Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

Wenger made 11 changes from the side that dismantled Coventry with ease but it was the one alteration to the starting eleven against City that might have proven decisive. Everybody expected Vermaelen to come back into the squad, he’s the Captain after all. The question was whether it will be Mertesacker who makes way or Koscielny.

Arsene left the German out, perhaps to give him a longer rest as he’s played the first five League games and the Champions League tie. It could also have been a tactical move. It seemed to me that Wenger wanted his team to press/play higher up the pitch in this game. As was discussed in the Preview, Arsenal were able to rely on counter-attacking football against Liverpool and City but the Gunners had to show greater initiative and control at home. So it is highly like that Wenger wanted two quick and aggressive defenders who would help with the high line and have the pace to recover.

The thing with Mertesacker is that he tends to drop back whenever he senses danger. This allows him to compensate for his relatively slower speed through intelligent reading of the game, but it does affect the shape of the team and tends to pull everyone deeper. Or at times he plays opponents on because he’s the only one who goes deep. This issue is not as pronounced in away games where a deep-lying defence is understandable or against smaller teams who do not possess sufficient attacking potency. But at home against a Chelsea side brimming with quick, clever, fleet-footed players, it’s not difficult to see the reasoning Wenger might have had.

The problem for the Gunners however, was that they just couldn’t get the high press going. In the opening minutes we could see Gervinho and Cazorla pressing the Chelsea defenders with some support from the wide players but the midfield didn’t follow through and the defence stayed fairly deep. There were moments when you could see Bould and/or Wenger egging the players to push up but their expression soon turned to a grimace and finally resignation when they realized it wasn’t working out.

This failure to press higher up the pitch had a big impact on the patterns of play. Chelsea were very comfortable at the back and were able to play out with ease. In possession, they could control 3/4th of the pitch but the Gunners were defensively solid in their deep quarter. The visitors saw a lot of the ball and their players got into very good positions to run at the defence but Arsenal’s structure and discipline was keeping them at bay.

At the other end, the Gunners weren’t able to move forward quite as fluently. Chelsea weren’t employing a high pressing strategy either but they did well to slow Arsenal down through half-pressing which ensured players on the ball didn’t have clear passing channels or easy forward passes. So Arsenal’s early attacks were limited to pops from distance as the visitors got enough time to get back into a deep and narrow shape. Width would have been helpful but Ramsey and Podolski didn’t really offer much. The full-backs were trying but they were often crossing the ball when Arsenal had one or two against six or more in the box.

The opening exchanges were cagey but Chelsea looked like they had greater territorial control. This helped them create the first goal. Hazard was able to pick the ball up in space on the left before running forward to play a one-two with Torres, who did an excellent job of holding his own in front of Vermaelen. Hazard had gotten in between the lines and would have been running towards Koscielny so Vermaelen probably thought it best to attack the ball. But you could argue the merits of that decision as Arteta was chasing back. As it happened, the Belgian lunged for the ball and conceded a set-piece.

Arsenal’s organization for the free-kick seemed like a mess. Diaby’s early substitution might have been the cause as he was probably assigned to mark Luiz. Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed completely unaware of his role. Both Vermaelen and Koscielny could be seen gesturing towards Luiz and saying something, presumably a plea or command directed towards AOC, but it didn’t have the required efffect. The Chelsea centre-back had a free run and was completely unmarked in the box as the ball just sailed over him. However, his positioning and the lack of marking had enough of an impact on Koscielny who lost his bearings and got turned for a few vital moments when Torres was able to stick a foot up and guide the ball towards goal. The Frenchman should never have ended up facing his own goal. The correct approach for him would have been to have his right arm on Torres, just to track the striker’s movement, with his body facing forward so he could have a clear sight of the ball. Once he lost visual contact there was no way he could have prevented Torres from scoring. But it wasn’t just Koscielny’s fault, this was just poor organization on the set-piece to go with his incorrect body positioning. More work is needed on the training ground.

