Stoke 1-0 Arsenal: Annoyed Picard August 19, 2017 August 19, 2017 by imothyt Read my BTN piece over on Arseblog News. More tomorrow. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 12 comments I stopped watching when Walcott was subbed on. You may as well waive the white flag at that time. For a guy who is supposed to hold the “key”, Xhaka sure likes to chuck it away at the worst possible times. He did it multiple times against Leicester, at least one of which lead to them scoring. He did it twice in the first half today. I cant imagine Wenger saying anything to him at the break because he did it again within 2 mins of the restart and then instead of holding his position, he charged like a witless buffoon leaving a sea of space behind him. I said yesterday fans are over estimating the Xhaka Ramsey partnership. My worry was mostly with Ramsey’s over eagerness to bomb forward and his fitness but if Xhaka doesn’t drastically improve the kind of form he has shown the last two games, we will struggle to finish 6th. This was not a good Stoke team. Teams like United, City and Spurs will roll them over. A lot of names being thrown out there right now as scapegoats. I can sympathize. But at the end of the day, Wenger’s formation and personnel were a dog’s breakfast. We’re not really a particularly effective attacking team, and we’re most definitely not a team that knows how to defend. We’re basically Tottenham Hotspur of 2004-2016. That’s the era we’re entering. I agree. I was venting my frustration on Xhaka but this is on Wenger. Our dfensive performance in these last two games bears out Tim’s earlier post that the 3:4:3 formation has not improved our defensive conceded numbers except for goals conceded which the stats showed was all the handwork of our keepers. Once this fact is clear in the mind of Wenger he would be better placed to re-evaluate. Am totally convinced that our CM plus our WB who are all too attack inclined are the root cause for our poor defensive performances. Arsene picked a f*****g riduculous line up for defense and then had the gaul to CRITICISE them?! Oh.my.god. What a shit game of football from Arsenal’s midfield. With Xhaka misplacing passes to Ramsey trying to play further ahead than any of the forwards, it was a horribly non-existent performance from Arsenal’s midfield pairing. Ozil had to repeatedly drop in the halfway point because Ramsey so often was so far ahead of him. I do not understand how Wenger or anyone in the Arsenal team can expect Xhaka or any ONE person to control the midfield. While I genuinely believe that Ramsey is good at his runs into the box and his positioning in the final third, he left Xhaka (who also had a horrible game) on his own to defend, pick up passes from defenders and then move the game ahead. This has been one of THE biggest problems when the Xhaka-Ramsey partnership was used in a 4-2-3-1 and it is the same problem right now too. Jese’s goal was basically the epitome of this problem – Xhaka trying to play out of the back with a non-existent Ramsey who is too far ahead while Ozil has to drop deep and is expected to track back and cover runners which is never a good idea. Overall a horrible game for the Xhaka-Ramsey partnership. What a shit game of football from Arsenal’s midfield. With Xhaka misplacing passes to Ramsey trying to play further ahead than any of the forwards, it was a horribly non-existent performance from Arsenal’s midfield pairing. Ozil had to repeatedly drop in the halfway point because Ramsey so often was so far ahead of him. I do not understand how Wenger or anyone in the Arsenal team can expect Xhaka or any ONE person to control the midfield. While I genuinely believe that Ramsey is good at his runs into the box and his positioning in the final third, he left Xhaka (who also had a horrible game) on his own to defend, pick up passes from defenders and then move the game ahead. This has been one of THE biggest problems when the Xhaka-Ramsey partnership was used in a 4-2-3-1 and it is the same problem right now too. Jese’s goal was basically the epitome of this problem – Xhaka trying to play out of the back with a non-existent Ramsey who is too far ahead while Ozil has to drop deep and is expected to track back and cover runners which is never a good idea. Overall a horrible game for the Xhaka-Ramsey partnership. Don’t understand your agreement with Ox’s MOTM status. Your BTN piece points to Ozil, and Ramsey’s consideration really is only worthy when his risk-taking pays off. IMHO Note: Love the ste, like Arsenal, for its inclusive community forming elements. Hate it when negativity swamps all. Will do my best to RESIST! New thread, so I’ll beg your indulgence by responding here to Tom, who had this to say about Ramsey and the goal in which he was not involved… “…what he does so often when he just wanders around the pitch no matter where our build up happens to be at the time.” Really? Sorry Tom (and Tim), not going to mince words here. That statement is just plain silly. “Wanders round the pitch?” Ramsey? He of big engine? Any of our players for that matter? “Wanders round?” There’s a lot not right about our team, and I put the boot in when necessary, but I never disrespect their effort or commitment. Seems a shame that sometimes our reflex is to pound a narrative, rather than try to make sense of the actual game (and I may be guilty of that regarding players I don’t particularly like). I’d love to hear your analysis of the goal, rather than vaguely blaming everyone’s favourite scapegoat. Here’s mine