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Arsenal FC - A new chapter

Started on 24 November 2014 by lross
Latest Reply on 9 December 2014 by lross
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January - New Year, Same Arsenal

Game of the Month
Arsenal 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 Comment
The 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.

February - Cracks?

Game of The Month

Everton have been underwhelming by their own standards this year, and we put them to the sword. Alexis was on fire and a big part of his job this game was to peg Baines back.

Everton too high?
Koscielny wins the header which runs into Ramsey's path. This header bypassed four Everton players. Five if you count the midfielder who was deep but could not dispossess Ramsey. This immediately set us up for a quick break, which we needed to capitalise on.

Exposing Baines
Ramsey passed to Cazorla who then found Welbeck. I think we should have found Alexis from Cazorla rather than Welbeck but in the end we scored. You can see here that Everton's left winger is probably around where he should be give or take... BUT Baines, he was fair too high and had no right to be. He cost his team a goal here.

Cazorla's return to form

The transfer window slammed shut in early October. Nobody came in for Cazorla and luckily for us. Ozil has picked up an injury and Santi has taken his chance back in the first team. Here he evaded his marker and slipped Walcott through. He may have even chose to pick Welbeck out straight away... In the end Welbeck got his goal as Walcott found him.

The spaniard has contributed three assists and a lot of creativity to the team in Ozil's absence. Still unsure about whether he can stay here beyond this season right now, I suppose it's not a bad headache to have.

You will be able to see from the average team position's below that Baine's didn't really have much support. SO whenever he did go forward Everton were too narrow to combat our quick counters.

Manager's Comment

Really dissappointing games at the start of the month and it threatened to undo all the good work it took to keep us top. I suppose that is why you build a cushion at the top, though. West Ham scored a wonderful free kick and then kept us at bay. We could have got back in it at 1-0 down when Wilshere hit the bar when he should have scored.
/ QPR sent lots of body's forward and reaped the rewards. We couldn't counter them like we later did to Everton. At 3-1 down we sent men forward and the eventual scoreline was a bit out of hand. I'd like to add however, that we have bounced back terrifically and are in commanding positions in all competitions. Bournemouth await in the FA cup 1/4 finals.

March - A familiar feeling?

(Wilshere & co. have fallen short in title fights before, will we have a repeat?)

FFT: Jack, it's been a rough season for you, in and out of the team due to injury. only 20 appearances for you in all competitions this season. Is the worst of it behind you?
JW: I hope so. If you look at the injuries, they aren't related to my ankles. It's been frustrating but I couldn't have asked for more from the boys. I'm back now and In Ozil's absence I hope I can contribute.
FFT: Semi-final's of the FA cup, top of the league, Manchester City in the Champions league. Can you win it all?!
JW: Why not!? I'd love to be able to say i've won the leageue and Champions league with Arsenal. What better time than now?
FFT: There's rumblings in the media of a collapse, why should people believe Arsenal won't crack under the pressure?
JW:We are more mature, we have the experience to draw on [after last season] and we are hungrier than ever.

Game of The Month

A win against Bournemouth saw us advance to the FA Cup Semi-finals! a routine enough victory but one in which I have taken a lot more than maybe there is to be seen. A hat-trick for Theo Walcott from the right wing set this game alight.

Right place, right time. Walcott anticipated the keeper saving Giroud's header and he tapped home the rebound.
Goal's 2&3 are carbon copies of eachother. Walcott has crept in at the back post as Chamberlain picked him out on both occasions. For somebody who wants to play upfront, Walcott is such an asset to us on the right because he is a sort of offensive tool to:
1) peg the defence back.
2) provide assists and goals from the right wing.
His pace frightens teams and it has been a stop-start season with injuries. But if he stays fit there is a real fight for the right wing spot between him and Sanchez.

Manager's Comment
The lead has been cut at the top but it is ours to lose, and we don't count on doing that. The lads and I have worked so hard this season. We have momentum now, Walcott looks sharper than ever, Cazorla and Wilshere are more than good enough to fill Ozil's shoes. Chamberlain's season is going from strength to strength too. In defence we are looking strong and Mertesacker is on his way back to full fitness.
April is a big month - Manchester city face us three times and we start the month against Chelsea. This is make or break.

