Aston Villa 0 – 0 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

In the 13 games played in the League this season, Arsenal’s longest winning streak is 2 games. It happened early on in September when the Gunners beat Liverpool and Southampton. Wenger’s side could have matched that with a win at Villa Park but a stalemate was all they could manage against a determined and disciplined opponent that also looked the more dangerous side at times.

Looking at any game in isolation, it’s difficult to ascertain just how much of an impact was made by the quality and performance of the opposing team. Did Arsenal drop two points because Villa played really well? Or Did Arsenal drop two points because they were ‘jaded’? Was it a combination of both of these factors and some others, and if so how much weight do we assign to each?

I thought Villa played really well but Arsenal weren’t all bad themselves. The Gunners created space in the attacking areas through their passing but their final ball was woeful. As a result there were few clear chances and only one shot on target. This inability to link meaningfully in the final third meant that all the work done behind was fruitless.

The tempo of Arsenal’s passing didn’t seem slow to me but they did have problems getting the ball out from the back. It wasn’t down to any obvious solitary factor. That said, Villa’s organization off-the-ball and their willingness to chase the ball without respite certainly put the Gunners under pressure. The inexperience on Arsenal’s right flank didn’t help matters either as neither Jenkinson, nor Oxlade-Chamberlain were able to make enough noteworthy contributions to the attack or build-up play.

There was another factor that seemed relevant. Lambert’s side were attacking a lot more down Arsenal’s left. Benteke was almost camped in that area and this kept Koscielny and Gibbs occupied. It also pulled Podolski back. We get a fair indication of this through Benteke’s dashboard and passes received charts.

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Comparing Jenkinson’s performance against that of Gibbs is also helpful.

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For those not familiar with the symbols used by this app, here is the legend: Green Diamond – interception; Circle – clearance; ^ – Aerial duel; Black triangle – foul conceded; Hexagon – take on; X – tackle; Orange colour represents successful, purple is a failed attempt. Passes are obvious.

It’s pretty clear Gibbs had a lot more defensive work, which corroborates well with Benteke’s dashboard and Villa’s general style of play as was seen on the pitch. Naturally, when a full-back is busy at the back his winger is likely to be dragged back as well. As a result of this, Arsenal had a hard time building attacks from the left because they had to start really deep and Villa always had bodies in those areas.

In comparison, Jenkinson has a much easier game. But he wasn’t able to contribute to the attack or the build-up as effectively as is expected at this level.

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Jenkinson actually attempted a few more passes than Gibbs (53 vs 48) but he made fewer forward passes while twice as many went backward. We can see how Gibbs has tried building from deeper areas in the Arsenal half whereas Jenkinson played a lot of back passes from similar positions.

In fairness, the positioning of Villa players and their pressing played it’s part and one could argue it was a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach from the former Charlton man. But if Arsenal want to win such games, they need a lot more from their full-back. Even his touch was disappointing as two or three unforced errors come to mind when the team had space to push forward. He should be able to handle some pressure and contribute to the build-up.

Of course, he’s a young player with limited experience at this level. And when you start such players you have to accept their inefficiencies will become a part of the game. Unfortunately for the Gunners, the youngster in front of him had his own share of weaknesses.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s role in attack was also a factor in this ineffectiveness of Arsenal’s right flank. The youngster did get more involved with the play than he’s done in the past but his off-the-ball movement has a lot of room for improvement. Since Giroud often dropped deep in this game, AOC could and should have moved into areas vacated by the Frenchman but he rarely seemed aware of the spaces. He also seemed intent on getting the ball at his feet rather than making runs to receive the ball on the go.

Furthermore, the youngster’s decision making and execution was also just short of the required precision. For instance, in the 56th minute he made a very good run on the right after linking with Giroud but his final ball was just a tad short. Ramsey had to break his stride and the defender got a chance to influence the move. If the ball had been half a yard in front of him, the Welshman would have found it easier to direct it goalwards. Similarly, there was an excellent move in the 28th minute with Giroud and Ramsey combining around the centre line. Ramsey played a perfectly time ball for AOC that drew the full-back and left the winger in the clear, albeit in a wide position. The youngster took too long on the ball and couldn’t find the final ball for Podolski.

It’s somewhat harsh to criticize young players over such seemingly minor issues, but at this level such a degree of precision, or lack thereof, and the other issues discussed are usually the difference between a draw and win.

Nevertheless, the point here is not to single out two young players as scapegoats. The point is to merely illustrate the fact that young players, however hyped, tend to bring some inefficiencies into the team and it affects the performance of the unit.

Arsenal’s inability to build from the right side was also evident from the fact that Villa were happy to let Mertesacker have the ball. The German attempted 72 passes compared to 31 by Koscielny who was rarely free of the attentions of Benteke. It’s difficult to say whether it was a deliberate tactic or it just so happened because Villa were planning to attack down that flank. It could be that Lambert was aware of Koscielny’s ability to charge forward with the ball whereas Mertesacker was unlikely to drive into the opposing half. Indeed, the Frenchman did bomb forward in the 43rd minute and that resulted in, arguably, Arsenal’s best chance of the game that he himself blazed over.

