs but lacked pace or control at vital moment in the attacking third. Drifted in regularly but wasn’t able to shrug off his marker. That meant he had the lowest touches/min ratio of all the outfield players except Chamakh. Should have been more involved and done better on the ball in the final third.

Van Persie: Forced 5 good saves but the 12 total shots indicate a degree of selfishness. He also missed a couple of glorious chances when his touch let him down after being put through by delightful chipped passes. Work rate was excellent as usual and took a number of rough challenges in his stride. Could very well be that the record was playing on his mind and ended up putting De Kapitein off his game by his standards.

Gervinho: Took his goal really well. Made a number of good runs with the ball but wasn’t able to beat his man effectively and was successful with only 1 out of 4 dribble attempts. Wasn’t really getting into the right positions often enough either.

All three attacking players had an on and off game. Benayoun got the assist and Gervinho the goal but both should have offered a lot more in terms of movement, availability to receive passes, and quality on the ball. Van Persie was probably trying too hard.

Subs: Arshavin had a very good game and contributed creatively in the limited time he got. Created the chance for Vermaelen, could have had the pre-assist with his quick thinking for the Mertesacker header as he found Rosicky with an early pass, played Ramsey through, and almost scored from a wonder-strike that went inches wide. Chamakh didn’t see much of the ball, which was disappointing. More crosses should have been aimed at him. Ramsey completed all passes from open play and only failed with a couple of crosses out of six attempts. Rambo also created the game high 6 chances in the limited minutes that he got!

Wenger: Team selection was justified. The decision to bring on Arshavin was probably not the popular one but was the correct one. Did well to take Song off as the Cameroonian was losing his cool. Should he have introduced Chamakh the moment Arsenal went a man up? Crossing and set-piece routines have improved and Arsenal did get a lot of bodies into the box but a lot more needs to be done. Largely at fault for the goal as his defence-by-crowd tactic doesn’t always work. It would be harsh to ignore the positives but Arsenal do drop more points in such games than teams that are genuinely challenging for the title.


40 Responses to Arsenal 1 – 1 Wolves: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    More than anything, I think we were let down by a lack of width. Gervinho was good in spells but also wasteful, and neither Rosicky nor Benayoun are really wide men. Without Theo, it showed up our lack of attacking full backs even more.

    Oh well. It happens. This was a major disappointment rather than a disaster, but it certainly narrows our margin for error. I can’t fault the team’s effort though – this was not one of those games where we were too complacent. Just not quite lucky enough.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/12/27/arsenal-huff-and-puff-but-cant-blow-the-big-bad-wolves-down/

    • XX says:

      THE THREE TOP POSITIONS ARE SET IN STONE. WE WILL NOT CATCH THE TOP THREE. CHELSEA WILL STRENGTHEN IN JANUARY AND PULL AWAY FROM US. UNLESS WE GET RID OF CHAMAKH AND ARSHAVIN AND REPLACE THEM WITH ANOTHER QUALITY WINGER AND GOAL SCORER, WE WILL NOT BE IN THE TOP FOUR, COME END OF SEASON.

      • santori says:

        Agree with lack of width.

        It’s not that the wide players (Gervinho and Benayoun in this case) were not effective but they did need more support from the fullbacks. Unfortunately, we have Cbacks playing in those position which doesn’t help.

        With regards Top3, I believe the top 2 are currently broke away.

        The two immediately above us are still perfectly catachable but this was a shame considering results the day before.

  2. sam says:

    it seems like arsenal fans agree with wenger that we only want 4th place so he’s not worried about throwing away points. a win could have pushed us 10 points behind the leader at this stage of the season. unfortunately arsene have already given up. if arshavin and chamakh are better than park and chamberlain then we need to spend big this january, well in my dream.
    no they are not, just wenger stubborness and favouritism. park is a great finisher and a freekick expert and chamberlain is stronger and a better winger than the little meercat.

    • santori says:

      They are being realistic.

      City and United are far and away at the moment. A fourth place finish (third is perfectly possible) is currently what it looks like.

      Park is as as yet unprioven and whilst he may be a ;free kick expert’ he has not as yet proven his ability on pitch (the few chances he has had)

      Chmaberlain has potential but is far less effective than Arsharvin in decision making with the final ball.

