Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Liverpool

Arsenal’s visit to Liverpool this early in the season is a battle between two sides that are undergoing another rebuilding process. Arsene Wenger is still waiting for his new signings to bed in while trying to create a coping mechanism (tactical) to deal with the loss of two players who took the top spots in last season’s player of the year poll. Brendan Rodgers has a seemingly tougher task of revamping the playing style and identity of the club. The Reds have brought in fresh faces, moved some of the big money failures of last season on, and are trying to promote some promising youngsters. Both sides will take time to reach their best so this is more an interim exam but it will provide some indication of how the projects are coming along.

The recent games between the clubs have thrown up some fascinating battles with late drama. Seven goals have been scored in the 90th minute or later in the last seven ties. Gooners will be positive coming into the fixture as Arsenal have only lost once in the last ten encounters with Liverpool. The Scousers will feel they’re due a win and will be buoyed by the dominant display against City last week.

This fixture is likely to be a interesting tactical tussle. For Liverpool, it won’t be very different from the game against City as Mancini’s side plays with a style very similar to Arsenal, although they did set up with a more defensive 3-5-2 and made it relatively easier for their hosts to dominate the ball and midfield. For Arsenal this game couldn’t be more different to the tie against Stoke last week.

Liverpool will play out from the back and keep the ball on the ground. Their strengths will lie in the speed of their passing and the movement of their attacking players. This will be backed up by intense pressing. The basic idea will be to establish a high tempo and pin Arsenal back in their own half. Not too dissimilar from what the Gunners try to do in every game but there are subtle differences.

The hosts are still relatively new to this style so they will have certain vulnerabilities at the back that Arsenal could exploit through cohesive pressing of their own high up the pitch. In contrast, the Arsenal back five are used to playing under pressure and should be marginally more secure when bringing the ball out.

At the other end, Liverpool have achieved greater fluidity and understanding in the attacking areas. The Gunners are yet to score and have only created one real gilt-edged opportunity in two games. The Reds could pose serious questions with their dynamic movement if the Gunners can’t disrupt their build-up from the back. Wenger might also sense that his sides best attacking opportunities might arise through forced errors at the back as City and West Brom have demonstrated. But Arsenal haven’t demonstrated the ability to consistently and collectively press the opponents high up the pitch for a long while now.

Both teams should find space in the opposing half if they can get past the first line of defence or the initial high press. Pace on the flanks can come into play if either side can pass the ball quickly. Both clubs will also have to do much better in the final third as far as accuracy of the final ball or clinical finishing are concerned. Only Arsenal (19 percent) have a worse shooting accuracy than Liverpool (24 percent) in the Premier League this season.

A number of newcomers to the League will be eager to make their mark. The guile and vision of Cazorla, the power and drive of Podolski, or the presence and movement of Giroud could be decisive for Arsenal. For Liverpool, the youthful exuberance, pace, and trickery of Raheem Sterling and Sahin’s metronomic incision from deep can be vital. Of course, these players will only be building on the foundations created by the established players on both sides.

Wenger is still looking for the right balance so it’s difficult to predict the starting line-up. But I’ll be surprised if he makes too many changes. Oxlade-Chamberlain or Walcott could come in for Gervinho on the right and Koscielny might take over from Mertesacker at the back if fully fit.

We might see,

Mannone – Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Diaby, Cazorla, Arteta – AOC, Giroud, Podolski

Vermaelen will have to cover Borini’s movement if Gibbs ventures higher up the pitch. On the other flank Jenkinson has been more conservative with his positioning but he’ll have to be vigilant and precise if he comes up against the speed and skills of Sterling. Koscielny had a tough time against Suarez last season and he’ll need better support from a midfielder or Vermaelen. Arsenal could concede a penalty if the Liverpool attackers are allowed to drive into the box with the ball.

The Scousers did make hard work of the midweek Europa League fixture and could feel the effects of that late in the game. But the Gunners cannot count on that, more so as Rodgers is likely to field at least 4 or 5 fresh players, and will have to sustain a high physical level throughout the game.

