Folks, I think this Ramsey guy might be good

You’ve probably never heard of “per 100” but maybe you should have. If you know what per90 is, stats prorated per90 minutes played, then you can probably figure out what per100 is – it’s basically how many of X event per 100 touches. The NBA already has this metric and football got its own acolyte most recently in Tom Harrison and his “Performance 100”.

Tom is busy making his data pretty and analyzing Liga MX (the Mexican football league in America) and hasn’t had a chance to branch out too much into the Premier League (that I know of – and I follow him on Twitter). So, I took this idea and built my own “model.” It’s not a model. It’s just a thing.

As for sources: touches data is published over on the Premier League web site and it’s an easy formula (touches/100) to figure out how many “per 100’s” a player has in a season. You then take that number and divide whatever stat you want to into it. Let’s say, you want to know how many shots Aaron Ramsey takes inside the 18 yard box per 100 touches? He’s had 1188 touches (11.88 per 100s) and 28 shots in the 18 yard box, so he averages 2.36 shots in the 18 yard box per 100 touches.

Next what I wanted to see was how the midfielders in the Barney Ronay piece stacked up against each other: these are the players who people often watch and say “YEAH BUT WHAT DOES HE REALLY DO?” So, I popped in Emre Can, Paul Pogba, David Silva, Tim Bakayoko, Mousa Dembele, Aaron Ramsey, and for fun, I threw in good ole Alexis Sanchez.  And guess what, Ramsey does a lot!

Let’s start with defense. I added blocked passes, tackles won, clearances made, interceptions, crosses blocked, and blocked shots. Ramsey is often accused of not doing much defensively and it’s kind of true. Compared to more defensive players like Bakayoko and Can, Ramsey averages 5 defensive actions per100 touches, Bakayoko averages 10.7, Can 9.6. And in the chart they look like this:

True story – Alexis often ran around waving at his teammates to defend and he also liked to make a big show of making a tackle every once in a while but he was less active than David Silva (who gets the ball a lot more than Alexis did). Also note that Pogba’s numbers are surprisingly low (unless you watch him play) and they are largely bumped up by how often he clears the ball. Given that Mourinho dropped Pogba after a heated discussion about Pogba not playing enough defense I wonder how long it will be before Mourinho realizes that Alexis doesn’t actually put in a defensive shift and drops him?

On the other end of the field, however, Ramsey is up there with the very best in terms of number 8s.

Ramsey’s overall offensive contribution is high because he shoots so often in the 18 yard box (2.36 per 100). I removed shots from outside the 18 because I have a personal bias against them (they are nearly as good as a turnover) but adding it back in, Ramsey is still the third best attacking player in the group. One other oddity about Ramsey is that he has also created a ton of big chances for his teammates (0.51 per 100) this season, that’s on par with David Silva. And he’s scored nearly as many goals per 100 touches (0.51 v. 0.53) as Alexis Sanchez.

Meanwhile, Players like Dembele, Bakayoko, and Pogba are much better dribblers and one of my “laws of stats” state that “good dribblers always look better to fans and pundits than other players”. The other law of stats is that fans/pundits love a dead ball specialist and a long range goal specialist. So, a guy who can dribble, score from direct free kicks, and scores a lot of goals outside the box will often be valued irrationally high (ahem, Coutinho).

Anyway, enough of that guff, here’s the final chart: turnovers per100. Of course, Alexis is king!

The per 100 stats aren’t going to settle the debate about Ramsey and they also don’t really change any data points (we already knew he shoots a lot and shoots a lot in the 18 yard box) in the debate either. But it does answer the question of “what does he do” for each of these players. Demebele is a dribbler, Bakayoko is more of a defensive specialist, Silva is an attacking mid playing deeper this season, Can is a really poor attacking player, Pogba is a dribbler, Alexis turns the ball over a lot and doesn’t play as much defense as people remember, and Ramsey is a pretty good all round footballer.

If he was playing for any other team I bet he’d have plenty of Arsenal Supporters yelling “ANNOUNCE RAMSEY” every time Arsenal tweeted anything.


Source: Opta


  1. What about a Ramsay Dembele pairing?
    One creates, scores, assists, occasionally gets stuck up the wrong end of the pitch, the other sits deep, breaks up play, doesn’t (unlike Santi) create much but (like Santi) doesn’t lose possession because his passing is accurate and he can dribble out of tight corners.
    Would have been interesting to see how Santi rated, and Jack.
    But I’d take Rambo over Pogba and, given his higher energy levels, over Silva.
    Next the stats are going to show we ought to be happy with Mustafi and that he’s a better defender than Alderweireld.

    1. Taking Ramsey over Silva now makes sense because he’s younger, but you’d take a (say) 27 year old Ramsey over a 27 year old David Silva???? Surely not.

      I second the call for a comparison between Ramsey 2017-18 and Santi in that deep midfield role (if memory serves, that’s calendar year 2015, plus fall of 2016). My suspicion is that the numbers might show Ramsey on top, which would be pretty strong evidence that per100 stats are rather unreliable.

  2. Well at least we know Ramsey always stays onside. I remember that goal deep in the box to help get a late 2-2 draw against Everton right at the beginning of the season a few years back.

    Anyway, are any of the stats subsets of each other? Are Big Chances Created also counted as Key Passes or not? And what about Assists?

  3. How many touches does he get compared to someone like Pogba? He is clearly effective on the ball, but if the game passes you by does it matter?

  4. Slightly off topic, (apologies,) but I just saw this quote from Wenger in the Guardian:

    “What we have observed is that the transfer nowadays from the goals scored in other leagues does not necessarily transfer 100% to the English Premier League. When we played at Swansea, we played against 10 men in the last 25 yards and that doesn’t exist anywhere else in Europe. To be as prolific in the Premier League is much more difficult.”

    Dear Mr. Lacazette, I believe someone is sending you a message.

  5. I really don’t understand. In the article you linked to he talks only about offensive contribution. He splits touches into the offensive possibilities like dribble shot dispossessed etc. What does it mean to say tackle per hundred touches ? I don’t get it ..

    1. I think Wenger clearly challenged Laca in the press, and he was found wanting. It’s hard to see him rehabilitating his Arsenal career, though I guess stranger things have happened.

      1. Oh come on, all of that is completely overblown.

        We didn’t lose because Lacazette missed two presentable chances. We lost because Spurs utterly bossed us in that second half. They could have scored 3-4 more with chances of equal/greater quality to the ones Lacazette missed.

