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1933: Eskenazi on Arsenal's game tactics

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-01-18 18:32:37


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Arsenal and their game — a defensive tactic
Jean Eskenazi | 25/09/1933

There is no team that makes people talk more and whose smallest actions and gestures — without being reviewed and corrected — unleash the pens of columnists more than Arsenal. Everything that surrounds the Arsenal often seems like for the Werther knight, a paradise. This prestige, Arsenal owes it to its manager, the astute Chapman who earns the tidy sum of 100.000 francs a year, to their successes and also precisely to the authors of their successes: resounding transfers, special training and finally a method of playing apart.
I was not among the supporters of the formation of Arsenal when I took place last Saturday in the stands of White Hart Lane. I have no shame in admitting it. We have exaggerated too much the positioning of Arsenal players on the pitch and we have made a kind of school out of a literary chapel from a tactic. We have convoluted his playing which now has the same preciousness that we find in the novels of Madame de Scudéry.
I must admit, however, that Arsenal's method is good.
I left yet, I repeat, with clearly preconceived ideas, believing that a attack which includes Hulme, Jack, Coleman, James, Bastin can play in any style, any formation W, Z or X.
Against Arsenal, Tottenham dominated the first half to excess. The forward line worked wonders and, oh a miracle, it only managed to score a goal, which was, incidentally, a penalty.
It's just that to beat Arsenal, it's terribly hard. Arsenal play a wonderful defensive game.
Only, don't believe that Arsenal's tactics consist simply in the position behind Roberts, Jack and especially James. It would be a mistake. What is the positioning of Arsenal players on the pitch? Here it is:
Throughout the game, the man closest to Moss (goalkeeper) is Roberts, but in exchange Male and mainly Hapgood play very forward, facing the opposing winger and at the same time have a very accentuated offensive role.
As for Hill and Jones, they resolutely mark the insiders, but participate with Alec James in distributing the game to the forwards.
Thus Roberts is much more the centre-back of the team than the centre-half. This role is played by Alec James supported by the other two halfbacks.
This tactic is very good defensively. The Arsenal players form a curtain that is difficult to cross. But it is mediocre, very mediocre for the offensive. It also relies too much on one man, Alec James.
Saturday, against the fast and determined Spurs who practice the true and classic game with a rational formation, Alec James does not shine much. He reminded me of a Gschweidl in bad condition by his abuse of feints and his slowness to pass the ball.
On rest, Chapman must have noticed this, because in the hope of winning, Arsenal changed their tactics.
We saw the five forwards well in line and even Alec James, who would have said it? who would've believed that ? shoot at goal.
Roberts stepped forward a little and Hill, who played a terrific game, helped him distribute the play on offense.
Arsenal dominated excessively in turn this time and thus gave the enigma or more exactly the explanation of their tactics.
Excellent defensive tactic. Poor attack tactics.
Arsenal therefore cultivates in a diametrically opposed way the theory which consists in defending itself by attacking.
Will they keep it?
David Jack is very old and Alec James will not last forever.
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