With all the talk midweek about us being another Barcelona and will go to attack Arsenal from the off, maybe Bobby should rethink this tactic when playing against the top 5 or 6 teams until we are confident enough and are playing quick enough.
Again we were guilty of not having the fluidity and speed of thought to play like this against teams that have been playing it for years. Arsenal has it down to a tee and you can see the difference when you see Latics come up against it, we don’t have the speed of thought to deal with this system against teams that have already perfected it.
We beat West Ham last week because we stuck to the system and they weren’t good enough to get the ball off us and play through us. So far we have seen Manchester United scrap plan A and revert to a plan B to play through us, although against them we were far sharper.
With the Gunners today, the only time in the first half that we had the ball was from a corner and we were unlucky not to score from Boyce’s effort. The keeper saved Boyce’s shot and then Bramble’s effort from the parry was blocked well.
Apart from that it was just a catalogue of Arsenal chances and we were fortunate to only be behind by a Thomas Vermaelen goal. The centre half managed to out jump both Figueroa and Bramble to plant an unstoppable header past Kirkland.
The second half saw us receive the same treatment and we didn’t really impose much of a threat to the Gunners after Thomas Vermaelen lashed his second in just 3 minutes after the restart. The centre half was given far too much time and punished us for it.
Hugo Rodallega managed to break free and test the Arsenal keeper only for him to pull of a fine save and from it launched a counter attack that saw Eduardo at the other end slotting into an empty net after his initial shot hit the post and bounced straight back to him.
We did have a couple of good efforts from Rodallega who tested the keeper from 20 yards and from Scotland. We had a goal disallowed as Scharner tapped in after a save from Jason Scotland, but the Austrian was offside. That was the end for us and it should have been, but Fabregas decided to add another in the final minute to make the scoreline a bit more embarrassing.
Martinez needs to look at his team, we know the system works when played properly, but our defence is being put under far too much pressure due to our lacklustre approach to playing it. He needs to have a separate plan for when it isn’t working (generally against teams of this calibre).
Chelsea visit us at the DW next and unless these players learn how to think and pass quickly, we are going to have another very rough afternoon.
Report by Jason Taylor