Arsenal Tactics Talk

Discussion in 'Arsenal Talk' started by The_Roadrunner, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. The_Roadrunner

    The_Roadrunner Burned Out

    Since a lot of the good tactical discussions this year were spread over a few threads like the Who and When should Wenger leave threads I thought we could start a new thread to discuss specific tactics especially in light of what was a great performance against City. In many ways this was my favorite performance of the last 4 years.

    It showed pragmatism and awareness on all the players. Coquelin, Ox and Alexis were IMO crucial to this working and Ospina in goal seems to inspire MUCH more confidence in our defenders than Woj. What this shows IMO that moving forward at least this year, we aren't best suited to a high line counter pressing strategy (Dortmund or Barca style). Here our defensive plan seemed to be more in line with a Favre or Simeone approach of getting people behind the ball and controlling the spaces City could move into really well. The key was we controlled the midfield space (Coq gets a lot of credit) and Silva was invisible while Santi had the space to roam.

    Here is the Zonal Marking analysis of the game:
    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.zonalmarking.net/2015/01/19/man-city-0-2-arsenal-impressive-defensive-performance-from-arsenal-earns-fine-victory/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.zonalmarking.net/2015/01/19/ ... e-victory/</a>
     
  2. Vinci

    Vinci The Sultan of Unai

    Good topic, I'll just leave the MFN analysis here, which covers most aspects of why we did so much better than last year.

    The bit the starts at 7:06 is quite interesting, as they show how we got too many players forward and how we nearly conceded because of it. It's a team effort and discipline is so important, but it irks me to see Ramsey jogging back so slowly as it should have been him closing off the space that David Silva got into. Yes, he probably wasn't 100% physically and he may have been tired, but he should defend with the same intensity as he attacks.
     
  3. Rex Banner

    Rex Banner Massive SAFophile Trusted

    It does show the problem with Özil starting ahead of Ramsey for me, if only without the ball. In the 6-3 like Carra and Neville pointed out, without the ball he was far too pushed up. Nearly standing alongside Giroud which isn't helpful at all. It turns our shape into a 4-4-2 rather than the 4-1-4-1 of yesterday.

    I do think Ramsey should have been subbed off after about 60 minutes, he looked dead on his feet in his first game back by the end. I think Wenger looked at the bench and didn't see another midfielder on there though.
     
  4. Rain Dance

    Rain Dance Well-Known Member Trusted

    Another big difference with this Arsenal display was their defending at set-pieces.

    The MOST important thing from Manchester City game

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/30874748" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/30874748</a>
    In every tight game, set-piece usually decides who gain the upper hand. Had the condition was reversed, City was the one that got the penalty, I am sure we had lost the game.

    Is this shut-out a good sign?
    maybe, but I won't get my hopes too high. Defensive move in defending set-piece needs to be drilled until the players remembers reflectively their positions and jobs.

    But our recent surge of set-piece goals is a good sign, and I hope there are more to come.
     
  5. Iceman10

    Iceman10 Well-Known Member

    Defending corners against City was good, MNF (Vinci's link above) showed some good leadership from Kos in directing positioning of players. The goal from the free kick was good to see, albeit with City having a number of brain freezes at the same time for that one. On the flipside the continual failure of so many of our corners to beat the first man is getting a little more than irritating due to its wastefulness.
     
  6. BobP

    BobP Favre Fan

    The fundamental difference for me was that the players took on responsibility and did not shirk it off for another to pick up and be overburdened.

    Everybody played their role and you very rarely see that from ourselves. My only gripe is with Ramsey but for now I will chalk it up to his recent return to fitness.

    As I've previously stated, football always comes down to the space in between the lines we worked to eliminate the space vertically for Silva to work in and we were also compact horizontally preventing the the passing angles which would allow City players to find Silva.
     
  7. ArsenesNO1Fan

    ArsenesNO1Fan Well-Known Member

    The key difference against City was that we scored first. When we don't score first we chase the lead and leave gaps at the back as a result.

    We usually are decent at defending a lead after scoring first. The problem is we're very wasteful and usually don't score first against the big teams. If Giroud put that chance away we wouldn't have gotten shredded on the counter time and again.

