The defeat to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup means Arsene Wenger has failed to beat Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in nine attempts. In all honesty, the Blues were deserved winners. Arsenal never really showed up, even in their own Emirates Stadium.
Looking at Arsenal’s starting XI, you can’t say it’s a weaker team than that put out by Jose Mourinho. There were some quality players starting that game for Arsenal; Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Vermaelen, just to name a few. However, defensive errors cost the Gunners the game. Carl Jenkinson had a horrible game, and was to blame for the first goal.
Last week, Arsenal suffered defeat against the big boys (Borussia Dortmund in the UCL). It seems as though Arsenal just can’t beat the big teams. They did edge out Spurs earlier in the season, but I wouldn’t really consider Spurs being ‘big’. It raises the question; Why can’t Wenger’s men beat strong opposition?
Personally, I think it’s Wenger’s team choice prior to these kind of games. It’s as if supporters and football analysts can already predict how Arsenal line up. It’s OK when it comes to playing weaker opposition, but I’d like to see Arsene Wenger make specific tactical changes in important games. For example, a few years ago, Alex Ferguson used to play Rooney as a winger whenever Man Utd play Arsenal. This means Rooney will be playing directly with Theo Walcott. Putting Rooney there totally stopped Theo from playing because Rooney could match Walcott’s pace, and his larger body size means it’s difficult for Walcott to get past him. And recently, Pep Guardiola managed to rip Man City apart when Bayern Munich visited the Etihad. He put Philip Lahm (usually a right-back) in a more central midfield position. The result? Fernandinho, David Silva and Yaya Toure couldn’t play with the freedom they normally get.
These are the types of tactical changes I’d like Wenger to make. It shows that he’s studied the opposition well, and it also catches the other team by surprise. I know Wenger knows the game better than I do, but at this rate we are going to suffer in the next three games. Defeat in all three of the games coming up (Liverpool, Dortmund and Man United) would seriously dent our chances of winning anything this season.