April - A mixed bag

Game of The Month
Arsenal vs. Manchester City
(6-4 on agg.)

We couldn't do this enough. Force space to open up for Welbeck when the winger came inside. Even Kompany had trouble dealing with it. Unfortunately the City - even though struggling in the league, have those BIG difference makers, something that right now, we lack.

Poor defending

To show Sinclair down the line was probably a smart move considering the cover we had on Aguero and the numbers we had against Sinclair himself. It was when nobody dealt with the winger we had trouble. Aguero then became a threat as his movement in the box is second to none.

Aguero bent his run in front of my defenders and headed home. We gifted him the goal but to s score five goals in two games against us is nothing short of magnificent. Especially when we have one of the best defences in Europe right now.

Manager's Comment
An FA CUP final.
Top of the league again.
Welbeck still scoring.
Players returning from injury
Out of the CL
Bad defending.
Overall, we performed well. The big games can go either way and we lost a couple but we had big wins this month, too. The league is going well and Liverpool did us a favor against United. Welbeck keeps on scoring and that is a major positive. As I am looking towards next season I'm looking at bringing in a striker - but do I go for a star or someone who will succeed Welbeck when he gets on a bit??
we are so close to the league now, and with a cup final vs. Tottenham we have it all to play for.
Not a bad month at all.

May - Double Trouble

Game of The Month
Arsenal vs. Tottenham

Don't give Ozil space

Wilshere was able to find Ozil centrally with no clear man marking him. The two Spurs players that are circled are scrambling back but once Sanchez recongnizes the threat - it's too late.

Tottenham do their best to swarm Ozil but it's too late. Sanchez has peeled off into the middle and Ozil finds him. 1-0 inside a minute - what a way to calm nerves!
Quick Counters

From a Tottenham corner, Chamberlain picks up the ball. Welbeck does the smart thing and makes himself available on the wing, and once Chamberlain finds him it is up to our midfield to support Welbeck and make the lung-busting run to get on the end of something. Spurs seem to be in control here - 2 vs. 1 at the back. 4 men circled making their way back, too.

Welbeck drives into middle of the pitch as soon as he gets it, the original two defenders back off him and the supporting Spurs defence aren't quick enough to get back in a good enough position. Next thing you know, Chamberlain overlaps him on the outside and makes it 2-0 inside the first 15 minutes.

Manager's Comment
Speechless. I couldn't have dreamed that I would have such a successful season in my first year. Of course, that makes it slightly harder in years to come to keep improving but I'm sure I can. The final league fixtures were comfortable in the end. Everyone knew what was needed of them and they delivered. Spurs never really threatened us, my team made sure of that. What was really special was seeing Mertesacker and Arteta lift the trophy together. In what was a injury- halted season for Mertesacker he was able to play a part in the FA Cup Final and experience winning the trophy two years in a row.

(end of season summary to come next)
Fantastic season B) Very close in the end between you and Man Utd.
2014-11-30 17:29#202001 Johno. : Fantastic season B) Very close in the end between you and Man Utd.

Really happy with the season! Did not expect to win the league, looked a bit like we would throw it away !!

End of Season Summary

Premier League Champions
Community Shield Champions
FA Cup Winners

I've been lucky that the boys I had here were already near the level we needed to be at. I was also lucky that everything clicked so early on and from our early season form we never really looked back.

Arsenal fans player of the year

Our defence was on of the main reasons we did so well this season. It was the foundation in which we built our attacks. We conceded only 25 goals in the league and Koscielny was a big part of that.

Manager's player of the year
Danny Welbeck & Oxlade Chamberlain

The Ox truly had a breakout season contributing 16 goals and 12 assists. Welbeck had a memorable first season for Arsenal scoring 30 times and getting 7 assists.

Premier League Head Coach of the year
Louis Ross

Christoph Kramer - Joins the club after his loan move at Monchengladbach is over.

Ciro Immobile

$15m and Giroud was enough to seal the deal for Immobile. Giroud had expressed a desire to leave as he wasn't getting a chance in the first team. A new season comes in and I think Immobile and Welbeck are going to push one another and we will see the best of them on the pitch.

