So Arsenal loses to a terribly inferior Hull team and then a few days later comes out and slams Porto, 4-0. Believe it or not, this schitzo’ness is easily attributable. This isn’t some mystical confidence deficit, Arsenal is playing like this for two reasons.
- The center of Arsenal’s defense struggles against high balls towards tall forwards. Toure is only 6-0 and has struggled all season. Gallas (who plays at fullback for both France and when he was with Chelsea) is only 5-11. Thusly, this defense plays a lot better against teams that try and pass and play soccer against it, rather than those (like Hull) that prefer constant long-range artillery bombardments into the penalty area like something out of the Napoleonic wars. Arsenal badly needs a tall, physically imposing central defender that manages to have those aformentioned physical attributes why being less tactically clueless than either Cygan or Senderos.
- Despite Henry’s departure, when things go even slightly South, it seems the team just gets so down on itself. I really thought that Henry’s absence and the emergence of younger spunkier players like Cesc and Van Persie would negate the old Gallic Sulk Factor that Arsenal recently seemed to suffer from. It continues to lurk there nevertheless. Where does it come from, Toure, Gallas? I don’t have that answer. Hopefully, Wenger does.