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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arsene Wenger was out-strategised by Martin O'Neill

Aston Villa deservedly won at the Emirates yesterday. The reason for their clear victory was that Martin O'Neill got his tactics totally correct and Arsene Wenger had his team selection and tactics wrong.

The Arsenal 4-5-1 with Diaby supporting Bendtner from deep was the right formation for Man Utd because of the champion's attacking firepower and our consequential need to consolidate the central midfield.

But when playing a team who have their own 4-5-1 with ten players looking to predominantly play defence in their own half and rely on quick counter-attacking breaks- it is not right for Arsene to use the 4-5-1. There was a clear need to play two strikers to give a run around to the Villa defence. Bentdner - who was looking lacklustre anyway unlike his play against Man Utd - was isolated, squeezed and desperately needed support. Having the electric Carlos Vela alongside him would have given Arsenal greater attacking threat and more likely have tested Villa's defence.

Diaby often came out to the wings to pick up possession because of the central congestion and often got in the way of Walcott. Denilson and Cesc had little forward options to pass to and were outnumbered by the Villa central midfield three of Barry, Petrov and Sidwell who performed their primary responsibilty easily of providing a tight defensive blanket in front of the Villa back four.

It was too easy for Villa - they knew that their manager had got the tactics rights and that this system could easily counter Wenger's system.

By the time that Adebayor came on midway through the second half the damage was done - Villa were very high on confidence and had got into a great defensive groove gave whilst the Arsenal youngsters looked frustrated and had a flagging demeanour and body-language on the pitch.

When Villa got their goal on the break after Sagna went down with a twisted ankle there was effort but lack of real confidence in the body language of the players that they could comeback. The excellent Agbonlahor goal sealed it - that was the knock-out blow for this Arsenal team.

Unfortunately Wenger got the tactics wrong for Villa's system and we could not build on the much needed confidence boost of the win last week against Man Utd. This somewhat compounds - and indeed underlines - the original mistake by Wenger not to buy a top level centre-back and CM in the summer (see this post for further analysis) which was required to add the cement to the great foundations of this young squad.

The only positive I can take from defeat is that it jolts Wenger to act in January. It is clear to me that the young Arsenal players look like they desperately need more experienced heads to ease the responsibilty that Wenger had placed on their shoulders by his bad summer gamble.

10 Comments:

Blogger the-aston-villan said...

"But when playing a team who have their own 4-5-1 with ten players looking to predominantly play defence in their own half and rely on quick counter-attacking breaks- it is not right for Arsene to use the 4-5-1".

Im sorry but i must have been at the wrong Stadium coz Villa came to play and deserved to beat you. Defensive indeed if only other teams came to the Library and play football. You either a very sore loser or you werent at the game to witness a great team performance

11/16/2008 12:44 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They deserved to win but they hardly set the world on fire with attacking football.
I put it down to Arsenal being as poor as you'll ever see them rather than an oustanding AV performance.

11/16/2008 12:50 pm

 
Anonymous Claret and blue that rule said...

"They deserved to win but they hardly set the world on fire with attacking football.
I put it down to Arsenal being as poor as you'll ever see them rather than an oustanding AV performance."

hahahahahaha 'duh hello my name is stupid. I'm anonymous because I cant think straight and people laugh at me. I say things like Arsenal played bad why Aston Villa won when Arsenal were very good beating the Mancs last week'

Nice one aston villan, what a stupid statement. And this one "When Villa got their goal on the break after Sagna went down with a twisted ankle". Only if Sagna didnt fall over, we wouldnt have scored! hahahaha We had no Carew, Agbonlahor on his own, hard midfield three with Milner and young giving it plenty and the gooners couldnt cope.

They felt big aginstt he mancs but we came with a brand new bag, couldnt deal with it. No pace, gallas left to eat pure Gabri dust and a left back who cant make his mind up if he wants to play for you or give goals against you!! hahahaha looking at a home win from last week and got nothing, the only way you get points at your ground is to play on you and give you no space not even breathe and we did it. the scousers did it to the chelski clots and swallowed them up and we did the same notice you both cant take it and come out with the crap about all of us behind the ball. Got played got made deal with it

11/16/2008 1:06 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcus says,
Why are we having a debate. The solution is simple and obvious, we need and have to hear Arsene Wenger say 2 words for us to ever win anything again. "I RESIGN"

11/16/2008 1:37 pm

 
Anonymous Me said...

I put it down to Riley - he's a c*nt and hates Arsenal. Two goals got when fouls on Arsenal players should have been given. Even my mate a Villa fan agrees

11/16/2008 6:06 pm

 
Anonymous Me said...

marcus says,
Why are we having a debate. The solution is simple and obvious, we need and have to hear Arsene Wenger say 2 words for us to ever win anything again. "I RESIGN"

-------------------------------------

SHUT UP YOU MUPPET!!!

11/16/2008 6:07 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Villa did play with a 4-5-1..it was a formation made to stifle Arsenal plays..so hence its defensive..Villa attacked in the first half in spurts..but looked more dangerous over all. This was down to the fact that three was little ball retention despite a similar formation. Another reason why Arsenal played so poorly was due to the lack of width. Nasri, Denilson, Fabregas, and Diaby all stuck to the center of the park. I credit Villa for the win, they deserved it. But looking at the two goals they scored, they were punt balls up field to a single outlet,ex Young and Agbonlahor. Nothing from simple passing brilliance or complete domination..it was more of a smash and grab type of scenario. That being said, Arsenal really contributed to Villa's victory. Lack of drive and determination, coupled with no real threat upfront, and a lack of penetration from the wings really cost Arsenal.

11/16/2008 8:21 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to say it but Villa is as sporadic at Arsenal..they get a uefa cup spot..nothing more or nothing less. They have a smaller squad than the top four, they are very inconsistent ex, Stoke and Middlesbrough at home

11/16/2008 8:23 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Claret and blue that rule

You are indeed a muppet of epic proportions.

Someone disagrees with you and you act like a 5 year-old.

11/16/2008 11:00 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Thanks for the comments from both sets of supporters. I was not looking to disparage Villa's win - I was very impressed with their system, the individual performances of their players and they did counter-attack very well.

Villa are a team certainly moving in the right direction under O'Neill.

11/18/2008 4:59 pm

 

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