Home » Arsenal FC » Arsenal’s Trip To Leicester City Previewed

It’s been a tough fee weeks for Arsenal as they continually drop points from winning positions in games. They have only won twice in their last nine Premier League games and they are quickly losing ground on the top four. With Champions League football the ultimate goal for the season they cannot afford to fall too far off the pace.

They may well be only one place off the top four, but that one place is six points and a defeat at Leicester today would make it nine points. Leicester are currently third in the table and like fourth placed Chelsea they are six points ahead of Arsenal with their season going very well so far. Of course a win for Arsenal would cut that gap to three points and give us more than a glimmer of hope.

The big issue isn’t even the points difference though as that can easily be made up, but it’s how we’re playing under Unai Emery. Leicester appointed Brendan Rogers as their manager during last season and the work he has done is pretty obvious for all to see. They play an attractive brand of attacking football while still being strong in defence and the players all appear to be on board with him.

Even fourth placed Chelsea are looking pretty good in comparison to Arsenal since Frank Lampard got the job in the summer. Yet again they play an attractive brand of attacking football even if they haven’t got the defensive side of their game right. Like Rogers he knows how he wants his team to play and they are doing just that. Despite a transfer embargo he has managed to put together a team who are entertaining to watch while still being very competitive.

In contrast Arsenal don’t have a defined style of play and they simply cannot overcome the defensive lapses that cost them goals game after game. Until recently our strikers (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in particular) had being getting us out of jail, but as a team we are ineffectual at best. It’s not that we don’t have the players, but it’s impossible to believe the manager is getting the best out of the players he has.

We invested heavily in the squad in the summer and we have a group of young players coming through who give us great hope for the future. Our squad is good enough to challenge for a top four place and do it playing good football, but the manager seems intent on playing a negative game. It’s obvious defending isn’t our strong point so maybe like Chelsea we should try playing an attacking line up.

All too often we set up with seven defensive outfield players which leaves the three attacking players isolated. It’s a tactic which works for Liverpool of course, but they have the two best attacking full backs in the league and a front three of genuine quality. They also use their midfield to press really high and win the ball back in great positions for the whole game while we might start that way, but we gradually drop deeper and deeper.

We give up so many shots against us because we quite simply don’t know how to control a game or defend as a team. That has to come down to the manager and his inability to coach the players or his unwillingness to change. If we’re going to make the top four and the Champions League football that comes with it I firmly believe we need to find a new manager and do so very soon.

To be honest I don’t even think the team he picks today will make too much difference because it’s our set up which is costing us game after game. Having said that the decision to pick Mesut Ozil at home to Wolves last week was most welcome, but leaving Nicolas Pepe out to play Ozil was plain crazy. Pepe is exactly the type of player who could take advantage of Ozil’s creativity and I simply could not understand why he didn’t play.

I think most fans would like to see us play Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney as attacking fullbacks with Rob Holding in the centre of the defence with either David Luiz or Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Surely playing Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi as holding midfielders behind Mesut Ozil would make us stronger as well as adding some much needed creativity. Pepe has to play out wide with Aubameyang through the middle which would leave Reiss Nelson or Bukayo Saka on the other side.

I know that team doesn’t include Alexandre Lacazette, but it’s one I’d like to see given a chance to play together. Even with that team it wouldn’t do us much good if the manager doesn’t let them play an attacking game. His desire to sit back and defend any lead regardless of the opposition is infuriating, but it’s how he wants his teams to play.

For me it will only improve when he goes and the sooner the better, but I won’t hold my breath. As it stands we have to hope his negative tactics bear some fruit and we can somehow gain ground on the teams ahead of us, but again I won’t be holding my breath. Despite my desire to see the back of the manager I still want the team to win of course and that will never change, but it’s hard to keep belief when what you’re seeing week in and week out is just so wrong.

I think we can beat Leicester because our players are good enough to do so, but at the moment the total is less than the sum of our parts. It will probably take a moment of individual brilliance if we’re going to get something from the game, but it’s more likely to come from a set piece like so many of our goals recently.

Finally for today the suggestion Jose Mourinho might step in if Emery goes needs to be knocked on the head immediately. Everything he stands for I find abhorrent and I think there would be some fans who would find it genuinely difficult to support the club if he was the manager. I cannot believe those in charge at the club could judge the mood of the fans so badly that they would appoint him. Besides what the fans might think his track record is all about the short term and he does nothing to build for the future of a club.