Arsenal faced a rampant Manchester City at the Etihad and were forced to pick the ball 6 times out of their own net, stunning a number of fans who expected an evenly fought contest.
At the same time Chelsea also haven’t been on the best of forms. The London club has been suffering from poor decisions at the back while also lacking the cutting edge required for converting chances into goals.
The 6th one was a penalty converted by Yaya Toure, but how did the other 5 go in?
The first one was a corner that floated in towards Martin Demichelis who nods it towards the far post. For a moment, Koscielny looks very well positioned, but his eyes are fixed on the ball.
Aguero sneaks in behind him and Koscielny panics as the ball reaches the Argentinian . It can be seen in his body language. Interesting to note that Arsenal also have their fair share of defensive lapses like Chelsea.Koscielny is supposedly Arsenal’s best defender, and its quite amusing to see him make a mistake Chelsea fans would usually associate David Luiz with.
Before moving on to the second goal, a slight insight into Arsenal’s defensive organization. Arsenal are pretty much like Chelsea when it comes to defending. Throwing bodies back , holding your structure, and pressing in patterns.
With Chelsea though, the problem is that sometimes the pressing fades away, with the players acting lazy. On the other hand , when the ball is being played diagonally, Arsenal tend to press high towards that direction and leave open spaces for exploitation, hoping that the play is switched slowly to the other side.
It seems like a really foolish mistake to make against a team that has Zabaleta.
Yaya Toure lobs the ball onto the path of Zabaleta and the Argentinian puts it in for Negredo who puts City back in front. It really is all about the positioning , a mistake Arsenal make throughout the game and pay the price for.
The 3rd goal was a mixture of mistakes. First of all, Mertesacker, Flamini, Vermaelen and Monreal formed the backline as Sagna went over to take a throw in. He throws it towards Ozil who puts it in to the path of Flamini. Either the weight of the pass wasn’t right or Flamini had a really poor touch, but Fernandinho capitalized on it and finessed it into the back of the net.
Flamini and Wilshere function somewhat as the pivot of the Arsenal. One attacks and the other track backs. In this case we have Flamini dropping to form the back 4. Ozil should never have gone for him, as it was just asking for trouble. His movement equated to an open space ready for exploitation. Combine this with Manchester City’s high pressing in the final third and you have a recipe for disaster.
Another defensive lapse when the ball is crossed in. The defender seems to be well positioned but falls for Navas’s trickery when the Spaniard cuts the ball in. Not much to say, a silly goal to give away.
At this point, we can draw comparisons. In the game against City, Arsenal looked as vulnerable, if not more, as Chelsea have been when balls have been floated or drilled into the box.
As , mentioned before about Arsenal’s high pressing, we see City’s 5th goal being a good example. Wilshere receives the ball and looks for options to distribute to come up. As he looks up, Nasri barges in from the back and toe pokes it towards Fernandinho who’s also closing down.
Look at how well positioned Negredo seems to be. If we compare this scenario with Chelsea, we have Oscar who presses really high on the midfielders. He looks like a sure starter for this fixture if he can do the dirty work in the middle. Nothing to say about which striker will start.
If Nasri hadn’t received the ball back from Fernandinho, he wouldn’t have had an assist. In today’s world, the match would have ended with the player who did the dirty work labelled as ‘not needed’. Food for thought.