      I don’t think you are quite thinking clearly at the moment,.;)

  3. Waleed says:

    Very disappointing. Not only would we have secured 4th place, but also would have moved to 10 points behind the leaders, hence keeping our faint title hopes alive still.

    For the Wolves goal, the defenders weren’t marking anyone, they were pushing up for offside.

    Alex Song was casually walking up from the touchline and played their scorer onside. Criminal from Song there.

    Our lack of proper width is really starting to hurt us. Wenger should do all he can to secure a temporary LB.

    • santori says:

      Agree with Desi and you. Song had a poor game by his standards. Perhaps in hindsight, it would have been more effective to have had Ramsey come on earlier.

      OTOH, Thought Rosicky played well which is encouraging (as did the rejuvenated Rambo)

      Benayoun also seems to be clicking in to gear and was inventive (I’m not sure if we can fully go by Stats alone in a game like Footy).

  4. Waleed says:

    Also Wenger cannot be blamed for that goal. I don’t think there is a “defence by crowd” tactic. I think its simply that players were in the box defending for the corner.
    Very unlucky goal to concede but at the same time if the idea is for the defence to push up and play offside then Song should be more aware.

    • santori says:

      There were 2 instances before the goal whereby the ball found it’s way to the D. Guess who was there on both occasions? Rhymes with c.unt.

      The point is we keep clearing into a danger area (this has happened many times before this particular game) and we never station someone to collect the rebound.

      In this case, Rosicky was at fault for ball watching.

      We need someone in and around the D to challenge or take on the rebound. Our defenders are in the habit of clearing the ball short (and into this area). It isn’t rocket science for us fix this.

  5. Foolishgooner says:

    Disappointing to say the least! Arsene’s selection was justified enough but i wanted Arshavin through the middle not Yossi. All players worked hard Gervinho was lively, Van Persie was bit off and selfish once we get the goal (supposedly a winning goal), i thought the team focus shifted to assisting Robin to break the record guilty were (Song/Van persie). We got to find a way to convert those damn corners and set peices (Van persie needs to be in the box) not taking those corners. It was a home game Alex should have started on oppossite wing to Gervinho and Arshavin through the middle. One more thing about the way we played the second have and the chances we created (Man U and other challengers do that all game long to wear down oppossition) Why do our players sleep walk parts of the game! where is the urgency/consistancy? comes from the manager and his style. QRP here we come.

    • santori says:

      AA needs to play more games. I don’t think he is well served out wide (particularly without fullback support)

      I tend to agree that he plays better closer to the middle but that may dictate a slight change of formation closer toward a 4-4–1-1

      Against teams that nominally cede midfield (and considering the strentgh we have with Song/Arteta at the moment), it is feasable but entirely of course up to the gaffer.

      • richie says:

        Shava has never really played centrally! For both Zenit & Russia he played left. Arsene has tried AA out in every position of the front 6 and he’s only ever played well on the left. When Cesc was out injured Arsene tried Shava in the middle more than once without success. It might be true AA is worse out wide without proper full back cover, but I’m yet to see him play convincingly in the middle. I can’t really see us changing to play a 442 variation to accomodate Shava can you?

  6. Aussie Jack says:

    For the past three years at least Arsenal have become a club of missed opportunities. Missed opportunities on the field of play and missed opportunities in the transfer market. Each week we hear the same old rhetoric, “the result was a little disappointing but there are positives to take from the game”, or ” we could easily have won by three or four but we didn`t make the most of our opportunities”. Well, let me tell you Arsene, Man.United `do`, and that`s the difference.

  7. Tee Song says:

    The goal illustrated a rather chronic problem with our set piece defending in that the ball was only cleared to the top of the penalty area. That, and our midfielders often do a poor job of fighting for these second balls. Because of the poor clearance and lack of players fighting for the second ball, Hunt was able to gather the ball and get off a clean shot. Song was late in pushing up for the corner but it only becomes relevant because Hunt was able to get a shot away in the first place.

    • santori says:

      Absolutely agree.

      Just made the point earlier. It was the third time that the ball found it’s way to the D with Messr Hunt waiting and no one in red and white challenging. In this case, Rosicky was stationed closest but quite not close enough.

