If you want to beat Chelsea, don’t be so predictable…

Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal and Oscar of Chelsea

The first real test for this Arsenal side is going to come this Sunday against a team which has revolutionalized the art of the 3 man defense and a competent and fully functional midfield.

When Conte got thrashed 3-0 at the Emirates last season, it might have seemed that he would not have an instantaneous answer to what the premier league had thrown at him. A three man defense may have worked for Juventus in Seria, but getting it right and effective in the premier league given the league’s pace and quality of football seemed out of reach.

But what he did in response to that Arsenal defeat was astounding and he deserves all the credit because his tweak from the 3-5-2 to a 3-4-3 formation made Chelsea win the premier league.

The man understood that attacking and defending are two sides of the same coin and one without the other is a dangerously short-lived team (one perfect example is Barcelona under Vilanova)

With new signings such as Morata and Bakayoko, Antonio Conte seems to be very serious in continuing his formation style of 3-4-3.

Make no mistake, this formation will stay and what makes the formation even more full-proof is the presence of players like Kante – something the world of football was missing since Makalele.

Arsenal line up for Chelsea game and the tactics to be adopted.

lineup (2)

The golden rule against teams like Chelsea, Manchester United or any other counter-attacking side is this :

DO NOT LOSE THE BALL. IF YOU DO, EVERYBODY GET BACK & GET THE BALL BACK!

Sir Alex Ferguson made a very astute observation regarding Wenger. I am going to paraphrase a bit from his book in which he spoke about the tactics he used against Wenger.

He said the best way to play against Arsenal is through patience and awareness. Patience is for waiting and not getting frustrated because if you are facing a team like Arsenal, it’s less likely that you will have more possession of the ball. Awareness is to make sure you “intercept” the ball and quickly break for the counter – the key to beating Arsenal is counter-attacking football. This is true. 100%.

Arsenal without the ball against a good counter-attacking side is as good as a group of headless chickens because when it comes to defending we may still be average (I am being biased since we are below average). But when it comes to “defending against counter-attacks” we don’t have any answer. It’s the only tangible weakness of this Arsenal side.

My guess is Conte will be ready for this. Not only will he tell his team to take the game to us (being a home game) but as a PLAN B, he will make sure his team is setup to counter – effectively.

The thing with games like these is that they have to be contested as a team and your marquee players performance will only help your team. Arsenal has to perform as one unit and if Ozil or Sanchez or Lacazette step up that’s a re-enforcement. The game vs Bournemouth was a feel good factor for Arsenal fans. It was like getting prize money at the casino worth 100$ after losing 500$ till then – the 100$ makes you feel good, but don’t get your hopes up, yet.

Tactically, I believe that Arsenal needs to keep possession (and will be allowed to some extent) and attack with 2-3 game plans. This includes crossing to Lacazette and others if needed, playing quick passes – long and short in order to get balls into the box and thus attempting to break down a resilient Chelsea defense. Simultaneously, however, Cech must be protected.

The key, however, will be to defend strongly when Chelsea attack – be it counter-attack or normally. Kante will be hungry to nick the ball of any of our midfielders to start countering so nullifying him will help us immensely. Ozil needs to step up and maybe draw Kante out of his natural position in order to allow Ramsey & co better passage. Xhaka needs to be more aware and another lack luster performance by him can actually see him benched in the future. Players need to maintain their shape, even if they lose the ball. The Barcelona pressing system is something which won’t work very well against Chelsea becuase they prefer to distribute the ball and attack in numbers, so it’s better if we preserve our energy till it’s needed and not run the risk of losing our basic formational structure. We should play a 4-3-3 and this shape should not be compromised under any conditions. This is my opinion, but Wenger may opt for the “defensive suicidal formation” 3-4-3.

I have my doubts about this structure and the only reason I do so is that it takes more than 2-3 months for a team to get used to this formation completely. We have had pre-season and 4 games to do the same. I am going to do some research on this and publish another article regarding the loop-holes in the 3-4-3 or the 3-5-2 and why some teams are better off without it, so I shall come back to this later.

Overall, this is going to be one tough game for Arsenal. If they win, their confidence will sky-rocket because beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is nothing close to easy.

Get the tactics right, get the mentality of the players set and keep the shape and discipline (even if you want to play the 3-4-3) – we can do this if these 3 things are addressed and win.

