Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wenger the coach vs. Wenger the tactician

Bagga Wilks writes on Futbolr.com about Arsene Wenger the coach and Arsene Wenger the tactician.

Arsenal entered the game against Sunderland with their three scoring machines, Fabregas, Van Persie and Walcott, out of commission. Bendtner and Rosicky were expected to provide some punch in the offense and Arshavin in recent games is back to being an explosive player.

Unsurprisingly, without their three guns, Arsenal outplayed Sunderland as the team on the pitch adhered to the ball possession system that Wenger has instilled but for most of the game, no one had the creativity to step out of the system and unleash the unexpected.

The Sunderland game highlights that Wenger is an exceptional coach and an unexceptional tactician. Since Fabregas is hurt, it means someone has to step into the role as the playmaker. Wenger keeps hoping that Rosicky will rise to the occasion but Rosicky in the last two years has been a goal-less wonder and a non-playmaker.

Why wouldn’t the Arsenal coach give that responsibility to the creative and in-form Nasri? Nasri has been scoring goals, beating defenders in the last third and providing numerous assists. That responsibility was not given to Nasri until the second half when Nasri was brought in from the right wing position. He immediately began to work his magic and were it not for bad refereeing his through ball to Arshavin would have meant victory for Arsenal. Arshavin and Nasri combined well and if Nasri had a ninety-minutes crack as the playmaker, the outcome would have been different.

Arsenal faces Barcelona devoid of their scoring machine and if Arsenal is going to go forward in the UEFA Cup, Nasri has to start as the offensive mid-field playmaker.

The danger Arsenal faces, as was obvious in the Sunderland game, is that the two Polish players, Szczesny and Koscielny, seem to have a language problem. That failure to communicate cost Arsenal the Carling Cup. The persistence of that failure to communicate could result in Arsenal making an early exit from the UEFA Cup.

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