    • richie says:

      You got that right TS.
      On set pieces I think all the whole team is still concerned with correcting the past bad positioning that they adopted and now they forget that they have to fight for the 2nd ball. I see it being a weakness until their positioning is second nature.

  8. Abhijeet says:

    Just an insane idea came to my mind in the morning ….
    We need a left back right now. (but would be useless once both gibbs & Santos are back, so he needs to be useful at some other position. As of now we were using CB for that position, but there are players who are good at other positions and can play there)
    We will need a left winger once gervinho goes to ANC.
    We need a replacement left winger anyway when AA leaves (AA ideally wasn’t a winger anyway & and he will leave soon for sure) .
    Considering we play 3 front, where all 3 are ideally semi strikers due to being closer to the D, we need that winger to be somebody who is as much capable of poaching / stealing goals at smallest of opportunities. Clinical for finish & predatory.

    Heck, just put whatever is the money needed and bid for Gareth Bale. We have given enough players to all these top teams, it’s time to take somebody back. He is a boyhood Arsenal fan. And he ticks at everything we need in short as well as long term … you wanted to do a big marque signing right ? here is one. The best message of intent … and in this case, just loan signing TH will suffice all our needs for this year at least …

    • XX says:

      WHY WOULD GARETH BALE LEAVE A TITLE CHASING TEAM TO JOIN ONE STRUGGLING TO GET INTO THE TOP FOUR- WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? IF YOU HAVE NOT NOTICED, SPURS ARE ABOVE US AND PLAYING VERY WELL. WITH WENGER IN CHARGE, WE SHOULD GET USED TO THIS, THE SAME WAY WE HAVE COME USED TO CHELSEA AND MAN CITY BEING BETTER THAN US.THE POST-VIEIRA ARSENAL HAS BEEN A COMPLETE TRAIN WRECK.

    • santori says:

      Hard to get someone because both Sagna and Gibbs are due in end January latest.

      OTOH, big risk not to as with Vermaelen last season.

      Our best option is a temporary Bridge (no pun).

      Otherwise someone like say Bastos could play both LB and later on the wing (as he does for Lyon) and may be tempted with CL footy.

  9. sam says:

    what arsenal badly need is a new cesc. a creative goalscoring midfielder. you will see even our wingers will start scoring.
    rosicky and rosicky try their best but they are not all that.
    i hope wenger has someone like montolivo in mind. hazard/gotze rumours are just paper talk. wenger will never spend that much plus they are cup-tied for champions league.

    • santori says:

      We are creating plenty of chances without Cesc.

      What we need is a better sharp end (alternate to RVP) to put them away in a thouroughly unforgiving manner like the way United do.

  10. jeff says:

    RVP was a little too selfish in the first 45 in my opinion..? other than that i think we’re just unlucky.. it’s wrong if you said we didn’t make most of our chances as it’s just Hennesey that stopped us dat day.. and not wolves… anyway, Glad to see mr Rosicky n Benayoun played together… Rosicky,without doubt,was our best player that day.. fantastic technique,passings n movement..

    • santori says:

      I thought RVP rushed it a little today but to go as far as to think that the record may have preyed upon his better senses may be reading into it a little.

      Still, can see why Desi felt he should have fed in others in certain situations instead of going for it.;)

  11. Danish Gooner says:

    When you dont do something pro-active you are bound to suffer Wenger is caught up in his hell bent dream of getting Arsahvin and Chamakh to perform on a regurlarly basis but they are constantly bringing nothing to the game like today,Arshavin looks so out of confidence it must be a matter of days before he is sold off and if Chamakh and Bendtner is still our second and third striker when next season starts you may call me Mary Jane Rottencrotch.Why,ohh why didnt he let the Ox onto this team,so if he failed so what,he can hardly do worse then the above mentioned.Chamakh and Arsahvin have gone from being two extremely vibrant players to performing like a couple of drunken pub players and Wenger is to blame,he constantly plays them out of position and they suffer big time like playing Bendtner on the wing,it is so wrong.i just read that Mourinho want to return to England in 2014 when Wengers next contract is up,i hope it isnt a coincidence.This club needs to win big things again on a regurlarly basis and it will never happen with Wenger.

    • santori says:

      Arsharvin still has it in him to unlock defenses (particularly if he is more central and allowed to drift).

