Sunday’s game was frustrating to say the least. It was a perfect summary of our season, our strengths, weaknesses and failings.
Wenger insists for some unknown reason in persisting with a 4-2-3-1 formation. He then proceeds and plays our players out of position. Diaby on the wing and Nasri as a central midfielder. Both look lost and ineffective in these alien roles. We then proceed to play with one striker and expect this person, be they van Persie, Adebayor or Bendtner to beat two top class defenders. In our recent games against Chelsea (twice), Manchester United (twice) and Liverpool we failed to play as an attacking force.
The sooner Wenger reverts to 4-4-2 the better.
Then Arsenal embark on another frustrating afternoon of failing to hit the target. Theo Walcott may have a signed a new contract, but he needs to compose himself and start to hit the target. He had four or five good chances yet missed the target every time. He is not the only one to blame. Fabregas and van Persie were through on goal, but instead of driving forward, they looked to create a “better” angle. What better angle than powering at the goalkeeper with defenders scared to challenge you in the area? The directness in our football is lacking. Rather than go for goal, we play the ball sideways, was this meant to be a salute to Ray Wilkins the master “crab”?
The only player who once against looked like he wanted to take the game to the opposition was Bendtner. Yet Wenger thinks that he is better suited to playing out wide, what a wasted opportunity this was.
Finally Arsene sent on our talisman, Adebayor. Adebayor had spent last week telling everyone that he wants to stay at Arsenal and win trophies; he wants to repay the club catapulting him onto the world stage. Based on yesterday’s display we have a long wait for Adebayor to get into the mood. The fans are sick and tired of his comments and lack of action or urgency on the pitch. He scored a great goal against Villarreal and has now decided he will eat out on that goal for the rest of the season.
Our midfield trio of Nasri, Song and Fabregas offered little protection to the defence. They were all attracted to the ball and failed to track back This lack of defensive support left Silvestre and Toure exposed. Our defence has gone backwards this season. Sagna was rock last season, this season his positioning is poor and he has lost his pace. Toure and Silvestre fail to win balls in the air and the slightest turn and Silvestre is left stranded.
Whilst the result, 4-1, was a biter pill to swallow, our general failings all over the pitch were symptomatic of our season. We face another baptism of fire on Saturday, when Manchester United will be looking to clinch their seventh trophy since we won our last trophy.