Apart from the issues discussed thus far, Arsenal also had some other problems. Most notably, it seemed to me that Arteta and Cazorla were really knackered. This also brought an unexpected (or you might say it is to be expected as they’ve gotten much rest) degree of inefficiency to the team play.

There were many occasions when three or four Arsenal players entered the same 10 square yard area and kept playing passes to each other without any off-the-ball movement. It was as if they all wanted someone else to make something happen. Whether tiredness was the sole factor in this is unclear, but it certainly limited the fluidity of Arsenal’s passing and movement.

At the end of the day when you have one shot on target in 90 minutes of play, almost every player deserves his share of the blame. In fairness, Arsenal also did well to restrict Villa to two or three good chances. They’re a team who can be a handful, particularly at home, as Manchester United found out. Arsenal’s ability to move the ball and hold it under pressure contained the chances Villa could create on transitions.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Made one big save and a couple of other important ones but those are the kind you’d expect a Keeper to make. A steady game from the Pole without the need for anything spectacular.

Jenkinson: Discussed above in detail.

Mertesacker: Made two vital game-saving tackles. Was also in the right place at the right time on numerous occasions. MotM IMO, if anyone can be considered that after such a game.

Koscielny: Had one or two iffy moments, like the occasion when he clattered with Benteke but the striker was able to get up and in-behind. But he had a big defensive game otherwise and was on the end of a big chance. Would have been a great game if he put it in.

Gibbs: Another one who was discussed in detail above. Excellent defensive game, could have done better with his final ball on two or three occasions, but that’s been an issue from the beginning of the season and will only change with time.

Arsenal’s back four were largely untroubled even though there were a few oohs and aahs from the home fans. They got good cover from the midfield and did their defensive jobs effectively.

Arteta: Massive defensive effort from the Spaniard as he swept in front of the back four. At times he was the only one doing so and did exceptionally well to cut out many passes, and win a number of second balls and duels. Passing accuracy was again sensational but didn’t see as much of the ball as he usually does. Tiredness could be a factor, Villa’s marking could also be a factor, and the fact that he had a greater defensive responsibility was possibly one of the reasons.

Cazorla: Not up to his usual standard in this game. Passing accuracy was as low as 80 percent in the first half. Wasn’t able to move as effortlessly as he typically does. Still worked extremely hard and saw a lot of the ball. The work rate was there but the influence wasn’t. Just seemed to miss some kind of a spark.

Ramsey: Probably had his best game in an Arsenal shirt for a while. Worked extremely hard all over the pitch and was one of the few players who was trying to make something happen all the time. Whether it was that move to put AOC behind, the run to get on the end of the youngster’s cross, Arsenal’s only shot on target, the link up with Gibbs to find Podolski in the box, a vital header at the back post, the shot on the turn from outside the box, or a number of other such events – Ramsey was getting into the game all over the pitch. I don’t know if any Arsenal player has out-passed Arteta ever since the Spaniard came to the club. Ramsey did that in this game and by a fair margin (72/80 compared to 66/69). That work rate was also vital to holding off the Villa pressure and helped create spaces in the opposition half. If Ramsey had been as sloppy as Wilshere was against Montpellier, the Gunners might have conceded a couple of goals on the break. Because the overall team performance was poor, the Welshman’s work will largely go unnoticed, but in my opinion he was excellent in this game.

The midfield was noticeably deep when Villa had the ball and that allowed them to help the defence. They also kept the ball well under pressure which minimized the counter-attacking chances that Villa could create. Too many players across the pitch were off the required level, even if just fractionally, so the impact in attack was minimal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain: Discussed above in detail.

Giroud: I thought he really tried hard in this game to get more involved in the deeper areas. Villa didn’t mark him as tightly as Montpellier did and that allowed him the time and space to play a few wall passes in the centre of the pitch. He also moved into the wider areas in order to link with teammates and create space for the others. That chance for Koscielny, for instance, was created by Giroud moving to the left. The move where AOC was put in-behind resulted from Giroud’s clever first time pass to Ramsey in the centre. The move in the 56th minute resulted from a one-two with AOC on the right flank. All-in-all it was a very hard working effort from the Frenchman. I have been critical of his work outside the final third so credit where it’s due. Shame his teammates didn’t create much for him.

Podolski: Was pulled into deeper areas more often than he’d want to go. That meant he saw a lot of the ball in the central third rather than the final third. Still had a couple of half-chances in the box but nothing earth shattering. Another one who looked a bit jaded and off the boil.

Arsenal’s attackers weren’t able to use the space behind Villa’s relatively high line. The play in the wider areas on both sides was disappointing. Their inability to interchange positions – possibly related to specific skills and tendencies – was also an inhibiting factor.