This fixture has the potential to be one of the most entertaining games this season if both clubs go for a win with a positive attitude. The adapting process could mean there will be a number of individual mistakes in the game in defence and attack. The side that makes fewer and capitalizes on the opponent’s errors in a decisive manner is likely to win the game.


28 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Liverpool

  1. Jesse says:

    Hmm, i think walcot wil ve d adge over ACO, bcs of jackinson. Only wen sagna is bck dat Alex wil b starting.

  2. Adeniji ademola abdulahi,nigeria says:

    Nice write up,almost spot on on every aspect of d two sides,hopin 4 a gud game wit 3points 4 d gonners

  3. Emmanuel Collins says:

    Wenger should start kosciny on right back,dn play metersaker nd vaminator in center back.he should also start with AOC on the right nd gervinho from left.

    • adil says:

      Mert is quite slow and Suarez would chew him up and spit him out!!! Kos is quite good when it comes to defending 1 vs 1 and if you dont believe me than you can call Messi up and ask him!!!!!

  4. mike kanvi says:

    I hope arsenal gets a trashing to make wenger realize his folly in the market.I mean who is d striker to come off the bench and change the game wen we need2,a certain chamack whose standing on the field looks like a backpass to me.

    • Chris says:

      U re certainly not an arsenal fan, hopin dat we get d bashin 4 wenger 2 realise his mistakes wen d transfer window is already closed? U are simply clueless and ignorant. Get ur useless self out of here

      • Afc says:

        Part of me also would like to see arsenal get dished out 3 or 4 nill, I still can’t believe that the mug sold Alex song and didn’t get a replacement in, what a clown, so what happens if arteta gets injured or diaby, we have one full striker to giroud, why not get cover? I hope we get stuffed

    • I remember when Chamakh first arrived at Arsenal. He was a rage. In fact, it was because of him that Reina made a mistake at Anfield that year and we managed to salvage a point from the game. The lad just lacks confidence. He was demoted to the bench for no fault of his own. RVP’s stellar form caused that. Stop being a fair weather fan and back the boys!

  5. Omo daddy says:

    I think arsenal can win if they play with no fair

  6. Kisasizm says:

    I expect Walcot to start instead of the Ox and kosher will fill in the ryt back option along with Big Merta,Captain Varminator and Gibs

  7. fabulous says:

    Nice post, I think mert will be too slow to take care of that cunning suarez, so kos better be up and doing. Let’s hope for the best!

  8. Ado Idriss says:

    We expect arsenal to win these game. But it depend on the arsenal squard.

  9. T2T says:

    No true Arsenal fan will ever want Arsenal to lose!

    Walcott doesn´t play well without Sagna behind him. TW14 seems incapable of defending and if Jenkinson is playing RB, we will probably need Koscielny next to him to cover with his speed. As an individual CB, Koscielny is world class but needs some better positional awareness (Bould…).
    Arteta can easily play the holding MF and he is comfortable playing out from the back.

    Szczesny (if fit)
    Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs
    Arteta, Diaby
    Cazorla
    Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
    Subs: Mannone/Fabianski, Santos, Djourou/Mertesacker, Coquelin, AOC, Arshavin, Gervinho

  10. Insyder says:

    I would prefer AW to be bold enough give Coquelin his deserve spot as DM not Diaby or Ramsey.If he does that we can expect Santi to get the ball fast enough to feed the forwards,Diaby & ramsey are currently our weak leak when it comes to moving the ball they tend to over staying with it ,without an idea what to do with it.

