The screenshots throughout this article are taken from BBC

Arsenal have not failed to qualify for the Uefa Champions League for the past 14 years, but a ‘first time in 14 years’ may just be beckoning if Arsenal continue to drop points as they have done lately. One point out of the available 12 in the last 4 games is no way for them to go about their already uphill task, but repairing the out-of-place joints is.

Arsenal have been poor, leave alone ordinary in the past few weeks, they’ve had a terrible curse of injuries, but isn’t that a curse they face every season? As a matter of fact, Manchester United have as many players out at the moment as Arsenal.

This Arsenal team appeals to many Gooners, as every player looks committed to the cause, much unlike last season. The ever lacking spirit in the Arsenal side has at last arrived, but the overflowing quality has considerably reduced with the departures of big players in the summer. But that doesn’t mean Arsenal aren’t good enough for the top 4. They just need to mend their ways, organize better, and pick up more points away from home.

One of Arsenal’s biggest problems is how they narrow the humongous football field to a meager pin-point. They attack centrally 99 times out of 100, which is acceptable considering they don’t have an out-and-out striker, but why they defend centrally is a major point to ponder about. They concede several goals because of this undesirable influence. In fact, both goals conceded against Manchester United can be attributed to just this.

Have a look at these screen-shots, which leads to goal number one.

 

Screenshot one: It captures Arsenal completely out of shape, with Djourou standing nowhere close to the Right Back spot that he is assigned. Also, observe the three players marking one Manchester United man – Welbeck, rather than spreading around.

Screenshot two: Djourou, rather than attacking the player and giving his central defenders time to organize, tries to back off Giggs in order to block his ever so accurate cross. The second shot is taken at least a second after the first, but Djourou has moved not more than a yard!

Now, cast an eye on the following screenshots, which lead to goal number two.

 

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The amount of space Valencia gets, before he cuts in and after he cuts in, is immense, and too much for such a quick runner with the ball. He gets past Arshavin ever so easily and then if we take a look at the shots after, itai??i??s all about United crowding out the box – a quality Arsene Wenger would love to instill in the current Arsenal team. Even after Valencia is in, its Arshavin covering, and not Vermaelen. Him wanting to help the central defense rather than get back to cover his man shows the lack of confidence Vermaelen has got in his counterparts, which is terrible considering how good they were prior to the goal. So, its Arshavin running along with Valencia and not the Left Back – a clear tactical flaw. Have a look at all those Arsenal players’ eyes, none are on Welbeck whatsoever, and what happened after that just had to happen.

Arsenal have got nothing to blame for that goal but narrowing out at the back. The amount of space Valencia got initially allowed him to cut in, and the goal was always coming after that. But the initial mistake needs to be severely scrutinized by Wenger and his advisers. Had Valencia not got the space he did at the start, who knows what could have happened?

This Arsenal defense has improved vastly aerially in the recent months, Koscielny has matured to become one of the top defenders in the Premier League, but they have still got these small problems they’ll need to rectify soon. Arsenal do narrow the field down to a pin-point, and it is not an extraordinary observation since many Gooners and Experts have remarked about the same.

Getting narrow is well and truly a part of the game, and a very useful trick in the bag at times, but narrowing out at the wrong times may allow goals to slip in just when you don’t need it. Both these goals tell you exactly that, one coming in first half stoppage time and the other was the winner.

Arsenal football club possess a good team, with great spirit and commitment at their disposal, not to forgot a great manager, but trophies don’t come without a mean defense and a good defensive strategy.

—-

Written by guest author Akilesh

Follow him on twitter @akilesh1995

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2 Responses to “Arsenal’s Defensive Inadequacy – Narrowing The Field Down To A Pin-point”

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  1. Gooner says:

    When you look at both goals there basically is just a lack of pressure from the rest of the Arsenal team. The first goal for example was not a counter attack so the absence of Walcott during the buildup of that goal is very telling.

    And furthermore Alex Song is no where to be found during both goals – which brings me to the current formation. Supposedly we are using a 4-3-3 but in reality we are playing with more of a 4-1-4-1. But the problem here is that Song leaves his post and runs off up front leaving the space between the defense and the midfield wide open. When Arteta is available – he constantly tries to fill that space and moves side to side to support the wide players. Back when Cesc was with us, this was the same thing.

    So basically either we don’t concentrate, we are lazy or we are just tired. Regardless this is something the Boss will need to sort out tactically.

  2. anthony says:

    I agree with teh article and comment. What we are seeing is teh results of players playing out of their natural or skilled positions. Vermaelen is not a left back, hence both goals were conceeded, because he did not do a good job as left back. JD aslo does not close the winger earlier before he gets into dangerous crossing territory. AW should try Squilaci at right back, might do a better job. Pair Vermaelen with Mertersacker in central defence and try Koscielny at left back- he is more adaptable than Vermaelen. Arshavin is therefor wrongly blamed for the second goal as teh left back should have backed him up after teh first, albeit feeble tackle on Valencia.