Lee Dixon defeats Delap’s long throw? Arsenal’s defence and Keown

I’ve been reading about how Lee Dixon proposes to beat Stoke’s long throw tactic which was our downfall on Saturday. We all saw how effective Delap was at putting in low, fast throws right into the box (Stoke highlights here). However, Lee has come up with a tactic based on what the team under George Graham might hve done, in the old days when Arsenal had the tightest defence.

Dixon's proposal
Dixon's proposal (Courtesy of the BBC)

He proposes putting 4 men on the goal line, and telling them to attack the ball, that way they won’t be jumping from a standing position. They also will be able to watch the trajectory of the ball rather than the man they are marking.

This seems very clever and it would work, but we have already played Stoke and already lost. I was shocked that Wenger hadn’t put some more work into defence before this game, because against Stoke’s muscle and long throws we didn’t look too strong.

I don’t think Wenger would ever go for such a radical tactic though, he is pretty conservative about tactics, and generally goes for the idea that if we can out pass the opposition we will win. This is great but in deadball situations this doesn’t work.

I think Wenger should rethink our defensive tactics because at the moment we are struggling to keep a clean sheet, and we have conceded a lot of goals during the past 3 seasons.

Hopefully rumours that we are bringing in Keown as a coach are true, because he might be able to bring back some old style Arsenal defending.

Read more tactics and fascinating individual player analysis in our Players Section.

Stoke City 2 – 1 Arsenal highlights, Delap, defence and attack

I don’t want to be too negative but today Arsenal played pretty poorly. Two long throws from Rory Delap allowed Stoke two relatively easy goals(Fuller ’11, Olofinjana ’73). Those throws are not easy to defend against, especially if you are Arsenal, weak in defence and hate balls into the box.

When playing against a team who have scored over half their goals from Delap’s long throws you would think that Arsenal might have been more prepared than they seemed for these. Maybe they are undefendable?

Stoke worked incredibly hard all match to give us no space and we really had very limited chances, our goal came in extra time – Clichy’s shot took two deflections and went in, his first goal for Arsenal, it started a small revival, but the 93rd minute is way, way, way too late.

We couldn’t get anywhere, and the exclusion of Nasri, RVP and Walcott, in exchange for height and power with Diaby, Song and Bendtner didn’t really pay off.

The game was worsened by the sending off of Van Persie for barging Sorenson after he teased RVP with the ball, and injuries to Adebayor – who looked in a lot of pain, Walcott – who has probably dislocated his shoulder again, and Sagna.

This means we may be without our main strikers for the games aganst Fenerbahce and Man Utd at home.

Our title bid may be over, Wenger even seemed depressed, when asked if it was the end of our title bid after the game he said “lets win the next one, and see after..”