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Tactical Points from Arsenal's dire defeat to Burnley

By Vinay Shankar (Tactical Analyst)

A much better attacking performance compared to recent weeks but like at Leeds, a moment of madness did end up costing us the game:

 A similar setup to the one against Tottenham was persisted with somewhat surprisingly but it was the intensity and doing things quicker which was the need of the hour more than anything else.

 And from the start, the emphasis seemed to be on moving the ball much more quickly through the lines in order to exploit the spaces and attempt to create overloads out wide.

 In particular, it was Xhaka drifting to the left who looked to speed up the tempo and this resulted in some joy for Tierney and Saka down the left-flank.

 With Burnley also employing a two-man midfield, Lacazette also looked to drift into the spaces centrally and seemed to link up well with Saka and make an impact in the final third of the field.

 On the right flank though, things seemed to be much more static. The duo of Wilian and Bellerin seemed to lack a certain connection or synchronicity to their movements in order to be a consistent threat. When one of them has the ball, everything seems telegraphed and the opponents seem to read and deal with the overlaps very comfortably. The lack of movement around them further reduces the spaces and they get crowded out very quickly. In contrast, Willock seems to always provide another passing option in these areas in the Europa games and this has given Pepe and Cedric a lot more freedom to operate with. Either Elneny or Ceballos will have to be more active off-the-ball or Lacazette has to drift out to change things up.

 The 10-15-minute period at the start of the second half was perhaps one of the best periods in recent weeks as Arsenal seemed to win the ball higher up the pitch and thrive in transition and created a few good openings. But the red card just after not only created a

disadvantage but the entire incident just sucked out any momentum that we had up to that point.

 Disciplinary problems aside, it’s ultimately an issue of putting the ball in the back of the net. Burnley had conceded very few high-quality chances in the league (xG > 0.35) until the Arsenal game and we created at least 2 or 3 in that game so it’s a question of scoring goals.

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