If not, expect another cricket scoreline this week

I feel sorry for myself as well as other Arsenal fans…

Polar Bear Face Palm

I post seldom these days. But forgive me for not being so regular when there is nothing actually concrete to talk about. And when I say nothing concrete I mean it with my entire heart (fuck the bottom).

I read other posts pondering what to make out of articles. Irrelevant articles written with no objective or purpose. Its not that these blogs are bad, they are good, but I mean come on, you have to have something to happen for you to  blog about.

At Arsenal, nothing is happening or as we Indians would say : Ghanta ho ra ha he ( It wont make sense if you read it in English, you need a hindi accent !)

The rubbish in the media is something to behold. I mean, normally we classify some reports as ‘jokes’ but sometimes when you read garbage like ‘Suarez to Arsenal, is done in principle’ one feels like telling the author to just go fuck himself.

But lets forget Arsenal for now. (This will be easy as there is nothing to remember in the first place)

Lets go global with the rise of power in France most notably from 2 clubs who quite frankly nobody gave a shit about(actually some people still considered PSG a threat) till last year. AS Monaco have spent roughly 125 million pounds acquiring an arsenal of talent for themselves – Falcao(52.8), Joao Moutinho(22), James Rodriguez(39.6) and Jeremy Toulalan(4.4) most notably apart from Abidal whom they got on a free transfer. The other powerhouse represent Lique 1 champions PSG who have slashed out 55 million for Edison Cavani, 27 million for defender Marquinhos and 13.2 for Lucas Digne.

PSG will pose as the main threat in the champions league and under manager Laurent Blanc they are expected to cause a few upsets having been unluckily eliminated from the champions league last year against Barcelona.

Manchester City having learned from their mistakes last year have gone and spent roughly 100 million pounds acquiring and replacing players. They learnt from the hammering United gave them last year by signing ‘Jesus’ himself, followed by Fernandinho, Negredo and Jovetic, the latter 2 being brought in to replace Balotelli and Carlos Tevez. United on the other hand have responded well by signing Guillermo Varela, a 20 year old Uruguayan fullback.

Liverpool and Arsenal are in the same situation as last summer, the only difference being Arsenal are now doing the dirty business by bidding 40+ for Luis Suarez, the Cannibal. As a player even I would be an idiot to say no to Suarez. He is to Liverpool what Van Persie WAS to Arsenal. But as a person its will be difficult to adjust to defend him. Especially if he comes to Arsenal having said that the reason for him to leave Liverpool is the English media. But I don’t expect this transfer to go through because I don’t see Wenger tabling a 50+ million pound bid for the player.

Wenger has his eye in South America where it has been widely reported that he will pay 21 million to acquire 20 year old midfielder Bernard from Atletico Mineiro. I have never heard of this player, so I will comment on him after I see him play. Correction, I will comment on him IF he EVER plays for Arsenal. And come to think of it, I guess I will be with-holding my opinion on him for EVER.

Chelsea have made some shrewd signings this summer, most notably their manager – Jose Mourinho, who I expect will provide some shape and balance to the team. This is very important because a team without a shape is like a building without pillars. One of the best examples of a team with proper shape and balance last season was Bayern Munich, and looked what they achieved. They also have Lukaku who to be honest is like a surprise package in my opinion. For West Brom last season he was brilliant, now imagine how much he can achieve with the players that surround him currently. Chelsea have also acquired other players such as striker Andre Schurrle, GK Mark Schwarzer and midfielder Marco van Ginkel.

Also in the news, David Moyes  continuously goes on bidding for Fabregas. This transfer seems very unlikely and practically speaking Moyes should go for Fellaini, a man who can actually provide stability to the United midfield. I am not saying Fabregas is bad, all I am saying is that I don’t think he will come especially after his move to Barcelona from Arsenal was compared to a soldier returning home from war !

Speaking of Manchester united, their ex-talisman player Wayne Rooney seems to have taken a stand in wanting to be sold this summer. This is the best time for foreign clubs to capitalise on the situation, and if Rooney does move its probably going to be to Spain. Well, I hope it is, because if he moves to Chelsea as I have heard they have already had an initial 23 million pound bid rejected, then all the clubs in the PL are fucked.

