Tuesday 12 May 2015

Arsenal must learn passes don't mean prizes

Very few people would have predicted a home defeat against Swansea with an in-form Arsenal fielding an unchanged side for a fifth consecutive time. Indeed, there is no obvious weakness in this side, which has led to Wenger saying there will be no or few addition in the summer. 'Any old excuse' some might say, but for once I agree with him. Even after this embarrassing loss.

I'm putting the result down to tactics; if Arsenal are content to out pass a team without making headway this could happen again. No doubt Aston Villa's Tim Sherwood was watching with interest, thinking of the cup final and seeing how bodies behind the ball can frustrate Arsenal. Sadly, the Gunners seemed content to pass the ball in front of Swansea and didn't seem to recognise that this tactic was ineffective.

One way to counteract this kind of defending en masse would be bringing on Walcott earlier. Giving Theo 20 minutes to make a difference was insufficient; he should have come on at half time.

It was ridiculous that Arsenal waited until 60 minutes were on the clock to test Fabianski. I bet the Pole couldn't believe his luck. Even when he was tested, it was all routine stuff. Swansea's defenders deserve the credit for protecting Fabianski so well. Ashley Williams, in particular, impressed.

The game will be remembered for Swansea's goal, awarded thanks to goal-line technology. It didn't look over the line, but it clearly was. Gomis had struck again from a Montero cross as Arsenal succumbed to Swansea's first double over them for 33 years. Strangely, it was an ex-Gunner who scored in one of those games: Ray Kennedy. This time, some will say it was the curse of the ex again and we shouldn't have let Fabianski go as he kept a clean sheet.

Sorry, I'm not buying that. I'm still impressed with David Ospina. We might need a back-up keeper, but
I think our first choice between the sticks is good enough. I never thought that to be the case with Fabianski, who was always a bag of nerves when he played for us.

To conclude, we must try to learn from this defeat; I'd rather it was now than cup final day. Maybe it was a timely wake-up call and reminder that passes don't make prizes. We need more running behind defences and shots on targets or we will have more disappointments to follow.

Although it's highly unlikely that Wenger will change his policy of not introducing unenforced substitutes until the 70th minute, I believe the players we start with could take matters into their own hands. Bellerin could push higher up to threaten the opposition with his pace meaning we wouldn't need to bring on Theo to turn things around. Minor adjustments like that are all we need to turn this season into a relatively successful one.

Sent from my iPhone

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