January - New Year, Same Arsenal
Game of the MonthArsenal vs. Manchester United
This graphic is leading up to Manchester United opening the scoring. They play a narrow 4-3-1-2 and it's a hard one to combat at times. Gibbs had the ball here and most of our normal options were cut off by United. I had sent them out with the intention of clearing the ball wide and exploiting the flanks. The blue lines are the passes Gibbs should have made. Instead he did gave it to Chamberlain (below)
The Ox had the options of going inside or switching the pitch but he tried to pick out Welbeck. He didn't quite put enough on the pass and the United player circled collected the knockdown and had A LOT of space to play in. United had stifled us early on.
The next problem for us was showing Falcao inside.The next was Ramsey losing Mata. You can see the space to run into, and he did so and scored.
Forcing United to think.
Howedes receives the ball after a series of passes on our left hand side. You can see that United's three Central midfielders are struggling to get across in time. They had got sucked in too far to our left.
I'd like to note that Howedes could have played to Debuchy. BUT by playing it to Ozil we draw United a bit higher up the pitch, creating space in behind their defence so when Debuchy does get the ball, we can attack that space from the cross.
Ozil has two options: Play through the middle, a lower percentage pass and United still have defenders that could cover/catch up. OR play out wide and get in the box.
Welbeck and Jones compete for the header which Jones wins. It falls right to Ozil.The black circle indicates one of our players free that could quite easily have scored. After it falls to Ozil he plays the pass to the red circle (Chamberlain) who takes the ball on the half volley.
Manager's CommentThe United result was very pleasing; especially after a war of words was started with Van Gaal. We start the new year unbeaten which is perfect, taking good form into the Champions league in February. Podolski left on the 2nd January - scoring and assisting a goal against Burnley before he left. There has been some activity on our part this month. Signing Montoya from Barcelona. This will see Chambers pushed centrally. We have snapped up three young American's that will join in 2017. A bit of a chance was taken on them but hopefully they will improve enough so that when they get here, they can be moulded into top players. The last signing was The young Norwegian player Kristoffer Ajer. I can see a future midfield three of him, Zelalem and Daniel Crowley/Will Hughes.
We have really been tight at the back all year in the PL. conceding only 10 goals is a massive achievement and I think Howedes has been a perfect buy. Replacing Mertesacker after his lengthy injury still keeps him out.