Arsenal, as we’ve come to expect since last season, didn’t give up but went hard at Chelsea who seemed to have eased off.

The pressure paid dividends as the equalizer came from an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross that  Gervinho controlled and finished with aplomb. Both events were a surprise. That was AOC’s only cross in 8 attempts that actually found an Arsenal player. And Gervinho’s composure and technique are rarely this lethal in conjunction. But Chelsea were forcing Arsenal wide and the Gunners produced the necessary response. The game was level again and there was everything to play for.

Arsenal had a good spell after the goal and started the second half in ascendancy. Chelsea were pushed deep for a sustained period but that proved to be Arsenal’s undoing.

It started with a rare loose pass from Arteta at a time when Vermaelen had pushed up the pitch. The midfielder then went to ground, as Chelsea quickly played the ball forward, but failed with his attempted tackle. This left the centre of defence exposed and forced Vermaelen into charging back. The defender was once again rash with his attempted tackle and conceded another set-piece in a position close to where the first originated.

This time Mata’s ball went straight through shaving Koscielny’s shin on the way. I thought it was poor goalkeeping as there was no Chelsea player in a position to attack the ball. Mannone should have read the situation and called for Koscielny to pull out. It should have been the Keeper’s ball but he was late to react and never reached it. But once again you could ask broader questions about set-piece organization and decision making. Someone should have been in position to attack that ball before it got that deep and low. Oddly enough, this wasn’t even zonal marking.

Arsenal tried to get back into the game and created a number of half-chances. Podolski had a header well saved by Cech, Cazorla wasted more than one decent opening by blasting way wide of the target, Giroud hit one on target but missed the best chance of equalizing late in the game after he was put through with Cech. The French striker showed good control and composure in rounding the Keeper but just didn’t know where the goalposts were.

It’s worth noting that Arsenal’s inability to press as a unit meant that they were not able to lay siege on the Chelsea goal towards the end as a top team would do when chasing the game at home. Even Montpellier had long phases where they boxed Arsenal in. That’s somewhat linked to the shape of the team and the new defensive approach but the entire discussion is out of the scope of this already extremely long post.

At the end of the day it’s difficult to say Arsenal deserved anything from the game. You can’t concede such soft goals and expect to win. You can’t hit the target with 4 of your 17 shots and deserve three points. Most importantly, this isn’t the first time the attackers have failed to hit the target or the defence has gifted goals, so there really is no excuse.

 Individual Performances:

Mannone: Don’t blame him for the first goal as Luiz’s position would have forced him to stay on his line but communication could have been better. Definitely a culprit for the second IMO. Had very little to do otherwise.

Jenkinson: Another solid game from the youngster. Defended his flank, ventured forward more often than he has in the recent past, could do better in the final third but showed good confidence and determination.

Koscielny: At least partially at fault for both goals. Won only 1 of his 6 ground duels. Couldn’t contribute as much as Mertesacker does for ball circulation. A disappointing game in general but did make some timely clearances and interceptions.

Vermaelen: Conceded the two fouls that led to both goals. Interestingly, has 3/3 for tackles and 3/5 for ground duels – does that mean the fouls were classified as ground duels lost? These things do make me wonder about the definition of stats. Stats also say he was 6/7 on aerial duels but you also got a feeling Torres was able to hold his own in front of Vermaelen. Was bit of a mixed bag for the Belgian. Needs to work on his judgment and tackling technique. The penalty against Montpellier and these two fouls are just a continuation of some long standing weaknesses.

Gibbs: Probably the best of Arsenal’s defenders. Had the most touches, recovered possession most often, made 5 interceptions, and was 8/9 on tackles, 9/13 on ground duels. Was easily the busiest and most hard working defender on the pitch. Did make one or two mistakes, like the foul he conceded on the edge of the box, but given his work rate and contribution at both ends it’s tough to find faults.