again. Xhaka hit a misplaced pass to Ozil, and was the one closest to Jese. Both should have been tracking back to stop Jese, but Ozil was further up the pitch. Xhaka of last year would have committed a “dark yellow” (thanks Arsene) and tripped Jese, but yesterday, perhaps mindful of his rep among the refs, he let him run (or didn’t have the speed to catch him). So Jese and his outrider wide left are facing down Mustafi on the right and Monreal in the centre. Xhaka’s defending is a worry for me, and I can’t get out of my head his own manager’s devastating indictment of his defensive capabilities 8 short months ago. Him and Ramsey are good players, but they both need competition, ideally from someone who can combine their attributes, and replace either. Elneny is not that person. Back to the goal. By far the most worrying thing was how easily Jese outwitted Monreal, the central, central defender. Per isn’t fast, but I’ll bet the farm he’d have read that play, and stepped in and cut out the give-back to Jese. Monreal is a terrific left-back, but no central defender. My worry was height, but a lot of central defensive play is in the head. Go watch old clips of Fernando Hierro in his pomp, or Mertesacker when he was younger. I’d also have liked to see the left-sided attacker ushered wide by Mustafi. As they say in England, our defenders got done up like a kipper. Which brings us to the question of Per being on the bench. If we had to play Nacho in central defence, then (unless we are preparing for a surprise incoming) it was plainly the wrong time to sell Gabriel. A lot of fans said after the game that we probably need to buy there (in addition to central midfield). I agree. Interesting to see what happens with Chambers and Bielik. ClaudeIvan You get the last word on this my friend. i’m no ramsey fan but i’m not knocking ramsey, especially for the goal on yesterday. ramsey is what he is and everyone knows what he is. it’s wenger that manages the team and is responsible for team selection. likewise, i’m not blaming monreal for being a lb getting beaten on a play lbs never see but center backs see all the time. if blame had to be placed on any player, it would be xhaka but i understand he’s young and still learning. he had a miscommunication with ozil that resulted in a give away high up the pitch and instead of dropping in, he made the ill-advised decision to try and win the ball back with a one-man press. stoke broke his foolhardy press and there was a huge gap in midfield that stoke exploited. all of that blame needs to be placed at wenger’s feet. xhaka needs help and the team is clearly out of balance with ramsey partnering xhaka in a two-man central midfield. if there was a 3rd man in arsenal’s central midfield (as in a 3-5-2) the arsenal midfield would have better balance. no, all of the blame lies at wenger’s feet. he’s the biggest impediment to arsenal’s success. there is no way in the world stoke city should have beaten arsenal yesterday but wenger made that happen. seriously, he needs to step aside. he doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore. @rectum spectrum, agreed, 100%. that’s exactly what i thought when i heard him criticize monreal. wenger has four first-team central defenders available but plays 2 left backs at center back. i’d gladly give $100 to the person that can make that decision make sense to me. not only that, but when arsenal goes to a back 4, instead of playing one of his 2 left backs at left back, he plays a right back at left back. uhm, yeah, i’d pay good money for that explanation as well. this is what i mean when i say that wenger doesn’t respect the game. what other manager in world football would believe the obviously foolish and ill-advised decisions this man makes are good ideas? its also why i call him the “football alchemist” as he’s always trying to lead into gold when conventional wisdom has already concluded that this is a bad idea. the substitutions and the predictable change in formation were equally baffling. none of the substitutions arsenal made were sensible. not so much as the players that came on (except walcott) but the players wenger took off didn’t make sense to me, either. arsenal are always chasing games that they dominate. that’s indicative of the quality being there but the strategic direction is not. lastly, the 3-4-3 with the players wenger has is not going to work. many fans want arsenal to buy better quality in midfield but i don’t think it will happen. the next best option is a formation change to a 3-5-2. considering the inclinations/limitations of ramsey and xhaka and the fact that they are often 2 center mids playing against 3, it makes no sense to not put another body in midfield. would that stoke city goal have happened if coquelin or elneny were on the pitch? maybe but it would have been much more difficult. also, prophetically, lacazette didn’t have a good outing as a center forward yesterday. many of arsenal’s successful attacks happened when he checked (changed position) with welbeck. once giroud came on, arsenal produced their best chances, including a disallowed goal and penalty, all produced from clever center forward play from our 6’4″ french pretty boy. that’s not a coincidence. oh, and that knock down giroud won at the back post and played to the top of the 6-yard box, i’m willing to bet the house that lacazette would have been there to finish that chance. where was ozil and walcott (arsenal’s two strikers)? dumb substitutions by wenger. 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