Ingredients of the torture being served Arsenal fans
I write as an Arsenal fan who has had the privilege to celebrate my team’s success playing the Arsenal way. This is a brand of free-flowing attacking football with flair and intent that is hinged on creativity. Arsenal was known to play the ‘beautiful’ game as Pele would call it and beautiful it was. The club was also known for its class and values of fairness and honesty which led to the club asking for a replay for a FA cup match against Sheffield in 1999 after Overmars had scored when Sheffield had played the ball out for their player to receive treatment. When one looks at the team for the last 3 seasons there is no spark. The current 2020/21 season has been littered with some not so exciting playing style which can be likened to torture. This article is an attempt at showing the areas the team lack and the reason for playing the way they are playing.
Lack of width
Over the years the teams have produced exciting wingers or wide players in the form of Pires, Ljungberg, Sanchez, and Hleb but to name a few. Having good wide players can help in penetrating stubborn defenses and also in reducing congestion from the midfield area. The way the team is set up this 20/21 season there is a lack of width as the experienced players that are expected to offer stability in the mold of Aubameyang, Pepe and Willian have giving lukewarm performances. Only the teenager Bukayo Saka is putting a shift every time he is on the pitch.
Most of the comments regarding Arsenal has been about the lack of creativity. The team is keeping possession in areas that pose little if no danger to the opposition. Arsenal has been known to create chances for the forwards and over the years people were lamenting for the lack of a lethal striker. Now that the club has Aubameyang who already has a golden boot in the English Premier League, chances are hard to come by.
How much does the shape of a team contribute to the way they play? Arteta has been using a 3-4-3 formation for most of the games this season. This formation has a lot of defensive players in it which have been affecting the attacking side of the team. The game against Leceister saw the team playing a 4-3-3 which seems like a flat 3 in midfield featuring Ceballos, Partey and Xhaka. The same problems of lack of inventiveness being faced whilst playing a 3-4-3 was also faced whilst using the 4-3-3. Some have argued that the problem is the flat 3 and playing with a Central Attacking Mid would improve creativity in the team.
The Ozil situation
It is an open secret that the club and one of the senior players Ozil are at loggerheads. The real cause of the standoff is a matter of speculation. Ozil is yet to feature in any game for Arsenal this season and has not been registered in any competition. When looking at the performance of the team at the moment, one is forced to think about the implications of how the club handled the issue. Could it be possible that the way the club handled the Ozil results in demotivating the players?
Class and values
Arsenal is a club known for how they handle themselves with class and good values. These values culminated in the club asking for a replay against Sheffield United in 1999. Of late these values seem to be eroding, there are allegations of corruption in the signing of players, long-serving staff are being let go for lack of funds which does not appear to be sincere and the issue of Ozil has not been clear to the public eye and some of the fans. Can this apparent lack of values from the club have a negative effect on the way the players play?
In conclusion, the torturous performances that arsenal fans have to bear are a result of things on and off the field. It has to do with the composition of the team and also how it’s being set up. The lack of width has contributed to a lack of movement of the ball to dangerous areas and supplying the central forward. The lack of creativity in the team is also linked to the standoff between the club and Ozil and some of the traits that the club is exhibiting that are contrary to the values the club has been known for.