Well that was a bit of a damp squib today. Benfica could not be bothered much yesterday, but Monaco played with zest and organisation. They looked like a team rather than a collection of individuals; something that cannot be said about our team today. We should always look at friendly games as an opportunity for Arsene to try things out and give players much needed playing time. Yesterday, everything was very straightforward and then it is easy to see the positives. Today, things did not work out and we could be critical about our style of play or certain players.
I am tempted to be critical of some players today, but an individual performance has to be looked at in relation to the other players in the team. For example, I did not think Jack imposed himself enough in the team, but then I could also see that he was up against formidable midfielders and there was not enough movement and sharpness by the likes of Cazorla and Giroud. There was also a lot of miscommunication between our players and missed passes, but again, you would expect that at this stage.
One of the positives was Chambers in defence, despite being a bit guilty for the goal for not being in line for the offsite trap. He plays with great balance, energy and composure and his positioning and decision making are very good for such a young player. When he is on the ball he stays calm and his passing is sharp and simple. The same cannot be said about Miquel. He also plays will lots of vigour and drive, but is not as able to stay cool and pass the ball out calmly and effectively, once he has won it of the opponent.
Another positive was Debuchy’s debut. He offered drive and constant support for Sanchez and others. I loved his confidence and determination and we can see that he will soon strike a fine partnership with Sanchez, Ox or Theo on the right wing. He was also defensively sound, as the opposition targeted our left side for the best way of getting behind our defence. I feel sorry for Monreal: he tries so hard but he just is not quick enough, both in his decision making and running.
Sanchez was the big positive of the day, of course. He had drive and hunger and was everywhere in the attacking half: desperately trying to get the team going and create something. His performance was not matched by his fellow attackers and that’s mainly why he was not able to create much for the team. Giroud looked laboured and out of form and Cazorla did not look much better either. We lacked the ‘positive naivety’, drive and thrust of Sanogo and Campbell; as a result our tempo was too low, our play to predictable and our efforts too laboured and ineffectual.
Ramsey played another good game but was up against strong opponents and looked a bit tired towards the end. Ox brought something different from the wing which was a welcome sight, but he just lacked a bit of composure with his final ball. Arteta tried hard to make an impact but he did not impress much imo; and what Monaco showed is that having a few strong, solid midfielders in the heart of the team can make a real difference.
Wenger will have to think hard what he will want to do for our encounter with the Northern Oilers in a week’s time. Will he go with his best team ‘on paper’, his team ‘on form’, or a mixture of both?
On the basis of the performances of the last two games, I would play the following starting eleven on Sunday:
Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Chambers, Debuchy, Flamini (Diaby IF fit), Ramsey, Sanchez, Campbell, Sanogo, Wilshere.
What did you make of the match today and how would you line up against Man City?
Written by: TotalArsenal.