Once again I think it was quite clear that the team selection and tactics did not match our opponent against Leicester City. This is the second time in a matter of days when this has been the case, however we were lucky to come away with the points this time.
I am all for playing your best players but playing them at a time when they are fit and ready and also to play what the team is currently used to playing.
Against Man City we played with a completely new attitude and tactics which on the day against a team that was expecting us to be our usual free-flowing, defensively open selves it worked a treat. Since then and the furore that surrounded that game we seemed to have lost much of our spark that people expect from modern day Arsenal teams.
If we look at Spurs on Saturday we brought a player in Danny Welbeck back into the fold that had been out for a long period of time and, who by his own admission is a striker, to play a wingers role on the right side of midfield. This is against our North London rivals. Now I am not doubting the effect he had on our goal, but I just felt that we should have been looking for more guile and a more of a defensive mindset that perhaps a fully fit and in-form Rosicky would have given. Or perhaps to look for a man that has been slowly coming back into full match sharpness and had scored two in two who could offer more pace in Theo Walcott. Just found it a bit odd that Danny got the nod. The team selection plus our negative approach against Spurs was poor, this was Tottenham not City or Chelsea why did we respect them so much? And when we did allow them this they bossed us.
Then again last night, we bring back a player who no doubt has been our player of the season in Alexis but start him upfront where he has not been as effective. And to bring him in to play against the three brutish big defenders that Leicester had. Surely Giroud would have been a much safer and assured option as he has been used to that scenario for Arsenal for a good few years now. Alexis would have had much more space if he was used from the wings. He literally got kicked all over the place and it looks as though he will have picked up another injury.
People say that Arsenal are unlucky for injuries but surely if you have a player who is undoubtedly your most prized asset you look to protect them and play the averages when he returns to fitness?? Seems very strange that he started there in my opinion.
Giroud offers us a presence that our natural attacking style system requires and nobody else can achieve as well. He is way more adapt and used to playing against this type of opponent. His hold up play to allow the talented array of midfielders into the attack is as good as any front man in the league, and he wins an awful lot of headers and fouls. Yes, he does usually have the odd moan but will pick himself up, brush down and go again. He would not have been out-battled and kicked around like Alexis, and I am sorry as much as I like AW he has to take blame if we have an injured Chilean next week.
Leicester in all fairness to them didn’t look like a team who are scrapping for their lives and the Nigel Pearson fiasco this week seemed to have buoyed them on a bit. Mahrez could have scored a hatrick and was probably man of the match. One award that is certainly his was the Worst Hair Cut (WHC Award). In my day, if I turned up on a Sunday morning with that barnet I’d be laughed out of the changing room.. shocking.
I am happy enough with the three points though today and the fact that Balotelli scored a late winner for Liverpool, the Scum have at least had their bums wiped too this week which makes it all the more enjoyable.
For a day at least we are back into 4th. But the battle for these players this year will go right down to the wire. People are talking about an ‘easy’ or favourable run of games. To a point I’d agree but Palace won again on Saturday and Pardew has them playing, also John Carver is getting a tune out of Newcastle now, QPR won their first away game last night and Everton are never easy either.
We have a battle on our hands, let’s just hope we play the right horses on the right courses. It’s good and well having players fit again but silly to use them in positions or in a system that they would not be the most effective.
This week its the FA Cup. I really hope we go into this with the right attitude as in all honestly it is our most likely opportunity for silverware. Middlesbrough are the form side in the Championship and will fancy a trip to the Emirates this week. Their form mixed with the FA Cup magic, we really need to be on our toes and don’t be fooled this will be a battle.
That’s ya lot.