After the game I read some criticism of the Kos-Verm partnership but that was a bit baffling. The problem in this game was not with the partnership but with certain individual decisions and technical aspects along with organizational issues and the failure of the pressing tactic. It’s easy to say Mertesacker would have been different but over the last 3-4 years we’ve seen many players have good and bad patches so such simplifications don’t really help.

Arteta: Absolutely immense once again but it seemed he was a bit isolated in this game and was stretched to his limits which led to some uncharacteristic errors not least of which was the poor pass and failed attempt at tackling in the build-up to the Chelsea winner. Still I’d say his effort was very important to Arsenal’s defence and overall possession game.

Cazorla: Missed two or three semi-decent chances (according to soccernet stats he has 1 goal in 23 shots with 8 on target i.e. less than 5 percent conversion rate, ~33% accuracy). Saw a lot of the ball and moved it around but wasn’t able to influence play in the final third in a decisive manner. Set-piece delivery wasn’t effective but that’s an issue with the whole team and thus related to training.

Diaby: It was always going to be tough. Lasted just over a quarter of an hour. Did complete all his 12 passes in that period and contributed 1 of Arsenal’s total 4 shots on target. Was missed for the rest of the game as Arteta didn’t get sufficient support.

Ramsey: Started on the right but moved to the centre after Diaby was subbed. It seemed he didn’t really understand his role. Kept pushing forward more often than necessary. Decision making was poor as he sometimes played quick passes when an extra touch could have helped and held on to the ball when an early release seemed like the better choice. It was as if he was playing as the attacking midfielder rather than Arteta’s partner who connected defence to attack.

The midfield did a decent job of protecting the defence from open play but both goals came from set-pieces that were conceded after the midfield was bypassed by the attacking players. Replacing Diaby and maintaining the delicate balance between attack and defence will be a challenge for Arsene.

Oxlade-Chamberlain: Didn’t start the game but played long enough to be considered a starter. Created Arsenal’s two best chances – the Goal and Giroud’s late miss – but also wasted many opportunities to cross and one prominent chance to shoot. Saw a lot of the ball but couldn’t really express himself.

Gervinho: Took his goal well. Work rate was again very good but overall contribution leaves a lot to be desired. Again had a total loss of possession stat of 14 in 34 touches including 2 unsuccessful touches, 3 dispossessed, and 1 overrun. Has to learn to take care of the ball better and to link up with others in the attacking areas.

Podolski: Chelsea kept the central area packed and that limited the goal scoring opportunities he could get. Did a decent job of helping the defence. But in general he didn’t offer enough from the left.

I thought in such a game Podolski and Gervinho should have swapped places more often. Arsenal could have used a presence in front of the Chelsea defence, someone who could link play with his back to goal. The crossing game, even though it brought the equalizer, didn’t look like a genuine threat on a consistent basis. Arsenal’s passing and combinations were not quick enough in the final third.

Subs: Giroud should have scored once he rounded Cech but he’s hit the target once in 11 shots and that too was a deflected shot that Cech saved. He plays like a talented youngster who still doesn’t quite have his angles worked out. Walcott was disappointing.

Wenger: Ultimately the errors on set-pieces come back to the boss as they’re not a one-off. Don’t blame him for picking Koscielny but his team’s failure to press cohesively and consistently can only be sorted in training. One might wonder if Arshavin would have been a better choice than Walcott. Has a headache in the striking department and now possibly in midfield if Diaby stays out for a long period.

Sometimes I just wonder if the ‘Be a Gooner, Be a Giver’ mantra is too deeply ingrained in everyone’s mindset at the club. Maybe they’re also taking ‘Charity begins at home’ rather literally. Alas! Silly jokes can’t alleviate the suffering after such a game. The next one can’t come soon enough…

45 Responses to Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Rodger says:

    beautiful post, and yes I read through from beginning to end without missing a single precept. only something small.. when you say CB pairing wasn’t to blame and then point out organization (lack of) in the same sentence, comes off as you shooting right into your foot. we all know more than anything else, Per adds organization to the defence and his absence was most evident by the lack of this.

