Lack of leadership & organisation cost us again – Ramires out-cheats and muscles our midfield
Lack of leadership & organisation cost us again
Once again, we were beaten yesterday by a set-back. Yes it was a blatant foul by Ramires on Coquelin, and yes Mertesacker should have stepped up quicker, and yes Sagna should have been stronger, and yes Szczesny should have been nearer to the goal-line to have a better chance of saving Mata’s fine goal; but these things happen sometimes. Just like it took our defence ages to organise themselves and adjust mentally to what was required after Koz was sent off against Man City last week, Arsenal once again were unable to cope with early adversity on Sunday.
I accept that Mertesacker is a slow turner and lacks pace in general, but I have always felt he was our best defender because of his organisational skills and special awareness/positioning. I have also said on numerous occasions that Vermaelen is not a good captain, but a great first soldier for the team. Against Chelsea we lacked organisation and order, and this was not just down to our CB’s not leading the team.
Both our DM’s were out-foxed and out-battled by the Chavs’ midfield and as a result did not offer enough protection to our defence. But for me, the main culprits are Vermaelen and Mertesacker, the former as the captain, and the latter as the one who simply depends on his organisational skills for being in our defence in the first place.
After we conceded the first goal, Arsenal were all over the place: our shape and discipline were gone, and Chelsea were able to control the ball for large spells without us having any say in it. Wilshere tried desperately to organise things but was in the wrong position to do so effectively.
The second goal, a penalty scored by FF, was a direct result of the lack of discipline and organisation in our midfield. Ramires was allowed far too much space in our box, and Szczesny, who had spotted the danger, had to cover far too much space. The Brazilian danced around him and when the Pole decided to outstretch his long leg, the former decided to cheat and fall over it.
It was never a penalty, but you can see how the referee was fooled by it. But the most important lesson to learn is that our team deals badly with unexpected set-backs, and it has cost us dearly again.
Ramires out-cheats and out-muscles our midfield
Both Diaby and Coquelin were taught a lesson today by the hard as nails and cheating Ramires. I loved the way Coquelin did not give up and put everything into his game yesterday. However, it was also clear that Coquelin has some way to go, and we only have to look at Ramires’ performance to realise what we are missing at the moment. I thought both Ramires and Mata were a class apart yesterday yesterday; by far the best players at Chelsea at the moment.
Mata’s first touch and finish were sublime for Chelsea’s first goal, but there is so much more to his game that stood out. His positioning and constant movement are simply fantastic, and so are his positional awareness and work-rate.
Ramires’ is also hard-working and has great positional sense, but on top of that he is streetwise and hard as nails. He put fear into Diaby and Coquelin, even though they both did not give into his bullying too much. Both Diaby and Coquelin missed the battle-preparedness of Ramires, and most of all, the experience of the Brazilian. He got away with far too much yesterday, though, as the referee was incredibly lenient towards him, but his overall performance made the difference in the match in my view.
It is hard to put my finger on what exactly makes the difference between the displays of our DM’s and Ramires, but a lot has to do with timing; as in knowing when a hard tackle has to be made, and when and who to rile of the opposition. We got this in the past from players like Petit and Vieira, and also from the career-self-destructor Flamini.
Many of us agree that we miss a beast of a DM in our team. We need to find a Ramires type as soon as possible: an experienced one, who can also guide Coquelin to the required level.
It also fair to say that we are simply missing ‘beastliness’ throughout the team. We only collected one yellow card yesterday: compare that with the number of cards by MU against the Spuds yesterday, and you know what I mean.
I don’t mean raw nastiness, but the ability and determination to fight and be very physical when needed; to leave a foot in now and again and rile the opposition a bit; to not just rely on the technical and tactical aspects of our football but also battle for every ball. Wilshere has it, Vermaelen has it, Sagna has it, Giroud has it, but too many don’t have it, and the addition of a traditional DM with some footballing skills, and ideally also, a beast of a CB, would make a world of difference to our team this season.
No Arsenal team should be called ‘a bit timid’, and no Arsenal team should lack leadership and organisational skills when things are not going our way.
It is time for Arsene to sort it out and he only has ten days left to do so.
Written by: Total Arsenal.