        Far stranger things happen in football all the time. Off the top of my head: Andy Cole was REALLY utter sh1t for Man United for about 2 years after he moved there from Newcastle, only to go on to be one of their star strikers in the team that won a hatful of trophies, including the treble.

        1. Laca couldn’t get anything right in his short time on the pitch. It was painful. You’re right, he’s not the reason we lost but I don’t think that anyone claimed that.

          You’re also right about being too hasty to evaluate. He’s just over halfway through his first season in English football, and it’s way too early to write him off. I like what I saw up to December. His combination play is good. Heck, we need him to. We just shipped out our 3 leading goal scorers from last season. Aruba can’t carry the weight alone.

          1. Aruba REALLY can’t carry the weight!

            I wasn’t responding to the contention that Laca was bad (though I think he deserves some credit for the well timed run that led to the second chance), but to the contention that his Arsenal career is probably done.

        2. Like he’s only played just over half a season.

          And players coming from a league like france taking a season to get used to the english league isn’t unheard of, or completely unexpected.

          1. Both he and Auba need to strengthen that upper body a bit if they’re going to mix it in this league.

  6. Pochettino tactically out did Wenger today. Every time the ball went to our wide players, they ran into 2 defenders and were forced to pass the ball back. Every time we tried to attack through the middle , our vaunted passing game let us down with lose passes and poor control that had Sp*s racing into their counter attacking offense. The ball for the Kane’s goal was so good that the announcer practically call it a goal the moment it left Davis’s foot. Not one of our wide players are capable of such a ball, not today , not yesterday and not tomorrow.

  7. I thought we had a good first half. Not great but good because we had a game plan and played to it and it worked. Would have worked better if the linesman had kept his flag down, or if we had managed to find the right passes on the break. (Looking at you Miki)The only exception to it working was when Kane missed his header as we played him onside. This should have been a warning.

    Second half, Spurs adjusted and started crossing from a slightly deeper position, while simultaneously, we started vacating our defensive positions. For me, Miki and Ozil were the prime culprits, but Wilshere and Xhaka weren’t great. I actually blame Cech for spreading panic. He’s still a very good shot stopper, but I think he causes more problems than he solves. Time to play Ospina or even Macey. He deserves to be dropped, despite the commentators praising him for a good game.

    Offensively, our passing and our touch was poor. We never got the ball up to Auba to do anything with it. A tame surrender, which Lacazette could have rescued, but I don’t think there’s much at all in that. All strikers miss such chances sometimes. His just happened to come at the end of a game where we were terrible and he could have saved us. He knew it too, but there were far worse offenders in our team than Laca.

    PS. Santi Cazorla must have been so frustrating to watch for opposition fans, because Dembele was annoying in how good he was at keeping the ball.

    1. Blame Cech, Ozil, Miki, Wilshere, and Xhaka if you want (I’d say I’ve just listed them in increasing order of blameworthiness), but the only real culprit is Arsene Wenger, who still hasn’t worked out how to beat a press in 5 years of trying, and still refuses to have us play in a similar fashion.

      When you’re laying the blame on your two number 10’s–deployed as wide attackers in a front three on the day–for not being good enough defensively, you know there’s something else much more fundamentally wrong (assuming you’re not playing a team streets ahead of you in talent like Barca/Real, which Spurs aren’t).

      1. Why does it prove that something is wrong? The gameplan worked well in the first half and those two were contributing except both misplaced passes on the counter. After the break they didn’t do the basics right to adhere to the plan, nor could they make use of the ball when it got to them. You can blame Arsene Wenger if you want because ultimately he is responsible, but I have no interest in getting into a debate about the manager’s future after every single game.

        1. I’d have to go back and look closely at the game tape during those first 15 minutes of the second half when the game was effectively lost, to see if Ozil and Miki were really so egregiously to blame for not doing the basics. What I saw in real time is Spurs upping the intensity straight after halftime and our team not being able to live with it, which meant that we were coughing the ball up too quickly and cheaply, which leads to inviting relentless pressure, which quite typically leads to defensive breakdown somewhere across the pitch. Maybe it was Ozil and Miki, though I’d be very surprised if it was only and entirely them.

          But the more basic points I was making were:

          1. These situations come about because we can’t handle an intense, organized high press. Still. But we also haven’t mastered one ourselves, nor have we gone all out in the market to vastly improve defense/midfield to help cope with this tactic.

          2. Unless you’re a Simeone/Mourinho-like defense-first manager–and Wenger is pretty much the opposite of that–you’re always playing with fire, to put it mildly, if you’re relying on your two most creative, freedom-loving, players–two players playing in your front three–to put in defensively flawless performances in order to get anything from a game. Against a team like Barcelona, this kind of caution is understandable. Against a team like Spurs, it suggests a fundamental deficiency in the tactics/makeup of your team.
          I’m not saying sitting relatively deep and looking to hit on the counter–especially in the first half–was a bad idea. I’m saying that tactic shouldn’t be reliant on Ozil and Mikki to be doing huge amounts of covering work just to prevent us being completely overrun. Who were they chiefly tasked with shutting down? Spurs’s two fullbacks. Now ask yourself: why should our entire gameplan unravel because Ben Davies(!) and Kieran Trippier(!) are getting a bit too much time to cross the ball! There’s something wrong with the picture when we’re more afraid of those two knuckleheads than they are of Mesut and Mikki.

          Put it this way: “We coulda got something from that match, if only Mikhi and Mesut were better at defense!” is always going to be a straw-clutching statement. They’re not great at defense, and that’s not why they’re in the team.

          1. That wasn’t the sum total of my argument. I was frustrated with them both because they contributed nothing in the game. They were supposed to provide the ammunition for Auba and they failed to do so, despite the opportunities. They were supposed to keep possession at least, and they didn’t use the ball well. Jack Wilshere had a better game than them, and I think he was forced to go walkabout to make up for the lack of creativity from the two most creative players. On top of this they decided not to cover defensively. I mean ok, if we are not being able to create, at least keep it at 0-0, which was our gameplan seemingly. But no, they got frustrated with their own inability to play their game, and let the rest of the team fend for themselves back there because ‘that’s not their job’.

            That doesn’t excuse the lack of marking of Kane btw. But that cross should never have been allowed to come in, and my initial reaction was that it was up to Miki to cover there.

            Once that goal went in, our concentration went away. And as one of the most experienced players at the club, I think it was Cech who typified and spread that disease even before we conceded.