  2. Gerry Lennon says:

    I hate to be the first to raise this point, but the lack of a defensive midfielder on the bench, even though the two we have available played mid week. should have been an option? (Not to say that £15m spent in the summer might have enabled more rotation in that area and avoided this injury?). Luckily, or unluckily for this game, Frimpong’s recovery is not far off. I cannot see him allowing those niggly little digs that Luiz gave the Ox throughout the match going beyond the first one?
    That is as might have been. Chelsea played with the one striker, but an excess of midfielders who could play a decent through balls. We had the same number, without the same success. Cazorla was invariably closed down quickly, and had we have done the same with Hazard possession stats might have read differently?
    Easy with hindsight, but Yennaris man marking Hazard would have been an option after Diaby went off.
    It is not the end of the world. The return fixture could see us cancel this one out, and as long as we can do what we haven’t in previous seasons, by beating the lower clubs on a regular basis we will be okay top get something out of the top six – noting we have dropped to seventh. Starting with West Ham!!

    • Dhruv says:

      Agree with the point about missing DM. Cant wait for Wilshere to come back. We should see couple more matches before giving verdict about what to expect this season. I mean already we have slipped to 7th, but things could change quickly.

    • slugboy says:

      Got to agree with the point regarding the defensive midfielder. Two central defenders on the bench? Placating Djourou it seems.

      I agree with the original post that Verm and Kos should have played 0 the chelsea team is full of nippy players. We also need 18-20 players ready to play at any time and not rotating them would be a mistake. The first free kick was a bit of a disaster. The second was a straightforward mistake by Mannone.

      Carzola didn’t have his shooting boots on yesterday. If he had, we would have won the game. Theo is not good enough. Ransey was inconsistent yesterday

      One final thought. We have missed out on Mata and hazard in the last couple of years. They looked a bit ordinary yesterday. Dodged a bullet there?

  3. Jeff says:

    I agree,Per is very good at organizing the defence.. He reads the game fantastically well. Having said that, they’re all equally good world class defenders.. Ox n Ramsey seemed confused.. I thought Ramsey put himself too high on the pitch,leaving so much space for Chelsea to penetrate through the centre..

  4. Anthony says:

    Mannones judgement is poor n if he continues that way he wont get the coveted no.1. His reaction to those goals was slow.we alro need an extra defensive midfielder bcoz we suffered wen diaby was subbed.we still committed silly mistakes which cost us dearly.

    • santori says:

      We needed a no nonsense keeper with a bit more experience. Someone like Al Habsi or Pletikosa. But it’s a hard position to fill because either these keepers may still rather want regular footy to bench warming. That said, both IMO would have pushed Szsc for his spot (both in early 30s) and both would have relished the opportunity of CL footy at a high profile club.

  5. Dhruv says:

    Excellent review Desi. You did not rush to conclusions and tried to be patient with your views.

    I am afraid if Wenger’s spending-shy nature is going to cost us a few points. Chelsea is probably the strongest team in EPL this season, so they cant be yardstick to measure and predict Arsenal’s season. However, I think there should have been a DM and striker signed up along with Giroud and Podolski. Anyway lets move on.

    • ZGunner says:

      You don’t need a DM most of the time. Football is changing.

      • Dhruv says:

        Ha, so didnt somebody tell your esteemed self that Barca bought Song. You talk rubbish. Go complete your education, dont come here after reading a couple of blogs.

