Arsenal v Chelsea - Exposing the Arsenal's weaknesses!

****Images have been removed**** After looking (and proving as it turned out) at how Chelsea could beat Spurs , looking at Barcelona and ...

****Images have been removed****

After looking (and proving as it turned out) at how Chelsea could beat Spurs, looking at Barcelona and their weaknesses which proved to be right again, I am now having a look at the big game tomorrow.

Arsenal had been on a fantastic run of late but defeats to QPR away and Wigan at home last Monday have cost them.

I want to focus on the most recent Arsenal game which was last Monday night against Wigan. Arsenal lost the game 2-1 so I wanted to look at the way they conceded their goals first of all and then if there are any other areas Chelsea could look to exploit and there is plenty to be encouraged about if you are a Chelsea fan. I have identified three areas that we can exploit!.

So let's start with the two goals.

Weakness No.1 - Wide open to the counter attack!.

As we all know, Arsenal are a fantastic passing side, with plenty of movement all over the pitch and can hurt you in many ways. The problem they have is defending the counter attack and the man "in the hole".

Let's have a look at the first Wigan goal - a classic counter attack.

As Van Persie swings the ball in, Wigan have lined up Zonal Marking the six yard box. You will notice (from left to right) Rosicky, Benayoun, the injured Arteta and Sagna are all lurking around the edge of the box.

The ball is headed away and everything looks to be OK.

Wigan push up as the ball is cleared as Sagna heads the ball back towards Van Persie.

Wigan intercept the ball and lead RVP for dead. Just watch here as Wigan now have the ball, keep your eye on the men getting forward from inside their own box.

As the person with the ball reaches half way, Sagna has come across to challenge and has Andre-Santos has done the same to cover the run from Gomez. Notice Franco Di Santo totally unmarked at the bottom of the picture about to cross the half way line.

The ball is played through to Gomez who has also spotted the run of Di Santo and has played the ball first time into his path. Benayoun and one other person have been caught the wrong side.

The ball comes to Di Santo as the keeper comes out to close him down..

He flicks it over the keeper and then volleys the ball into the net before he is tackled to make it 1-0 Wigan. It's a classic counter attack and pays off!.

Arsenal are always wide open to a counter attack purely and simply because of the way they like to play football. They like to get players forward but at the same time, leave plenty of space and a lack of numbers to defend a possible counter.

Weakness No.2 - The man "in the hole" - the play maker.

Wigan's second goal is a great example of what the kind of player who likes to get in between the lines can do to Arsenal on the day. I will post other less successful examples after this one, but will expose a major flaw in their defending. Firstly, let's start with the second goal.

Gomez has the ball and is about the play it wide left. Arsenal's defensive positions look to be OK.

Gomez has laid the ball off and turned inside heading towards the box. He is the closest player to the Referee in a Wigan shirt. Let me draw your attention to Song (number 17) standing in front of him at the moment. Look where is he looking - he sees that Rosicky is just behind Gomez so he follows the run of Di Santo into the box.

Look above. Rosicky hasn't followed Gomez at all, he has remained in the same position. Look at Gomez and his position now (Number 14 blue shirt) and now look below.

The ball has gone down the line to Moses who has held the ball up. Di Santo remains in the same position on the edge of the box but look at Gomez now - he is still moving towards the six yard box - unmarked and notice where every single Arsenal player is looking.

As Moses turns the full back and heads towards the byline - Gomez is running in behind Benayoun No 30 and into the space between the two Arsenal defenders.

As the cross comes in, one of those two defenders has been sucked towards the ball and he and another defender have made a mess of the challenge at the near post and the ball falls to Gomez who is UNMARKED six yards out to score!.

Gomez was able to lay the ball off and head into the box without being tracked by a marker. Not one defender saw his run and made a move to cover him especially as it's in the box. He was left free.

Here are some more examples - this time nothing comes of them but the danger signs are there for all to see.

We join this piece of play as Wigan have broken up Arsenal possession and played the ball over the top wide left to Moses. You can see one defender going across to Moses, one in the middle checking where the other defender (number 11) is, Song rushing back to help them with Di Santo running forward as the furthest Wigan forward in the move. Just keep your eye on the player at the bottom left corner of this picture - it's Gomez again playing in the hole.

