The game against Chelsea was never going to be an easy one, especially after the built up history along with the thrashing we took from them last year still fresh in the mind but it was imperative we didn’t repeat that this time round.
We actually had the better first half, we were more defensive than we had been in weeks and they worked well to dispel Chelsea’s efforts, even Flamini was effective in DM role for most of that half. But this went to pot after the first goal and we started to lose that defensive shape and concede passes, there was also a lack of running for the ball and individual errors that led to both goals being conceded.
However with Chelsea’s defence there was no way in, their defenders were never exposed like ours were because they worked hard with the midfield to make sure this didn’t happen, not only did you have to fight Chelsea’s attack and midfield to go forward their defence was prepared at every level. there were hardly any one on one challenges between our attack and their defence because we couldn’t get that far, every layer we broke through there were more Chelsea shirts organised and ready for us.
Chelsea hustled us from beginning to end and it broke up Arsene’s free flowing football mentality, you can’t pass a ball 30 odd times to get a goal against Chelsea or any of the ‘big teams’ because they will close you down, we don’t have enough pace to keep a continual flow of passes and our attack were slowed down by interception many a time yesterday.
Maintaining consistency throughout a game is something we struggle with, whether it’s lack of stamina or strength it is becoming an issue that needs to addressed. I can’t help but feel it has to do with the incessant amounts of passes that Arsene wants his team to complete and it really slows us down, if we ran with the ball more instead and completed longer passes it would speed up our attack.
Another thing that affects the pace of the game and both teams are guilty of this, the niggling fouls such as shirt pulling, pushing and fouls that aren’t serious enough for bookings but they slow down the game and this works to Chelsea’s advantage because it slows down our momentum a lot more than theirs.
Wenger’s tactics for the midfield are outdated, he is still obsessed with his triangle formation and zonal marking, yesterday he had Flamini, Wilshere and Cazorla forming triangles in the middle which forced Chelsea to go wide and Ozil couldn’t cope with the pressure because he doesn’t naturally suit this role for us. If we had a more free flowing formula in midfield it would more solid throughout the middle and flanks.
Wenger just doesn’t know how to get the team to attack and go forward against a team who had a midfield that are strong in closing the opposition down. Costa had one shot all game and he took that shot and scored, but we couldn’t even get a shot on target.
He needs to just accept that 504 passes and most of the possession is not something that works against the big teams, we need long range shots, less passes and more direction and a more confident approach otherwise we will continue fail to win against the big teams.
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