Subs: Gervinho looks like a man short on confidence to go with his technical limitations. Arshavin played a couple of delightful balls into the box. It was surprising that he didn’t immediately play on the left after coming on as he is much more influential on that side. Coquelin didn’t have much time to impress.

Wenger: It’s his squad and it’s his job to get the best out of the players he has. Can’t really cite exhaustion as an excuse if he’s unwilling to rest players on a regular basis. Can’t really blame the younger players/inexperience if he’s relying on many of them for squad depth. This season is going to give him further headaches, I’m convinced of that. Hopefully, he’ll find the way to keep the team in the Champions League spots.

48 Responses to Aston Villa 0 – 0 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. stan says:

    You’re right Ramsay did go unnoticed. I think you’re the only one who thinks he had a brilliant game.

  2. adiiii83 says:

    @Stan, you might not like Ramsey, but he was really good. Don’t know what more you want from a squad player to do. He had a couple of good chances and created a few good openings. Our biggest scoring threat for the game and the only thing that kept him from scoring was lack of confidence. And the reason he’s down on confidence is because he has to read idiots hammering him every week whether he plays well or not. Great article, spot on with comments on Wenger. It’s his job to make sure he plays the best team every week. A fatigued Podolski isn’t better than a fresh arshavin. He keeps talking about how we have amazing young talents like Gnabry and Eisfeld, yet they haven’t got a start in any game this season. Yeah I know ppl will say, “they’re not ready yet” and other bullshit. But I’m pretty sure they said that to Rogers about Suso and Sterling and look where they are now. We will lose players like Miyachi, Eisfeld and Gnabry, just like we lost Vela who is a top player now in La Liga. People will say how Arsenal needs to sign and sign, but reality is, we have a great squad of players capable of great things, but we have a manager who has no faith in them. Expect more tired performances like this one.

  3. T2T says:

    We were too slow on the ball; Podolski and Ramsey being the two main culprits. Look at the match again – generall we didn’t move the ball, the front players were static and made it difficult for the Arteta and the back four to find good forward passes. We missed Walcott/Wilshere. These kind of games are ‘must wins’. We now need to win at Everton while getting three points yesterday would ease up on the pressure at Goodison Park.
    I hope we’ll be able to off load 4-5 players (Seb Squ being the first one out) and buy 2 top quality. We are close but I fear the argument will be that signing Walcott is like a new player. We were told we had money last summer but made a profit. I.e. £30m+£15m+£30m+sales = 2 world class players.
    Failing over time to both win AND play attractive football will cost us in future revenue. ‘Nobody’ outside England knew of Chelsea prior to the Russian investments made them win silverware.

    I thought both full backs did well.

    • Dhruv says:

      I think more pain is in store. Ox has failed to fire the way Wenger expected him to this season. We have almost lost Walcott. Wilshere is still blending in. Gervinho has no clue how to play in EPL. Ramsey’s growth as a player seems to have stopped. Arteta and Cazorla must be dead tired playing week in and week out. Diaby and Rosicky are permanently knackered. And Arsene is banking on Henry to get us out.

      So what we have here is not a very pleasant situation and things may get worse as season progresses. So as I said earlier, I think more pain is in store.

  4. Breezy says:

    I agree re: Ramsey I too thought he a good game, but unfortunately he’s one of the scape goats that fans like to turn on when we’re not winning regardless oh his individual performance. But I suppose these were the same idiots that were whining about Mertersecker last year and Kos the yer before.

  5. Gerry Lennon says:

    Whilst i agree Ramsey had a good game, for me it was the one change too far. But that is taking this game in isolation. If Wilshere plays on Wednesday, and we win that, then 4 points from the two games is fair on the back of the tough midweek game. What Ramsey lacks is that bit of magic that Wilshere has to turn a game.
    AOC wasn’t on the same wavelength at times, partly through lack of games, but neither was Giroud. In those circumstances is it the player or receivers fault? He did do a fair bit of tracking back though.
    What the game did show, once again, is the lack of a proper DM. That would allow Arteta to get further up the pitch. Yes it is a balance as to who drops out of our main three. But in a game where we should be winning, but don’t in the absence of one of them, could be the difference between a good season and a blank one.
    That said, a win over Everton will make this game look a whole lot better?

  6. Harji says:

    1)Szczesny: his distribution today was great, he didn’t kick the ball upfield, he passed it short to the cb’s and also some good throws to our midfielders caused quick counter attacks. Passing teams like arsenal need a goalie with good distribution.

    2)Mertesacker: was brilliant today. He was everywhere, he reads the play great and acts as a sweeper, great performance. Also always reliable on the ball, picks out the right passes and looks composed.

    3)Ramsey: was lively from start to finish. What i like about ramsey is that he always shows for the ball…sometimes he has bad games but he never lets that affect the way he goes about his game. He’s works hard all game to not only get up and down the pitch but to get as much involved in the game as possible.

