Technical analysis arsenal vs hull city

Tactical Analysis Arsenal vs Hull City: Coquelin’s positioning, Arsenal’s free-form.

Back to back losses and being dumped unceremoniously out of the title race has left Arsenal fans questioning everything about the club recently. Never has the manager's position been under so much scrutiny and his credentials so severely questioned. The players knew they had to respond to the critics or risk a volatile backlash from the fans.

12 points behind Chelsea with games at Anfield & White Hart Lane still to play pretty much means Arsenal can forget about the title and solely focus on the top 4. Hull City entered this game with the utmost of confidence having beaten Liverpool and Manchester United in successive games. The prospect of playing a wounded Arsenal filled Marco Silva's men with belief. The Tigers have won four of their last 8 games, all under the Portuguese manager.

TEAM NEWS: 4-2-3-1 vs. 4-1-4-1/4-3-3.

Arsenal decided to make only one change to the team that lost at Stamford Bridge, Kieran Gibbs came in for Nacho Monreal at LB with Wenger describing it as a 'tactical change.' On the opposing flank, Hector Bellerín passed a late fitness test to retain his spot in the starting XI. Marco Silva opted to make two changes to his team, Oumar Niasse came in for an injured Abel Hernandez while Lazar Marković gained his first league start.

Arsenal vs hull city line up

Free-form 4-2-3-1 vs. a wide 4-1-4-1 that morphs into 4-3-3 in attack.

There were two key aspects to the match, Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield and Kieran Gibbs' positioning. Let's have a look.

OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: Arsenal's missing piece?

For the second successive game in a row, Oxlade-Chamberlain was the shining light in the middle of the park. As we’ve stated before, the 23-year old has all the attributes to succeed in midfield; pace, strength, good pass selection and discipline. Against Burnley, the Ox imitated a number of roles due to the limited capabilities of his partner Coquelin. Chamberlain acted as a box-to-box midfielder, regularly driving through the middle third on counter-attacks. At other times the Ox acted as a deep-lying playmaker regularly switching play from flank to flank and dipping balls over the top for Walcott and Alexis.

Let’s go into more detail about the limitations of Francis Coquelin. The Frenchman is a hindrance to his midfield partners despite supposedly being the more defensive of the pivot. His best attributes represent a limited destroyer that presses aggressively and breaks up play. However, his aggressiveness comes at a cost to the balance & shape of the team. His positioning is abysmal and regularly leaves the CBs behind him exposed. At several times during the match, the 25-year old was found ahead of MF partner Ox, despite being the more inept of the two in possession. If the Ox revolution is to continue in midfield, he will have to find a new compatible partner that can sit and cover the rest of the team.

Arsenal vs Hull city

Francis Coquelin in a position where he can't receive the ball or cover his defenders.

Wingers vs. Full-backs.

Throughout the game, it was very clear that Hull had identified Arsenal's full-backs as the weak points of the team. Grosicki and Marković positioned themselves high and wide to exploit the space vacated by Bellerín and Gibbs. Despite the change in defensive personnel Arsenal's system of attack requires full-backs to sustain the width of the team, meaning they run the most amount of kilometres on the pitch regardless of the player picked.

Arsenal vs Hull city player

Koscielny forced out of his zone to cover the space vacated by Bellerin.

Wenger's free form style of football doesn't allow the Gunners to be competent in defensive transitions. The lack of a system makes the players feel vulnerable and uneasy, hence why they seem to lunge into every 50-50 because of how little they trust the system to nullify the attack. Their naive positioning allows teams with men spare to counter down the wide channels forcing the centre backs to leave their zones. There were several occasions where Koscielny was left one on one with Marković with runners in behind him. This constant lack of organisation left the defenders exposed and against a more clinical team, the outcome of the game could have been very different.

At the end of the day, 3 points is all that matters but Arsenal fans will be concerned with the lack of dominance the Gunners enforced on the game. Throughout the match, Hull disrupted Arsenal's rhythm and threatened them on the counter on several occasions. Hull were comfortable on the ball with regista Tom Huddlestone in the middle dictating the tempo of their attacks. Marco Silva perfectly exploited Arsenal's free-form structure in possession.

Instead of systematic attacks, Arsenal rely on intricate link-up play between pairs of players like; Özil & Sanchez, Walcott & Ox and Iwobi & Gibbs. The Gunners always pass & move at quick speeds but Hull cut off the majority of passing options and forced Arsenal players to make passes they didn't want to. In the end, two controversial goals saw Arsenal over the line but Marco Silva can take heart in knowing that his relegation-battling side have held their own against Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in recent weeks.

About the Author Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with a soft spot for Pascal Cygan.

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