      Chamakh has :

      1) Lost confidence
      2) Not had the opportunity to be used as effectively as he could be. Because we play him less, the team has had less opportunity to get their range right when crossing to him. IMO, we should not be trying to conform him to the player that he is not ( a mobile striker in a 4-3-3) rather we shold have been playing to his strength, someone good in the air and who is better supported around the box in a 4-4-2)

      Alas Wenger and Rice are fixated with 4-3-3 alone.

  12. sam says:

    @danish gooner!
    wenger is not to blame for their shambolic performance, he’s just wrong for keeping them for too long and picking them ahead of players who can actually play better.
    arsenal fc develop players who are capable of playing in different positions when required. i don’t see djourou and vermaelen complaining they are getting on with the job. even van persie can play anywhere in the attack. as for chamakh and arshavin, they are not bad players they just failed to adapt to arsenal style of play. if chamakh stays in england i can see him banging goals for stoke or blackburn. arshavin will also flourish back in russia.

  13. Saanil says:

    Déjà vu!! This is the Arsenal of past 3 seasons. I am disappointed but then there is nothing than can done. After Monday’s results (Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool drawing) I thought Arsenal would surely climb to the 4th position. But I was wrong – Although we got a draw but it still feels like a defeat. The fight for the 4th position now continues. I know it is too early to comment on the future but I think Arsenal is going to miss the 4th spot (Please God prove me wrong!).

    I do not want to speak of the game much. Statistics would be useless to look at – Because looking at the statistics anyone would have said Arsenal would have won the game. Time and again big clubs face such situations – Today it was Arsenal’s day to draw. How much ever we tried we just could not get that killer move. Headers, corners, free kicks – we tried all. A rotation of players was the key today and Arsene played it right. After getting a goal in the 8th minute everything was going fine until the end of the 1st half. Another stupid goal conceded. I really do not know whom to blame for the goal. 2nd half was completely dominated by Arsenal – it was complete one way traffic. Wolves did not even try to play football. The entire team tried to defend and eventually succeeded.
    I think Arsene was a little late into substitution. Substitutes are one thing Arsenal needs to improve. Our substitutions are just not effective. Sorry Desi but I don’t think our substitutions were good. I would have preferred OX instead of Ramsey. Ramsey is not the instant kind of a player.

    It was good to see Rosicky and Benayoun start for Arsenal. Both of them have the pace and the skill but they are still rusty. I understand they need more time but Arsenal does not have much of it. Our defence was pretty solid except for the goal. But I think such things cannot be avoided. Vermalean was solid at left back but I am not sure for how long he can deputize. We do need a temporary left back – hope that Wenger will address this issue in January.

    People, who think this draw was a big blow to our title race, wake up!! – There is no title race for us! Do you really expect us to finish even 3rd? I think 4th is a reasonable position to just expect. Historically Arsenal’s form dips down after December. I really hope this is not the case. I just want our players to play their hearts out like they did yesterday. We need to kill off such games in order to challenge for the 4th spot.

    I just wanted to ask one thing – Isn’t finishing 6th better than 5th? If Arsenal happen to finish 5th I think playing in Europa League will be a big disaster for our EPL hoped next year. I know my approach is a little negative here but I just want Arsenal to do well next season.

    • santori says:

      With Wolves sitting deep (particularly down to 10), I’m not sure how much more effective someone with speed like OX would have made. Rather we were better off with the craft of Ramsey and Arsharvin.

      Actually in this instance, who we really miss are the players who can run at defenses like Jack and Diaby, both sadly still sidelined.

  14. Toye says:

    I am dissappointed cos we should be winning games like this.Everytime they had a corner it was always cleared ti the wolves player at the edge of the D.For the goal,it is annoying cos Song was casually walking back when the defence line had pushed up.Very unprofessional

  15. zaragooner says:

    Can i just blame Cesc and his bad omen for this draw? I don’t know who to blame for this but honestly it’s already mid-season and we are dropping points at home against lesser team. Too bad. It was a disappointed game, dreadful performance and we failed to take an advantage where other teams get a draw result on Monday. I watch the replay again, Szczesny was too slow to react against Fletcher’s header. He did nothing on pitch; he didn’t have any shot to save, no counter attack, except for the goal he conceded from one shot on target. I’ve lost count on how many goals we have conceded from one shot on target. It’s harsh but so sad it’s true. You see Arsenal, when you didn’t concede stupid goals you can get away with not scoring enough goals. The story changed after they scored, you can see how their confidence grew, especially their goalkeeper. I must say hats off to Hennessey. I hope this team will learn something from this result. Up our next game against QPR, well we know it was not an easy game, and I’m prepared for the worst.