  6. Femzo says:

    I think our love for certain players sometimes blinds us from saying the truth , well am just going to have to…our main culprit yesterday…Koss !!! 100% no doubt in my mind and i don’t think his selection was a bad thing at all he just didn’t live up to his finest form .Common people what are we saying if this had been djur or even Per we would have had his head on a platter .i can’t believe ur actually blaming the keeper .What would have him do ,rush out and clash into Koss ? truth is he thought Koss had it covered on both occasions just like we all thought at home too only to let Torres score a cheap one and deflected a relatively easy ball into the onion bag
    I love ur blog Desi but you can’t say its not Koss fault and then blame the keeper lets be honest here.

    • kumkum jakarta says:

      manone is the new boy at the arsenal first he couldnt know the defender’s character well… I think he was not ready n surprised when Koss behaved like an opponent..

  7. Charlie says:

    Wilshere can’t return soon enough. He knows when to sit deep and when to attack the box. With Diaby missing and Ramsey failing to take on his defensive responsibilities Arsenal need to have Jack back.

  8. Your review was spot on Desi.
    My Key 7 Observations.
    1. Vito cannot be Arsenal first choice. He was too slow react to those two freekicks and looks heavy to me.
    2. Koscielny never should have started ahead of Per because in my own opinion, he has been Arsenal’s best centre defender. Per’s positioning and tactical discipline make up for his lack of pace in the first five matches.
    3. Jenkinson doesn’t want to stop impressing me as the best Arsenal defender this season. I am always pleased with the way he bumps forward.
    4. The left side of the defence is still not solid, and Arsene needs to do something about it. I would say give Santos more playing time.
    5. The Arsenal midfield was clueless without Diaby. Ramsey is slow and still doesn’t want to improve or mature. I would make the centre midfield Ox’s permanent position.
    6. Arsenal still need to replace VP because I am unsure of Lukas and Oliver.
    7. Arsene and his players need to pray more for luck.

    • santori says:

      TV and Koscielny are slightly similar (sweeper type) with speed as their ally.

      I can see the logic in putting them both on but Torres is physicality and speed.

      Koscielny tries to negate his own sligth build by getting too close to the Spaniard which was detrimental.

  9. Nick from Portugal says:

    We missed Diaby when he went off, Asene builds so much around him. Ramsay is a talented player but he plays to his own pace not the pace of those around him. OC lacks discipline, witness the free kick (1) very well analyzed by Desi. Giroud will score, he is getting into the positions, Gervinho set up two possibilities for Cazorla, scored well, yep he’s irritating but would not like to mark him. Podolski was fine, the game was crying out for Arshavin in the second half. He must be a better more intelligent option than Walcott from the bench? Wilshere will take till Christmas before he gets back to his best. I understand why Wenger picked KOS but both he and Vermaleen tend to be impulsive and Mert isn’t. He is the cool head, the glue. Yesterday we were all over the place at times but Gibbs and Jenkinson were consistently good. Jenkinson is getting seriously good.

  10. kumkum jakarta says:

    1. every time we play Ramsey.. we lost.. at best we draw… he is like a limp duck, cant pass, not a ball winner..
    2. put theo on striker role for his speed, first touch and finishing
    3. gervinho performance is always up n down on the pitch
    4. cazorla need to play fast break.. I’d rather put Rosicky
    5. still wondering why Wenger subtituted Podolsky .. he can defend well …. and his work rate is amazing..
    6. why cant we press opponent like the way chelsea do… ? we never intend to take the ball but just marking.. I wish we mould our free flowing with stoke pressing game.. like chelsea do..

    • santori says:

      Theo is the last person to play centrally, he has no inkling how to operate in confine space. His success against Coventry came when space was available and from out wide.

      Rasmey is not the reason why we lose. Koscielny is in erratic form at the moment. Wenger would have done better to have stuck with the big slow German.

  11. This is a superb match analysis. Please forward a copy to the AFC coaching staff.

    • Elli says:

      Koscienly and Varmellan are excellent defenders. It is their partnership which is problematic. It was 2 years ago and still is. No height, too attacking.

