Sunday, September 27, 2015

Leicester-Arsenal post match analysis

Arsenal was able to bounce back from last week defeat against Chelsea with a 5-2 win against high-flying Leicester, who was unbeaten before this match. The scoreline suggests a goal feast which was resulted from a very open game from both teams. Alexis Sanchez scored his first hat trick in Arsenal shirt, sandwiched from Walcott's equalizer and Giroud's injury time goal. 

There are few take out from this matches.

1. Arsenal's Goal-scoring ability Finally Arsenal scored a lot of goals! Arsenal only scored five goals from previous six league games, and despite the ability to create chances, we were unable to score more goals. From this game we can see that the Gunners' counter-attack ability is quite fearsome. With Walcott and Alexis supported by Cazorla and Ozil behind them, we scored four goals from well-crafted counter attack. A good sign that they have gelled together? They would still need to provide this kind of attack more consistently. We can't win the league with only scoring like this once a while. 

Walcott played much better than the Chelsea games as he got a lot of spaces due to Leicester high line, while Olivier Giroud missed another a great chance to mark his stamp on the line-up after coming in on the second half, but at least a goal under his name will undoubtedly boost his confidence. Alexis who started scoring might be seeing more goals in the future. Hope his hattrick would be the start of his goals collection!

2. Second half improvement.In the second half Arsenal played much better and was able to dominate the game to score three more goals. In the first half, Leicester was arguably the better team of the two sides, they scored once and denied twice by the crossbar. Strangely though, Shinji Okazaki was subbed off on the second half and that contributed to Arsenal's dominance in the second half.

Furthermore, we can see the importance of Aaron Ramsey on the side. Despite being criticized of not doing well on the right flank, he provides the stability on the team. He could run, tackle, and not losing the ball as compared to Chamberlain, who has more flair. Ramsey covered a lot of areas today and backed Bellerin on the flank.

3. Coquelin Effect.

It's been a long time since Arsenal played without Coquelin in the League. In this match we can see his effect on Arsenal's rigidity. Flamini could not provide the same coverage with Coquelin as we saw Leicester players bypassing Arsenal defence and dominating in the first half. Only when Arsenal settled their game, our defence looks better as we controlled the flow of the game.

Another thing is the leaky defence, despite the return of Per Mertesacker. Arsenal's defence was quite shaky to defend a pacey striker today. Next week a tougher game is waiting for the Gunners. League topper Manchester United is coming to Emirates, and they have Ashley Young and Anthony Martial, who have explosive pace.  

It would be a test of character for Arsenal, but I hope they could bring them down. COYG! VCC!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

United post match thought

Arsenal salvaged a point in Old Trafford despite in overall United dominated the game, especially in the first half, when the Gunners could not able to create single attempt at all. Arsenal were able to equalized, thanks to Tyler Blackett's own goal from Theo Walcott's cross. Arsenal remains on the 3rd place with 71 points from 36 games, while United stays on the 4th place with two points less but one game played more than Arsenal.

Generally, Arsenal were being second best and United controlled the possession. The introduction of Walcott and Wilshere on the mid of the second half rejuvenated the Gunners' performance. Only after this substitution - with United looked tired as the game wore on - Arsenal looked threatening.

United vs Arsenal Stats 

There are several take-ons from this game
1. Stagnant Line-up
Same Line-Up, yet again
Yet another unchanged line-up named by Wenger for this match: Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis; Giroud. It has been the same for the recent weeks despite blip in Swansea. While I understand Wenger wants the first team to settle, I would say changing one or two players per game would not do harm. Not changing the line-up could potentially give the sense of safety of the starters, giving them complacency and I think this might be the reason on the decline of the performance on the last two matches. If they know their place in the starting line-up is not safe, they would fight more for it instead of feeling safe because the manager keeps playing same team. 

Rotation could help Arsenal to prevent injury as well as to help the jaded players. Cazorla could do good with having one game off as he is one of the most played midfield this season, and so could Alexis. David Ospina is a good keeper, but I feel on the last two games he could do better. Szczesny did make mistake on the earlier of the season, but I think we could give him more chance. He has a faster reflex compared to Ospina and with a taller height, he has a longer reach. I feel he could have prevented Gomis' goal last week and also Herrera's shot today.

2. Aaron Ramsey is NOT a right winger
Aaron Ramsey has been deployed in the right side of midfield for the last six games, and he already expressed that he would prefer to play centrally. This match showed clearly that he is more dangerous from the middle rather than playing from the wing. After Walcott and Wilshere coming in for Bellerin and Cazorla. Ramsey and Wilshere played in the middle and the flow of the game getting better. Last season, Ramsey was our best player and he was doing that from the middle.
After the Wilshere and Walcott coming in, Coquelin moved to right back and Ramsey partnered Wilshere in the central of the park
I would say we could afford to rotate Santi Cazorla - who looked very ineffective - in the middle of the park and give Ramsey the game from his preferred position. From that position he influenced the game more and started the equalizer from his long range pass to Walcott. He was also involved in at least three attacks on the final 15 minutes when he plays from the middle, while he was struggling to make impacts from the right flank.

3. Challenging for Title
Maybe Thierry Henry is right, this team needs few players to win the title. Olivier Giroud might be banging goals few weeks back but he looks short of ideas in the recent weeks. Now I might agree with Thierry Henry about additional striker Arsenal need before they can challenge for the highest prize. Giroud is not a bad player, but he is a very static striker. His movement is not the best, especially because his pace could not help him. 

There were some occasion where there was a lot of spaces behind United defender and David da Gea, but then we could not sent a decent through pass to Giroud because he was too slow to race with the defender. He would be useful to break the deadlock against the team defending very deep as he provides decent flick. But he could do better in his final touch as he wasted at least two golden chances today. A pacy striker who has a great touch would be useful for us in the team. He could complement Giroud, or in the other tactics, he could be upfront alone.

Another thing is consistency. He could hit the best form in five games before switched off for the next few games. That what happened this season and last season. 

5. Hector Bellerin's Inexperience
Ashley Young run rampant from the left flank, leaving Bellerin exposed due to his inexperience. He has done quite well this season, but seeing him run ragged by Young showed that his inexperience in the big match. Mathieu Debuchy has a better defending compared to the Spaniard, but Bellerin is still 20 years old and there is still more from him. He could do better in defending, especially against tricky winger like Young.

To sum up, this crucial one point through a lucky game made us could comfortably finish third, but there is room for improvement in the next game. 

PS: Sorry for not writing for a long time. Gonna try to be more consistent with writing.