    • santori says:

      I did not think it a dreadful performance.

      I thought it was encouraging that Benayoun looked purposeful and inventive, Rosicky was quick on the turn and took some shots from distance. Also Ramsey looked a little more rejuvenated than from past performances.

      Just not our day. And Hennesey did have a blinder. Matter of time before someone picks up that young man.

      The lack of support from the full backs is telling.

      Not that Vermaelen or Djourou did not do well, both were reasonably strong in the position today BUT we needed them making forward runs in support of the (again) lively Gervinho and Benayoun. They are not that sort of beast unfortunately so no fault of theirs.

      Thought Gervinho scoring was an added plus for us negated by the fact that he now leaves for ACN.

      Wenger has to really think hard about January. I think we do us a disservice without taking in a striker whether it be Henry on loan or pref someone like Leandro Damiao.

      LB on loan to Bridge the gap before Gibbs returns may also be on the cards. An alternative would be someone like Bastos who can also be re-roled as a winger later on (particularly as we may not be able to retain Benayoun next summer and one of either AA or Rosicky may leave)

      • Kushagra India says:

        henry is not the solution moreover he will be only for 6 weeks he will definitely help our cause but we need another goalscorer with gourcuff and bridge on loan…this is the most precarious we have been in Wener’s reign..

  16. santori says:

    Plenty of shots. Plenty of chances created. A mature performance but we lacked a bit of speed going forward and that cutting edge right in front of goal. Thought we (again) over elborated at times when a swing at goal would have sufficed.

    Was quite confident that we would be in top 4 by Christmas about a month back.

    We are close but no cigar.

    Think we will get there (quite possibly third) but culling back either Manc clubs is now going to be quite difficult.

  17. Abhishek Jajodia says:

    Good post. I think this match laid strong emphasis on our one dimensional play. For the first half, you could hardly see any movement from the right side of the pitch, Gervinho was causing a decent stir on the left flank, but there was no movement on the right side of the pitch which was missing Theo. And this showed how badly we need a strong distributor in the central midfield. Most of our attack has been generated from quick movement off the flanks where we manage to move the ball from the second quarter of the field, a place where Song and Arteta sit very comfortably. But since Wolves were letting us move into the thrid quarter of the field without a press, we fell for the bait and started pushing forward through the middle. For most teams which park the bus, this is the ideal situation. They let us play, parking around 8 players in or around their box, leaving no space of through balls. This is where we missed the essential creativity of a Cesc or a Wilshere. Rosicky was no doubt an upgrade to Ramsey (who’s experiencing some much evident fatigue), but we still lacked the killer through ball.

    The lack of a plan B showed then. Their goalkeeper was having his day of the season, and we just managed to shoot ourselves in the foot by conceding a soft goal.

    Out of context, I just wanted to know what you think of playing Arshavin in the middle, to relieve Ramsey of some pressure in a few of the upcoming matches. I still believe in the Russian for some reason, and before writing someone so talented off, we need to give him a chance. He’s got the dribbling ability to get past stern defenders and also an eye for through balls. He loses the ball too often, which is a measurable risk we can take with strong ball winning contenders like Arteta and Song. If we believe Wenger has the ability to revive the ability of ones like Gourcuff, then Arshavin also can only find his mojo here at Arsenal.

  18. Kushagra India says:

    Pretty much agree with the post .Arshavin showed some good signs time to take a punt on him for the middle but may not haapen as gerv is leaving….we definitely need another goal scorer to have any chance of finishng top 4 …..too reliant on RvP and when he fails we dont have any1 to complement or replace him..too big a risk considering whats at stake

  19. bob says:

    shame spurs have more ambition than afc these days…. if we had nasri and cesc in this team we would not be in this dire position.

    cant believe anyone thinks our performance in the league is acceptable for a club of our size.

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