  12. zahedzed says:

    Hi everyone, its my first time commenting on here.
    i absolutely agree with you, ramsey i think has taken too much of fabregas. slow to make decisions on the ball as was the Fab during the last two seasons at arsenal.
    walcott again when he came on, looked like he was trying to prove to AW that he could be a striker instead of playing team mates in.
    Giroud again when he came on did do well but i still think he needs to learn the English pace. on thing i will say about Giroud which i dont think anyone noticed (not even the Ref) is that the one-on-one shot that supposedly went wide was actually saved by the fingertips of Cech. if u look at the slow mo u can see that he actually saves it. so i will have to say it was a good save by Cech.
    Gervinho again frustrated for his lack of vision, yes he is good at dribbling, but some of the best dribbling players in the world dribble to bring other players into the game and to open the space for so the player can pass to them. unfortunately it seems that Gervinho wants to do both be the dribbler and the scorer in one move, he rarely has his head up until he has stopped.
    also being a goalie my self i felt like Vito could have come for the first FK (im not blaming him for the Goal) which lead to the Goal.

    i feel this is just one game, and we have a good few more to go, Roll on Olympiacos during the week, i think we will be fine, the players just need to be ruthless with their defending which im sure Bouldy will soon instil into the players.


    • santori says:

      I think we are seeing some of the obvious minor deficiencies in the squad that were not addressed during the summer. In particular :

      1) Keeper back up. We have 3 promising young keepers but Mannone is not at the level to sufficiently back up Szsc (whom IMO needs competition). Mannone should have done better with the second (if not the first!)

      2) DM. All this rubbish by Wenger with not needing a DM. Maybe so, but better to ahve one in the arsenal just in case. He should have kept Song (raise the salary from55K to 80K), got rid of Walcott. Keep Song for a season and afford Coquelin time to work into the game better.

      3) Striker, I think we are still short of one quick player up top. Gervinho is an inetersting stop gap conversion and one that seemingly works considering his goal was very well taken but he does lack presencein the box and we culd do with someone combining BOTH speed and a bit more presence (height).

      • Scott (USA) says:

        Agree with most . The problem was in the net This weekend. We need someone to back up and push Szs. Right now we have niether. A true striker would also help . Gerv is and interesting player but not a great finisher. Giroud I believe will be good but it will take alittle time to settle. He does a lot of things well.

  13. says:

    Still looks like we have to wait one more year for a cup

  14. judekani says:

    Ramsey’s a disaster in the middle of d pack! Awful! Ox wasn’t in d game! Gervinho will get us relegated @ dis rate! Kept running into different cul de sacs and neva made any runs! Giroud is a mess! We displayed no will or fighting spirit! To b bullied by torres, Mata, Hazard & Oscar is incredulous! Kos had an off day and was directly responsible 4 d errors for the two goals! @ dis rate! Anoda season without a trophy is looking very feasible! We need 2 exhibit savagery and take games by d scruff of d neck! Pls pls pls! Arsene Wenger should stop being sentimental and pick players on merit! Coq & Merts must b pissed! Can’t wait 2 see Wilshere back & Ramsey sold!!!

  15. Rodger says:

    have said this since last season and I’ve never been proven wrong on a single day. I still dont get what qualifies Aaron Ramsey to be an Arsenal starter. and I’ve kept goin on about this for so long that many mistake it for hatin on him which isn’t even true. I just DO NOT get what qualifies him to be an Arsenal starter even with the current talent we’ve at the club.

  16. shogbesan ola says:

    U are spot on. absolutely d way it is

  17. mark says:

    gervinho was one of the best. one of the few players that could actually run the game out. everyone else was tired. and the stats are nonsense. he dribbles and takes defenders on a lot, so unless you are Messi you will lose the ball sometimes playing that role.
    Ive never been more impressed with Gibbs. Really complete game from him.
    As for Ramsey, i think he just needs to keep it simple. he’s trying to prove too much at the moment.

