5 relatively specific improvements I would like to see Arsenal make from the Crystal Palace victory before we host Liverpool on Monday, who have won both their games 1-0.
- Communication between Cech and the back-four.
Too many times during the win at Palace the goalkeeper and his defenders did not look on the same wavelength. Instances I can recall are with Monreal when neither he nor the keeper went for a cross during the nail-biting end to the game, a time where Cech was also unhappy with his lack of protection in the box from corners. Perhaps more with the ref than any teammates, but they could have helped to move players pressuring him and blocking him in. It also looked like some back passes took him by surprise. The goal obviously could have been avoided at several points, culminating with Koscielny turning his back. Obviously it will take time for Cech to adjust from Chelsea’s ways to ours.
- Pace on the wings and tracking back.
Liverpool have a lot of pace in attack if they wish, and this could make them dangerous on the counter-attack. We dealt with this relatively well at Palace but Liverpool have pace in their full-backs of Clyne and Gomez, and I don’t think Ramsey or Cazorla on the wings as we have seen so far will be enough to get up and down the pitch with them so I would expect to see Chamberlain/Walcott play on the opposing wing to Sanchez.
We could have and should have killed the game off, but of course we had to do it the hard way and just hold on for the win. Sanchez was a bit sloppy in front of goal, but we know what he’s capable of and will put it down to lack of match fitness/sharpness.
However, 18 attempts and only 7 on target says it all. Half of those where frustratingly straight at the keeper as well (from Ramsey and Chamberlain in particular).
- Breaking quicker.
I feel we could have taken advantage of breaks and counter attacks more. We did it a few times but not as many as they gave us the opportunity to do. We struggled at picking out the player making a run off their back line – Ozil did this a few times v Palace but was never found. Hopefully we can also put this down to early season form and a lack of sharpness from some players.Towards the end when they were throwing everything forward, we could have taken advantage of this better and put the game beyond their reach.
- Keeping the ball when under pressure/holding on for a win.
Or alternatively we could have done this better at the end of the game. Rather than neither, and just returning the ball to them. I was always taught that they can’t score if you have the ball. We pride ourselves on a possession based game, but too often when the other team are looking to get back into a game we allow them far too much of the ball and invite too much pressure onto ourselves. Although we have improved defensively in this respect, it is always an unnecessarily stressful and worrying time.