Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley has urged Arsenal to start playing more on the front foot if they are to be successful.
Mikel Arteta’s men are moving in the right direction once again following two wins on the bounce against Chelsea and Brighton, but speaking on ESPN FC, Burley claimed that a change of pace is what got Arsenal the three points at the Amex and what they need to build on going forward:
“What worked for Arsenal in the second half? Quicker tempo in the pass and playing balls in behind over the top. In time for wingers and front men to run onto, stretching Brighton. None of this tippy-tappy nonsense from your own goalkeeper.”
Burley’s claims are probably best backed up by the fact that Arsenal stopper Bernd Leno currently ranks third in the Premier League when it comes to pass completion percentage, more than likely helped by the number of short passes to his defenders that he lays off from goal kicks.
Meanwhile the squad as a whole rank 5th in the league when it comes to pass completion, but at the same time they are as low as 15th when it comes to pass ‘progressive distance’ (how many yards a ball actually moves forwards).
Will Arsenal make Europe this season?
So it stands to reason, they are being far too cautious as a team. It’s no surprise that the teams at the top of the table are also those at the top when it comes to progressive yards (Leeds being the exception).
And with Arsenal in the position they are in, being cautious is not what’s going to get them back to being the dominant force that they once were.
At this point, their only choice is to go for broke for the rest of the season. If they miss out on Europe by one point or by ten, it won’t make a difference, but if they don’t at least try to take risks in games then the chances of missing out either way just get higher and higher.