Arsenal FC and the Blame Game

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June 30, 2014; Porto Alegre, BRAZIL; Germany player Per Mertesacker celebrates after defeating Algeria during the round of sixteen match in the 2014 World Cup at Estadio Beira-Rio. Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports


Examine the match against Monaco. Just watch the defense make boneheaded mistake after boneheaded mistake. Per Mertesacker, the most positionally intelligent spatial defender at Arsenal, cost them a goal because of a uniquely stupid decision.

The first was unlucky, yes, and maybe he could have squared up better, but you’ll hear little argument from me on that.

The second is unforgivable. Leaving Koscielny, Arsenal’s most positionally intelligent man defender at Arsenal, in a two-on-one when there was no reason to pull from his defensive track is mind-boggling.

And what of the fullbacks? How often did we see Bellerin push up when Kieran Gibbs was already engaged in a forward position and vice versa? This is personal failure. This is trying to throw confetti through an air circulator. One of the most simple lessons in football when instructing a 4-man back line is to leave one full back in the line if the other chooses to come forward. Ignore it and you’ll be punished.

Arsenal ignored it and they were embarrassed.