Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has hinted that the side’s tendency to over attack can sometimes leave the defence exposed.
The Frenchman has explained the importance of everyone switching from an attacking to a defensive mindset quickly to prevent a repeat of the Gunners giving away a 3-0 lead against Anderlecht.
“Defending as a team is very important. You have to defend as a team but you also have to attack as a team and it’s very important to play very closely with each other,” he told the Arsenal website.
“We have to defend as soon as we lose the ball because the first few seconds are important. If you attack and lose the ball then you have to defend straight away and get the ball in the opposition’s half because then you’re much closer to their goal.”
There have been several questions raised as to why Arsene Wenger didn’t sign a holding midfielder over the summer to work with Flamini to try and instil some of the defensive duties into the team which the Frenchman mentions.
Wenger opted to trust Flamini, supported by summer signing Calum Chambers, but there are still suggestions that Arsenal need to add another player in the middle of their team to try and see out leads.
A top quality holding player alongside Flamini could have helped Arsenal to see out the game against Anderlecht although it’s a little confusing as to why Wenger didn’t switch up his tactics to protect the 3-0 lead he had.
Arsenal still have five or six players camped in the Belgian team’s half even though they enjoyed a healthy lead.
“My role on the pitch to protect the back four is most important to me because we have a very offensive team that has a lot of players going forward.”
“I’m just trying to help the centre backs, Per and Nacho, because we are a very offensive team and that’s my main priority. I like to communicate with my team mates, I give a lot on the pitch and I work hard for the team.”
Arsenal’s best quality has always been the way they get at teams and really destroy them with their attacking play. However, if they take their eye off the ball again defensively this season, when they enjoy a similar position, they could lose a lot more than two Champions League group points.