Arsenal miss opportunity (again)
If we look at Liverpool, it’s hard to imagine an Arsenal 2021 game in which they didn’t miss a great goal opportunity.
If you want to go back even to a 0-0 draw with Manchester United at the end of January, Willian and Nicolas Pepe have created huge opportunities to claim all three points. Against the Wolves Bukayo Saka missed a pair, while Martin Odegaard could easily have saved a point in the defeat by Aston Villa.
These are the ones that will immediately come to mind, but a little research will surely reveal countless times in a season where the Gunners will wonder what could have been.
Tonight, Alexandre Lacazette was the culprit for throwing one-on-one into the bar, even though he had all the time in the world and worked hard on the move inside the six-foot box.
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Saka could and should have put his team in the first half as well, but the England international turned wide when he entered the goal.
The breakthrough eventually brought Nicolas Pepe in five minutes, but given the amount of open chances Arsenal had in the night, they should have been far ahead.
It’s not as if the quality of their performance deserved a significant lead by going into the stoppage time of the game, but the elite teams are recklessly enough to take advantage of every opportunity given to them no matter how they played.
Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta once again reversed the inefficiency of his team in front of goal.
“Very disappointing because I think we did a lot more with the great chances we created,” the Spaniard said.
“We should have scored more goals, and after we scored, we received a corner after we did not cope well in the situation and received from there, which is a big blow.
“In Europe, you won’t have 10 chances against the best opponent. When you have those big chances, you have to put them in the net.
“You want to give yourself the best chance to pass the competition. We didn’t do that today.”
Arteta is right in her assessment of the representation of her side. In a sport with such a low score as football, taking risks when they arrive is absolutely crucial.
Of course, the Gunners cannot be expected to take each of them, but they will have to increase the conversion rate if they want to have any chance of advancing to the level they are capable of.
Arteta’s plan fails
Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta made a huge call to give up his captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for one of Arsenal’s biggest games of the season.
The Gabon striker was in poor form recently, but still raised his eyebrows. Willian also got a left-hand nod in front of Gabriel Martinelli in another bold decision that seemed strange to the strangers.
Speaking on the eve of the match, the artillery chief revealed that it was all part of his grand plan for 90 minutes ahead of us.
“We had to choose the right team that will try to start the game in the best possible way, and also have the opportunity to change the game, because Europe gives you the opportunity to make five subscriptions, and that’s a big thing and we want to use our full lineup in the best possible way. “, he said.
After 60 minutes and the choice seemed to fail.
Arsenal struggled to really touch on Slavia who had very little to hold the game at 0-0, and Lacazette and Willian in particular offered very little in terms of attacking momentum.
The match seemed to be crying out for a change, and with Arteta’s statement before the match it seemed a matter of time before that would be the case.
Still, Arteta decided to postpone the change. Five more minutes passed, then ten, and the switch didn’t seem to be coming.
It was only in the 73rd minute that Martinelli was finally introduced, while Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe had to wait until the 78th to be allowed to enter the battle.
The game has currently changed for the better from Arsenal’s perspective, as the Gunners have finally started to show the urgency and directness that a game of this magnitude deserves.
When Pepe calmly led them for five minutes from time to time, it seemed as if Arteta’s master plan had succeeded.
Football, however, as we have already discussed, is a game of nice margins and when Tomas Holes scored a goal for a time stop for the Czech champions, it was no surprise that the Spaniard had to face questions as to why he did not change before at his press conference after sword.
“Well we made them when we believed it was the right time to do it, and when they changed the settings and we believed we could hurt them, not sooner,” he said.
“Should it have been done before, who knows?”
It could be argued that Arteta slightly betrayed the management of his players ’game in achieving the goals with which he was set before the game.
Cedric and Gabriel could easily have kicked the ball in the build-up to a corner from which Slavia equalized.
When the full-time whistle blew, Granit Xhaka was heard shouting “just fucking clear the ball” at the Portuguese defender before exchanging strong words with Rob Holding as Arsenal’s frustration at not being able to see the game threatened to boil over.
But in the end the task of the game management falls to the feet of the manager and perhaps if Arteta had made changes earlier, the Gunners would not have been in a position to defend a one-goal lead in the final minute of the game.
The Spaniard is still a young manager, but the failure to be proactive enough to act when Plan A clearly didn’t work cost him the night. It is a lesson from which he will have to learn quickly.
Aubameyang shows why he is not the next Ozil
Earlier in the week, parallels between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil were drawn, while the form of the Gabon striker continued to falter this season.
The argument in favor of such a perception was not helped at all by the fact that Arsenal’s most influential and highest paid player found himself on the bench of one of Topnik’s biggest games this season.
As the German was sometimes to blame, it would have been easy for Aubameyang to sulk over that decision. His performance after he performed, however, largely laid a comparison in bed.
From the moment he stepped on the field, he seemed to be fired and trying to provide the reaction that was sorely lacking after his initial return following Mikel Arteta’s decision to dismiss him in the North London derby due to disciplinary problems.
An early chance was thrown right next to the post that he could probably have done better with just a few moments after he came in, and shortly after his perfectly weighted pass to Nicolas Pepe briefly looked like that would be enough to win the game for Arsenal.
Captain Topnik’s relationship with his manager has been called into question lately and speaking after the game Arteta admitted that he did not explain to Aubameyang why he decided to play Alexandre Lacazette instead.
However, signs of a schism healing were present as the Spaniard praised his skipper for the quality of his late cameo.
“Well, I can’t talk to everyone individually every week, but we try to be transparent and communicate with the players as clearly as possible to understand the role they play in the game,” he said of the decision to leave the 31-year-old.
“When he came in, he showed the right attitude and the right commitment.”
Entering the game against Sheffield United on Sunday, it looks like the Gabon striker could get his chance off the field. The goal there and all the talk about Ozil’s comparisons can quickly become water under the bridge.
Tierney’s absence is felt
Entering the game, one of the most intriguing selection dilemmas Mikel Arteta had to contend with was about how he would fill the huge void created by the absence of Kieran Tierney.
The Scot was ruled out four to six weeks after suffering a knee injury in a loss to Liverpool on Saturday.
He has influenced Arsenal’s attack so much this season – creating more chances from the open game than any other member of the team – Arteta admitted before the match that the Gunners will have to change their entire approach to the match against Prague’s Slavia him.
It seemed to be a direct blow between Cedric and Bukayo Sake, who will be asked to fill the position of left back.
The 19-year-old offered the closest to Tierney’s inexplicable offensive threat by overlapping races from outside to forward, but Cedric provided greater defensive strength as a special quarterback.
In the end, it was the Portuguese international who Arteta left for, and it is curious that the young Joel Lopez – an orthodox left-back who did well in the U23 season – was on the bench, it seemed that the Arsenal boss gave a statement about his intention to saw Sakina’s future as an offensive rather than a defensive option.
Although the England international provided the Gunners with the best threat for most of the game down the right, it was a decision that ultimately proved to be an obstacle to further progress.
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Cedric did a good job forward, when he could, but he threw the balls into the penalty area on a weaker foot, when in the final third there was no patch for the constant quality delivery we’re used to from Tierney.
With a slightly less daunting task at Sheffield United coming up this weekend, perhaps Arteta will be tempted to return Saka to left-back position, where he did well in early 2020, as he tries to explore alternative ways to deal with the Scottish full players. back loss.
Try as hard as you can, even though there is no Tierney on the sidelines for this crucial phase of the season, it may be seen backwards as a crucial moment in Arsenal’s campaign.