  8. I am not sad that Koscienly was out jumped for the goal. That can happen and I feel bad for Koscienly that it happened to him.
    Mustafi on the other hand it is like WTF are you doing out there?
    Cech once again shows that whatever footwork he had has retired.
    Can we play Iwobi every other game so that we catch the good Iwobi and not the bad Iwobi.
    Lacazette, you need to put your big boy pants on and score those 2 chances. You don’t that first chance after you had a dog”s sage to wait for the ball to come down. That’s something and Eric Lamela would do, not a Ligue Un leading scorer.
    Monreal , I know Monreal and Bellerin you are not Monreal so don’t try taking a shot you can’t even make in FIFA 18 on the beginner setting.

    1. Lacazette had to wait a dog’s age for that first chance to come down and with his quality, he should have hit the target. You would expect that miss from an Eric Lamela or a Bellerin.

      1. Yes and no. I agree it’s about control and that that’s mostly (though not entirely) about midfield.
        But talking about lack of quality overlooks the fact (and it is a FACT) that the Spurs midfield, and Spurs team, is not filled with better players than our team.

        The first, glaring mistake is that after 5+ years of facing teams that press, Wenger still hasn’t worked out how to deal with it. Pressing is THE most important tactical change in the last 10 years in world football (yes, I know it’s been around a lot longer than that, but it’s only come to dominate England and the other top leagues more recently), and it’s one of the most revolutionary tactical changes in the history of football. Yet Wenger still hasn’t come to grips with it. And he refuses to join in and make us a pressing team with any regularity or expertise.

        Pressing isn’t perfect, but when done in a super organized (and cynical, aka tactical fouling) way, it’s extremely effective most of the time, even against teams with more talent. It’s not fool-proof, but it covers a multitude of other sins: talent-wise, 11 vs 11 we are their equals, or we shade it slightly (this may be generous to them). But their hyper-organized high line and high press make the difference.

        It’s only once you acknowledge that fact, that THEN you can talk about a lack of quality. This is why AW is two-fold to blame: you can still beat a hyper pressing team without being one yourself, but you need clearly better players, particularly in defense and deep midfield, who have the quality and composure to beat the press and get the ball up the pitch for the counter–either with the physicality to win midfield duels and ride tackles (think Yaya in his prime) or with dribbling/passing wizardry (think Cazorla/Xavi/Iniesta in their prime). But Elneny and Xhaka are not those players. Neither are Mustafi (though I thought he played ok today), Koscielny (2018 version), and Bellerin at the present moment (still lacks any kind of composure when put under any kind of pressure). Even elite quality players will struggle against a press, as we’ve seen with Man City, Barca, Real, etc at times. Your touch and decision making have to be near perfect. This will especially continue to be the case as long as the laws allow the pressing team a massive advantage by letting them get away with tactical fouling when their press breaks down (see Michael Cox’s espn article earlier this week)–which is why we really should join em if we can’t beat em (see first point above). But since Wenger refuses to do so, he needs to buy better players in the defensive half of our team. I’m not holding my breath. Maybe Sven and the gang will do it for him this summer…

        So is it AW’s refusal to keep up with the times tactically, or his refusal to spend big on elite quality across the team? Yes.

        PS If anyone singles out Lacazette as most to blame for that loss, they don’t understand football.

        1. How to best the press: vital that the keeper can use his feet and become an extra passing option. With Cech we are terribly disadvantaged in that tactic. Bells is another poor option. Our handicap here is therefore weak links in the personnel.

    2. Lacazette’s had his confidence destroyed by Wenger in the last two months. He did awful for that first chance, agreed (the second one was the better chance, but his shot was also better; Lloris made himself big and even great strikers put those types of chances wide sometimes), but it was his first really good chance in a competitive match for Arsenal in several weeks. That’s bound to play on someone’s mind, especially when you’ve just had your place in the team taken by a new club-record signing after only being at the club yourself for 6 months.

      If he had scored one of those we would have drawn, but we wouldn’t have deserved it. They had twice or three times as many chances of similar/greater quality in the second half that they didn’t take.

      On chances, they deserved the win the match. On possession, duels won, and control of the game, they deserved to win that match.

      1. Not sure you were addressing my comment, but I never suggested Lacazette was the reason we lost. Only that if his confidence is, or gets destroyed, he may have a hard time rehabilitating his career at Arsenal. Mental strength, which is a term we bandy about here now and again, is real. And we haven’t yet seen if he has it. Say what you will about Giroud, but he went through dry spells, and always came out better. Will Laca? We shall see.

        1. Sure, and yes, I was addressing your comment (apologies for misrepresenting it).

          I agree that Lacazette’s confidence now must be shot. I disagree with (what I saw as) the knee jerk reaction that says if a player comes off the bench in a very high pressure match and misses a couple of presentable chances, he’s done at a club (even if he’s only been there 6 months, came with a big reputation and big price tag, etc).

  9. Just one shot on target (from Jack) in the whole match. There are claims (in the usual place) that Aubameyang was incorrectly ruled offside in the first half (with a one on one resulting), but I’ve seen it a few times now and he looks to have his upper body off. Also that Kane used Kos for leverage to get the height for his scoring header. Probably true, but all good strikers do this. Doesn’t make it right, but they mostly get away with it. I though Taylor did a good job today.

  10. At the end of the day, we lost because our midfield can’t control the game. Spurs had 4 or 5 really good chances to score. Kane could have had a hat trick of headers. In the second half, Spurs, especially Dembele, controlled the game. I honestly don’t know what the point of Xhaka is anymore. His passing, when he was involved, was loose. I thought Elneny should have been kept on the field as he was relatively better but he doesn’t seem to be able pick out an incisive pass either. It’s not just the passing but also the way our midfielders receive the pass. The touch isn’t there and it’s nothing new. We simply don’t have the requisite quality there as we should. We certainly missed Ramsey in this game. I wish I could go to the remaining matches with a sign that says “It’s the midfield stupid” around my neck.

  11. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the complete striker that is Harry Kane. He embarrassed Koscielny there. The basketball equivalent is a dunk in his face.

    Someone needs to throw an arm around Lacazette, because he was shocking in his little cameo. When he wasn’t doing his best Theo Walcott impression by appearing to be born offside, he was missing presentable chances. I though that he should have dinked Lloris, or gone left-footed with the last chance.

    I didn’t see the first half, but in the 2nd, Jack looked the most accomplished Arsenal player out there. Shame it was Welbeck and not Auba in the left channel for Jack’s through ball late on. A better striker would have made something of that.

    Hector and Nacho were given nothing to run into. Spurs choked the width, and forced us through the middle, on their terms.