    4)Ox: man of the match for me. Okay he lost the ball on occasions and his end product wasn’t the best but he was always running at the full back and trying to create openings. I’ve said it a lot of times on this site, you need wingers who either cut in and create or get crosses into the box. Ox was doing that today and was our biggest threat going foward.

    5) Arshavin: Looked dangerous when he came on and almost assisted gervinho with a great cross. I have no idea why he isn’t getting much game time, he was very sharp against reading in the capital cup and deserves more game time.

    6) Defence: People forget villa gave man utd hell for 60mins only a couple of weeks ago, scoring 2 goals. We kept a good clean sheet and harldy gave villa any clear cut chances

    1) Arteta & Cazorla: I love both of these 2 cm’s. They are our most important players, but they really need to express themselves on the pitch. Great players have to step up and lead by exampleon the pitch. Arteta is a dm, yes, but when arsenal have the ball he needs to take note from ramsey and move around and demand that ball. Same applies to cazorla. Cazorla has been quite the last 2 games, probably due to fatigue. When he bossed the game against spurs, west ham, southampton & liverpool we won and looked great winning. He’s a little inconsistent at the moment but he’s still adapting to the premier league and can’t be great every match. Arteta however, hasn’t been at his best since the man utd match, when rooney man-marked him and caused arteta to have a poor match. The missed penalty has hurt his confidence and he seems unwilling to get on the ball. Like i said before, arsenal win when arteta and cazorla boss the game.

    2) Off the ball movement: I can’t stress how important off the ball movement is for teams like arsenal when attacking.I can only remember 1 clear cut chance on goal, ramsey’s shot that the goalie saved with his legs in the 1st half. This arsenal team is not creating chances freely when walcott is out of the team. We need to fix this problem and fast

    3) Arsenal fans chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” at wenger: I’m disgusted at these fans. People need to accept that we’re going through a tough time and need to back the team now more than ever..

    • Cupsui says:

      Don’t agree with your assessment of Arteta and the Ox especially in this game. Arteta was very limited because of rambo’s struggles defensively. Basically he had to play DM and nothing else in this game. This is why i am 100% against a team that includes ramsey and santi because it breaks up the balances and basically eliminates arteta’s offensive game…

      The ox is still learning but he cannot wait for the ball to come to him if things are going slow and he needs to learn when to drift in and forward, ie when Giroud drops back to help. He looked dangerous when he had the ball but he needs to search for it. Move around the pitch and get involved, take over and insert his skill and his crossing could do with some honing

      • Harji says:

        If you watch barcelona, every single cm shows for the ball at every given opportunity. Why did they keep 80% possession at levante today? Not one cm isn’t involved in their attacks. You got busquets, xavi, iniesta, cesc, song all making space off the ball and then demanding it. Arteta is a dm, yes, but when we’re playing aston villa and we’re struggling to keep the ball, he HAS to take control of that game. You can’t say ramsey eliminates arteta’s offensive game because even with jack in the team, against fulham, spurs and montpellier he was just as invisible as he was against villa. The reason why we we just can’t seem to keep the ball as well as past seasons is due to the fact that not all our midfielders/attackers are looking for space, wanting the ball and that starts with arteta and cazorla (just the last 2 games). Either cazorla or arteta has to take control of the game…against spurs cazorla bossed the game and we won comfortably. As much as a team game football is, you need one cm on the pitch to boss the game. Ramsey always tries to do it, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the same class as arteta/cazorla.

      • santori says:

        We are not rotating effectively.

        3 key players that need help.

        1) Arteta. Yes Ramsey should play but at some point, Coquelin may also be an option simply to help Arteta with the more defensive element.

        2) Santi. his game will drop with attention particularly if he is leggy. He will benefit from someone like Arsharvin on point to take away some of the attention and help provide additional creativity.

        3) Giroud. He is our best option up top (some would say our only one) but whilst I am not saying Chamakh is convincing, there may be reason to rotate him on for some spell fo the game or at very least play Posolski top with Gervinho close and off his shoulder @RW (or LW with Santi switched RW, Andrei through the middle, Coquelin and Arteta backing up)

        These are all options that do not stretch the 4-3-3 permutation necessarily and afford us tactical flexibility whilst retaining our current defensive structure.

      • Cupsui says:

        I can say that and i did!!

        If Arteta knew he would have cover to get involved more…from a more balanced midfield player he would be involved more, like when jack or abou plays.

        Ramsey just doesn’t provide enough defensive game FULL STOP.

        And also arteta is absolutely exhausted…has he played every minute minus the mickey mouse cup games?

    • Dhruv says:

      Stop thinking about Arshavin please, he is halfway out of the door! Wenger has made up his mind.

