Abhishek KSAvid Footballer | Management Student
After the FA cup semi-final played at the Wembley, it was the London Derby for the finals. Arsenal gave a great performance against the former champions Man city, while Lampard’s blue showed Manchester United where to splash some cash in this window. Let’s go for some tactical analysis for both the matches.
ARS vs MCI
It was an unexpected performance from Arteta’s side who out-classed his master in the semis. Arsenal lined up in usual 3-4-3 with Luiz, Mustafi, and Tierney at the back. When out of possession they shifted to 5-3-2 with both wing backs trailed to the defensive line.
While Man city lined up as 4-3-3 on the paper, they shifted to 4-2-1-3 in the first half, with Silva playing as No. 10 for the team. Because of Arsenal’s performance in the first half they shifted to back 3 in the second half to match Arsenal’s formation.
Arsenal created a lot of issues for Guardiola’s side to build from the back by pressing. Aubameyang and Pepe marked the two CB’s while Lacazette who went deep and marked Gundogan. This made De Bruyne and Silva fall back who were marked by Xhaka and Ceballos. This created problem for City to play from the back.
As Xhaka and Ceballos moved forward, they created a huge gap in the midfield. Ederson exploited this space and played the passes in the midfield area, but this was not of much use as Arsenal’s defenders won the aerial duels with ease.
When Arsenal was out of possession, they went to Back 5. This was to counter the usual Pep’s tactic of keeping the wingers wide and allowing mids to join the attack in Front 5. So, the Front 5 was nullified by the back 5 of Arsenal. Here came the main role of Xhaka and Ceballos. When out of possession, they went deep to prevent the cut balls from Silva and De Bruyne which is the great threat of City.
This going in deep provided De Bruyne a lot of space to dictate the attack, but because of Xhaka and Ceballos, the cut passes were not of much threat. So usually when City had the ball, they were in 2-2-1-5 formation.
In the second half, City shifted to Back 3 the same as Arsenal’s Defence lineup. They played quite narrow which made the middle quite crowded. The city wingers pulled the Arsenal Wing backs in the middle which gave City the advantage to attack from wide. City had a total of 43 shots from wide, but Arsenal’s defense held up pretty well.
A big credit should be given to David Luiz. He faced a lot of criticism recently due to his poor performances, but he had his best night in the Arsenal shirt in this match. He was strong at the back, won aerial duels, played some good long passes one of which should’ve been a goal by Auba.Arsenal showed a great performance, from being the underdog they outclassed the champions and went to the record-breaking 21st final, no other team played more finals in FA cup history. Arsenal and FA cup, still a better love story than twilight!
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