    So we split the spoils for the season, and it wasn’t the worst result, truth be told. But jeepers, we stink on the road

    1. Well put.

      Any team in world football will find playing Spurs away from home a challenge. This is a compliment to them, of course, but it’s also a statement of how effective a really top quality high press is in world football at the moment. Until the powers that be tweak the rules to stamp out tactical fouling (again: see Michael Cox’s article), I suspect this is going to remain the case. It can be beaten, of course, but it’s never going to be easy. If it’s not easy for the likes of Kroos and Modric, it’s obviously not going to be easy for our lot.

      Our top 4 hopes lie in tatters not because of today’s result or performance, but because of the ridiculously embarrassing displays we put in against the likes of Swansea, Bournemouth, West Ham, Southampton, Stoke, and West Brom earlier in the campaign. This has very much been the pattern the last several seasons: as bad as we’ve been in several high profile matches each season, we’d still have had more than enough to make top 4 (and two years ago, to win the whole bloody league) if we didn’t so regularly capitulate in ludicrous fashion to very bad teams.

  12. So frustrating to watch Arsenal players losing balll and then not making any attempt to win it back. We were spanked by Spurs and it’s our own fault. This defensive stability, slow start mentality is a mid team philosophy and I wish Wenger would stop being so cautious in away games. Spurs can be flustered into making mistakes if the mid field and forward line would just believe in themselves. We are lions at Emirates and kittens away.

    Now all the Ramsey hating gooners can see what Ramsey does for the team. His runs cause havoc in opposition half. Elneny is way better than Xhaka and why Wenger starts Xhaka is now a total mystery to me. I cannot understand this frustrating habit of trying Hollywood over the TOP balls from Xhaka and Mustafi. It was so silly to keep losing balls before any build up could happen.

    Iwobi was equally frustrating and unfortunately Lacazette will always be stuck with these misses from today, unless he can turn this around. Otherwise this has Gervinho written all over it.

    We really need some inspiration in our midfield and I still cannot fathom why Arsenal never went for players like Dembele and Wanyama when they were ready to come to Arsenal. They were not superstars but they know how to work the dirty work in midfield.

    Spurs deserve all the plaudits. Just shows what a energetic manager (which Wenger was when he started here) can do to a team. They are playing for their manager. There is buy-in for the manager’s philosophy. Our manager makes his philosophy every match.

    1. yes, because with Ramsey in the team we’ve never been suffocated by a high press Liverpool/Spurs team and thereby been made to look ordinary before…

      this wasn’t even CLOSE to our worst loss against Spurs (or a similar team) in recent years. I thought we at least looked solid in the first half. We just weren’t clever and composed on the ball when we won it back, for which Elneny and Xhaka are certainly somewhat to blame (as was our mediocre backline).

      But there’s one duel that made the difference today, that meant that their team beat our team without really having better players: Poch over Wenger (and yes it’s handy, and stupidly lucky, that they have the best goalscorer in world football in their team–Real Madrid can’t come calling quickly enough!).

      1. I don’t fault the manager for this one. The first half was tight and pretty even and Arsenal looked well organized, though they started getting on top by the end of the first half. You could argue he should’ve sat one of his creative players for someone like Welbeck who really works up and down for the team, but it’s just as valid to say you just paid these guys to play football for the Arsenal and if you can’t play your best players in the biggest game then what’s the point? Beyond that, I thought putting 3 in CM was the right call. Spurs simply won the battles and out-competed us physically, and that was embodied by their best forward physically dominating our best CB for the goal.

        I don’t know if it’s because of Wenger’s directions that we don’t hit more balls for Auba to chase, but I really don’t think so; I think more likely the team just hasn’t adjusted to having a speedster like that and most pertinently, Tottenham were really good at closing down the passing lanes. Yeah, you can argue that’s Poch-ball and that’s why they won but again, that doesn’t work if the intensity isn’t there, which is the same thing that fuels Wenger-ball because without the intensity, we don’t dominate possession. Sometimes a team just wants it more and that’s on the players. They stunk today and it’s not the first time this season. I think they’ve cashed it in on the PL this season.

        1. Sure, but they win the battles almost every time! Am I forgetting something, or was the win against them at home in the fall the first time we’ve really “won the battles” against a Poch team (or certainly a Spurs Poch team)? I know we’ve gotten a few draws against them, but even in those games, they arguably had the better of the play. The same is true against Klopp’s Liverpool.

          This suggests either:
          1) “Our players are bad! Get some new players!” I think this partly the case, but surely it’s too simplistic when you look at the quality they have and the quality we have.

          2) Their manager’s tactics, more often than not, beat our manager’s tactics.

          Having said that, this was a far closer affair–not just in score–than some of our recent encounters against them, and we certainly looked pretty solid in the first half. I just think that in a game of relatively small margins, being a hyper aggressive, organized, coordinating pressing team is what separates the teams, and it has done (if we’re being honest) for 3-4 years now (at least in head to head matches). And that’s really not acceptable, if you look at the relative spending of each team.

          1. Tactics are so overblown in this day/age, I suspect as over-compensation for decades of passion power plays and blatant disregard for the importance of proper positioning by the overly romantic English media. Yes, it’s important to tell your players when to do what. It always has been. But it’s also a truism that your tactics are only as good as the players’ understanding and execution of them. “Try harder” is too easy and too often fallen back upon by some folks who don’t take time to properly look at a game, but sometimes it really is that simple. What tactical wrinkle did Poch introduce today? How did he outfox Wenger? Son running behind Bellerin? A back 3? Crosses from deep? No, they won because they chased every ball like their life depended on it, and Arsenal didn’t.

            I think ‘tactics’ is also often conflated with discipline. Tracking back is not tactics, that’s just sheer good manners. Spurs have the latter in spades compared to Arsenal, and that’s a much more legitimate gripe against the manager. The old fox won’t change those stripes now though.

            I do think we have good players and I do think they could be better organized, but at the core of it they simply didn’t care as much as the opposition did today. There is nothing Wenger could tweak to change that.

          2. It’s not either/or. I think it’s both. In their midfield Dembele and Eriksen are simply better players than Xhaka and Wilshere. That might sound a bit harsh on Jack who has been improving and is an obvious fan favorite but he is quite a ways behind Eriksen in terms of creating chances and scoring despite being around the same age. I’m not even going to bother comparing Dembele and Xhaka in terms of their defense.

            On getting constantly beaten by pressing tactics that many good teams use against us, I agree with you that’s on the manager. There is such a thing as counter-pressing but we don’t do that . We always try to pass our way out of the press which doesn’t work in most cases because our midfield isn’t technically drilled enough to be able to do it.