I wont blog often now. I mean, what am I supposed to write on – Arsenal’s possible transfer targets ?  Why Arsenal need this man ? Or should it be why Wenger should do this or that ??

I rather see turtles racing than see Arsenal doing something in the transfer market. The former is so much more interesting as compared to the latter which IS non-existent at the moment.

I have better things to do than waste my time speculating that this and that will happen. And I rather gladly do them.

Ciao

DKD

FOOTBALL MAKES YOU LEARN…

Jose Mourinho is indeed an unique manager.  Although his team plays some of the most boring football on the planet, (well” boring ” is a mild term which we can use to describe them), yet the guy manages to win trophies. So what is it about Mourinho that I admire. Well actually, the only thing one can admire about him is that “The guy gets the job done.” Probably if you are a Real Madrid fan you would have noticed something different about the team this season…

Look at this stat. Real Madrid, last season i.e the 2009-2010 season had conceded 48 goals in all competitions. In other words they played 48 games and conceded 48 goals. So simply putting it, they concede 1 goal every game. This season under Mourinho they have played currently 7 games and have concede only 1 goal. So logically it they were to play 48 games , keeping to this trend they would concede about 7 goals all season. Now considering tough matches in the champions League and la Liga lets add another 9 goals to that. The total comes to 16…3 times less than that of the total goals conceded. ‘1/3 rd less.’ So what has this guy done. In a nut-shell, he has made Madrid’s defense rock solid. Simply putting it,  it would be an achievement for teams to score against them.

“The team was solid at the back and we have conceded just one goal in six games. (Iker) Casillas only had one save to make, however, if you don’t score you don’t win.”

Secondly,  consider Mourinho’s  home record. It stands, according to wikipedia as on 21st Sept, 2010 at about 138 games. 138 games unbeaten at home. So in other words, in the HOME category under the loss column in the league table there has always been, upto today, a ‘0’. But,surprisingly, the guy does not give a crap about this majestic record…

“I do not do anything to keep this record. In many games, my teams have been tied and I have had to take risks to win. In a championship, it is better to win five and lose one rather than draw five. I do not want records, I want points.

“If tomorrow we are drawing 0-0 with a few minutes to go, I will ask my team to take risks to win.”

Now assuming that we believe him and that he is honest, his ability to maintain such a record is absolutely majestic and is seriously worth applauding.

Now lets come to the main theme of my article:

Why did we lose at Stamford Bridge ? It’s not that Chelsea played better than us. It’s not because that we suck. And it’s not because their team is miles ahead of us. It’s because of the defense. Where is our defense against top-teams, I have no ******g clue. Now please understand my point here. When I say “Where is our defense”, I do not mean that they overall played badly, but rather amount of opportunities they gave Chelsea to test them. I mean, 1 long-ball from Terry had put Malouda through with Fabianski. We saw the match between Inter and Barca at the Nou Camp. Barcelona did whatever they could do, but their threat to Cesar was completely neutralised by Inter’s defense. That is how a defense should be set-up. Even at Stamford Bridge, when Inter took on Chelsea, I lost count of the amount of times Chelsea bombarded Inter in the last 5 mins of the 1st half, but did that defense ever look like it was going to break down?

But credit to us for taking Chelsea head-on at the Bridge. Not many teams do that you know…

At yesterday’s match however, there was 1 prick who really pissed me off. Alex Song is the main reason why Chelsea could attack us so much yesterday. The basic “Makalele” role does not even come to the git. So, what was he supposed to do?

Just sit in front of the back four & Protect them. And if either of the full-backs make over-lapping/ advancing runs, protect their ‘zones.’ He may have been fouled or whatever, but throughout the game the guy just never consolidated the defense. Ashley Cole did sneak-in a few brilliant runs behind him, and if it was not for Squillaci’s fast thinking which played the ‘ex-gunner’ offside, we would have another goal inside Fabianski’s net. The guy continuously played the ball to Sagna on the right, and “jogged up.” Whats the point in assigning you a position if you don’t even stick to it for crying out loud.

Chelsea had only 1 game plan – to counter attack. Now if Sagna goes up and Diaby and Wilshere are left up-field along with Nasri, Chamakh and Arshavin, that leaves 3 defenders and Song (supposedly) behind. Now when they counter-attack, because our blonde African is busy chatting with Ramires, we are left with 2 defenders to deal with a fast-powerful counter-attacking Chelsea side which includes Drogba, Anelka & Malouda… ‘Not too much of a problem, is it ?’

