Arsenal Need to Play Ugly Tonight
As Arsenal prepare for a crucial Champions League encounter in Italy, Wenger needs to throw away the blueprint for Arsenal games and get Arsenal to play ugly.
Arsenal’s cavalier style of football will not work in Italy, Udinese are team that will play on the counter-attack and from the first leg experience, and they have the ability to tear us apart. Wenger needs to set up a team that will be defensively minded, but unlike the capitulation against Barcelona, they need to have the ability to counter attack at pace.
Wenger needs to play Vermaelen at centre-back, any attempt at moving him out to the left-back slot will expose our weak middle. Both full-backs have to resist going forward, our priority is not to concede a goal.
It was no coincidence that against Udinese Arsenal looked more solid at the back and created more chances once Wenger introduced Frimpong. The Frimpong-Song axis is what is required from the outset. Young Frimpong has hopefully learnt from his rash challenges against Liverpool and could provide the steel and stability that is required. Both Frimpong and Song should sit back and protect the back four, which needs to be their prime duty. This is a departure for Arsene who always gives his plays licence to roam forward, even his so called defensive midfielders.
The third member of the midfield should be Ramsey. He has the engine to play box to box football and is creative. His last two games he has been anonymous, but today he needs to step up to the plate and be counted. Rosicky has been played in this role, but Tomas is one dimensional, has no peripheral vision and does not track back.
Going forward we have few options, van Persie, Walcott and Gervinho. That is it for today. Wenger will only play Bendtner or Arshavin as a last resort; he wants neither player to be cup-tied as I expect both to leave before the end of the transfer window.
The bench will consist of Bendtner and Arshavin, whom I have stated Wenger will be reluctant to play, out of form Chamakh. This player is an enigma, he started off well last season, then as van Persie came back from injury, Wenger intimated that Chamakh is burnt out, and Chamakh took that literally and has stopped playing. The other substitutes will consist of Oxlade-Chamberlain, whom Wenger, due to circumstances, has not been able to play and Rosicky, who in all honesty cannot be relied upon to play a whole game.
This is a game we cannot afford to lose, I know we can through on away goals if we lose by one goal, but who is prepared or even wants to take that chance. Arsenal need to change tactics, play more defensive and take any chances that fall to us. This game will define our season, it will determine what players Arsene will sign and will either destroy the morale of the players or give them the boost they need before the Manchester United game.