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Archive for the tag “Match Reviews”

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: Observations And Analysis

It’s difficult writing an analysis for a game which went so poorly for Arsenal. And the difficulty comes not from the disappointment of the scoreline but the manner of the defeat, a surprisingly nervous and lacklustre display after solid performances in the first five games.

As predicted, Arsene Wenger started the more mobile centre-back pairing of Vermaelen and Koscielny. At the front, Ramsey again took his place on the right with Gervinho playing through the middle, although the Ivorian swapped positions fairly regularly with Podolski on the left. While one decision worked well as the Ivorian netted Arsenal’s only goal, the other gamble of leaving Mertesacker on the bench backfired quite spectacularly.

Chelsea named a line-up that showed attacking intent with Oscar starting behind Torres flanked by Hazard and Mata while Ramires’ energy was preferred in midfield alongside Mikel. It was a brave decision by Roberto Di Matteo, not many managers come to the Emirates and attempt to take Arsenal on at their own game. In the end, Oscar’s inclusion proved decisive as the Brazilian kept Mikel Arteta quite for most of the match.

In a match where neither team played their best football, Arsenal scored one very good goal and conceded two very sloppy ones. This tweet from last night points out the similarities in Arsenal’s concession of both goals.

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Man City 1-1 Arsenal: Match Observations And Analysis

A point away to the champions would be gladly accepted at any time. The fact that City are on this fantastic home run of 29 victories in 31 games makes this one even more commendable. It was a performance that augurs well for Arsenal’s chances in the league this season – a point gained and a point made.

Arsenal lost captain Thomas Vermaelen to a virus so Laurent Koscielny came into the team while Vito Mannone replaced the injured Wojciech Szczesny in goal. As expected, Gervinho started through the middle as he did against Southampton but the surprising decision was Aaron Ramsey’s inclusion as a right-sided midfielder ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Roberto Mancini started with what looked like a more attacking formation on paper. Javi Garcia and Yaya Toure shored up things in midfield while David Silva started on the right and Scott Sinclair was brought on to provide pace and width on the left. Up front, Dzeko played as the central striker while Aguero drifted in behind him.

For a game which had so much attacking talent on show, it’s ironic that both goals came from corners and both were scored by centre-backs. Unlike the last two games, Arsenal dominated possession and stayed on the front foot for most of the match. Without dissecting each phase or listing the order of events, here are a few observations on the Gunners tactics and performance.

Proactive approach and combinations

Although the away victory at Liverpool was impressive, Arsenal were far more reactive in that fixture. At Anfield, the Gunners were content to defend deep and wait for counter attacking opportunities. Against City yesterday, players actively sought the ball and put early pressure on the carrier. While we still displayed a willingness to get behind the ball, there was more energy and proactivity in our approach to winning the ball back.

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Arsenal 6-1 Southampton: Tactical Analysis

Often, the first match after an international break can throw up a disjointed team performance as players struggle to settle back into groove after exertions with their national sides. Yesterday though, Arsenal looked like a well-oiled machine, one lubricated by quality, spirit and determination.

Despite the good run of form that secured third place last season, not since the 5-2 thrashing of the wannabe neighbours in February have the Gunners looked so fluent and potent in attack. Admittedly, Southampton’s defending wasn’t of the highest quality but you can only beat what’s in front of you and Arsenal were full value for both the three points and the emphatic scoreline.

As expected, Arsene Wenger chose not to risk Abou Diaby and handed a start to Francis Coquelin in midfield alongside Mikel Arteta. In defense, Szczesny returned in goal while Mertesacker’s impressive early season form consigned the fit-again Koscielny to the bench. The surprise of course was up front, with the manager opting to hand Gervinho the role of the central striker.

The visitors named the same team which troubled United a couple of weeks ago so new signings Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida had to be content with a place on the bench.

The Gunners found an early rhythm as all four attacking players combined well in the opening minutes. There were warning signs for the visitors as they first allowed Podolski time to shoot from outside the box and then presented acres of space to Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right to make a couple of deliveries into the box. Neither attempts were successful but Arsenal were certainly in the ascendancy in the opening 10 minutes.

The first goal came soon enough, the opportunity created by fantastic determination from Lukas Podolski. The German fought for the ball midway in Southampton’s half, seemed to have lost the battle as he fell to the ground but sprang up quickly to win it back, then shrugged off a shirt tug, motored towards goal and found Kieran Gibb’s run down the left. The English youngster’s shot from 6 yards was deflected off the keeper and bundled into his own net by Hooiveld.

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Stoke City 0-0 Arsenal: Another Solid Performance, Another Goalless Draw

A point away at Stoke. No new injury concerns. Two clean sheets. There were certainly a few positives from yesterday’s goalless draw at the home of lump-that football.

The game was never likely to be a high quality affair, as matches involving Stoke rarely are, and this one certainly went according to type. Arsenal stood up to the physical challenge better than we’ve done in the past but did not possess enough quality in the final third to come away with three points.

Arsene Wenger made a couple of changes from the Sunderland game, dropping Theo Walcott to the bench and bringing on Olivier Giroud. It meant Lukas Podolski moved to the left while Gervinho started on the right flank. The only other change was a forced one, Vito Mannone replacing the not-fully recovered Wojciech Szczesny in goal.

Tony Pulis brought in Geoff Cameron in place of the suspended Dean Whitehead and gave a start to ex-Gunner Jermaine Pennant who started on the right which meant Michael Kightly moved over to the left. Jon Walters and Peter Crouch were the two up front, with the former playing behind the latter and helping out the midfield when Stoke were without the ball.

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Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland: Gunners Start With A Draw

Premier League 2012-2013 / Game 1 / Emirates Stadium

Arsenal                                    0
Sunderland                             0

Arsenal began the new season with a disappointing draw at home to Sunderland. As expected, the home team dominated possession but a lack of sharpness meant the Gunners were unable to score and Martin O’Neill’s side left the Emirates with a deserved point for some resolute defending.

Arsene Wenger started with the team I’d predicted in the match preview. Lukas Podolski lead the line with Santi Cazorla playing in the hole behind him and Theo Walcott and Gervinho on either flanks. In defense, Carl Jenkinson got the nod at right-back.

Sunderland also started as expected in a 4-5-1 formation although there were some personnel changes. Sessegnon was fit to play so he started as the lone striker and O’Neill packed the midfield with Colback, Cattermole and Larsson with Campbell and McLean playing down the flanks.

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