Low Block Struggles
How bad were West Brom? They were dire, even worse than perhaps initially thought. Their low block was a stick of butter left out to melt in comparison to Thursday night.
In a game that was calling out for ‘a break’, one either coming through an opposition error, kind bounce of the ball or someone to beat their man one-on-one, Arsenal had no such luck.
Arsenal are utterly reliant on playing with pace in order to win these fixtures. Individually across the team, there is only a small handful of players who have the technical competence to breeze past one or two players and open doors via that route.
Less touches and proactive movement at the beginning of the second half looked like producing a goal, more so than any other stage of the match. It’s hard to see Arsenal scoring unless they play this way. Not strong enough at set-pieces or able to rely on Bukayo Saka producing a Southampton-esque moment each game, there has to be zip in the passing to break teams down in a low block.
Since this side do not have the capability to play at that speed all through matches, they have to score in the spells where they do. Against Palace that was at the beginning of either half, periods of play that petered out pretty drastically after ten or so minutes.