Saturday, November 26, 2011

Arsenal - Fulham post analysis

Arsenal's streak victory stopped by a very organized Fulham in the Emirates Stadium. An uninspiring first half, and still uninspiring in the second half, before the introduction of Ivorian winger Gervinho and French midfielder Abou Diaby. Vermaelen scored an own goal to make Fulham lead 1-0, but then he scored another goal to level the score.

Wenger changed two players from the side beating Borussia Dortmund with Johan Djourou taking Laurent Koscielny's place on the right back and Andrey Arshavin was selected ahead of Gervinho on the left flank. Wenger probably would like to rest his player, just before facing Manchester City on the League Cup.

Arsenal were really uninspiring in the first half, they were only creating few chances, and Fulham even pressed Arsenal's defence line in the first fifteen minutes. Arsenal slowly got control of the match, but were unable to break the deadlock, as Fulham defended like a rock, very strong and rigid. Theo Walcott was the most dangerous Arsenal player on the pitch, but still failed to make any end product.

Arshavin, who recently said he was 'glued' on the bench by Wenger, failed to prove himself, and it justified why he was glued on the bench. Ineffective, and lacking of confidence, that's two main points of his weaknesses. He was unsurprisingly substituted by Marouane Chamakh on the second half. His time in Arsenal might has come to end, and he might leave in January, and Wenger might buy another winger, or even try Miyaichi on Arshavin's position. Proven, that after Gervinho entered the fray, Arsenal's game was improving, they were more dangerous, and Gervinho several times entered Fulham's penalty area, which Arshavin unable to do in 70 minutes. Had Gervniho played from the beginning, Arsenal might have won the game.

This result shows that Arsenal still lacking of the depth in the squad. Arsenal's excellent recent form has been depending on the first team players Wenger has always put from the beginning, notably van Persie, Gervinho, Walcott, Song and Vermaelen. The second string players had never really impressed in the Champions League or Premier League. Arsenal were lack of inspiration against Stoke City, before Robin van Persie saved the Gunners with his two goals. Arsenal weren't sharp enough in the home game against Marseille, once again when Robin van Persie was on the bench.

Wenger should add one or two players to the squad, especially flair players who could make a difference when other players is stuck. Other players like van Persie who could inspire the whole team is something Arsenal need. In my opinion, there are only two players like that in Arsenal's squad now, Walcott and Gervinho. Walcott still lack of consistency, while Gervinho is not composed enough in front of the goal. With transfer windows is nearing, Wenger should have prepared some names he would bid in January. It would be great if he could bring big names, such as Hazard and Gotze, but it is not likely.

Besides the negative side, has to be said that Wenger (finally) made a correct decision in substitution by bringing in Gervinho to replace Ramsey, a decision that he should've done earlier. Vermaelen, the own goal scorer, converted Walcott's cross to make it 1-1. Vermaelen showed great character, even after scoring an own goal, he didn't turned bad, and finally he made up for what he have done.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Norwich - Arsenal post match analysis

Another win for Arsenal, and another goals for Robin van Persie. The Arsenal skipper drove Arsenal forward once more time, with his two goals bringing Arsenal back from 1-0 down to 2-1 victory at away game in Norwich City.

1. Per Mertesacker still need time to adjust in England.
It was Norwich City who took the lead even though Arsenal was dominating the game. Last-day signing Per Mertesacker was the one to blame in this goal. His hesitation to clear the ball resulted the ball stolen by Steve Morrison, and he netted the ball, 1-0 to Norwich. He waited the ball instead of nonsensely cleared it. What a costly mistake, despite Arsenal could still win. It's the third time Per made mistake leading to goal after his bad first half on 5-3 victory against Chelsea on Stamford Bridge. To be honest, Mertesacker is a good defender, he has excellent game reading, as well as great aerial ability. However, he still hasn't really in to the game of English Premier League. He was used to play in lower tempo back then in Germany with Werder Bremen. Despite being not too swift, he should able to take decision quickly. He would need one or two month before really settled with English's tempo.

