Last night could of been great, good or OK, we could have snatched a draw via the hand of Fab, we could of sneaked a lead via Ngog and held on until Babel crashed one in the top corner to make it 2, but no we lost and here is why it happened, I think!
To be honest, I would have probably picked the same starting lineup, and not because the team has been doing better, but because we know Arsenal have a quality midfield and that would mean a need to play defencive away at the Emirates. I certainly would not have started Degen and move Carra back inside, just because he was on the bench does not mean he is match fit. When he came back into the side before, he looked dodgy but grew as he got games. When he came on last night he was rubbish, so that proves my point.
Having Gerrard up front with Ngog is supposed to bolster our attack, thing is though, if Ngog was in form and playing well, it would not matter who was up front with him. Having Gerrard up front is a waste. Stevie can open up an defence with the flick of the outside of his Predators, or a slide rule pass through the channel, we need him back in midfield, yes attacking but not in the box, around the box is where he got his reputation! Lucas is OK and sometimes even has huge games for us, but they are to few. If he is playing as a defencive midfielder, why is it every time we had the ball around the box, it was him there fluffing a chance to shoot, or passing a ball to a Gooner?! I have said this all season, it should be one or the other, Lucas or Masc, not both, only when we need to settle in first in a big game!
I have no problems with our wide play, we get down there very well, left and right, final ball is sometimes dodgy, sometimes great, but what can you do when you have 1 target in the box and not 3 maybe more charging in, for example if Insua and Maxi link on the left, with Maxi sliding one down the line for Insua too wrap his foot round. Maxi should start going towards the goal but staying left of the goal, Kuyt should be coming in on the right but right of the right post, then we should have Gerrard coming from deep and of course our striker already there. Any ball dropping 16-20 yards out would Gerrard’s on a plate, to short it goes to Maxi, too long and it’s Kuyt’s, on the button it’s our front man’s. See easy isn’t it, and that is basics, Sunday league sides play that, that’s why there are so many chances. Then you can vary it a little, dead end down one wing, knock it across the pitch, either 40 yards or 10 at time, stretch the defenders make them run. Then build on that, play it across but then back or play it forward for a runner from deep, 1-2 in on goal. I am sick of us just getting the ball going forward, reaching a dead end then either crossing to nothing of note or passing it back to the opposition!
Next game we must change and try all this, but most of all we must play Babel up front. When we signed him he was forward, he plays like a forward, he knows where the posts are. He has more pace, can create space in the blink of an eye and has a twinkle in his play when he is central. Yes his touch is lousy sometimes, but he is playing in a area where he should not be playing. I know from experience when playing out position, you need time to learn it and to get used to the different needs it requires.
Therefore, we must drop Lucas, bring Gerrard back in alongside Masc, when attacking let Masc support and apply a sweeper system of 3 when doing so. Keep Ngog up front till Torres fit again, but then have Babel as his partner. Sorry Kuyt but Maxi has better ball control, maybe he needs a rest but he does look jaded, so give Maxi a 3 game run on the right and bring back Riera or Aurelio on the left, this will give us great balance and options going forward, as well as not unsettling our defence when defending.
Oh for Gods sake at least leave Ngog/Torres up front with Masc or Gerrard in between the box and the striker when we are defending. This would at least give us a good chance to either hit on the break or regain possession with no further immediate threat!