  7. Nick from Portugal says:

    Ramsey always shows for the ball, he had a massive game yesterday and was everywhere. Desi’s analysis is forensic and exposed the limitations of Jenkinson and OC, both potentially big players for us. The team were playing in nightmare conditions and Arsene took a punt with the selection that did not quite come off. Arshavin needs more game time, he is soooo much more intelligent on the ball than a young tyro like OC. Personally I think we are a few players short in the light of the sad situation with Diaby, Arteta can’t keep this up and he and Cazorla did look knackered. I can’t see how he can drop Gibbs and Ramsey after yesterday, Gibbs is so much more fluent than Vermaleen at left back and we need Mert so that means Koscielny and I would not drop him. Ramsey either replaces Wilshire or doesn’t play because I will explode if Arsene tries to stick him on the right wing again.

    My team for Goodison

    Sze, Sagna, Mert, Kos, Gibbs
    Cazorla, Arteta, Ramsey
    Theo, Giroud, Podolski

    proactive substitutions: Wilshere for Ramsey or Cazorla, Coquelin for Arteta and Arshavin for Podolski, alternatively play Arshavin and bring Theo in for the last 30.

    • Cupsui says:

      Sorry there is no way in my mind that starting Ramsey again ahead of jack is a good thing. hard work offensively is one thing but hard work totally means defensive work, defensive positioning, defensive awareness and tackling (including slide tackling). These are rambo’s weak points right now and for that reason a midfield with rambo and santi is too weak defensively taking arteta out of the game and cause issues with our midfield balance.

      For me against Everton:

      Sanga Kozzer TV5 Gibbs
      Le Coq
      Walcott Gervinho

      I would give merte a rest. I think he has earnt one. A big call but i would play le coq and give him very specific instructions to play the anchor. Use jack as the distributor and this may give some space for le coq to make a few thru balls we have seen he can do.

      Rest poldi…he needs it. Gervinho and gibbs have work very well on the left. and get theo back.

      Arteta is in the red if you ask me…and we cannot afford an injury to him. The only other option is to play probably TV5 as DM but its probably too big a risk to “trial” him is what is almost a MUST win. Give le coq a chance. cause if he can’t do it we are just gonna get an injury to arteta or santi which will f*%k us up anyway

      • santori says:

        Jack is a natural starter.

        Ramsey is not as combative and where we may get away with it against Villa, we will be bruised and punished by Everton.

        Very worried with Arteta. Coquelin needs to grab games as much as possible. Not saying he is convincing either (he tends to lose balls albeit he does track back and win them back) but Coquelin is our most realistic back up for Arteta at the moment.

        How song was sold (without Sahin secured) and this has come to pass, well…

    • Scott (USA) says:

      Ramsey did not have a “massive” game. He just wasn’t as bad as he usually is so you get fooled. He is not a horrible player but just very average. And never, ever, ever should be played wide. WTF! This is a no brainer but of course we ran Bendtner on the wing last year so apparently anything is possible. Squad looked tired and Wenger should have probably rested a few of them.

  8. Cupsui says:

    Hmm…frustrating match.

    Piss poor weather has to take a little blame for a dour affair. So much talk about Ramsey. For me he had a decent game without being that little bit extra we need from a midfielder. He gave it away a lot in the first 30mins (first 20 esp.) but in that time he made a few good attacking passes. up and down. He worked his socks off but often he was not where he should have been when villa counter and looked most dangerous. The problem is he plays a lot like santi without the flair and that causes too much pressure on arteta, which we saw tonight. Arteta simply could not get into the game offensively as he was stretched so much defensively. Thats where i think le coq is more effective in the CM (central of the 3 mids) role because defensively he is MUCH stronger than ramsey.

    The problem then is that le coq’s offensive game is still a work in progress. Sometimes he doesn’t work hard enough to find space; working the triangles if you will. This is why Wilshere is a class above them both and hence why we have looked better with him in the team (even though his fluency and efficiency is still coming back). Like Jack abou brings this balance too and we really need more than 3 mids we can “rely” on.

    Ramsey doesn’t fill the “rely” on roll. Hard work is one thing but the spark and extra special talent is what we need. I do believe he has a role at the club and as a reserve in AM or wing role i think he will influence games as he has.

    Thats why i feel we MUST sign a balanced midfield player. Probably a slightly more defensively inclined.

  9. Cupsui says:

    Desi i thought you analysis of the ox was SPOT ON! his play was a little naive and inexperienced tonight. Giroud really needed support from him. This is why theo is still well ahead of the ox in my books cause his off the ball movement and reading of what the lone striker is doing and will do is very very good! (dam we need him signed up…and fit would help too!)

    Well in the end coulda been worse but definitely could have been better. Really need a win against everton now

    • santori says:

      To be expected.

      Not sure why Gervinho did not come on earlier.

      Erratic (some would say enigmatic) but he is the sort you have to give a bit more time on the pitch to improve the odds of him doing the unexpected to your benefit.

      What he does give us is good off ball running where he gets into good positions…then cross your finger, find a big tree, touch it and pray he finishes.