    Another key difference is playing a proper DM. Our performances have moved up a level since Coq has been in the team.
     
  8. The_Roadrunner

    The_Roadrunner Burned Out


    For me the biggest difference is that we didn't chase the game at the start like we do sometimes and we didn't come out sluggish at the start like we did at the early Saturday matches last year.

    For tactics that MNF was really good.

    What that illustrates for me is a form of: <a class="postlink" href="http://spielverlagerung.com/2014/11/26/juego-de-posicion-a-short-explanation/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://spielverlagerung.com/2014/11/26/ ... planation/</a>

    Instead of falling into the half-pressing that we typically have, we tended to have a strategy. Don't half press but get behind the ball and control the space. Don't allow Silva any space. Coq did excellent as did Bellerin and Monreal IMO is making the right choice regarding controlling the space rather than just pressing.

    This seems to be best suited to us for our Plan B. Rather than a Dortmund/Guardiola/Liverpool high line pressing, we seem to be far better suited to compact defending with men behind the ball aimed to strike for a quick counter attack but then getting back into shape and compactness when we lose the ball.

    We really need to see more of this tactical maturity throughout the season.
     
  9. Rain Dance

    Rain Dance Well-Known Member Trusted

    This tactic was also done in the majority of last season except during the drubbings... of course, people moan our lack of goals and pretty passing back then.

    But the key is set-piece both offensively and defensively, improve those aspect, and we can finally have a balance between counter attack tactic and possesion based tactic.
     
  10. Anzac

    Anzac Active Member

    There have been several comments saying that we were negative and defensive in our approach to the game, however IMO our attack was not ideally suited to exploit on the counter. In the 4141 I don't think we should be looking to the CF as the out ball unless we are looking to close a game and retain possession late in the game.

    My initial impression of our game play was that it reminded me more of AW's initial Double winning squad of '98 - a rock solid & disciplined defensive shape looking to counter punch with pace. The difference for mind was that v Citeh we lacked the direct pace of Overmars on the flank & LeSulk at CF = bring in Walcott for Ox & Welbeck for Giroud and we'd be cooking with gas.
    I'd then sit Rambo to partner Coquelin because we'd not need a B2B role to drive on the ball, and we'd be able to play either Cazorla or Özil as passing playmaker in the DB10 role looking to exploit space with pace. I thought we were still looking to play possession passing in the final 3rd and were looking to pass to the man instead of into space, and as such Citeh were able to get between the player on the ball and his passing target, whereas if we looked to pass into space early they'd have less opportunity to intercept.

    What do the older heads here think?

    Was this a return to the initial style when we lacked pace in the defensive line & we were the kings of the counter (and creating and exploiting space with pace?).
     
  11. oba101

    oba101 New Member

    Wenger got a lot of stick for his 4-1-4-1 at the start of the season, does it finally work? For me this formation was designed for the big games, and it finally showed its potential against City.

    Wilshere might indeed have been the problem at the start of the season, where he was in no-mans land defensivley and offensively. He made some cute dribbles vs City, though. Since the Spanish Maestro has taken over, we've actually had control over games.


    It's looking good now.
     
  12. MutableEarth

    MutableEarth Bloody awesome NSFW avatars Trusted

    Thought this would be relevant here:

    Source: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/Arséne-wenger-arsenal-players-forced-5030818" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/ ... ed-5030818</a>

    Obviously it's been made to sound far more hyperbolic, but it harks back to Wenger wanting the players to figure out the game on their own with his input. I made mention of that in the other training thread, and it's been well documented by many, including others on this board, that Wenger's main strategy is to foster a team dynamic based on players intelligence and adaptability.

    I'm intrigued as to how this development will pan out for the rest of the season. Arséne has said he wants the team to maintain an attacking team, but I think having a solid defensive strategy doesn't have to be at the expense of our attacking game. I just think it needs to be a bit more efficient. While it was an excellent defensive performance v City, and we put away the chances that we needed to, but we weren't that sharp offensively. I think we'll see that improve as time goes on. It's just a matter of timing.
     