Now, speaking about defenders, Kosher, in my opinion has to bulk up. It’s not that he s a bad defender, but the league in which he plays demands a bit of bulk and strength. Vermaelen is an exception to this category. The guy does not look that bulky, but is ******g strong. Kosher did have a nice match overall, but he did get over-powered by “The Drog” quite easily in the 34th minute. (the time when LF pulled out his first save of the day..) Sadly, this is also not the first case in which he was nudged away this season, remember Diouf at Ewood Park..

Ever noticed Valencia when he first signed for Manchester Utd. He was lean, but 3 months later, he became ‘bigger.’ This strength attribute helps, as the players can out-muscle others on the pitch. Some players, who have this attribute are Drogba, Valencia, Rooney, Essien,Vidic.  Defenders can use it to win aerial balls, and out-field players can use it to nudge others out of their way. Now, it ain’t beautiful, but that’s football for you.

We never played badly yesterday. I mean, yes, we did not take our chances but our performance was not that bad. I mean upto the 60th min from half-time, I did not see much off Fabianski, except for the Anelka incident. That too was Squillaci’s fault. On Squillaci I must comment that the guy is a good CB. Yes , he made a howler with Anelka, but his performance overall was not bad.

Lastly I would want to conclude by saying that Arsenal are a top team, and in no way should we look down on ourselves just because we lost to Chelsea. In Football one learns many things. The only thing we should learn is “How to win Ugly.” Chelsea and Manchester Utd are good teachers in that category, and so is any team managed by Mourinho. Once we know that, our Football education will be complete. Remember Fulham at Craven cottage last season,(yeah the one in which Mannone when crazy) that was an example of “Arsenal winning ugly.” You will never hear Gooners moan about ‘we should have played beautiful football’. 3 points in the bag, “Done and Dusted.”

Now it may not sound very good to hear, but I think a mark of ‘Champions’ is also to ‘win ugly’    &    the faster we know this, the better for us.

So Cheers & never lose faith,

DKD

PS: I have not calculated Madrid’s 6-1 drubbing of Deportivo last Sunday, and thus this is not included in the Madrid stat I stated above.

MATCH REPORT : CHELSEA FC 2 – 0 ARSENAL FC

And we end in the same old manner.

You know, I have inferred a rule from this game or rather a law:

“Performance is inversely proportional to the result”…

Arsenal record their second loss of the season against an in-form Chelsea side. We started in a ‘more than’ positive manner and Kosher should have put us up within 3  mins, right after Chamakh headed wide after 44 seconds on the clock.

Arsenal were using the Barcelona pressing tactic. And this was working quite well, the host were pinned back for quite sometime. But the only hole in this tactic is the long-ball. As my point was proved, as when John Terry played a long-ball from the back Malouda was found himself 1-on-1 with Fabianski. Luckily for us , the french-man put too much power in his chip.

In the 8th minute, Arshavin shot was blocked by Cech. The games tempo was sky-high in the first 10 minutes. But by the 11th minute everything subsided. The blues began to take control of the game. In the 13th minute, Drogba out-muscled Kosher on the right and crossed, but luckily Malouda scuffed his shot for a goal-kick.

Chelsea were using the same tactic against Arsenal, (just as they do always) -” The Counter-attack.”

The 14th minute witnessed a brilliant counter-attack from the league -leaders. JT to Essien, Essien to Drogba, and Drogba laid it off to Anelka. Fortunately for us Sagna cleared the ball before it reached his french-counter part.

Cech was called to his GK duties in the 27th min when he superbly saved an Arshavin cracker.  4 minutes later, Nasri shot wide.

Fabianski’s first real test brought by the “Drog” in the 34th min, and the polish keeper responded well at his near post. But 5 minutes later, when Ramires fed Cole on the left and the “ex-gunner” gave a low cross into the box, Fabianski was beaten by an awkward flick of the ball by Drogba in to the net…..Chelsea 1- 0 Arsenal.

When the 2nd half began, I was not shocked to see Arsenal at top at all. Well, why should one we surprised at what is expected. We dominated them as usual, but they won. We just followed the script, and I applaud the players for carrying it out marvellously.

