Adrian Clarke’s tactical breakdown of the Arsenal loss to Stoke did an excellent job picking over the corpse of the match. Clarke criticized Ramsey’s positioning, took time to show how Arsenal’s defense could have done better, and dropped a bit of a bombshell stat about Arsenal conceding goals right after second half kickoffs.
I only mention Clarke’s discussion about Ramsey’s positioning because it mirrors my own which I felt like I took unnecessary flack for on Twitter. Twice Clarke mentions the center midfield and how it needs to operate much more tightly – with Ramsey going forward into the striker role, Arsenal’s midfield is far too open and that allowed Stoke players to march at Arsenal’s goal unimpeded.
“In general, I’d say the Ramsey-Xhaka central midfield axis wasn’t compact enough. They played a little too far apart meaning that Stoke found it easy to march through holes. And when this happened on transitions, they got into some great areas – running at the back three.”
Clarke also pointed out how Ramsey will have “wished” he was in the engine room rather than the most forward player on the field when Stoke scored.
Adrian also took time to show how Arsenal’s defense was deserving of criticism, something I hadn’t noticed in the match or after in the replays. But Clarke uses video to show how time and again Arsenal’s defense were not taking responsibility but again mostly laid the blame on the midfield, saying that a “depleted” defense could have been afforded more protection.
But the bombshell revelation is that since last season, Arsenal have now conceded 16 goals in the 15 minute period after half time – 14 last season and 2 this season. That 14 goals conceded last season was second worst in the Premier League behind Watford.
This shows a lack of concentration by Arsenal coming into the second half of games.
If you get 5 minutes today, have a look at the Breakdown on Arsenal.com.