            You brought up the point of the relative spending of each team. It’s all good to go and spend a ton of money on star players but Spurs didn’t spend a lot to put that team together. It really makes me question our scouting system. Hopefully that’s changing but would love to get a couple of players that we get in their early 20s who turn out to be stars.

          3. Doc,
            I completely agree tactics are overblown. I don’t think Poch did anything especially clever to “best” Wenger today (with one possible exception–see below). But if by “tactics” we include how their team is drilled extremely effectively to keep a defensive structure, play a high line, and press from the front–hardly mindblowing innovations, but very effective when done well–then tactics absolutely won them the game (that, and having the best goalscoring CF on the planet).

            Perhaps, instead of “tactics” we should just say how “well-drilled” the team is on the training ground (this is basically what you suggest when you bring up discipline). That’s clearly the two managers’ responsibility, and in that regard Spurs are/were streets ahead of us. Even talk of them “trying harder” than us is down to how the manager sets out his team, since this noticeable gap in intensity is regularly the case when the two teams meet each other (the earlier game this season being the exception), and Spurs quite typically out-intensity their opponents. And don’t tell me this is down to the character of the players: of course certain players are better/worse fits for certain playing styles, but if you put, e.g., Wilshere or Iwobi in Spurs’s team I’m sure they’d learn to press with just that same intensity, just as Ox is learning to do under Klopp (heck, even Chambers looked a world beater in one season under Poch!!). But it also can’t just be boiled down to “one manager gets his team fired up more than the other does,” since all that intensity is a purposeful, vital part of a particular style and tactical gameplan. We know from watching Alexis last year that all the on-pitch intensity in the world just makes you look like a chicken with it’s head cut off unless you’re running around in coordinated fashion with your teammates.

            Ok, having said all that, I think I did notice one specific tactical detail (I’m sure more tactically astute observers could articulate this better), particularly in the second half, for which Poch deserves credit. It’s the one CTPA mentions above:

            Playing 4-3-3 instead of 4-2-3-1 (replacing Iwobi with Elneny, basically) meant we weren’t going to get overrun in deep midfield (as ManU were) or let Eriksen and Alli get too much of the ball in between the lines. The plan was obviously to stay compact and then rely on our front three to hit them on the break (and they certainly could have done better at this in the first half). But it also meant Ozil and Mikki were both playing on the wing. Now usually, we’d have enough of the ball in their half that those two would get opportunities to roam around, but since we were constantly trying to get out of our half on the break, Ozil and Mikki were having to receive the ball facing their own goal near either touchline with one man draped all over their backs and at least one more defender closing them down from the inside. In other words, Spurs doubled up on the wings, meaning our two most creative players had no time or space to work with, and Poch dared us to beat their team by passing out of trouble through the middle. In that regard, Jack did alright, but the 3 of Jack, Elneny, and Xhaka–even while looking relatively solid in the first half at covering space–were simply not up to the task of breaking through the lines quickly. We play the conservative, “recycling” ball back to Cech or the CB’s far too often, which tends to mean we’re forced to attack by sending the ball wide to one or other of the two outside backs, and today–if they were lucky and they had time to open up their bodies before being closed down–their only pass was typically up the line to a marked Ozil/Mikki. This cycle could only be broken if our midfield passed/dribbled the ball forward more quickly rather than passing it back, but this required a skill-set that Xhaka and Elneny, in particular, don’t possess.

            In other words, Poch did what great coaches in any sport routinely do to their opponents (e.g., I know it’s a cliche, but think Belichick): he took away their most dangerous weapon–in this case, Ozil and Mikki starting from wide areas–forcing us to beat them with our 3 man midfield, and Wenger never responded (e.g. switching to 4-2-3-1 and moving Ozil or Mikki centrally into a number 10 spot; and yes, Ramsey would have been useful today!).

          4. PFO, that’s a good comment overall. I will make a few observations though:

            Yes, the difference between instructing your team to do something and them actually doing it well is crucial, and there can be many factors that go into bridging that gap, starting with the manner of instruction and through to the suitability of the players to execute it, all the way down to the opposition simply nullifying it. Poch’s Spurs may be “well drilled” but the question I always have is, well drilled to do what? Be compact, hit long balls to Son, find Kane on deep crosses, dive when you can? Wenger drills his team to do other things; keep a hold of the ball, play 1-2’s, intercept passes, use the wing backs for width, play a high pressing game in the opposition half. Those were the same tactics that utterly destroyed an Everton team that had good players and were managed by a man who knows a thing or two about playing against Wenger. This may be semantics and rationalization (probably is knowing me), but I feel like a manager can look only as good as his players make him to be, and that’s not to say we have bad players, but when they just get flat out-competed for half of a game, how do you blame that on the guy on the sideline?

            I totally agree that we should’ve looked for more passes between their lines. They knew this was a weakness to their approach though and they shut things down really quickly in those areas. Xhaka et al never really had time to pick their heads up and spot a pass, and you’re very right about how well Spurs closed down the spaces out wide and our creative players in general. If I were to nitpick something tactical it would be to say Xhaka really needed to be played as far back as possible in midfield. I would have switched El-Neny alongside Jack, let those two press the ball and let Granit be at the base of midfield. I would’ve told him to hit long diagonals to Auba every chance he gets. Instead, Granit under pressure played a very sterile, very safe passing game (94% passing) which is good in a way but also played into Spurs hands because they could get tight to our forwards, knowing where the ball will go and it nullified his best strength (long passing between the lines) which was the whole reason Arsenal acquired him in the first place.

    2. Dunno if the manager’s energy has as much to do with it than simply belief in what they are being asked to do and the confidence to carry it out. Tottenham are playing harder than we are, it’s true, but I don’t think Wenger’s consistency on his message or energy levels are the reasons for that; simply put, he’s working harder than ever but his methods aren’t working anymore. Maybe that’s a small point to nitpick but to me it’s important to recognize that this is not an effort thing on the manager’s part. And I do think he prepared his team well for this match. This was no Liverpool running riot over a poorly conceived game plan in 20 minutes, this was one team slowly gaining the upper hand and then doubling down on it. You could argue he should have adjusted things, but when you’re chasing the game and losing the battles, it’s hard to do much more than what he did: put on his best players and hope they make a difference.

  13. This was one of those “scoreline doesn’t tell the story” games.
    It was a shooting gallery out there: 3 xG for Tottenham, 0.6 xG for Arsenal, and that was only because of the late Lacazette chance. Almost all of their 22 shots were from central, prime areas. I saw people criticizing Cech but he was the man of the match for at least keeping it to one goal. I sure as heck am not about to hand out laurels to any of the outfield players after that second half debacle.

