Thursday, March 23, 2023

Walcott’s Improved Acumen And Other Talking Points As Arsenal Squeeze Past Swansea

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Arsenal played out a thoroughly entertaining game with their bogey side Swansea City at the Emirates and finally managed to win after 4 previous attempts this time around. It looked like the home team would stroll to victory midway through the first half but the visitors took the chances that were almost gifted to them by their opposition and piled heavy pressure in the second half as the Gunners were reduced to 10 men.

Arsenal scored thrice and Swansea kept coming back and managed to score two to make it a game full of goals and excitement but most importantly it was another three points for Arsene Wenger’s side who won their sixth consecutive game of the Premier League to go level on points with Manchester City at the top. There were a few talking points from the game let’s take a look at what we learned from the entertaining tie at the Emirates.

Granit Xhaka Needs To Be More Clever With His Tackling

It was a bad day for Xhaka, who made a bad error in the first half to gift Swansea a goal and a route back into the game and later in the second half, the Swiss international executed a cynical and unnecessary foul on Barrow to get sent off with a red card.

Interestingly, apart from the odd mistake, Xhaka did play well till that point passing the ball with 93% accuracy and making some very timely and intelligent interceptions (5). However, he tends to get carried away a little when he tries to execute a sliding tackle and needs to draw the line between showing the fight to help the team and being a liability or suspect when a 50/50 tackle needs to be executed.

Barrow turned and was already out of the reach and Xhaka had no chance of getting to the ball but still he decided to make a bad tackle and put his team under pressure getting sent off.

xhaka red

Theo Walcott Is Showing Some Improved Intelligence

Theo Walcott seems to be like a new signing with his form and despite having a bad day with England where he was entirely passive a few days earlier, the Englishman showed what he can do when he gets the service or has the players who are intelligent enough to play intricate passing football.

There has been a great improvement on how well the forward is being to take the right decisions at the moment owing to his movement and passing in the forward areas and is moving into central positions effortlessly being in complete sync with the other attackers of Arsenal.

The improved workrate, decision making and movement is paying dividends for the forward who scored again, this time, a brace on Saturday.

Nacho Monreal Needs Some Support On The Flanks

Nacho Monreal is an excellent defender who doesn’t have much pace but reads the game exceptionally well. The left back has been the epitome of consistency for the last two seasons now and has always produced 7/10 performances on an average during that period.

Lately however, there has been occasions when the fullback has been exposed by players on his flank which is more because of the lack of support he is getting from his wingers who is stationed on his side.

Alex Iwobi doesn’t give a lot of defensive support to Monreal which he needs to and against Swansea when after Iwobi was substituted Mesut Ozil was shifted to the left flank things got even worse for Monreal as Ozil provide no cover for the Spaniard and Modou Barrow, Swansea’s Gambian winger consistently attacked from the channel getting the better of Monreal and getting balls into the penalty area, one of which resulted in a goal.

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