Arsenal: Wenger on 'risky' team; Iwobi talks mental preparation; Post-match photo criticised
Arsene Wenger said that Arsenal’s ‘risky’ football was the reason behind their recent free scoring form, after they put six past Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets without reply. The visitors threatened in the first half, and counter attacked with real pace and venom forcing David Ospina to make a couple of timely interventions.
The Gunners were always threatening offensively though, and were in a comfortable position by halftime thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain killed the game as a contest within a minute of the restart, before Mesut Ozil added gloss to the scoreline with a well taken hat trick.
The result takes Arsenal to seven points in Group A, and a win in the return game in Sofia will take them to the magical total of ten points. That would set up a play-off with PSG at the Emirates to see who wins the group. Speaking after last night’s comfortable win Wenger said:
“The confidence is high, we have a good balance at the moment in the team and maybe it’s because we’ve been making more of our chances. The final ball is better. Is that because our finishing is better? It’s difficult to analyse at the moment, but what is for sure is that we score more goals. We score lots of goals. That’s what our game is about. We have a risky game and therefore it’s important that we take our chances.”
Arsenal have scored 32 goals in all competitions so far this season; it took them 20 games to reach that total last term. Popular opinion states that Arsenal are a consummate attacking side who never struggle to score, but this isn’t quite true. In the last few seasons they have consistently lagged behind the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and in 2013-14, Liverpool in the goalscoring charts. Relegated Newcastle scored more home league goals than the Gunners last season. Recent history shows that the Premier League is won by the top goalscorers, and Arsenal haven’t been that. Finding the net with greater ease will be a huge step forward for them.
Elsewhere, Alex Iwobi has been talking about how Wenger’s side have been working on the mental side of their game. Good results and performances must do more to help the atmosphere in the dressing room than anything else. There has is something of a consensus in football that Arsenal don’t always cope well in pressure situations.
This view probably needs refining. They were under immense pressure to finish in the top four, trailing Spurs in the closing stages of several seasons, but overcame them. However, they haven’t always coped well with expectation. Their start against Hull in the 2014 FA Cup Final, their Champions League tie against Monaco two seasons ago and last season’s game against a weak Manchester United team at Old Trafford are evidence of this. Iwobi said:
“It’s basically our mental side that we were working on. We’ve still added that to our game and we believed if we’re mentally prepared in ourselves for this game that we would do well in November and it won’t be such a tough time, hopefully.”
Finally, Rio Ferdinand and Richard Dunne’s criticism of Arsenal’s post-match ‘selfie’ has caused something of a stir. They took the view that it was a bit premature to indulge in celebratory snaps in the group stage of the competition. Frankly, it’s very strange indeed that this topic gets so much coverage.
It perhaps stems from Robert Huth’s comments earlier this year that Leicester City’s players were inspired by seeing Arsenal players celebrating after their 2-1 win over the Foxes in February. Firstly, these images are straightforward photos and not ‘selfies’. Secondly, every team does it. Thirdly, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to what happens on the pitch.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Indolivescore ils
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