Nigel Winterburn: Arsenal need to rethink how they are defending
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IT’S not been a very good week to be an Arsenal fan, and that’s probably an understatement.
Supporters are pretty disgruntled and rightly so – they expect better and have been used to better for a long time now.
Like all of you I am desperate for this Arsenal side and Arsene Wenger to prove all the doubters wrong. I hate being viewed as an ex-player who is so critical of the current team, it’s not something I feel comfortable with.
But the way they lost Saturday’s derby was quite amazing to me from a defensive point of view. It was a performance that just totally lacked any footballing brains.
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Naive is a word Arsene has used himself and that is a good way to sum it up. This team don’t seem to sense danger in games, they don’t seem to know when to defend. They don’t seem to know how to win.
Spurs played very well in the second half but they did not actually have do that much to win the game. Yes, they brought on a striker and changed their shape, but what else do you expect when they are 2-0 down in a derby game and getting hammered?
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You would also expect them to come out flying after half-time and give it a go – Harry Redknapp would certainly have told them to do just that – but Arsenal were caught dozing as if they weren’t even expecting it.
Defensively the first goal was just awful, a real horror-show. The penalty was another crazy piece of defending. Arsenal just handed Spurs a way back into the game. Tottenham would have probably taken a point at that stage, but as the game went on they realised they only needed to attack to win it.
It’s not the time to be calling for players to be axed and new ones brought in. This team have looked good enough at times this season, but they just don’t seem to have a collective idea of how to defend, or how to kill off games when you need to.
Why are defenders attacking at 2-0 in front in the derby game. Just sit back and let the midfielders and forwards do that. You are 2-0 in front, you have already won the game as long as you don’t concede.
Tuesday night was not much better although I did feel Arsenal were very unlucky, they didn’t play too badly even if, in an attacking sense, they were a little disappointing. They should still go through and don’t deserve to if they can’t win that last game.
It’s the same in the Premier League, Arsenal are still only two points behind the leaders and they must be thankful for that. Chelsea are having a really poor run and would be streets ahead if they had kept up their form.
But I can’t help but feel the title is there for the taking this season, and Arsenal are making a mess of it just when it seemed their time had come.