Newcastle 2-1 Arsenal: Tacticians Review

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Arsenal 4-2-3-1: Cech – Chambers Mustafi Holding Monreal – Elneny Xhaka -Iwobi Willock Aubameyang- Lacazette

Subs: Willock [OFF] Welbeck [ON] 68, Chambers [OFF] Niles [ON] 78, Iwobi [OFF] Nketiah [ON] 86

Newcastle 4-4-2: Dubravka – Yedlin Lascelles Lejeune Dummett – Ritchie Diame Shelvey Kenedy – Perez Gayle

Subs: Gayle [OFF] Slimani [ON], Perez [OFF] Joselu [ON], Ritchie [OFF] Murphy [ON]

Exposed at the back

Newcastle set up in a simple 4-4-2 and made it clear that they set up a counter attack. Every time Arsenal went forward they committed too many men forward. Both fullbacks and both midfielders went forward to join the attack despite it looking like Arsenal were playing two holding midfielders in Xhaka and Elneny. Elneny often found himself in positions that Ozil would usually find himself in. This meant that when Newcastle eventually got the ball it was a two on two at the back with Perez and Gayle beating Mustafi and Holding for pace with ease. Regardless of if it was Diame or Shelvey, they would get the ball and play it long for the two strikers to run onto then hold it and wait for the support so they can play the ball back inside so they can hurt Arsenal. Tactically this shouldn’t be the case as you are playing two midfielders protecting the defence however it all comes down to the instructions they are sent out with. If Xhaka and Elneny have the license to keep going forward and joining the attack then the responsibility falls onto the coaching team and ultimately the manager.

Player Instructions

I don’t think formations and positions had too much to do with the defeat. It was more what I touched on in the previous paragraph, the instructions the players are given (if any). It is evident that the defence were exposed as both fullbacks joined the attack which I have no problem with because that is how modern football works. However it also requires there to be AT LEAST one midfielders sitting in front of the defence, patrolling and aiming to stop any counter attacks from happening., Arsenal had no holding midfielders at all as they both looked to join the attack. Therefore, each attack we had 8 players participating, with the only two outfield players not getting involved was our two central defenders. Whenever we attack it always gets to congested and suffocated, half the time it is the opposition suffocating us but sometimes we have too many players centrally that are all in a close proximity so we end up having to go backwards and most of the time back to the goal keeper.

Player Ratings:

Cech : 0/10

Chambers: 4/10

Mustafi : 1/10

Holding: 4/10

Monreal : 1/10

Elneny: 5/10

Xhaka : 2/10

Iwobi : 6/10 [MOTM for Arsenal]

Willock : 3/10

Aubameyang :5.5/10

Lacazette: 4/10


Welbeck : 3/10

Niles: 3/10

Nketiah : 3/10


About the Author

Jordan Spalding
I am an Arsenal fan who has supported the gunners all of my life. Outside of supporting the Arsenal, I also write articles about the Gunners. My work can be found on