Ross Barkley - $27m

One of the biggest talents in England right now. He fits the bill for a modern midfielder: quick, technical, strong, mobile. He will fit right in.

Joe Gomez - $8m

Young Centre back who I am taking a risk on. He may not be tipped to reach the very top but with help from Mertesacker and co. I think he can really take his game to the next level.

Adrian Rabiot - Free
The young French midfielder's contract was not renewed at PSG and with the likes of Verratti, Cabaye, Pjanic, Motta and Matuidi ahead of head he felt that a move was right. He will not be ready for the first team but a few appearances this year will get him ready slowly but surely. I'm thinking he's my next Petit!

Next: Young players to watch

Pre-season Musings

Ross adds to British contingent

Barkley and Will Hughes join up with the squad this pre-season and FFT gives you an insight into Arsenal as the new season draws nearer.

Ross Barkley 8/10 - For $27m it's a steal. He will learn from Ozil, whilst pushing Wilshere and Ramsey for starting spots.
Will Hughes 8/10 - He will more than likely be loaned out again. But he is a magician, A naturally gifted player that should maybe have been born in Barcelona.
Christoph Kramer 9/10 Like Hughes - he was bought last season. He had a solid season even though his loan club Borussia Monchengladbach got relegated! He will fill the gap that Diaby and Cazorla have left. Arteta is aging and Kramer will provide some midfield steel.
Ciro Immobile 7.5/10 - A real handful and he will push Welbeck to become even better Arsenal fans hope! An upgrade on Giroud.
Joe Gomez 6.5/10 Young and full of potential. Hopefully he will get a chance to learn from the old heads at Arsenal and take his chance when it comes. Can he cut it at the very top? We are unsure.
Adrian Rabiot 6/10 A free transfer and a smart buy. He has been loaned out to Middlesborough and needs to cut his teeth and get tougher. Can flourish if given the chance.
Lucas Digne 8/10 Young and vibrant! He replaces Monreal, who has left for Southampton. Digne can make the left back spot his own if Gibbs isn't careful.

Others to watch
Serge Gnabry

"The lad can go as far as he wants in football" said Ross earlier this pre-season when asked about Gnabry. We suspect another loan move away is imminent but some sections of Arsenal fans want to see him kept and Joel Campbell bombed out. He is very similar to Chamberlain - a strong, mobile and supremely fast player who can beat people and has a terrific shot.

Gedion Zelalem

"Gedion will play for Arsenal sooner rather than later - it is all about timing" Ross obviously likes him and has given him a taste of action this pre-season. Zelalem has been likened to Cesc Fabregas. He is a slick passer and a composed individual. Never before have we seen a young boy dictate the tempo of a match so well.

Transfer Rumour

As Manchester City come to town on the opening weekend of the Premier League a certain Sergio Aguero could be pulling on the red and white of Arsenal instead of the sky blue of City.
Aguero - who famously won Man City the league just a few years ago has grown unhappy at City, finishing fifth last season means no Champions league football and Arsenal have shown a lot of interest. Bids have been rejected but that hasn't stopped Louis Ross voice his interest. Will a deal be done? we can only wait and see.
Great first season! Time to get gunning for that U.C.L. trophy :)


Game of The Month

Arsenal vs. Valencia

Sanchez was creeping inside the full back and centre back all day long and Valencia just couldn't deal with it. The ball Ramsey played split them and then they couldn't get in position quick enough to stop Sanchez finding Welbeck (below)

Valencia are an utter shambles at the back as you can see here! five players not reacting quick enough!!
Working the space
Ozil has sucked three players towards him which allows Ramsey to then drive into the gap.

Ramsey then found Welbeck who was hanging on the defenders shoulder. He layed the ball off to Chambo for an easy finish.

We were guilty at times last year of not switching the ball enough/ fast enough. Although we had success down both flanks we didn't move the opposition from side to side enough. Here you will see Chamberlain finding Sanchez with a great ball. This has came just after a Valencia set-piece.