  11. bash says:

    I wonder hw ppl seem 2 think dt we’r no longer sensational on the ball & think a certain brendan Roodgers can com in and giv us a trashing.yes we’v been more direct last season bt we’r as good or evn beta as during the cesc reign.the british media I’ll always say we’v nt been gd enof on the ball lyk the tiny spuds or swansea bt I think dat’s a stark diversion 4rm the reality.we’v absolutly annihilate d billions of man shity & the lily tots in the emirates.it’s still the arsenal & class is permanent.we’v gt the far beta & technically superior players.geraard -santi..no way near santi;allen- arteta..we all knw wt the spanish maestro cn do,sahin-diaby..diaby is world class-bound,verm5 + Koza6..whu’s agger & skrtel.

  12. ola says:

    Wenger shld pls give walcot more ☺f̶̲̥̅̊. A starting role S̶̲̥̅Ơ̴̴̴̴̴̴͡ D̶̲̥̅̊
    ɑ̤̥̈̊
    Ϯ d lad will nt thing he ι̥
    Ƨ̷̜̩̌̋
    bin left behind, he could still sign an xtention …..pls Wenger he ι̥
    Ƨ̷̜̩̌̋
    also a leader ǎ̜̣̍
    Ω̶̣̣̥̇̊
    ƌ̲̣̣̣̥
    a gentleman in D̶̲̥̅̊
    ɑ̤̥̈̊
    Ϯ team

  13. Sufiyanu Ahmad Bala says:

    D starting line up supose to be like dis:
    Manone
    Coquilan. Konscielny. Vamaelin. Santos

    Arteta. Diaby

    Gervinho. Carzola. Podolsky

    Giroud

    • ondgooner says:

      Didn’t u hear me say, no Diaby whatever the injuries to our team. The boy’s no good.He should go and play for Spuds

  14. Spurs_idiot says:

    I think wenger has done superbly in the transfer window….he’s seen the group arsenal are in…and thought why not…we can top this group with the players that we have and based on the performance…if need be we can buy in the january window….
    (he clearly doesnt want to win the title so thats his plan)….

  15. Spurs_idiot says:

    do we have no other focking midfield option than diaby….the guy needs to hit the gym or join the spanish league…..

  16. Tomballs says:

    I agree with you chris, the market is closed so what will wenger do again if we are trashed? Carzola help us cos God is with us.

  17. ondgooner says:

    Please no Diaby whatever the injuries to the squad today! That said, I hope today is the day finally Wenger says, ‘enough is enough, I quit’, win, lose or draw! Then we will truely begin at least to know at long last the state in which our club is. Up to date no one has told us. Where is all the profit your money and mine make for this club? I now call our manager Pinocchio as his nose seems to grow longer albeit by a few mms each day and after each lie he tells us the mugs of mordern football. I am sick of the whole lot of them.

  18. Precious piano says:

    I’ll sujest Arsene to start with Ox Chamb at d right flank instead of Theo….nd shud partner Coquelin with Arteta in d deep, instead of Diaby… I want us to take a look at the perfect nd FRUITFUL combination between Coquelin, Santi, Poldo nd Ox Chamb in d first half of our last pre-season game againt Kolon…. Those gaiz partnered well nd gave us d desired result… if u kud rememba d second half of that same game when Diaby came on for Coquelin nd Theo for Ox Chamb, d possession changed imediately; we kud only manage to score just one more goal, thanks to a briliant display from d Ivorian. We are winning today’s game anyway, @ Liverpool…*winks*…. U ar in trouble…

  19. adil says:

    do you guys wanna hear a joke??? TOTTENHAM!!!!!!!

  20. Nick from portugal says:

    Wenger needs to be attentive to Jenkinson who is such a right sided player that he has to bring the ball onto his right foot to make the simplest pass. Walcott is a different player with Sagny. Don’t forget Arshavin later on, he is a smart player, frustrating at times but one of the few who can do the killer pass………he likes Anfield.

  21. Chemoss says:

    After watching the game I can say that you were spot-on with your analysis, am simply impressed! have you done any coaching previously?

  22. Coastalgun says:

    Good post Desi. With the benefit of hindsight, one cannot help but admire your incisiveness in matters football. Keep up the nice work. How nice if you could ditch negative articles soon as they are posted.

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