  18. Spec says:

    How we had 2 central defenders on the bench completely baffles me. With Diaby’s unfortunate exit Coquelin could have been an option as Ramsey clearly didnt understand his role in the middle of the pack. Conceeding 2 set pieces from the same angle is completely unacceptable. Impressive againt stoke and sunderland with all their aerial threat and letting 2 soft ones in against chelsea points 2 the importance of having Per in the team. Its no time to cry over spilt milk but to focus on the next one. Olympiacos at the emirates wednesday night presents an opportunity to get the confidence back, lets get behind the team and cheer them all the way. 3 points to the gunners.

    • santori says:

      AGREED. Coquelin is a better option.

      Ramsey has gotten better but I am not convinced with all these accolades that have suddenly been heap upon him following the City game.

  19. Nikkogunners says:

    Great piece! i think the guys who should replace Diaby in my view is Carzola. He has such awareness of the game and if he has an extra man ahead of him to play with he would get us goals. Infront of him i would pull in Podolski. So you have Podolski as second striker and Giroud or Gervinho upfront. Imagine if the few chances that Carzola got were gotten by Podolski, we would have one netted. Even Walcott once in while you get to play upfront. True nee for set piece training. Lack of capacity to hold up play and pin a visiting team, that a dressing room issue. We have done it before, i feel psychologically something at Arsenal is unraveling and needs to the stopped, Fast! Wilshare may just turn out another Ramsey so we have to relly on the players that are available right now and hope for a bonus if Wilshere turn out the Wilshere-Wilshere and Not Wilshere-Ramsey. Ramsey could have benefitted from a loan move until January. Conquelin, Fringmpong, can they step up the plate and take away that position Diaby has exited from?

    • santori says:

      No Cazorla is more effective further forward. He does drop deep but I do think we need more combative presence and the closest thing we have (till Jack returns) is Coquelin.

      On Cazorla, there may be reason to play him out wide on occassion particularly with Arsharvin showing some form and hunger. BUT the midfield duo behind must be absolutely solid. I do think Coquelin and Arteta may afford us that solidity. Where we lose in terms of creativity from Diaby’s ability to carry the ball forward, we gain in Coquelin’s more disicipline holding play and (possibly) another technical player in Arsharvin (who’s vision IMO is better than Cazorla but who’s inudstry quite obviously is a bit of an achilles heel)

      In particular, if the opponents clam down and tighten up, it seems to me better to our cause to put someone in who can add to Santi’s technicality and help unhinge the defense rather than throwing in another speed merchant in Walcott to run into brick walls.

      Arsharvin has shown great hunger to be counted this season with his performance at Coventry and has the requisite skills/vision toive us added dimension when need be (Albeit in shorter spurts)

      Just a thought.

  20. Tandava says:

    yes, all this minute technical analysis like an engineer’s fine tuning a delicate machine is ok; but get real , anyone really surprised here ( for the nth time?) ; Arsenal bottom of the barrel acquisitions of ‘late bloomers’ ,unpolished gems, multiple rejects, and sustenance of the terminally crocked (ex-talents) , give exactly the end results to be expected when the chips fall ;
    All the rest is smoke screen and dance..
    and btw, anyone here saw the gutsy captainlike performance of the great Fab yesterday? made me cry…

  21. santori says:

    1) We were not poor defensively, rather we made a poor defensive choice. Koscielny was hot and cold against City. You can argue all you want about Metersecker having to drop deeper ( I don’t see that as a problem) but the German was a better choice against the physical Torres. Particularly, Vermalen’s game was also affected. Per is the sort of calm, auctely positional player that affects the play of those around him and likely useful for us in controlling set pieces. That said, point taken that Wenger was rather thinking that we would be camped in the other half and would need speed to attend to the quick line up that CHelsea possessed in Hazard, Torres possibly Oscar and Mata.

    2)Diaby. Some home truths in the summer have come back to roost. He is an injury liability as good as he is. Wenger realises this therefore our pursuit of Sahin. BUT this rubbish about not needing a DM, well, better to have one bias toward that sort of game in the arsenal than not.