In the 58th minute, Squillaci fumble at the back put Anelka through to Fabianski. And although he  rounded the keeper, yet he placed his shot wide…Lucky escape for us ! We survived, we survived !!

Within the last 15 minutes, Chamakh headed wide. Nasri’s lay-off for Song was blasted out of the stadium, and Rosicky curled effort was headed away by Alex. Oh yes, Alex..how can I forget to mention the man with the “Golden Boot.”

His free-kick in the 84th minute, was a ******g Thunder-bolt.Personally, forget jump and try, I would never have even put my hand out, at least Fabianski tried..Kudos to him.

About the free-kick, in my opinion, “Magnificent” is not the right word to describe it, rather a “big-bang kamehameha” is a  much better term.

By the 90th minute, we had given up on defending. Essien found himself 1 on 1 with Fabianski, and the pole made a brilliant save. A ‘save’ to ‘save’ us from more humiliation indeed…(one of the few  guys who made a ******g effort not to follow the script.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

10 out of 10 to Arsenal. We followed the script inch-perfectly. We lost 2-0 at the Bridge, and this was expected.

The only Arsenal b****** who pissed me of was Song. The guy last season was Arsenal’s most improved player. This season, I have no idea, (and I am sure even he doesn’t) where is he playing? When Sagna made over-lapping runs, beyond Nasri he should have stayed back in the RB zone. He never did that, and was solely responsible for the first goal when Ashley Cole found himself free on the left-wing.

On Fabianski I must say, that he really played well. Neither goal can be blamed on him, and ‘if’ he keeps up the same standard of performance, then in my opinion, there is no need to open the “clubs wallet” in the winter transfer window for a new GK.

Next up, Birmingham at home

Take care & Cheers,

DKD

MATCH PREVIEW: CHELSEA FC VS ARSENAL FC

The Match at the Bridge on sunday is a key one for the title race. 3 things one can gain from this fixture are : Pride, Confidence and Points. Although the last 1 is the most important, a combo-pack would not be too bad, would it ?

Both teams had lost the week before. Ours was against new promoted West Brom & theirs was from newly modified ‘Manchester City.’ Not much difference is it ?

Among the injury list include the usual names of -RVP, Theo, Nikko & Aaron. AW  gave an update on Cesc, Almunia, Tommy-V and Gibbs :

“Fabregas is not fit to play in this one and nor is Almunia,” he said.

“We lost Gibbs as well on Tuesday night with a calf problem and he is out of the England squad as well. He is out for two to three weeks.”

“Vermaelen – no,” Wenger went on.

So, in all probability “The Pole” shall be in the goal & lets all hope he doesn’t keep like an ***hole.

Th only good news is that Abou Diaby, has been confirmed by the Arsenal’s official website, to be back in the squad for the clash against Chelsea . Yeah !!

Team-Line up :

———————————————————–FABIANSKI————————————————————

—-SAGNA————————–KOSHER———————————–SQ18——————————CLICHY-

————————————————————–SONG——————————————————————

—————————————NASRI—————————————DIABY—————————————–

———-ROSICKY——————————————————————————————-ARSHAVIN———–

———————————————————-CHAMAKH————————————————————–

SUBS: SZCZESNY, EBOUE, DJOUROU, DENILSON, ROSICKY. WILSHERE, VELA, LANSBURY.

Final thoughts:

Although 10 years ago this fixture would have in the category of a ‘tricky one’, yet all the bookies would probably tip us for the win. However at present, it seems to be a different scenario. Last season we got slaughtered twice in the league. At the Emirates the score-line read 3-0 , while at the Bridge they offered us a discount of 1 goal.

Drogba is certainly the man to watch, scoring twice against us last year and once in the FA Cup semi-final the year before. So, SQ18 will certainly have his hands-full keeping “The Drog” at bay. Moreover, Chelsea will have the Stamford Bridge faithful, so the conditions to play shall be more than  just ‘difficult.’

Since Cesc is missing the clash with Chelsea, Nasri should fill-in his role and Rosicky should come in for Nasri’s.

Now, I know the odds are against us, but trust me, I am in no doubt that we can beat Chelsea at their own back-yard. Yes, it going to be one of the toughest teams to beat, but we are Arsenal, and we can certainly do it.

Best of luck guys,

&

Cheers

DKD