WENGER, THERE IS NOW NOTHING TO LOOSE.
In my comment somewhere before the Crystal Palace match, I wrote that there was no margin for error left in the season for the team. I was thinking about top four placing. After the Crystal Palace game my perception took a completely new angle that has me now saying that there is a huge margin for error for our team. Currently sitting at 54 pts we are guaranteed, come what may, that we can’t be relegated. Isn’t it such a liberating thought? So why shouldn’t Wenger just put the patient on the surgical table and use his scalpel with impunity. The only reason I can think of why he wouldn’t want to do that is if he is being rather mindful of his hot seat. We the fans have gone beyond that care. We loose our remaining 8 matches, we end the season at 54 points, mid table, and that’s neither here nor there as things currently stand. We simply want ingenious thinking back in the management of our team. We have a rich enough squad. The problem is that the best is not being gotten out of them. Wenger has become too cautious to venture creatively.
Let us for example talk our formation. On paper it is 4:2:3:1. In reality our full backs play more as wing backs which leaves us with a formational shape nearer to 2:4:3:1.Two at the back? No wonder we have shipped in 39 goals already. Walcott and Bellerin, both right footed occupy the same vertical strip meaning we are almost playing two wingers on one side of the field. That is far from an economical structure. On the other side of the field the arrangement is better with Moreal bumping forward only when Sanchez cuts in, which is often. Therefore it is the movement of Sanchez that transforms Monreal from full back to wing back. It is a better synchronized pattern. But don’t forget that when Monreal bumps forward we have left behind only a back 2. Can we go 3:4:3 instead? Now that we got nothing to loose, why not.
Let’s talk Ozil. Ozil arrived here with the label of the best #10 in the world, and most of us not least a Mr Wenger, are securely imprisoned within the four thick walls of this label. Go and study Ozil’s assists and meet the facts that over 75% of them come from dead ball situations and from wide areas. But being imprisoned we insist that Ozil stays in the central areas as the #10 where incidentally his abject defensive qualities are over exposed. Ozil needs space, the kind of space only the wide areas can give, or otherwise he needs a quick transition team like Real Madrid of Ronaldo, Benzema and Angel de Maria era. But even then, Modric was preferred to him. Wenger needs to brake jail. He can’t get a better moment for that brake than now that there is nothing to loose. Ozil out wide.
Let’s talk Sanchez. In terms of high drama, goals, assists, twists and turns, bursts of energy, he is our stand out player. He started the season as our front man and the goals and the assists were in flow. But there was a negative to his otherwise outstanding role of leading the line. He couldn’t accommodate the fact that sometimes strikers are isolated up field and in such situations they have to do little more than bide their time. Sanchez is an action man. He would rather race to close down the opposition, frustrated that his mates tracking up from their defensive duties have not raced some 30 meters at full speed to come and join in the high press. Result. Recriminations galore a la Sanchez. The harmony of the dressing room gets threatened and there is little doubt in my mind that this is the major reason why Wenger put him back to the wide areas. But does this wide left area bring enough out of him? His play there has gone predictable and sterile for his standards. Ozil thrives in big spaces, Sanchez in small spaces. Sanchez is a prolific goal scorer but he admitted himself that he prefers assisting goals to scoring goals and that assertion is there for all to see. The role that is tailor made for Sanchez is that of a support striker, which, with a little adjustment to suit our formation becomes #10. Strangely this is one role in the front four that Wenger has never employed him. Did Wenger not see it, or was he being too mindful of Ozil? Now that we have nothing to loose, we can afford the experiment of Ozil and Sanchez interchanged in positions. If it is a 3:4:3 Sanchez plays as a false #9 so he is never isolated.
Let’s talk Walcott. I had always thought that for top managers their first demand of players is consistency. For sure that is one thing Walcott hasn’t got. You have to be an impulsive gambler to be fielding him regularly. Some days you hit the jackpot. Most of the days you track the long distance home not having a dime anywhere for a cab. Has Wenger of today hinged his tactics on hopefulness, on the double zero? There is absolutely nothing creative about double zero. It’s one long shot.
Let’s talk central midfield. Xhaka stood out against Crystal Palace. He has proved himself as a marvellous distributor of the ball. His defensive performance has already improved but it would always be short because he lacks acceleration, those first few strides from static position. Elneny also lacks acceleration and therefore cannot compliment him. Defensively Coquelin can, but he is so poor with the ball, not at all good enough for Arsenal. Ramsey has little regards for the shape of a team and that’s not good enough either. Oxlade can tackle with pace and power, he is also good with the ball but he lacks concentration and defensive awareness. Is the choice of who partners Xhaka now a question of the best of a “bad” lot? Or now that we have a huge margin for error do we think Metersacker as a DM? We remember his talent as an organizer, his passing intelligence, his aerial ability. And if he is pushed back a little bit deeper, would that not become a 3 man central defense for a 3:4:3 formation? Or is there somebody else you can conjure up from the squad? I can’t wait for the summer window.
We have a squad that should be doing better. Maybe all we need to do is think outside the box. We have got nothing to lose, so Gooners let the fun begin.
By Pony Eye