      • Cupsui says:

        Can’t understand wenger’s thoughts on subs at the moment. Its 65 at the earliest not questions asked. At half time changes should have been made. Sometimes it seems like just keep going with the same tactic and hope rather than change things up?! weird…but he is one helluva manager

  10. Nick from Portugal says:

    Understand all doubts on Ramsey and really I would be as happy with Wilshere, am certainly not anti-JW but another way of looking at this is to compare the two from the point of view of shots on goal and actual goals Much as many have little faith in the Welshman he scores highly on both counts. And to extend this argument might be worth looking at ratio of assists and goal attempts compared to time on the pitch, Arshavin would be probably best in the league on this ratio. Wilshere is a class act, no doubt but I feel Ramsey is unfairly criticised.

    • santori says:

      Arsharvin should be playing. Wenger is wasting his options much as he did with Walcott sidelined for contractual issues at the expense of several key games.

      Jack should start ahead of Ramsey. but good to see Ramsey making a big effort to improve. He must know Eisfeld is gunning for his position (and Rosicky’s spot eventually)

  11. jeff says:

    ramsey had a better game than he usually has.. no doubt about dat.. but u cant say it’s a man of the match performance as it’s not outstanding.. also,i thought he left arteta exposed many times when we’re counter-attacked. So for me,defensively he didnt have a good game,but offensively,maybe good enough. I agree with “cupsui”,to compare wishere with ramsey is a joke,wilshere is definitely a different class.. a much2 better player offensively or defensively.

    • Cupsui says:

      Well said…
      p.s. i am definitely not trying to slate ramsey but simply describe his short comings and the problems they bring especially when he starts alongside santi. Balance is the key and defesively rambo upsets this.

      Again i definitely feel he has a role at the club as a reserve in the AM or “technical” wing role

  12. levonson says:

    thought ramsey looked sharp and much more decisive than recent weeks…(had a decent cameo against montpellier too)…..hopefully we all get behind the boy now….lets have a quick look on twitter…oh.

    • santori says:

      Yeah he definetely is putting an effort out there and improving. Its good to see him shoot.

      He’s still very young.

      I think he is best behind the striker in Santi’s role and he will be pushing for Rosicky’s spot where he is likely successor although Eisfeld will push him hard and both will likely be behind Santi.

      I’m still not so convince with him as second midfiedler where he lacks the drive and combative ability of Jack or Diaby (if fit)

  13. Tee Song says:

    Agree with you about the Jenkinson-Ox axis on the right as well as Ramsey’s game. Concerning Ramsey, in addition to all the things you mentioned, I thought the most impressive thing about his game was 0 times dispossessed, 0 turnovers in 90 touches. Given the conditions and Villa’s excellent pressing, that’s outstanding. He’s another player who desperately needs a goal and if he’d managed one this game, surely would have earned MOTM.

    I have to disagree a little about Giroud. He did try to get involved deeper but I don’t think that’s his game.

    “Giroud is good when he plays completely on the offside line,” said Wenger. “Sometimes when he doesn’t get the ball enough he wants to come deep. That is not his game. When he is a target man and uses his link-up play, he is fantastic because he can win in the air, he can score with his feet and can be a complete striker.”

    As it was, he had 6 turnovers and was dispossessed 3 times, usually when he did drop deep. Yes he did have a couple of nice layoffs to break Villa’s pressure but overall he was poor when he dropped into midfield. He needs to stay higher and create space with lateral movement rather than dropping deep like a false 9. The Kozzer chance was created by his lateral movement to the left wing.

    • Cupsui says:

      I don’t understand 0 turnovers from Ramsey? is a turnover a missed pass that causes the opposition to get the ball? or just when you get tackled and lose it?

      Cause for a misplaced pass is a turnover and if you re-watch the first 20mins this is the period where ramsey “turns it over” quite a few times, almost costly on a few occassions.

      Onto Giroud. I think he did exactly what he had to do in this game. Sure i agree he is most effective on the “offside line” gettting the ball and redistributing it and flick-ons and headers and crosses…etc…but in this game we were really struggling to bring the ball out from the back and he saw this and started to realise that he needed to help. which he did. He is always going to turn it over occassionally being a tightly marked forward with less players around him and more creative passing than say an arteta or a ramsey. but i reckon he made about 5-7 key flick ons that lead to some of our best attacking plays. And his “dropping” out wide was key to. For me out of a pretty ordinary performance he was our most influencial player. Basically anything worth of a mention in attack came through him

      • Tee Song says:

        According to the soccer statisticians, a turnover is loss of possession due to a mistake/poor control and being dispossessed refers to loss of possession from an opponents tackle. So for example a poor trap leading to losing possession is a turnover. Ramsey’s passing accuracy was 90% on 80 passes so that means he had 8 inaccurate passes. Of 1435 players from Europe’s five major national leagues on, only 81 of those players have an overall 90% passing success rate and if you look, a lot of those players are defenders. So 90% passing accuracy is darn good and I stand by my assertion that Ramsey was good in possession.