  13. Iceman10

    Iceman10 Well-Known Member

    @MutableEarth, I read that as well but still feel the truth is somewhere in the middle of manager instructions and players figuring things out for themselves, i.e. not either/or. Reason being is that there is other stuff AW has said this week which suggests reticence to admit any pragmatic approach, in part because admitting such is in a way defeat of what can previously be seen by some as stubbornness, or alternatively dogged adherence to his 'romaticism' of the beautiful game.

    Our approach at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season wasn't much different (to that used at Man City), and we won at West Ham with a combo of two holding midfielders and fast counterattacking, so the match at City wasn't exactly a 'first' apart from finally getting a win against Chelsea/United/City. There is always an element of luck when there is decent execution by both sides cancelling each other out for the better part of 90 minutes, often coming down to a few set pieces or odd unforced errors / moments of brilliance here or there. People seem to forget also that the 'Invincibles' did often get statement results away from home through razor sharp counter-attacking.

    Not sure how much clarity we will ever get. *If* the factor of players having to figure things out for themselves predominates it does give me some pause for thought now regarding a Gundogan coming in after seeing analysis of how Coquelin blocked supply to David Silva and was communicating non-stop to the other two CM's to direct them. *If* AW largely leaves it to players to figure things out between themselves then I'd rather have a dedicated CDM who knows his role, is happy with it, and knows his limitations. Someone like Schneiderlin would be fine because he has gained tactical awareness from elsewhere and would bring that along with him. To be fair transforming players to different roles successfully isn't unprecedented with AW however, we've seen it in the past with Kolo Toure for example, but perhaps not so much in recent times.
     
  14. GunnerGetYah

    GunnerGetYah Well-Known Member

    It is somewhat sad that they players have to point out the obvious, but if that is what it takes then I am all for it. When it comes down to tactics I trust the players more than I trust Wenger tbh.

    Just hope Wenger doesn't let it get to his ego, like when the "Bould effect" was talked about in the papers.
     
  15. Crooner

    Crooner Well-Known Member

    Isn't Wenger's approach guided by trusting the players at his disposal?

    Personally, I think he doesn't get the due credit he does tactically. Yes, he has been out-thought in certain fixtures, however I often feel the players don't turn up for him. Maybe he lacks in some ways as a motivator for certain ties but generally he makes gambles in certain games. I don't blame the guy for playing the game his way against the big dogs when we had full strength sides either, hell knows I would do the same.

    In the last few years he has had some great moments in games. Thinking of that 2012-2013 calendar year he made some great calls tactically, but ultimately he is proactive rather than reactive. He would rather address a problem he sees with some area of the play before we stagnate which often leads him to meddle with his system a little too much. He made a shift last season to a higher line after christmas with more pressing in order to grab more goals, but it left us comically open at the back. That said, he was also tinkering with the 4-1-4-1 last season in certain games. To be honest his proactivity can undo the team at times.

    Unlike most, I am particularly disappointment in some of the playing staff here. While mentally, we are certainly much more composed than in the past, I still feel that only certain players are really capable of taking on responsibility in the team. Luckily I think we now have one of those players in each area of the pitch with Sanchez in the attack. Giroud has a big heart but he can strop sometimes.
     
  16. Iceman10

    Iceman10 Well-Known Member

    A major problem has been the spine, in terms of both ability and leadership.

    Against Man City there were signs that Kos was demonstrating leadership of defensive organisation, esp. defending set pieces. Don't know if what we saw meant BFG has been made to defer to him or whether we have two joint leaders.

    In CM we had Coquelin constantly calling out from behind to Ramsey and Cazorla to direct them on their positioning.

    Sanchez provides influence in the attacking unit as a whole. Ideally for our spine we would have ability and leadership from our CF position. Will have to see if Giroud can provide that. He can't if he does irresponsible things as with his red card against QPR. Nevertheless can't knock him too much if he keeps up his recent goalscoring rate.

    Our GK situation still needs to play out although Ospina has shown signs of calm authority in what little time he has played so far.

    It's the spine really, and leadership along the spine, particularly from back to front in organising the lines in a disciplined manner for the full 90+ minutes without allowing any switching off.
     