    Song should have been kept (walcott let go). Raise his pay from 55K to 80K, make do with his antics as much as possible for one season until Coquelin (or Frimpong) gain more experience.

    In the absence of Diaby, Coquelin’s combative efforts are probably better suited next to Arteta. Which brings me to the next point.

    3) Ramsey. I am not sold by all this claptrap with regards Ramsey suddenly being a player of superlative qualities. he is not. he is playing much better with more hunger and tenacity but he is not the player that should play tucked in out right (whereby we lose width) nor one to play next to Arteta in Diaby’s absence. That said, he played reasonably well yesterday.

    4) With the game tightening up following Chelsea’s second goal, I would have thought it a better choice to have had the inform and ungry Arsharvin come on instead of Walcott.

    Andrei in the middle, Gervinho recycled to LW, Podolski (or Giroud) up top and Santi out right would be my preferance. That said, it would have required Coquelin next to Arteta to make up for the Russian’s (I wouldn’t say lack of industry but) lack of pace.

    Arsharvin in concert with Santi and Gervinho might be the sort of more technical aproach we may need at times to break down tough defenses sitting deeper. Walcott was more effective had Chelsea been chasing the game and opened up space for his sort of runs.

    5) Gervinho. Well taken goal. You have to say that he must have put in some useful remedial classes since the last outing.

    That said, I think Giroud was never brought in as an RVP replacement rather in view of replacing the outgoing CHamakh(still around of course) and Bendtner. Well, eh certainly hasn’t dissapointed with regards goal tally there.

    But I do feel we are missing one more element up top (Wenger likely did not find good value in the market) in a speed merchant. Gervinho’s ‘conversion’ to type certainly bespeaks this requirement but I am not sure (whilst he has been sharp in effort) that he has the required physical presence particularly to give us a bit morethreat with crosses too when need be. Likely a stop gap measure IMO but one that for the moment seems to pay dividends.

    6) Both young fullbacks continue to impress. Jenkinson particularly for me as I was less than convinced start of season but he has really grown in confidence. But Gibbs too (he must surely cover the most ground).

    Dissapointing all round not to grab the points but still a lot of positives to be taken. I think the main issue for the short term will be the impact of Diaby or lack thereof, on the team. I personally prefer the more combative Coquelin next to Arteta as a solution.

  22. Michel says:

    Has anyone noticed that Torres was holding Kos and pushing him towards his own goal.Kos turned around and found an unmarked player behind him he looked as if he was in between two minds. He tried to turn but Torres kept pushed him, and his body shape then was all wrong. The ball by chance rebounded to Torres who flung his foot and kick the goal still holding on to Kos. If the role was reversed this will have been a free kick. I wonder if Torres was given the green light to be a Drdbra in disguise and bully the backline; more than once in this game he was overly aggressive.

  23. ZGunner says:

    Torres’ first goal was a blatant foul. He was holding and pushing Kosceilny. One review of the replay reveals it.

  24. Shubham says:

    Good post Desi. As always you have been balanced with your views. I think, these sort of outcomes happen and will continue in the future games as well. I don’t see a great deal of concern with the way Arsenal played except for the finishing. Against top teams, matches will be tight and the ones who finish well will win. In this case Arsenal was left wanting. One observation, Diaby’s going off significantly changed the balance in the midfield. We lost strength and height which would have been handy against a strong Chelsea side and particularly for set pieces. I would have brought in Mert and moved Vermaelen up to the DM position. That would have enabled Arteta to push forward and be more creative. As for Koscielny, though his immense improvement over the past couple of years, he has 1-2 mistakes in each game which can be vital. Think of the Carling cup final and recenty against ManC he almost gave away a penalty and also put the ball back in play after a poor clearance from Manone. All said, I am still confident about the team and this season. COYG!!

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