If you read any coaching manual, they will all say the same thing: there are three ways to beat a defence
1. Go through it
2. Go round it
3. Go above it
Unfortunately the Arsenal players decided for most of the game against Swansea on Monday night that option one was the best one.
What we saw at the Emirates is what I call ‘the funnel effect’.
You could see that all the Arsenal players tended to aggregate themselves in the central area that was already overloaded with Swansea players.
Also, Swansea were defending in a 4-1-4-1, so it did look like a back 10 ,dropping deep.
So why pile up players in a congested area and try a lot of one-twos and triangle play when the density is so thick? We know that Arsene Wenger promotes that kind of play in training but why not use the width a bit more?
Sky showed at half time the players’ average position and apart from Bellerin on the right wing, all the attacking Arsenal players were located in the central area. In such a configuration, with a deep defensive block set up by the opposition, you need to make use of both wings, the winger on the opposite side of the ball must stay close to the touchline to stretch the defence as much as possible.
Obviously with Ramsey and Sanchez being more suited to play centrally, it was always a difficult thing to do.
You would have a better use of the wing if Walcott and Gibbs were used as wingers rather than two natural central players.
It is also a shame that Giroud’s power and strength in the aerial game was not used much more. Considering option 1 and 2 did not seem to bring any results, you would have expected the Arsenal players to use option 3 more often as mixing those ways of attacking would have brought more uncertainty for the Swansea defenders.
Overall what was missed for Arsenal was a better final ball and clinical finishing.
It is disappointing to note that the neither the manager nor the players managed to find the right tactical answer to the equation offered by Swansea.
Not for the first time.