    I thought we simply didn’t win the battles out there and after they upped their intensity in the second half, we just didn’t have an answer. This is very disappointing. Hate to say it but the tone was set by Ozil and Auba at the first point of contact.

    I actually thought Bellerin out wide was our best attacking outlet and he was the most likely source of a goal or assist all day with 59 touches, 8 of which came in or around the box, more than any other Arsenal player. Ozil, incredibly, didn’t have a single touch in the opposition penalty area. Incredibad stat: Tottenham had 22 dribbles, most of them in our half, and several in our box. Arsenal didn’t even ATTEMPT a single dribble in the opposition final 3rd.

    Also very disappointing is that we hardly tried to get behind them, even though we now have certifiably one of the 10 fastest footballers in the world leading the line. The few times we did get in, the decision making and execution were rank awful. I haven’t been this disappointed in an Arsenal performance since the 4-0 drubbing by Liverpool.

  14. Once again, I’m pleased to have missed that.

    Anyway, I felt this would be a decisive result for us. Win it, and maybe it shows we have the resolve (and points, obviously) to make the top four. Lose it, and we’re finishing 6th.

    It’s shocking how mentally useless this team is on the road.

  15. PFo, I actually replied to another one of your comment without reading this first. I agree with most of this but I do disagree about the quality of players in each team, especially when it comes to our midfield. To play at the tempo that the Spurs were playing at, we needed Xhaka and Wilshere to step up their tempo as well and maintain a high technical level but they simply failed. Wilshere tried, with minimal success, but did not get much help from others around him. Xhaka disappeared and even he did have the ball he made stupid mistakes while attempting simple passes. Fortunately for him, Iwobi came on and looked even worse with his ball control. The manager didn’t do his part, as he often doesn’t, when things are going wrong at an away game. I agree he could have help things by having our front three press more to help our struggling midfielders but he seems to be unable to get our players to put in the extra effort.

      1. NYC,
        Like everyone else on here, I’ve complained and worried about our midfield for ages. But I really don’t think the difference today was a difference in the quality of midfield players, and I REALLY don’t think there first 11 is any better than ours (and our bench, when everyone’s healthy is much deeper too).

        Kane, Lloris, and Alderweireld are the only automatic selections for me.

        Vertongen probably too, given the current form of our defenders, but when everyone’s on form I don’t see him as an automatic starter in our squad. Dier and their fullbacks wouldn’t get near our first team. Sanchez is a good example of the difference the coaching makes: undoubtedly a talented young player, but he’s being protected by playing in a well-drilled defensive system. If he were playing in our team, before too long you’d expect panic, shanked clearances, losing his marker, getting nutmegged by average players, etc, etc. Our defenders are repeatedly left exposed until their confidence is shot.

        Their attacking midfielders/forwards are good but overrated players and I wouldn’t take any of them over Ozil and Mikhi (or Lacazette if/when we decide to go two up top; and Iwobi gets lots of stick but talent wise he’s in the same general ballpark as Alli and Son, easily; with a better coach he’d be developing into an absolute beast). Yes, Eriksen is better than Jack at the moment (though Jack’s development has been significantly slowed by all the injuries), but they’re completely different players. Jack is a midfielder and Eriksen is a number 10, so you have to compare him to Ozil and Mikhi, who are flat-out better than him. Eriksen (and Alli and Son) look great because they play in a system that repeatedly sees them receive the ball in very dangerous positions. That old quote from Klopp about his press being the best playmaker around (or something like that) is so, so true.

        That leaves Dembele. I’ve sung Dembele’s praises in that deep lying role for years now. As recently as last season, I think he was the difference between them and us when we played them, and I longed for someone like him in our team to play the Santi role. But he’s getting old and has had injury problems, so it’s hardly like he’s turning out top class performances every week for them. While he’d still start for us when healthy and in form, I don’t think he’s anywhere close to the difference maker that explains why they’re 7 points clear of us this season, or even why they won today. (And with Ramsey in excellent form, Jack looking like he could still develop into our new Cazorla/Dembele over the next few seasons, and Mikki and Ozil both showing signs that they can drop deeper and dictate play in a midfield 3, I don’t think finding that kind of player on the market is as vital for us as it has been in recent seasons. Better to invest in an absolutely world class DM.)

        Put it this way: Dembele was good today, but it wasn’t a masterclass. We made it relatively easy for him, because we simply couldn’t handle their press in the second half, which is the product of all 11 of their players acting in unison, not of just 2 or 3 or 4 of their midfielders. Our midfielders could have handled it better, sure, but even still, it doesn’t feel to me like “Xhaka-Elneny-Jack (plus Mikki-Ozil) were dominated by Dembele-Dier-Eriksen,” but rather “Xhaka-Elneny-Jack were dominated by the Spurs press.” And that’s on Wenger.

        How many times have we got a good result against Spurs or Liverpool in the last 4-5 years? How many times have we gotten a good *performance* against them?? That we are so predictably and thoroughly bested by teams that play these sorts of tactics again and again is borderline scandalous, and it makes any discussions of individual player performances on the day very much of secondary importance.

        1. All good points and I hear what you are saying but I guess I’m still not convinced by the quality of the players in midfield. It’s not like we only perform poorly against the high press. Our away record even against worse teams have been bad for almost two full seasons now. Actually I can almost pinpoint when this rut began. It was when we lost Santi. Since then, we have been giving the ball away with embarrassing regularity . The problem when we give the ball away, more so than other teams, is that we often get caught out of position and get punished. I don’t disagree that Wenger has to take the blame for the result but I don’t think a new manager can win the league with this midfield.

          Btw, Kane, Lloris, Alderweireld, even a half fit Dembele over a fully fit Xhaka for me every day but that right there is the spine of the team.

  16. Poor old Auba hardly had a kick all game. I’ve had a chance to re-view his ‘offside’, and it was closer than I first thought. He might have considered himself unlucky on that one, and the pass from Jack was terrific. On another day………..

  17. Kane > Aubameyang
    Erikson > Ozil
    Son > Myhkitaryan
    Alli > Wilshere
    Dembele > Xhaka
    Dier > Elneny
    Vertonghen > Koscielny
    Sanchez > Mustafi
    Trippier = Bellerin
    Davis = Monreal
    Lloris > Cech

    Let’s face it – pretty much man for man they are a better team. Assembled for a quarter the price.

    Pochettino > Wenger

    Reality bites.