2. van Persie to rescue again
How many times Arsenal need to be rescued by van Persie? Arsenal wouldn't have had winning streak if it's not because the Dutchman. Who would be able to do a hattrick in Stamford Bridge? He led by example, not only leading the team in terms of being a captain, but also contributing in the game by scoring goals. The first goal was an easy goal, but the second goal was a world class goal, chipped above the keeper. He is unstoppable for now, with this hot goalscoring rate over the last few weeks, but clinging on one person in football is not a wise thing. Arsenal really need to find plan-B, just in case van Persie isn't playing.

He just can't stop scoring. (photos from

3. Gervinho can't miss a scoring chance like that again.
Two times Gervinho has a you-have-to-score golden opportunities, which unbelievable missed by the Ivorian. You can count it as three if you count the miss on van Persie's equalizer, which he could've scored instead of the captain. Then, One-on-one with John Ruddy on the first half, he should've been able to pass it through the net. On the second half, he already rounded the keeper, but still failed to scored, blocked by the keeper. He made handful of clever runs, though. Fortunate for Gervinho, that his miss didn't cost Arsenal a lot, as Norwich City failed to equalize. However, in big games, this mistake is a little bit untorelable, especially for players with class like Gervinho. He need to refine his final touch, and he would be much better than he is now.

4. Theo Walcott is showing his potential
He has been labelled as a player who is yet to show his potential. However, it seems that this season he started to showing his real potential. After a superb show in the Stamford Bridge, he was average on the match agains West Brom, but played well again in this match. Clever run, combined with his explosive pace, was always a constant threat for Norwich City, both from the left and right flank. His intelligence is also improving, as he several times fed van Persie upfront, and made smart one-twos with team mates. He also shows great composure in the beginning of the first half, as he faked Norwich defender, before shot it to the goal, which unfortunately cleared by another Norwich defender. What he needs now is not only a good performance in a match only, but a series of good performance. What Walcott needs now is a consistency

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Post West Brom match analysis

It's another victory in the Barclays Premier League for Wenger's Side with 3-0 scoreline against West Brom in Emirates and Arsenal continued its fine form, winning all five games in Premier League. Player of the Month in October, Robin van Persie, opened the scoreline in this match, netted the Walcott's blocked effort. Thomas Vermaelen marked his Premier League with a thunderous drive, making the scoreline two nil for Arsenal. After a little bit shaky moments for Arsenal, Wenger introduced Benayoun and Rosicky, and the momentum was Arsenal's again. Mikel Arteta made his first goal in Emirates, after a good build up from the Gunners.

Another win for the gunners (source :

Generally, it was a comfortable win for Arsenal. West Brom was particularly playing poorly, they didn't even threaten Szczesny's goal in the first half. They were quite wasteful in the final third. West Brom was much improved in the second half, on several occasion they threaten Arsenal's defence. Arsenal's way is back, they played with one-two passes, which is very entertaining.

Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny performed very well, and it's likely they will be chosen as the starting line up next match, leaving towering defender Per Mertesacker on the bench again. Both of them showed their quality not only in defence but also in attacking department Thomas Vermaelen even showed his good instinct in front of goal by bagging one goal. Laurent Koscielny showed composure against West Brom's quick striker, and moved forward several times. Carl Jenkinson started to showed some good performance. He was solid on the flank, and his delivery was also accurate. Andre Santos, offensively he was good, but still lack of final ball; while defensively, this left back spot still become Arsenal's weak link in the defence.

Trio Song-Ramsey-Arteta composed the midfield, even their dominance faded early in the second half. Ramsey also wasn't shy to cut inside the penalty area, and could have scored a goal. Song was rock on the midfield, and seen anywhere in the pitch. Arteta showed his composure with the third goal.

Gervinho was quite dangerous, but a little bit lack of final product. Walcott was lively down the right. Robin van Persie shows his class once more, snapping the goal well, and assisting the other two goals; justified his fine form.

Rosicky and Benayoun added another dimension for Arsenal, as they played as substitutes. Rosicky played some neat touches, and Benayoun was mobile in the midfield.

Despite all those positives, there is still one problem Arsenal need to fix. When the scoreline is 2-0, Arsenal were too lax, and they found themselves under West Brom pressure. Lucky enough, they were unable to score any goal due to lack of finishing and also strong twin tower in Koscielny and Vermaelen. Had the team Arsenal face not been West Brom, Arsenal could have been conceded, and the momentum of the game changed. Arsenal need to constantly pushed their opponent, and not giving them chance to grow their game.