Three areas for Arsenal to focus on during our game against Reading game.
It has been a long wait since that humiliating cup-exit almost a week ago, but tonight Arsenal will finally get the chance to make up for it. In order to do so, we need to see a number of improvements from our game against Bradford City, and it will go either really well or not well at all.
In a way, the game against Reading is pretty similar to the game against BC: Reading are bottom of the league and we are the favourites to win tonight, but we all know that if Arsenal are not fully focussed and give their all, we could end up with another painful away loss.
Area one: The shape of the team and system of football.
This is the main area of concern at the moment: Arsenal are desperately seeking their identity, their style of play and shape of the team. In my view, Arsenal have not played a version of Wengerball since the departure of Fabregas: last season we played a ‘plan-B’ for the entire season, and this year we continue to struggle to play the Arsenal way.
However, things are improving, despite the set-back against Bradford. With Jack getting better and better, he will be able to guard our shape and drive the team in the most central role of our 4-3-3 formation. With Arteta playing in the anchor role behind him, and Cazorla ahead of him, Wilshere holds the key in supporting our ‘back-five’, and linking up with the ‘front-four’ in order to instigate deadly attacking moves.
We also need Jack to inspire the team with his extrovert character and never-say-die attitude tonight. He might be young, and still not fully fit, but we need him to be able to put his stamp on the match: without it, it’s very unlikely we will find and keep our shape in this game.
Area two: Better service to our three attackers.
Other than the shape of the team, we are also struggling in providing our attackers with quality service. Cazorla has hardly had any assists in the last 12 PL games, and in the pivotal role that he plays in, this simply is not good enough.
I remember many fellow Gooners calling for us to shoot more and in Cazorla they now got what they asked for. The little Spaniard shoots whenever he can, but unfortunately, seldom scores; and many a chance goes to waste. I would like him to start concentrating again on setting up other players: his main aim should be to provide direct assists and indirect assists to Giroud and the wingers.
I am also hoping that our ‘wing-back’ play will become a lot more effective again. We are desperate for a steep improvement in our crossing ability to find the heads (or legs) of Giroud and Podolski. Both Sagna and Gibbs have to really concentrate and be more effective when going forward, and we need to see a far more fluid link-up play between the full-backs and the wingers tonight.
Area three: Proper wing-play to add a must needed dimension to our football.
This is another main area where we have struggled this season. In our 4-3-3 formation, we need effective wing-play to attack with speed and from the sides; to give us width and another dimension with regards to our attacking play. Yet, with Podolski and, I regret to say, Ox on the wings we have been far too predictable (also directly influenced by areas one and two, as per above).
That’s why I strongly believe we need to play Gervinho tonight – and I am assuming that Theo will not play tonight (or ever again for Arsenal?!). The Ivorian might have missed a number of seemingly easy chances recently, which has been very disappointing, but he is able to provide us with proper wing-play better than anybody else in our team at the moment.
Gervinho always makes himself available and once he has got the ball he seldom looses it. He is always keen to take on defenders and penetrate the opposition’s defensive shape, thus making things happen. In every game, he manages to get to the by-line at least a few times and set somebody up to score. I fully expected Ox to be able to do the same now, but it is somehow not happening for him; and the Pod is clearly not a proper winger and can only play on the wing if there is a proper winger on the right, and he gets the right support from his full-back. If this is not happening the Pod looks both ineffective and frustrated on the LW.
Other areas to focus on.
I have no doubt that Reading will try to press us continuously and will not let us settle. So we need to be up for it, and make sure we’ll pass the ball round a lot better than we have done recently. We also need to press them a lot better and that means the whole team has to take part in it and play as one tonight.
We we will also have to concentrate hard in defence, especially in the air during set-pieces. Let’s hope we will see good organisation and link-up between our defenders, and between the defence and the rest of the team.
Sagna – BFG – TV – Gibb
Sagna -– BFG –- TV -– Gibb
I don’t need to tell you how desperate we are for a convincing win tonight.
Come on You Rip-Roaring Gunners!