        As for Giroud, by coming back into midfield he made Villa’s job easier by keeping the play in front of the center backs and further congesting the central areas. And what’s the point of dropping to deep to help in possession when you lose possession when it’s successfully passed to you? Plus, when we do break the pressure there’s nobody in the box. As for good attacking opportunities coming through Giroud, he is our center forward and the focal point of our attack and therefore I would expect most good attacking opportunities to involve him to some extent. Maybe if he had stayed higher up the pitch, more good opportunities would have been created. I’m not saying he should never drop deep but I don’t think that’s a strong point of his game.

      • cupsui says:

        Ok so semantics aside…watch the first 20mins again. this was when rambo lost probably at least half of those missed passes. But as i said earlier it was also when he played a few better attacking balls to?! but yet we created little in the first half hr and villa had way more possession…

        Ramsey definitely made a lot of passes and got involved on the offensive end…but his major short comings are defensively and this costs us balance in midfield. Thats why i feel he cannot play alongside santi. We saw it all last season too when both he and rosicky played at the same time. it removes the DM from any influence and messes up our balance and interchangeability in midfield. if arteta knows he cannot rely on ramsey to cover properly then he must stay back and defend the counter and we are very dangerous when arteta gets involved in attack too with jack or abou dropping back to cover him.

        Also in the 2nd half when we should have been taking over our tempo slowed to a crawl and we barely threatened. How many times did ramsey drift over to the right and play tippy tappy with the ox, arsharvin and jenko…it was very predictable and ineffective. villa just sat back and watched. In fact i remember a lot their tactic on ramsey was not to close down (probably accounting for fewer turnovers). He needs to be more adventurous with his passing otherwise we will not create enough to threaten with him in the team.

      • cupsui says:

        as for Giroud, when he dropped right back into midfield to help bring the ball out this was NOT when he lost possession. Most of his missed passes and turnovers occur on the offside line (logically) as this is where he is pressed hardest and closed down. BUT this is also where he makes his key passes and as i said his flick-ons and touch yesterday were absolutely class. Poldi and the ox need to learn to play off him better. theo has done this and those two are working in tandem very well…

        But as desi said when the side is struggling to bring it out someone needs to help. the ox was not doing it poldi was not doing it and even santi and ramsey were inclined to stay forward and just wait and that caused villa to dominate possession in the first half. Thus Giroud took it upon himself to help out and did a bloody good job in doing so (thats why MOTM IMO).

        AGAIN…i agree he is most effective on the offside line but if he sits and waits when nothing is doing he is ineffectual we are stuck playing tippy tappy at the back.

      • Tee Song says:

        Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. If you insist on basing your opinion on Ramsey’s game on his 8 out of 80 unsuccessful passes, be my guest. Ramsey also tied for the team lead in key passes with 3 while Cazorla had 1 and Arteta none. As for Villa letting him have the ball, maybe he found the pockets of space where others couldn’t? Finally, if Ramsey is pushing too high up the pitch, then I hope Wilshere receives the same criticism because Ramsey’s average position for this game and Wilshere’s average position for all his games are basically the same, ahead of Arteta and closer to Cazorla and Giroud. In fact, at this point I think it might be a deliberate shift by the coaching staff.

        As for Giroud, if he’s dropping deep based on the instructions of the coaching staff, I’ve got no problem with that. If he’s dropping deep to “help out”, it’s not so great. Proper positioning and spacing is just as important in possession as in defense. Fans get all bent out of shape if a defender is half a yard out of position and ends up playing an opponent onside and yet if a player is not positioned properly in attack, it can be just as detrimental. And I don’t consider nine lost possessions as “occasional”. That’s a lot, especially with only 51 touches. Giroud averages 1.8 turnovers and 1.6 dispossessions a game so he was well off his previous performances for that aspect of his game. I’m not saying he was terrible. He did have three key passes but in terms of retaining possession, it was not a good performance.

      • santori says:

        Ramsey, yes he played well but was he the best option for 77 minutes +?

        I think we could have been more effective (even with him on the pitch).

      • Cupsui says:

        Exactly as santori said…and as i have said…he had a decent game (7/10) he worked hard and he does get involved but he didn’t offer much more than a lot of touches and he was one of the few players villa weren’t closing down.

        As i have said many many times here in this very thread it is the balance that is disrupted when he plays alongside santi. virtually taking arteta out of the game.

        If you cannot see that Jack is about 100x better defensively than rambo then i’m sorry but you do not understand the tactical role of a midfielder.

        as for giroud…sorry again but a defenders positioning is much more important than an attackers. If an attacker makes a mistake the attack breaks down, he’ll get another chance if a defender does it could well mean a goal and often does…there is no point going over the things i have repeated again…so i guess we agree to disagree

  14. amahgfur says:

    I know it sounds boring, but your analysis has ALWAYS been spot on! I couldn’t agree more about all the points especially about Koscielny v Benteke and Cazorla – Arteta.

