Arsene Wenger prides himself that Arsenal are one of the few teams to have qualified for the Champions League in each of the last 15 seasons and for a trophy he is so desperate win he was taken to school by a well drilled oiled machine in Bayern Munich. Wheather his team is playing against Bradford City or Bayern Munich, Wenger prepares his team in the same manner. There is no consideration given to the opposition, emphasis is rather given to the way his team will play with the assumption that if his team play to their potential they can defeat any opposition.
This philosophy is all well and good if you have players like Vieira,Bergkamp,Henry,Pires and Cole, players with a tactical understanding and can take care of themselves on the pitch. Wenger ‘s current tikki-takka style of play is based on players he would like to have rather than the players he currently has.
His current players are not suited to this style of play.They are very slow in building their attacks and seem to lack any sort of tempo to put a quality opposition like Bayern Munich under any sort of sustained pressure. Arsenal are better off using the pace of Walcott and Podolski on the wings and play longer passes to them, rather than playing 522 passes till they get into the opposition penalty box. This will give less time to opposition defenses to organize themselves. Take for example the Giroud chance against Bayern Munich, Rosicky played a superb 40 yard pass to Walcott, who got his head up and crossed it for Giroud.
Bayern may have had less possession than Arsenal, but when it came down to chances on goal they had a bucket load more. They played direct and dynamic football using the passing ability of Kroos and Schweinsteiger in the centre and the pace of their wingers and fullbacks to get in behind the opposition.
Another flaw in Arsenal ‘s tikki-takka style is winning the ball back. The emphasis of the the 4-3-3 is possession and hence playing with a high line. This means that if the ball is lost in the opposition ‘s half, the forward players need to close down the opposition defenders in packs and try to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible, while at the same time maintaining defensive shape. Take Barcelona for example, as soon as the ball is lost they hunt in packs and force the opposition defenders to just clear the ball and thus gifting possession back to them. In Arsenal ‘s case the closing down is done by just one or two players, while the others just jog to close down. If you are unwilling to close down then everyone in the team has to put in a shift defensively, similar to how Kevin Prince Boateng and El Shaarawy worked their socks off tracking the Barcelona full backs all game.
Its all well and good if you are Barcelona and spend 85% of the match in the opposition ‘s half, where opposition full backs and wingers hardly get the chance to venture forward, but if emphasis on the training ground is based only around the attacking side and that too with players who are not suited to that style, you are going to make a good team look like a world class team because as good as Bayern Munich played against us, they still had a couple more gears in them and thats the scary part.
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