Arsenal has to be careful of a mid season swoon

Watching the Gunners playing Aston Villa this weekend was watching a movie held together by a bad editing job. It did not make sense. They all but disappeared in the second half and looked like surrendering the game to the Villans a number of times. This after a vintage first half filled with crisp passes and delightful overlapping runs. Even though Craig Gardner put Villa up first, it looked like any moment the Gunners would equalize and go ahead which they did through a Flamini cannon and Adebayor’s header. Villa looked in danger of being blown out. The second half proved otherwise.
Lassana Diarra is not the answer. Wenger should have started Gilberto whose limited minutes is leading to transfer rumours this winter. I know that we trumpet the depth the central midfielder role that Arsenal has but Diarra cannot be mistaken for a Fabregas. In the second half with the Villans swarming it was increasingly difficult for Diarra to hold the ball and pass accurately. Diarra’s woeful play seems to have afflicted the Gunners and the second half drifted into a series of aimless and misdirected passes. Wenger’s choice of Diarra was probably to match Villa’s tempo and in the first half it seems to have worked because the Villans themselves were subpar. A fact that the Gunners woke up to in the second half and were found seriously lacking. Sagna had his hands full with Young’s quick pace and swerving service into the goal area. Clichy had to contend with Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Starting Gilberto would have helped organize the backfield with better retention of the ball and his experience would have helped dealing with the surging Villans in the second half. He is also very good at losing his marker and scoring goals in set pieces. Diarra on the occasions he had a shot at goal made a mess of it. Arsenal steadied themselves somewhat after Gilberto was introduced but for many minutes they looked like they were on the ropes. Martin O’Neill had every reason to look frustrated and Wenger to look concerned. With injury concerns, the Gunners need to put their best unit available, and Wenger will be better served with Gilberto in the line up.

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8 comments on “Arsenal has to be careful of a mid season swoon
  1. starting Gilberto is a series defeat we saw that from the Sevilla game.At the moment Gilberto is not as strong as Diarra.Give Diarra get the experince and the pace

  2. Cannot disagree more with you regarding Diarra. Yes he was poor in the second half but that can be said of virtually all the rest of the team. With a few regular starts under his belt he will be very hard to dislodge from a midfield berth.

  3. I cant agree. Diarra was excellent. He breaks up the play well and commits opposition players leaving space for others. Gilberto is still techically good but doesnt cover enough ground now. Did you see the Seville game. We were awful in midfield with Gilberto. I believe Diarra could play a big part in our future whilst Gilberto is more suited to centre half.

  4. Everyone seems to be trumpeting this Arsenal second-half “collapse” at Villa and how the “swarming Villans” showed the way to take Arsenal apart.
    There is no question that Villa played a ferocious, inspired half — though two things need to be remembered.
    First, they didn’t score. Carew’s header off the bar was a legit chance but for all the bluster there wasn’t all that much — beyond a barrage of crosses that were dealt with pretty easily. The reason for all the crosses was that neither Sagna nor Clichy ever was beaten cleanly on either wing. They’re both terrific players.
    But a critical point in all this discussion is that Villa’s period of dominance came after Carew had chopped down Hleb. It is a WHOLE lot easier to pressure Arsenal all over the pitch when neither Hleb nor Fabregas are on it.
    When Arsenal has a full complement of midfielders, not to mention van Persie as the link man for counter-attacks, that all-out pressure Villa exerted in the second half usually results in 2-1 leads becoming 4-1 leads.
    Put Cesc and Hleb out there, and let’s see how many teams really want to stretch the game over the entire pitch against Arsenal.
    Would that still be such a good idea?

  5. it’s all about playing time, give any of them enough time on the pitch and they can produce top quality performance’s, don’t forget last season everyone was happy to let Flamini go!!

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