  17. Anzac

    Anzac Active Member

    IMO the biggest difference post Saints is in the positioning of the midfield.

    Previously we played like 4 defenders, 1 CM/DLP, 4 AM ball players & 1 CF to link, as the emphasis was on playing the game in the opposition half. This not only resulted in the spaces opening between the lines but also saw the DLP become isolated as a result of us transitioning into the final 3rd ahead of the ball.

    Currently we play like 4 defenders, 1 DM, 4 CMs & 1 CF, with the emphasis on restricting the space between the lines behind midfield and not over committing forward ahead of the ball.

    Key to our attacking game is that the playmaker now sits in the CM line rather than the AM line. This means we no longer need a ball playing DLP to distribute from deep as we can transition forward with ball at feet from deeper. We can also utilise the flanks to progress and this suits Sanchez to get on the ball early before the final 3rd.

    The other significant factor being that Cazorla's distribution is far quicker/earlier than Wilshere's, as the latter looked to drive forward on the ball whilst the former looks to release the forwards into space.

    In defence the FBs are supporting the DM so that he only needs to cover the space between the tramlines whilst they cover the flanks and provide a passing option. As such the DM now has at least 4 passing options available regardless of his position.

    Speaking of passing we no longer need the CBs to bring the ball forward to play vertical passes to the DLP in the centre circle.

    We've definitely moved away from possession passing style as it stands & we appear to be closer to the likes of CFC, RM, Atletico rather than Barca, Bayern, Dortmund, Citeh or PSG.

    The question will be is this intended to be a permanent change of style or is this simply a means to an end this season?
     
  18. The_Playmaker

    The_Playmaker Well-Known Member

    Very well put although I wouldn't put Dortmund in the same bracket as those other clubs. They are far more direct and concede possession very quickly.

    I don't think we have had a complete shift in the way we play. We still hold possession. However, I think there is a realization that we have to lure the opposition out into creating space for ourselves. Previously we would hold the ball inviting the press. However, teams were not falling for the bait. Leaving us with committing too many men forward. I think the key is having someone like Cazorla who is comfortable when deep in possession. Too many people have been looking for a player with the qualities of Cazorla on the ball and the tackling of Coquelin off it. That player is near impossible to find as lately I have been watching Matic and his distribution actually leaves a lot to be desired.

    I always felt we were a better team when Fabregas came and influenced the game from deep. That is basically what Cazorla is doing now and I will be the first to hold my hands up. I didn't think he was capable of playing central midfield, yet he is by far our most influential player in that department.

    Wilshere can actually do the same job. It just depends whether he wants to.
     
  19. Anzac

    Anzac Active Member

    IMO in many ways Dortmund's issues this season are a mirror of our own. Statistically they are very much like we were prior to Christmas.
    In the Bundesliga they are 2nd only to Bayern for possession. They concede the 3rd least shots per game & take the 3rd most shots per game. They are 6th re shots on target per game. They are 3rd re tackles made & 15th re interceptions - Bayern are 18th for both. They are 6th highest for losing possession via poor ball control, and 8th highest for being dispossessed - Bayern are 16th & 11th respectively.
    They take nearly as many shots out of the area as in it & they are 17th re goals per game, but 2/3 of the goals are scored from inside the area.

    Given that Klopp plays a high press & was one of the originators of counter-pressing in the Bundesliga, I suspect that like us the issue begins with an ineffective counter-press. Their was an article that indicated that Lewandowski was an almost fatal loss because of his ability to initiate & execute the counter-pressing game, as much as for his ability on the ball in attack - the straw that broke the camel's back as such, when combined with the previous losses of Goetze & Kagawa & the injuries to Reus and Gundogan.

