Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Defensive frailties the difference

Arsenal can take a lot from this two-legged tie with Barcelona. They showed us how to press well, and their passing was great. For Arsenal tonight, we need to take the positives, which I guess can be we scored. Defensive frailties were a major difference between Arsenal and Barcelona; while it was a Barca mistake for the first goal, Silvestre played a 1-2 with Messi. The second goal was just an excellent team goal all around, again Silvestre at fault a bit, and the third goal was a typical Arsenal goal to concede. Vermaelen goes forward, and it's wide open for Messi to complete his hat trick. 3-1, and the tie was over.
Like the first leg, this was a difficult game to analyze tactically. In fact, if you want a brief report you could say this: "Barcelona passing excellent, 61% possession, pressing excellent, Messi". And that is what it boiled down to; its not demeaning of Barcelona in any way, in fact it's a testament to the way that they control the game. They're passing and pressing were just top draw; ours (69% passing, must be the lowest this season) was not. As expected, Walcott started, and created the first goal, with his speed. But, as I feared, he didn't get in the game that much, and wasn't able to latch on to through balls. Rosicky was poor, Clichy was alright, and Silvestre was abject. It says enough about his defensive capabilities, that Sagna was pushed to centre half.
Disappointing, but not unexpected, and the better team won.

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