Moses stops with the ball and cuts inside. Song is getting back to help Sagna who is nearest to Moses. The two defenders in the middle look to have Di Santo's run covered as Gomez lurks at the bottom again. Notice how another Wigan midfielder is joining the attack late on in plenty of space.

Song has now gambled on winning the tackle he is about to make on Moses and has left the man making the late run to the edge of the box unmarked for Wigan. Gomez is still in the same position. If Moses is able to flick the ball back to the man on the edge of the box, he would be able to have a shot OR play the ball wide right to Gomez for him to have a pop at goal.

Lucky for Arsenal, Song wins the tackle but imagine if he hadn't. Look at the position of the player just waiting for a flick back to him and the amount of space WIDE OPEN around the edge of the box!.

Here is another one..

The ball has been played up to Di Santo and he is about to flick the ball inside to his team mate to start another attack. Look at Gomez the number 14 again and his position in the middle of the pitch. He has the space there because Rosicky has pushed forward and Ramsey has been sucked towards the ball over the far side and has made a half hearted challenge to try and win the ball. Song is now focused on who the ball is going to.

OK, the ball has reached it's target and look at Gomez the number 14 again, he has started making a move forward.

The ball has been passed back out wide as Gomez heads towards the box as the Arsenal defence retreat..

Now look. Two Arsenal players have been sucked towards the ball and two more to block off and cover the other Wigan midfielders run forward. Santos for Arsenal bottom right is ball watching and is unaware of Gomez and his position. A ball flicked in between the Arsenal players here to Gomez to run on to and take into the box would have been perfect here..

It doesn't happen but is played to Di Santo who is caught offside. Again though, Gomez is making that run towards goal and isn't being picked up..

Weakness No.3 The pullback from wide areas..

In this game there were two glorious opportunities for Wigan, with the ball in wide areas, to pull the ball back towards the edge of the box from near the byline for a player wide open and in space to have a shot from there but for some reason, were both ignored.

Wigan are breaking from midfield with the ball again. Arsenal look defensively set.

The Wigan player is free of the Arsenal midfield but has the defensive line to contend with..

The Arsenal back four squeeze up and look to shut the door....BUT..

Bottom right corner, Di Santo has been left unmarked by the right back and Di Santo has time to cross the ball into the middle..

Arsenal block the cross and the ball is eventually cleared but look at the Wigan player who has made the late run in the box for Di Santo to pull the ball back to him for a shot on goal ! It was there but never used!.

Now onto another one and my final piece of action..

Wigan break down the left again. Look at Gomez and his position in the middle once more. He is the Wigan player nearest to the Referee.

Moses has played a one two down the line and is about to beat the defender to the ball. Again, look at Gomez..

Moses has beat the defender and with another defender now in front of him is looking right at Gomez on the edge of the box in wide open space. All he needs to do is pull the ball back to him for Gomez to shoot..

Greed gets the better of Moses and he ignores Gomez and shoots. Just look at how much space Gomez has!

The keeper saves the shot from Moses..

These are the three main areas we can expose. I haven't got shots available from the QPR game but if you can find it anywhere, Arsenal fans will tell you just how wide open Diakite was on the edge of the box. Mackie pulled the ball back to him and he was left unmarked and without being put under pressure to fire a shot into the net from around 12-18 yards.

We all know the strengths of the Arsenal as I posted here with a detailed explanation of how they took us apart at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are a very different side now with the high line gone under RDM and have demonstrated in recent weeks how much we have improved since that game!.

Do not get me wrong. This is no easy game for Chelsea and we have to be up and at it to get anything from it but to summarise, these are the important points to remember:

  • Chelsea need to remain compact as they were against Barcelona
  • We need to take advantage of the counter attack 
  • The man in the hole could be key for Chelsea
  • The Arsenal midfield do not track runs into the box made off the ball
  • The Arsenal defence drop deep when attacked wide and the pull back is ALWAYS an option
The game is there for the taking if we can remain solid and frustrate them.

This is a game Chelsea can win tomorrow as we owe this lot for what happened at the Bridge. Arsenal were fantastic on the counter attack that day - Chelsea need to be the same tomorrow!


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