Change: (noun) – an act or process through which something becomes different.
Should Arsene Wenger’s reign as Arsenal manager end badly, the obituarists will forever make great play on his failure to change. Stubborn and naive, the two traits of such a legendary figure that have plagued his character in the past 8 unsuccessful years. On the back of the FA Cup triumph, an escalation in hope was projected within Arsenal fans, only for the projection to come bleaker and bleaker. Declining from last season’s silverware, Arsenal are a growing band of softness and fragility, a side that was once packed with grit and granite. The brutal laceration received in regards to the Anderlecht and Swansea misery has hopefully alarmed the Frenchman that change is essential. http://gty.im/458903160
The first of many obvious problems at Arsenal is the line-up and player selection. This is a necessity to change. A dulcet, recurring line-up that has minor hints of any sparkle on old Arsenal sides. The formation of 4-4-2 is an effective ploy by Le Proffeseur, earning the very best from the strike partnership of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck. Two individuals who have been the only positives of late when combing aesthetically to lead the line. Those two must start, the work-rates of each player will not give United’s defence a second to spare, leading to errors that must be capitalised.
The midfield is where part of the catastrophe starts. Flamini looks tactically baffled, whilst Ramsey is playing to accommodate for his individual needs only. The flat holding line looks undisciplined and positionally inapt, which is where Wenger and Jack Wilshere come in. Dropping the pair of them is the first of many changes essential to Arsenal’s development right now. The formulaic Arsene Wenger sees consistency as the highest-valued trait a player warrants. With Arteta back for the fixture, he should partner Jack Wilshere in the central hub of Arsenal’s midfield. Grounded and focused, these two players will work together to alternate defensive and offensive duties, whilst Arteta’s distribution may come in handy with a weak United back line. Aggression has been missing in these hot clashes ever since the days of old Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, a footballing rivalry down in Premier League folklore. The passion that Wilshere exerts should not be overlooked, and the fresh input of two new players should be a change Wenger has to make.
Cazorla, Cazorla, Cazorla. It’s fair to say it’s not his season, with the misfiring Spaniard playing a bit-part role in our games. Drop him, be brutal and eccentric and brandish a start to the much-welcomed back Theo Walcott. The English speedstar has quite the impressive record against the big sides too. As for the other wing, Oxlade-Chamberlain gets my vote. His impressive performances as of late should grant him the starting position in place of Santi. Small doses of tinkering must be addressed to his defensive duties though, something I’m sure Wenger will undertake.
The biggest change of all? Defensively. We can crush our hopes now of Koscielny being fit. There’s no need to risk him just yet. In defence of poor Calum Chambers, slaughtered by Jefferson Montero last Sunday, he MUST start at centre-half. There’s no IF’s or BUT’s for this matter, the calm and composed player he is deserves only to play in his most comfortable position at 19. This is the chance for Hector Bellerin to step-up. Arsenal fans all over will agree that the pace and discipline he holds will cope with Angel Di Maria a lot better than Chambers. Out goes Monreal, and everyone shuffles over. This makes space for the young Spaniard who deserves to prove his point.
Besides the line-up, tactics pay diffidence to the Arsenal side right now. At 1-0 up, an elite team will communicate with one-and-other and remain positionally astute at all times. Not this Arsenal team. Committing 6 men forward is a request to be countered in the modern game, something United will be very fierce with. Van Gaal is tactically comfortable with his choices, and has a character that certainly can better Arsene Wenger. Whether we make the important change of aiding our full-backs in defence, sounding out a comfortable or risky lead and keeping stern numbers in the middle of the park will decide the outcome of this game.
Wenger’s record against United is varied, and last season marked a poor effort in both fixtures. Looking to better his record this year, Wenger has lots of work to do on some very major issues at Arsenal Football Club. There’s not many, but they will certainly take some time.