Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City: Width Key and Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal: Counter Attack

Arsenal beat City 3-0 on Sunday, a scoreline that hides the fact that City were in large parts of the game.

After the sending off of Dedryck Boyata, City played a 4-3-1-1 formation, with the 3 sitting very narrow. Arsenal played less through the middle than they did against Birmingham, but on Sunday, Arsenal's wide players, Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin kept the width, exposing City, and forcing them to run more. Nasri and Arshavin would combine for the first goal, Nasri cutting in as Bacary Sagna crossed, and Nasri cutting in from the wing provided the ball for Bendtner for the third goal.
A chalkboard explains better than I do:

by Guardian Chalkboards
Against City, Arsenal's passing involved more width than a similar game, away to 10 man Liverpool, did. That may have to do with the different styles of Liverpool and City, but Arsenal's width was a key factor in their victory.

Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal

Arsenal's 4th round Carling Cup victory against Newcastle was a very scrappy and un-Arsenal like performance. Arsenal were sloppy in possession, pehaps down to the pitch, and players like Craig Eastmond in the team, but they seemed to play the long ball more than usual, and Walcott's two goals came from long passes out of defence, though one, by Koscielny, was very composed.
After going 2-0 up, Arsenal sat back a bit, and most of their attacking play in the second half was through the pace of Walcott, as he stretched Newcastle, who were pushing forward to get back into the match. Of the 3 goals in the second half, two were counter attacks, and winning the ball in the middle of the pitch.
Walcott's pace has been missed by Arsenal, as he gives them the pace to lead a quick counter attack, and time and time again a simple long ball from the back found him in a lot of space.

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