    Before the match, AW praised Benteke and said that he was monitoring Benteke for a while and was surprised that Villa snatched him. And I think the game just showed how good Benteke is. He’s strong, discipline, and leading the attack extremely well. Even Koscielny had trouble containing him. If we couldn’t land Giroud, I believe he would be our CF.

    One more thing, I think the rain made life harder on the pitch.

    I have a question Desi
    What do reckon about our pressing?
    It looked awful and broken. Giroud and Cazorla pressed hard, but the rest of the team just stood off. Was it because Bould focused more on the defensive shape and a two bank of four?

    • santori says:

      Whilst Ramsey is obviously an offensive option, I think we could have afforded Arteta a bit more coverage with Coquelin (but with firm instructions where to concentrate play on)

  15. santori says:

    Again an issue of Wenger not utilizing his assets to the best benefit.

    Granted Ramsey played well, I’m not sure if he was the correct choice at least to persist through most of the game.

    With Arteta and Santo long in the legs, it would have been better IMO to have had Coquelin next to Arteta to offer more leg work (particularly defensively where he could have freed Arteta to do more of the linking with Santi).

    And when Santi is slightly below par, he is immediately less effective with the added attention that naturally comes his way from opposing defenses.

    Instead, we could have played with Arsharvin LW(at very least for a full half instead of 13 minutes from time) where by he would have added an extra creative/vision outlet thereby drawing some attention from Santi.

    And whilst I do think Giroud the better option up top, I also think we should be exploring slightly different set ups and considering Podolski shifted to focal point with say Gervinho’s pace (like Walcott0 in close attendance , particularly in the last 20 minutes with a Villa team stretching themselves at times playing on the counter and vulnerable to a quick transition on our part.

    Simply put, yes we are a bit tight in midfield with Diaby’s liability to injury and Jack just coming back (no Song) BUT I don’t think we are using our options wisely in context with our physical state and the opposition.

    I don’t think its unreasonable the set of players put out by Wenger but Its in the details as they say.

    • Cupsui says:

      we are on the same page here santori…

      while le coq won’t keep possession as well as ramsey he is far better defensively and can pick a key pass. His defensiveness would free up arteta to get more involved which he simply couldn’t as Rambo was in the right places to defend the counter (the weakest part of his game IMHO)

      Arsharvin needs a game FULL STOP. He might not play well and if he doesn’t sub him after 60…but then again he might do what he can…it needs to be as an AM or LW. with jack and arteta in the midfield.

      I would give him the AM role when santi finally gets his “rest”

  16. santori says:


    – Come 65minutes.

    Have Podolski top with Gervinho in attendance to exploit Villa caught in our half on the counter.

    Bring Andrei on to add technical ability (could keep Giroud on as alternate for crosses) and take some attention away from Santi in the middle

    Put Coquelin next to Arteta with instructions to help cover defensively and afford Arteta a bit more protection/assistance physically.

    • santori says:

      Sorry Sagna should really be Jenkinson.

      Chamberlain may not make the best decisions but he adds threat with his movement. But I’d have Gervinho on with sufficient time to improve the odds that he would do something unexpected 9to him and us) for our benefit.:D

    • Cupsui says:

      If Jack in good to go after his rest i would play him and rest Arteta…he needs it so bad and we CANNOT afford for him to get injured. If theo is fit he is in and gervinho to the left and i would rest prinz poldi…another that really needs a night off!!

      As for the CD i could go any combo although coming to think about it per maybe important to defend against the aerial presence of Everton in the likes of fellani, et al…

      • Gerry Lennon says:

        After following your inputs throughout this discussion I was in 100% agreement until now … Rest Arteta?? Who will do the defensive job? Coquelin may replace Wilshere on a good night, but Arteta?
        It does just reinforce my point about the need for a DM in the transfer window though … because we simply haven’t got anbody else. I agree he will need a break soon though.
        It is funny that Frimpong seems to have made a good impression at Charlton. Surely keeping him on the bench for times like this would have been better. Especially as Yennaris, the only possibility in times of need, is also injured.
        If Eisfeld is not in the Youth Cup squad tomorrow night he could be on the bench, although I thought that for the Villa game, but I guess the heavy pitch might not have suited?
        I agree that Santi needs a break too, and Arshvin centrally is the ideal player. Madness to sell, and bigger madness not to play him … but what do we know, eh? Not 16,000 games that’s for sure, lol!

      • Cupsui says:

        I agree 100% with what your saying…but whats better one game without arteta or 2 months without arteta if he gets injured or his form continues to dip further cause he is simply out on his feet?!

        i agree 100% that it is very hard to replace him…but he needs a rest so bad…that is about as clear a thing as i can see with this team right now…same with santi…but not in the same game

  17. […] are also likely to see a mix of some possession play and some long-balls from the visitors. In the reverse game Benteke showed a tendency of hanging towards Arsenal’s left flank. It will be interesting to see if he does the same tomorrow or the absence of Sagna encourages him […]

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