What came first?
The egg or the chicken?
Who is to blame for the Arsenal Ladies’ bad performances? Is it the manager or the players?
When you look at the Arsenal Ladies season as a whole, the performances have not been good enough for many of the games. There is no doubt about it.
The manager select the team and the tactics for the game, trains the team during the week and the players perform, or not, once they cross the line.
I am going to speak about two individual performances who were not really good on the day against Manchester City, and whether they are influenced by the manager or not.
On Sunday, Emma Mitchell was anonymous and subbed in the second half.
She was caught in no-man’s land for most of the game in her wing-back role. Physically positioned between Bronze and Parris and leaving our left-centre back, Josie Henning, to deal with Parris on one v one way too often.
I don’t think the blame lies with her on that example. The tactics were wrongly set up and she was either too high or too low on the pitch. She did not see enough of the ball as well.
Another poor performance against City was the early league game which Arsenal lost 2-0 with the Jemma Rose early red card that kind of led to the defeat. Obviously, Fara Williams and Leah Williamson have a responsibility in there too.
But the initial error is clearly on Rose as there was no need to make the foul and get sent off so early in the game. Note that Rose began the season as a starter alongside Casey Stoney but ended up losing her place to Josephine Henning due to an accumulation of mistakes.
Many players have been guilty of poor performances throughout the season but not dropped for some reasons, unlike Rose who was not lucky in that process.
So what do I make of those uneven teams performances throughout the season?
There were some poor tactics, some out-of-form players picked ahead of others who performed well. Some players were played out of position etc.
I think, like many fans, the lack of consistency in team selection has been the downfall of the team. With a squad that was over-dimensioned, there was heavy rotation to keep everyone happy.
At least, that’s how it looked from the outside.
One French manager in men’s football said he was doing a Human Resources job these days dealing with a 25 players squad and massaging egos and I guess the same can be said for Pedro Losa at Arsenal Ladies.
Squad rotation mixed with tactics rotation can only work if players are flexible and intelligent enough to adapt to those situations.
Unfortunately, not all the players are like Dominique Janssen, Leah Williamson or Danielle Carter who can adapt and perform in multiple areas on the pitch.
At the end of the day, did the manager get the maximum from the team and players’ potential this season?
So, should he stay or should he go? I believe technical stability is important and unless he has lost the dressing room confidence, he should stay, at least for another year but only with the proviso that the squad is trimmed and those who under-performed for most of the season are shipped out and the quality youngsters from the development squad are phased in gradually.