Arsene Wenger out thinks Pep the great

by & filed under News Review.

via @Arsenal instagram

via @Arsenal instagram

Well come on, what do I damn well know? Arsene Wenger had a look at what Conte was doing, liked it, copied it and we’re two games to the good inside a week. I thought the 3 at the back game was going to give us problems vs a more drilled Manchester City team, but it proved tough for Pep Guardiola to break down. Arsenal didn’t deliver a scintillating performance, they delivered a pragmatic one. For the second time at Wembley this weekend – the team with the most possession didn’t win.

There were a few things at play that I think are worth talking about this morning. Firstly, whether it was intentional or not, it appears that Wenger thought Pep was going to come and press hard in the first half. We sat back, absorbed the pressure and kept City largely from troubling Petr Cech. The calculation appeared to be a similar tactic to how you deal with Klopp teams, wait for them to wear themselves out, then go for them when they’re dead.

The second half proved the theory out, Arsenal came out far more aggressive. We were hustling City, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having an excellent game, causing all sorts of problems. We went a big gung-ho though and lost our minds with the sort of ill-discipline that often causes us problems at the highest level. Aaron Ramsey lost the ball after receiving it outside City’s 18 yard box, Yaya Toure dispossessed his silly shimmy, then to the horror of the Arsenal end, we only had one player at the back marking Aguero. It was Nacho and he wasn’t even in front of him. The Argentine raced through on goal, Cech wasn’t fast enough off his line to take advantage of his terrible touch, and the ball was dinked into the net. Sunday league basics there.

At that point, you thought the script was written. But no. Arsenal found something from deep within and fought back. Oxlade-Chamberlain whipping a delicious ball to the back post where Nacho was on hand to bury it at Bravo’s near side post. A rasping volley that meant the world to our warrior Spaniard.

The game had more chances. Yaya Toure pulled out an awkward shot that Cech expertly tipped onto the post. Fernandinho hit the bar with a powerful header. Down the other end, Welbeck raced through on goal and aimed right footed outswinger at the back post, instead of passing to Sanchez, missing in the process.

Extra time was buttoned up in very unsexy fashion. A duff shot from Welbeck in a goal mouth scramble rolled to Sanchez who buried it. Arsenal saw out the game and made their 3rd FA Cup final in 4 years. A tremendous achievement.

Some other things I thought were interesting.

Pressing:

We set a trap for City, absorbing their crazy pressing, waiting to pounce on them when they lost their legs. Real grim tactics for a club known for the beautiful game, but at the same time, if that was a well-executed plan, praise be to Wenger. He nailed it.

Another thing that’s kind of interesting here is that Pep’s vision just hasn’t landed over here. Is that because a team of elite players can’t get into his ideas? Is that because in the Premier League, the intensity is so much higher, that aggressive pressing all the time doesn’t work over the long term? Madrid / Barca don’t play at the pace City do as often. I’m sure there’s a correlation there, because Klopp has had similar issues.

Three at the back:

Far more direct, far more focused and it worked from a defensive perspective. Was it perfect? No. Does it have potential? I think it does. We move the ball up the pitch more fluidly and we defended as a unit far better. City are a fantastic team, that was a balls out risk from Wenger and it paints the way forward I think.

Defenders:

Seriously powerful performance from the classy Rob Holding. He’s great on the ball, he was strong in the tackle all day and for someone so young, he absorbed the pressure admirably. You also have to say that Gabriel is looking far better now he’s had a run of games. He loved the occasion and he played really well, great to see him coming into his own. Players need games on the regular to play with confidence. Chambo and Gabriel shining stars on that front.

Wenger:

He had a very good day. Lady luck was with him in a way it hasn’t been over the course of 2017. I’m over the moon we’re going to Wembley. If we can take down City, there’s no reason we can’t do the same to Antonio Conte. It’s a one off and it’s written in the stars that Wenger’s worst season ever will be saved with an FA Cup winner against champions elect. Does this change anything? Not really. All it means is Wenger will have more leverage against Ivan and less reason to change his ways that have seen us drop out of the top 4. The bigger picture doesn’t change, but it’s a good day regardless. Also made all the more exciting because Spurs are going to have their best season ever and likely not win anything again. Wonderful.

The other brilliant thing about today is that if we had to head into the Leicester game, after extra time, on a loss… our season would have fallen faster than Bill Cosby’s reputation. Our legs will hopefully not be as heavy for Leicester. We dish out a win against them on Wednesday, we might have enough in the tank to kill Spurs title dreams on Sunday. Another pointless accolade in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll enjoy it none-the-less, sad that it’ll just add more weight in the dick swinging content that’ll be going on during contract negotiations.

So a great day. A cup final against Chelsea. Something very exciting to look forward to.

See you in the comments.

328 Responses to “Arsene Wenger out thinks Pep the great”

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  1. Shaun Wilson

    Kroenke enables Wenger. Wenger is a sad old man who wants to perpetuate his tenure at the club at the cost of his dignity and the very future of the club itself. Unparalleled shit going on here. Arsenal football club and we, the supporters, are the losers.

  2. Wallace

    have to keep Alexis & the Ox. would like Ozil to stay, but don’t think he’s as important as the other two. fine with Cech, Coquelin, Cazorla, Wilshere & Giroud exiting.

  3. John

    All you people bagging the club, players and Wenger are an absolute disgrace. You’re not supporters, just good time barrackers. We don’t need fans like you. Just go away!