    1. Please. Self-loathing is so unbecoming in an Arsenal fan.

      Monreal > Davies
      Bellerin > Trippier (and I don’t even like Bellerin all that much)
      Kos = Vertongen (though the former is having a bad season and/or slipping into old age)
      Elneny or Xhaka > Dier
      Ozil > Eriksen
      Mikki > Son
      Alli = Wilshere (Alli’s done more the last few seasons while Jack’s been injured/recovering, but this season Alli’s been mediocre at best, and Jack resurgent; plus, their respective best positions aren’t even the same, so it’s difficult to compare)

      The rest I agree with (though having Auba as our starting CF isn’t too shabby).

      Here’s the reality (not sure it’s any less biting):

      If you’d given Pochettino our squad to work with for the last 2-3 years (and Wenger theirs), our squad would routinely dominate theirs the way they do us now.

      The only decisive difference is the managers.

      1. I don’t disagree with you. Wenger’s style of coaching relies on players to work things out (probably because he believes it leads to better results. Learning through self motivation rather than by rote ‘drills’) and when they do work it out, it can be fantastic football. Trouble is this is not happening with any sort of regularity. Part of that is down to quality of personnel.

        During the trophyless years, I agreed with those who said that someone else would have won us a trophy because they would have drilled players better. But at the time I thought we needed top 4 and players to develop playing together so they could elevate their play the way Wenger likes his teams to play. I still think what Wenger achieved in those years was great. I mean Poch and Spurs, and Liverpool under Rodgers and Klopp achieved much less but are more lauded.

        And that’s a thing for me. For all their tactics and their passion, they’ve capitulated every time they got close in the league. They’ve not managed to do anything in the cups (even sacrificing them for league form) while we’ve moved from no trowwwwfeeess… to not these trowwfeeess.

        They also get a LOT of favourable decisions, and we get a LOT of unfavourable ones. Apart from points, I think this is also bound to affect the mental make up of players, and thereby their performances.

        We’re nowhere near as bad a team as is made out. I don’t think those 7 points in the league is an accurate reflection of how we’ve played throughout the season.

        At the same time, performances like Swansea and Bournmouth do nothing to convince and are a legitimate worry. I would think the mini-reset of the squad will be completed in the summer. Wenger’s last year of his contract will likely be his last swing at it with Arsenal. However, if we keep performing as poorly as we are right now (which I don’t think we will) then it’s very likely you get your wish and Wenger walks/is let go.

  18. let me be a stickler here. tactics is the most misused word in soccer. many confuse tactics with strategy and it frustrates the heck out of me because use this term wrong so frequently. let me clarify the difference between strategy and tactics:

    strategy, simply put, is the plan to win the game and is done by the coaching staff.
    tactics, simply put, is the execution of the strategy and is done by the players.

    the reason arsenal are so poor, particularly today, was because they have no plan when they go out onto the field. you have a bunch of talented players doing their best. against teams like everton and crystal palace, arsenal’s talent has been enough. however, in tough games against teams given sound strategic direction by the coaching staff, arsenal struggle, whether it’s manchester city or swansea city. sometimes arsenal get it right on the field but the lack of direction is the reason for the inconsistency.

    doc, this is why your idea of “better players” is incorrect. swansea is a team with mediocre players that recently got a new manager and have found huge success. in the last month, they’ve gone from bottom of the league to 7 points clear the bottom and out of the relegation zone. they’ve gone unbeaten in their last 5 games, including wins over liverpool and arsenal. why? because they have clear direction and are comfortable executing the game plan given to them by the coaching staff. pfo, you’re so right on so many levels; i have very few arguments. just use the term, tactics, better.

    1. Josh, I didn’t have the idea of “better players.” Like you, I emphasized a nuance, in my case, that I don’t believe it’s a case of a lack of managerial effort or competence but that the message has not resulted in the same cohesive results as Pochettino’s has. And the reasons for that are far more complicated than Poch > Wenger. I think they did have a plan, like the opposition, but the opposition executed better on the day and, as Wenger himself pointed out, were physically superior on the day.

      I will say you’re the first one I’ve ever seen define tactics in that way. In common use, tactics and strategy are essentially synonyms, but I believe tactics references a more detailed approach: i.e. a strategy may be to use a high defensive line and to press the opposition, whereas tactics would involve the X’s and O’s of who presses whom and exactly when and how. That’s my understanding. What makes me batty is the confusion between tactics and execution, i.e. the manager setting his team out to press but the players simply not doing the job, as well as the difference between tactics and discipline, i.e. the simple task of working hard and doing as you’re told for the good of the team. It’s in this latter department that Arsenal, for whatever reason, have sorely been lacking for a long time.

      1. the “better players” concept is not specific to this thread but you’ve stated your belief in that approach numerous times over the past year or so. i’ve never agreed with it. this is simply the first time i’ve ever said anything about it.

        tactics is the execution of the strategy (the management team’s plan to play the game). however, a game is not played in a vacuum. the situations on the pitch will dictate what you can do. players must respect and be able to develop the on-field situations in order to find success. this is tactics. situations include opponents and what they’re doing, field conditions, weather, officiating, scoreline, players available, fatigue, time remaining, etc.

        good teams, like arsenal back when they used to win championships, had on-field leadership established. these leaders, called captains, provided clear direction and made slight deviations to the plan, with respect to the situation on the field, that gave the team the best opportunity to find success. that’s the benefit of having these senior, experienced players providing the team with a clear direction. as we know, arsenal have eleven captains on the field, all pulling eleven different directions instead of one clear direction. as a result, arsenal struggle for consistency and continually lose games they should win.

  19. today, arsenal lost because they didn’t put pressure on the ball while tottenham did. everything arsenal did was hard and everything tottenham did was easy. teaching a team to break the press is not difficult but you have to coach/teach it. arsenal clearly don’t. likewise, arsenal don’t practice putting pressure on the ball in an organized manner which is why it was so easy for tottenham. that failure is on the coaching staff. you can’t give professional players time to pick their passes and expect not to get punished. petr cech kept arsenal from getting embarrassed today.

    as for the players, mkhi was very poor in possession today. personally, i never wanted him to move to the bpl but here he is. our 3-assists hero was easily arsenal’s worst player today. we’ll see how he does going forward.

    lacazette wasn’t the reason arsenal lost but he blew arsenal’s best chances and proved that he may not be the answer. i agree with jonathan’s sentiment that wenger’s quote was directed at lacazette but it’s not laca’s fault. he didn’t pay lyon £54 million this summer. in fact, only one coach in england was interested in lacazette at that price point. shame on wenger as he can’t just throw that kid under the bus. wenger has to show the world what he saw in lacazette that no one else did. i’ll wait because i really want to see it.

    in the summer, i declared that lacazette was loic remy 2.0. well, i rate him higher than remy; he’s closer to a darius vassell. we’ll see.

