Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has lashed out at the Gunners and said that Arsenal are refusing to improve over the last few seasons.
He said that the London side adopts the same approach every-time which sees the opposition always dealing with them easily. Carragher said that after their 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the UCL on Tuesday night, it can’t be ignored that the team is not learning
“Watching them crumble against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, it was impossible to escape the conclusion that they aren’t learning,” writes Carragher for the Daily Mail
“For a decade now, Arsenal have been unable to contain opponents who go with a fast, physical gameplan. Everyone knows how to play against them. Dortmund could have comfortably run up a score similar to the ones posted by Liverpool (5-1 in February) and Chelsea (6-0 in March), but the aspect I found most alarming was the fact they have only kept three clean sheets in their past 29 Champions League away games. That, frankly, is an awful record”
Carragher reiterated the fact that Arsenal always play the same way and it is easy to read their gameplan now.
“When I watch Arsenal now, I get frustrated. They play the same way wherever they go — with their full-backs pushed up high and wide — and get caught on the counter-attack. They are the away team! They should be doing that to the home team when they go travelling. Why don’t they learn? It is unforgivable that this keeps happening”.
The former defender said that keeping a clean sheet in Europe should be a priority even if the home fans don’t like it.
He said, “The penny needs to drop. When I played in Europe with Liverpool, the first objective was always to get a clean sheet: make yourself difficult to break down then, if a chance arose, pounce and pick up whatever you could. If the home fans didn’t like it, so what? Yet Arsenal feel they can beat anyone. Anywhere. Playing their own game. It’s naive. The only team able to get away with such a philosophy in recent years was Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona — one of the greatest sides of all time — but even he wasn’t afraid to concoct different tactical plans.
Carragher says that adopting different approach is extremely vital in football and especially the prestegious Champions League. He gives the example of Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex.
“Look at how last year’s champions, Real Madrid, secured their place in the final by playing on the counter-attack against Bayern Munich — and that was in the first leg at the Bernabeu. It was the best tactic for them to use. Doing things differently is vital. Jose Mourinho, for one, always has a surprise up his sleeve. Sir Alex Ferguson, remember, sometimes used Park Ji-sung in man-marking roles in Europe and would have Cristiano Ronaldo up front on his own, as he knew he would not track the opposition full-back”
Is Wenger complacent because of the surety of his job and is the method of buying prospects for the future going to always work out for Arsenal, questions Carragher.
“With Arsenal, though, it seems there is one way only and you can’t help but wonder where it is all heading. Wenger is a legendary figure in our game; his achievements will stand the test of time but you sometimes question whether there is a negative to him being so secure in his job.
“Wenger, buys players with the future in mind. Take Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers. Both are fine prospects, but there isn’t the same scrutiny on Wenger from the boardroom as there is with Mourinho. It’s like he’s always looking to tomorrow, not addressing today. Why wasn’t Wenger in the market for Costa when everyone knew Arsenal needed a proven striker? Why not try to sign Petr Cech, the best goalkeeper in the Premier League last year? Yes, Alexis Sanchez has quality but was he really what Arsenal required? With questions hanging over Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs, they needed a left back, so why didn’t they rival Chelsea for Filipe Luis?