  4. Emiratesstroller

    Interesting stats published in today’s Daily Telegraph dealing with transfer
    business of top 6 clubs in EPL over last 3 seasons.

    CHELSEA
    Total spent £294.85 million
    Total recouped £258.25 million
    Net Spend £36.6 million

    MAN UTD
    Total spent £410.05 million
    Total recouped £163.35 million
    Net spend £246.75 million

    MAN CITY
    Total spent £408.39 million
    Total recouped £104.85 million
    Net spend £303.54 million

    SPURS
    Total spent £143.90 million
    Total recouped £156.50 million
    Net spend -£12.60 million

    ARSENAL
    Total spent £195.20 million
    Total recouped £47.90 million
    Net spend £147.30 million

    LIVERPOOL
    Total spent £257.80 million
    Total recouped £214.45 million
    Net spend £43.35 million

    Summary:

    Arsenal do not punch their weight in transfer market when it comes to buying players.

    Part of the problem is our abject failure in selling unwanted players. We
    have received less than £50 million in sales.

    Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool appear to be much better at balancing books
    when they conduct their transfer business.

  5. Black Hei

    Stroller

    Personally, I think Man City and Chelsea are a front for money laundering.

    Especially Chelsea; a lot of their transactions, especially their sales to other oil rich entities don’t make sense.

    As for United, I think Jose Mourinho is a bung taker with his agent as intermediary.

  6. TR7

    @Jim

    And now Wenger says he wants to keep Giroud and that there is no offer from Merseille. I hope he is bluffing otherwise terrible news for Yaya.

  7. Goonerman

    As soon as Welbeck came on the whole shape of the game changed. He pressures the defence when we don’t have the ball waaay better than giroud who just doesn’t have anywhere near the same mobility, forcing city to pass under pressure. As much as I respect giroud, he’s just not the right fit. Go gunners!!

  8. Emiratesstroller

    Black Hei

    My main point is not how much money each club spends, but Arsenal’s abject failure in selling unwanted/uneeded players.

    Part of the problem is the wage structure at the club. No-one is going to spend £30 million+ on an injury prone player like Wilshire and also have
    to pay him £100K plus in wages.

    Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool manage to SELL their unwanted players much better than we do.

  9. Relieable Sauce

    from BBC.

    Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has been linked with a potential £20m move to Ligue 1 club Marseille, but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger says he wants the France striker to stay in north London.

    “I have had no approach from Marseille and we want to keep Olivier Giroud at the club,” said Wenger.

    Once again, Wenger is asked about his own future at Arsenal, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season, and once again he refuses to comment, although he did say he was still looking at potential new signings.

    “I work until the last day of the season for the present and future,” added Wenger. “Transfer targets are the future of the club and are very important.”

  10. TR7

    Nothing is going to change till the time Wenger is here.

    If Giroud,Ramsey,Wilshere,Theo,Cech and Welbeck all are going to stay, then expect the same level of performance in the league next season.

    Debuchy, Jenkison,Gibbs, Ospina and Perez are likely to be shipped off but that’s nothing more than cosmetic changes for me. Our midfield and attack needs more of an overhaul than our defense. And the only attacking player we will possibly offload (Perez) deserves to stay.

  11. Carts

    Although discussing transfers is moot, but if I had to bring in 4 players, as we need a fresh spine, it would be the following, we caveats:

    Keylor Navas (Real Madrid get De Gea. Chance are Navas willgo the other way, though).

    Koulibally (he could be off to Chelsea. Wouldn’t surprise me.)

    Bakayoko/Fabinho/Nabby/Diawara (I’d actually sign 2 from that 4 and play them alongside Xhaka. To think we’re going to go into another season with Wilshere, Ramsey, Coquelin and Santi is bants of the highest order – at least 3 have to leave.)

    Aubameyang, Icardi, Werner, Lukaku (Giroud has to leave, and I think he will. He’s 31 and isn’t considered 1st choice. Theo is 10 years at Arsenal have been lacklustre, about time we cashed in on him)

  12. Goonerman

    Am I missing something?
    Welbeck has the x-factor and can gallop past defenders with ease.
    Same as the Ox, who if i recall correctly was being hammered as deadwood not so long ago by some.
    Any player with special ability should always be given more latitude.
    As they say, form is temporary…

  13. Jim Lahey

    If we are talking about FM style transfers I would go with:

    Adrien Rabiot (Staying at PSG)
    Antoine Griezmann (United bound)

    Keep Sanchez, even keep Ozil..

    Realistically.. I would go for:

    Blaise Matuidi, the guy is leaving PSG for a relatively small fee, he is experience has played at the highest level and less concern about settling into the league.

    Arda Turan, leaving Barca, not liked by many on here but if you were to give me the choice of Turan or Iwobi on the left its Turan, and Turan or Walcott on the right its Turan again.

  14. Jim Lahey

    @Goonerman –

    “Am I missing something?
    Welbeck has the x-factor and can gallop past defenders with ease.”

    He does, but he can’t finish to save his life and much like Ox he has no composure in the final third. I don’t think either should be sold, both are very good squad players.

    “As they say, form is temporary…”

    form is temporary class is permanent… Neither of those players is class.

  15. Goonerman

    I understand your point Jim, but by skipping past players it exposes defences and can create chaos (chances)
    Welbecks finishing is erratic,I’ll grant you that, but he has scored some cracking goals many a time.
    The Ox is young and is a few years away from his absolute prime.
    As for giroud, if we can get 20 mill. as reported then that to me is a no brainer