arsene wenger.

Alan Shearer noticed Arsenal did the one thing no team should do against Man City

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Very few football fans - if any - seriously expected Arsenal to beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Even the most optimistic Gunner would have conceded before kick-off that securing all three points against Pep Guardiola’s league-leaders was about as likely as Mauricio Pochettino agreeing to become the next Arsenal manager.

A huge gulf in class currently exists between the two sides - despite the fact both teams are full of quality players - and it came as no surprise to anyone that City won the match 3-1.

The most unexpected thing that happened was Arsenal pulling a goal back through Alexandre Lacazette when they were 2-0 down midway through the second half.

You can also argue that it was slightly surprising City failed to win by an even bigger margin.

Shearer spotted Arsenal's biggest mistake v Man City

Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer analysed the game later on Sunday and spotted one area Arsenal let themselves down badly.

Guardiola’s sides are revered for their relentless pressing high up the pitch - and it seems Arsene Wenger attempted to use similar tactics at the Etihad.

However, the Gunners executed their pressing tactics badly and ended up doing the one thing no team should ever do against Guardiola’s City: press as individuals, rather than as a team.

“They went in to try and press them high - which I admire them trying - but at times, the Arsenal players weren’t all on the same page,” Shearer noted. “You cannot press every time the ball goes back to the defender or the goalkeeper.

“Look, you can see [Aaron] Ramsey there, arms up in the air, looking for back-up from his teammates.


“When you go, you have to go as a team, you can’t go in twos and threes - especially against this Manchester City team, who are very comfortable playing, that’s the way they want to play, and they are excellent at it.

“They get picked off time and time again and it happened for the vast majority of the game.”

Shearer noticed how Arsenal’s forwards - Alexis Sanchez, on this occasion - were frustrated when they pressed and saw none of their teammates backing them up.

“Watch Sanchez’s reaction here,” Shearer continued. “He’s looking for everyone to come. Well, you can’t go every single time - it’s too hard work against a very good team because [City will pass the ball between themselves].


“By the time the players do come and try to support him, it’s too late.

“They’re jogging around. When you go, you’ve got to go full pelt otherwise this will happen.

“[John Stones] has got time on the ball and all of a sudden, they just go.”


It didn't get any better in the second half

Shearer then noticed how Arsenal pressed in threes in the second half and explained why this also was a recipe for disaster.

“Second half, exactly the same thing. Three go this time but just look what happens: no back-up. You’ve got to go as a team,” he added. “Time to turn and they’re straight into your back four again.”



Shearer: It looks like Arsenal didn't work long enough on it

The MOTD pundit then brilliantly explained how he learned to press from the front as the team’s centre-forward.

The Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer says he was taught by former England managers Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle, who worked for long periods of time in training on how to perfect the press.

“Arsenal tried to [press as a team] today but not enough of them did it,” Shearer concluded. “It looks to me like [Arsenal] went in with the tactic to [press] but didn’t have enough time to work on it.”


Video: Shearer tears apart Arsenal's pressing tactics

You can watch Shearer’s analysis on Arsenal’s ineffective pressing tactics here…

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Arsene Wenger
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