Sanchez allows Chambers to overlap him and by cutting inside he has left a massive gap fot Chambers to exploit. We just now need to find a good cross for runners. I'd like to point out here that even though Valencia aren't doing a good job of tracking runners - we are getting forward at some speed (Chamberlain on the left)

The finishing touch! Valencia sucked in by my numbers running to the front post which leaves Chamberlain with an easy finish. Well deserved.

Manager's Comment
A really good couple of months. Community Shield winners and then we managed to get past Man City and Liverpool in the league. Chelsea equalized late on against us which was hard to take, especially after Immobile did so well when he came on. West Brom did well to draw against us and it could have gone either way so I'll take the draw.
The move for Aguero didn't get close to completion after Manchester City knocked back countless offers. He is unhappy but not transfer listed so I plopped for a lot of youth players who I think will turn out to be just as good (fingers crossed!!)
I'm struggling to find a place for Wilshere in the team right now and his performances aren't on par with some of the other midfielders which is worrying...


The Good and The Bad
Naive defending

Stark got the start and he got drawn out of position. Koscielny couldn't cover/ didn't cover well and their striker tucked it away. a 3-0 loss to Viktoria Plzen was the low point of the month.
Bad full backs

Digne left a big gap and allowed the ball to be played through him and the centre back.

Montoya has been asking for more game time and let me down in this game... he had no idea where his man was here and allowed him to sneak in front of him and finish a good cross.

The good

Welbeck works so hard and here he intercepted a ball going back to the CB. Then he found Sanchez setting up a counter.

Sanchez then found Ozil - who was in a ridiculous amount of space. The CB who was with Welbeck then came round to Ozil but put no real pressure on him (see below).

Everyone around Ozil didn't put enough pressure on him - allowing him to find Welbeck easily.

Manager's Comment
A good month, but I'm unhappy. Southampton clawed two goals back to draw. We got a man sent off against West Ham and didn't have the individuals on the pitch to turn it around - a spirited performance nonetheless. The end of the month pleased me and I'm glad we were able to get back on track. We play Plzen next in the Champions League and we need to put in a solid performance to gain control of the group again.

Ross on the way out ?

On Squawka's annual visit Stateside we noticed a familiar face at FC Dallas' last game. Arsenal boss Louis Ross.It is known that Arsenal have links in America but not with FC Dallas and not with their opponents that day. There are local media reports out there that FC Dallas' new owners are wanting to reshape the club from top to bottom, a side who only won 6 out of 34 games last season and are without a manager don't sound appealing but whatever promises are being made to Ross must be interesting enough to be flown out on a private jet to watch the game with the new owners...


10 goals in 16 games for Welbeck this season

Game of The Month
Arsenal vs. Tottenham

Ramsey and Kramer are really working in tandum now, if one goes to win the ball the other will sit and vice versa. Here, Ramsey won the ball and immediately gave it to Immobile, Chamberlain was already in motion to join the counter.

Chamberlain drove right at the Spurs defence, drawing players towards him. Because of the pace of the counter all the other Spurs players couldn't get back into shape fast enough - meaning we had Welbeck open on the left who finished well.

I started Wilshere instead of Ozil this game and he is equally adept at finding space, here he finds a hole and has so many options when he has the ball. I'd like my players to start finding more direct passed like the one I have circled with Chamberlain on the right. If he could have been put more regularly the score would have been even more comfortable.
Where is Tottenham's midfield?

You can see the passes it took to bypass Tottenham's midfield here. This was very early on in the game and their lack of organization ultimately lead to us winning so easily.

Manager's Comment
Good month for us! Chelsea right now are a bit of an unstoppable force. The draw with United was the only blemish on an otherwise good month! we sit second, three points off the top spot. We have qualified in the Champions league, too. The whole team has contributed goals which is extremely pleasing and Welbeck is proving that last season wasn't a fluke... 10 in 16 from him is extremely pleasing. Immobile has contributed 6 goals this term too in 7 starts and 9 sub appearances. The only worry right now is options on the wings. Walcott and Alexis both have sprained ankles which leaves the Ox and Joel Campbell (who has just returned from injury). Bakkali, Gnabry and Roberts are all on loan and cannot be recalled until January...

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