Who would’ve thought that Arsenal would only need 20 minutes to rip apart a Manchester United defense that had kept 4 clean sheets in 7 Premier league games? It was a dream fixture for the Gunners as they displayed both attacking and defensive qualities of the highest order. Wenger’s men played at an increasingly high tempo throughout the first half and showed some clever match management by controlling the game in the second.
Most of the critics were answered by Arsenal during this game but one must wonder if the Gunners can produce this kind of performance week in week out. Theo Walcott had an excellent game but in a free scoring 20 minutes margin he could not get on the score sheet. Olivier Giroud was brought on in the second half and he wasn’t able to score either. All these issues point out the fact that Arsenal still need a prolific striker or another plan to bring something different in the bigger games.
Joachim Low’s brilliance
The German national team have a similar problem of replacing Miroslav Klose. Joachim Low addressed this problem by switching from the 4-2-3-1 formation (being used by Arsenal as well) to a 4-2-3-1 false 9 formation in their recent friendlies. The results were quite good as both Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze thrived in this formation as the opposition could not handle the movement of Germany’s midfield .
Arsenal’s plan C : Enter Mesut Ozil
Although Arsenal have been firing on all cylinders they have a difficult task coming up ahead against an absolutely lethal Bayern Munich side. The best form of defense is going to be increasing the number of players in the midfield. Arsene Wenger could use this page out of Germany’s play book. Arsenal can play Ozil as the false 9, move Ramsey in midfield to disrupt Bayern’s passing and put Chamberlain or Walcott on the right wing to hit them on the counter attack. This will allow an in form Ozil to roam freely and will further strengthen Arsenal on the defensive front.
Arsene Wenger has been around long enough to understand that sometimes teams need to step back a bit. He should focus on getting maximum points from the upcoming Bayern games if Arsenal want to qualify from the group stages.
Mesut Ozil has been accused of disappearing in games, perhaps a free role in a dynamic formation with speedy wingers will allow Ozil to flourish in the big games. If everything fails then Arsenal will definitely need some recruitment in the strikers department.