Monday, March 4, 2013

Basic errors cost us the derby

Spuds 2-1 Arsenal
3 Mar 2012.

Few thoughts on defensive errors:

1. 2 vs 2: When you look at Spurs team sheet, it's clear that Adebayor is their main striker with Bale playing off him. In other words, Spurs were playing with two forwards which ideally should require 3 defenders at the back. But why were we playing only with Mertesacker and Vermaelen on the two Spuds forwards? If Monreal was occupied with the winger, some one from the midfield should have provided an extra body at the back. This is a basic tactical mistake which I would blame Arsene for or whoever comes up with defensive tactics.

2. Football defending 101: In my opinion, Vermaelen was at major fault for both the goals yesterday. For the first goal, Adebayor was in front of Vermaelen and he could also see Mertesacker marking the Togolese striker. As it was clear that Spuds were playing with two forwards, Vermaelen's main worry should have been to look for Bale, and in this case, behind his back. Instead, he was caught unaware and Bale made a simple run behind him to score the first.

Now for the pressing game:

1. In initial phase of the match (first 25-30 minutes), we pressed the Spuds midfield with lot of energy and extracted many fouls and misplaced passes. But when you don't play with same energy in every game, it's natural that after some time you will get tired. Since, our team doesn't have the habit of turning up for every mixture, we soon ran out of steam and handed the advantage to Spuds. The goals resulted from mistakes in the midfield when our team was caught high up the pitch. I would once again blame the manager for not instilling the necessary discipline in the team which is required to win football matches.

Mystery of Podolski:

1. For the life of me, I can't understand not starting Podolski in such a crucial game. To some extent, we can justify that decision by our starting shape/formation. But I still can't understand not bringing him on early like 60 mins for an utterly ineffective Giroud. Apart from Theo, there was not a single Arsenal player who was running directly, from wide areas, at Spuds defence and causing some panic. When we know that Monreal can't cross and nobody will be there for Jenko's cross, running at their defence was the only viable option.

I didn't make these observations in the comfort of my couch. These thoughts were popping in my mind during the game. I'm in no way disrespecting Arsene's intelligent but when I (who can't even play Football Manager properly) can find faults and suggest improvements in our play, Arsene should be doing better. Before the game, I half-expected the derby result mainly due to our defence. Hence, I'm not terribly upset. But what drives me insane is the sheer obviousness of the problems and fixes in our game.

In the coming matches, I don't expect any wins against Bayern Munich or Everton or Swansea. I think we will drift for the rest of the season, just as we have for the most part of it.

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