Profiling a narrow win over Huddersfield: have Emery's side learned to exploit wide areas?
Chief relegation contenders fell an easy prey to Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday. Unai Emery’s side knew it all too well that only a win would keep their hopes for Top 4 afloat. But have they actually improved and have Jan Siewert’s Huddersfield deserved more? Hrishikesh Anand from Totalfootballanalusis.com attempts to analyse Gunners' performance.
"Team selection has brought Unai Emery in the firing line all throughout this season and the Spaniard did himself no favours by opting for a three-man defence against the lowest scoring side in the division.
"Lining up in a 3-4-3, a significant aspect was the return of Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the starting XI following a period on the sidelines.
"A bout of illness in the Arsenal camp meant that Ozil, Aubameyang and Ramsey didn’t even travel with the squad. Lacazette led the attack in Aubameyang’s absence.
"Ainsley Maitland-Niles continued at right wing-back in Bellerin’s absence. This lineup had a greater element of width to it than we have seen from Arsenal over the past few weeks.
Exploiting the wide areas:
"The team put out by Unai Emery had a significant element of width to it. In the past few games, Aubameyang has usually started on the right wing for Arsenal before drifting inside to goalscoring positions.
"However, his forced absence and Mkhitaryan’s return meant that the visitors were able to utilise the spaces behind Huddersfield’s full-backs more efficiently, especially on the right flank.
"Siewert’s decision to play Kongolo instead of Durm really backfired as the Dutchman was all over the place defensively. Trying to win the ball, his rash tackling and positioning meant that it was easy for Mkhitaryan and Maitland-Niles to operate in the space vacated by him.
"This was key in both the Arsenal goals. For the first, Iwobi was unmarked in the penalty box and was allowed to take a shot, while for the second Maitland-Niles had space and time to cross and find Lacazette on the far post.