    Essentially like us, Dortmund have been controlling the game for the most part, but when they concede chances they are of higher quality for the opposition to be more likely to score. In attack the opposite has been true because they have not been as effective in intercepting the ball in the final 3rd they are not creating as many quality scoring opportunities for themselves & have lacked a player of individual quality to carry the team in attack as we have had Sanchez.
    Again like us of late, IMO Dortmund needs to look to control the middle 3rd and play from deeper, and again like us use the passing quality of the likes of Sahin and Gundogan to feed the pace they have in Reus and PEA to open the game & pitch to make it easier for the likes of Immobile/Ramos etc.
    They have the quality and balance, but their execution in the key areas is off & they have lost confidence.
    Klopp needs to make a tactical decision re their style & patterns akin to what we have seen post the Saints loss as I described above.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.whoscored.com/Articles/plpokotdzkux62-ythvngg/Show/Team-Focus-Analysing-the-Correlation-Between-Possession-Defensive-Organisation" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.whoscored.com/Articles/plpok ... ganisation</a>" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.whoscored.com/Regions/81/Tournaments/3/Seasons/4336/Stages/9192/TeamStatistics/Germany-Bundesliga-2014-2015" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.whoscored.com/Regions/81/Tou ... -2014-2015</a>" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
     
  20. Anzac

    Anzac Active Member

    Agreed & in many ways I think the fallacy re the type of player required was fuelled in the most part by AW himself because he seemed hell bent on doing so, so as to enable his style that he has been trying to make work since 2009.
    As such IMO he's been his own worst enemy as he lost focus in 08/09 when he made the development project part of the match day squad and starting XI.

    An untried midfield of Fabregas-Denilson/Diaby/Song failed & we saw a change in shape to a 3 man midfield in Jan'09 to strengthen via numbers, and AA was bought to improve our quality in attack whilst Fabregas was moved from CM to CAM. The issue then became a lack of quality supply from the 2 CMs & this was firstly resolved by Wilshere alongside Song, and then Arteta in the same role and then as DLP.
    IMO AW lost focus as he looked to provide playing time for project players to develop & accordingly he looked to internal solutions re shape, numbers & roles rather than simply directly addressing the original issue. As a consequence we've gone down the square pegs path and are undermining the team by continuing to make compromises looking to still find internal solutions to an original compromise.

    AW has been chasing his tail for 6 years & 2 squads based upon his willingness to compromise and put player development & his philosophy about the game style ahead of the team capability.

    IMO there is nothing we have seen post the loss to Saints in the player roles in this new system that we couldn't have done in response to 08/09 at the time. As you say Cazorla is essentially doing what we saw from Fabregas as CM in 07/08 & now at CFC. Song was more than capable of playing as a DM as we see from Coquelin now & as he (Song) is doing at WHam.

    By playing the FBs in a supporting role to work with the DM we are essentially playing a 5-5 split as seen during The Highbury Era. Not only does this provide a better balance in the team structure than the 3-7 seen since we've looked to play in the opposition half, but it also releases the WFs from the 'need' to provide direct cover for the FBs.

    The single biggest change to our attack is the moving of the playmaker back into midfield rather than the AM line. IMO this gives the team a much better balance as most teams in a 4231 use their primary playmaker from the AM line which is much easier to disrupt as we did with Silva v Citeh - particularly when they lack a dynamic B2B player to impose upon the midfield. IMO only CFC with Fabregas at CM are not exposed, but unlike us CFC lack any like for like cover, whereas we have an over abundance of cover options.

    IMO not only would AA have thrived in this current more direct style as either LWF or CAM, so too would have Bendtner as his weakness was playing back to goal, and Rosicky & even Diaby when they were fit & available.

    IMO AW's biggest mistake post the move has been his failure in the summer of 09 to reassess based upon the reasons as to WHY he changed when he looked to discard Denilson in the 3 man midfield. Rather than looking to replace Denilson's role which was part of a compromise, he should have looked as to address the initial issue at that opportunity, rather than to further address the initial compromise decision. The initial compromise didn't work so he looked to fix the fix rather than the original issue, and he's still been trying to do so until this calendar year.

    For mind there are a number of similarities between this season & 08/09, and also the Flamini scenario. Firstly Jan'09 saw Aw instigate a change of shape to a 3 man midfield in order to save top4. He moved the playmaker from CM to CAM & bought an attacking player in AA. This Jan he effectively reversed that shift some ineffective 6 years later.
    Likewise it was said at the time that AW had failed to replace Flamini's role/capability within the squad until he resigned the same player 5 years later = in many ways we've come full circle.
     

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