    1. Athletico Bloody Madrid rated him and they know a thing or two about spotting strikers. But we’ve been round and round on this merry go round before.
      Completely agree with your comments on pressing.

      1. atletico madrid play in spain, not england. also, they play a 4-4-2; they don’t use a center forward. in that formation, i believe lacazette shines. i’ve never said lacazette is a bad player. i’ve said he’s not suited to lead the line as a lone center forward in the bpl for a championship contender. i’ve made the same argument about griezmann inability to lead the line for arsenal in the bpl. griezmann is a very good player but he’s no bpl center forward.

  20. So the hottest striker on the planet for some three seasons running needed four big chances to score one goal in 90 minutes plus, but Laca is a flop because he failed to convert his two big chances in some 20 minutes of a sub appearance ?

    A bit harsh I’d say.

    Also , Auba and Mhiki are barely two weeks into the Arsenal system so expecting them to shine against a well drilled and highly motivated, talented Tottenham side might be expecting a bit too much too soon.

    Alexis Sanchez just missed an open goal tap in against new castle and is yet to score for United in the PL , and he’s on £500 k plus per week .
    I don’t hear anyone calling him a flop yet.

    We can talk about tactics v strategy all day long but a team like City or Tottenham will always have an advantage over Arsenal because they have an extra tool in their box whether they choose to use it or not.

    Pressing and counter pressing are actually not that easy to master, otherwise there would be more clubs doing it well.

    Tottenham are pretty good at it but they got taken apart by City who are even better at it than the Spurs.

    Countless hours on the training pitch involving all kinds of triggers are required to master the press and counter press and Arsenal haven’t even tried doing it.
    Come to think of it, has anyone even seen an Arsenal practice session or have any idea what it looks like these days?

    You might think in this day and age of omnipresent cameras someone would’ve recorded it and posted something on line.

    1. i don’t think anyone is blaming lacazette for arsenal losing. neither is anyone suggesting that lacazette is a flop. i’ve probably given the most harsh criticism when i predicted that was he would be loic remy 2.0 or something close to that. likewise, i said that before he even signed for arsenal. time will tell if i was right but i’m not throwing him out with the bath water at this point.

  21. Incredibly frustrating loss.

    The part that kills me is that we gave that exact same goal up to Harry Kane in 2015. Once again a player was allowed way too much time on the ball from a deep position and put a perfect ball to Kane at the six yard box. Back then it was Theo failing to close down after a throw in. Today it was Xhaka who gave Davies 3 seconds on the ball, enough time to glide 15 yards, taking three touches including a long one that let him run up before striking the ball. Just shameful.

    Xhaka was way too central as the play developed. He was too close to Elneny and failed to shift to the right as the ball went to Dembele, completely oblivious to the acres of space that Davies eventually strolled into. Xhaka shuts off so frequently and at such cost, that I don’t think he belongs in the line up. Perhaps that’s what led Wenger to take so long in integrating him.

    Secondary blame goes to:
    Ozil, because he stepped slowly at first to Dembele allowing him time to pass Davies. Perhaps Ozil was trying to lull Dembele to sleep since Auba was charging in from behind, but I wish he’d positioned himself so that as he closed he cut off the passing lane to Davies.

    Koz, not for being out jumped, but for misjudging the ball. Kane knew exactly where the ball was headed and timed his jump. Koz jumps very late. Could he have done better? Perhaps he should have played Kane instead of the ball. Monreal acquitted himself much better, interrupting Alli’s run. If Koz had bodied up Kane and left Moustafi to play the ball…

    Cech was actually standing in the near post when the cross was whipped in. Of course, he was correct to move to the middle of the goal, but he did it in such a way that he had no play at a shot back across the goal. Slightly better footwork would have at least given him a chance.

    Wenger, because we’ve seen this *exact* play before. Not sure whether he drilled this play, but every single player needs to know that we can’t allow opponents this much time on the ball, even at distance. Just because our MO is dribble penetration and quick passes on the ground doesn’t mean other teams won’t try and lump it in.

  22. Just to pile on Xhaka
    Kane’s shot 53:00, Xhaka is standing just inside the 18 yard box, completely oblivious to the PL’s leading striker seven yards away with no one marking him.

    Alli’s shot at 70. Xhaka is holding the line but completely oblivious to Alli running in behind him. After the ball goes over his head he turns and watches as Alli runs on to it, begins a lazy jog then pulls up. If Cech had blocked it or it had rebounded off the post Kane would have been in and Xhaka a spectator again.

    TBF for Lamela’s chance at 72 min, Xhaka tracks back and is in position to possibly cut off a shot by Kane, but Koz positions himself to deny the pass so Lamela has to take his own shot and flubs it.

  23. the irony of this game was tottenham deployed the same strategic approach that arsenal deployed in the meeting earlier this seaon at the emirates. i remember lauding the defensive performances of welbeck, lacazette, and iwobi as they denied tottenham the freedom to build their attacks from wide defensive areas; arsenal channeled everything through the middle. this is an approach that i employ with my u-19s. it takes away an opponent’s width and it makes them very apprehensive because it’s very unforgiving if they make a mistake.

    on saturday, arsenal had a completely different front 3 of mkhitaryan, aubameyang, and ozil. clearly, they didn’t defend from the same way as the aforementioned front 3 and that was the major difference in the game. on the contrary, son, kane, and dele defended very well and made it very difficult for arsenal to get out of their own half.

    why the change in approach from arsenal? one could simply blame the newness of the players but i don’t. if they understand what wenger was trying to do (strategy) then they could use their skills, knowledge, and experience (tactics) to help develop that situation. personally, i don’t think wenger gave them a strategy. i think he just told them to have togetherness and believe.

    disclaimer: i don’t know this is what wenger said but based on what former players have implied about wenger’s prep for opponents, it’s not unbelievable.

    1. I mean, it’s not like awareness, intensity and fastidiousness are not part of a tactical setup. These arw things that are far more important than if the is 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, i’s all just a matter of a few metres on the field anyways. And most important: these things are teachable.

      1. And if the manager can’t communicate these things or demand from his players and they either don’t understand him or ignore his message, then the manager is most certainly the problem. What else is management than making people do the things that you demand of them. I’m so tired of seeing the team play without any kind of intensity or attention off the ball for 10 years running now.

Comments are closed.

Related articles