Sam Allardyce loves himself a bit of bluster, but his tactical breakdown of “How to Beat Arsenal” is spot on — at least for Monday — and simple enough to bring a lot of cringing to Gooners.
If Allardyce, no master tactician, can see things this clearly, then it’s no surprise other teams have been topping the Gunners. And, it follows, Arsene Wenger needs to find some answers.
Here’s Big Sam, whose Eagles have come out of the drop zone to beat Chelsea and Arsenal. From Sky Sports:
“Tactically the players were aware of how to beat Arsenal. The first thing was to defend and frustrate them, keep them playing sideways, then use the space behind the full-backs. Arsenal have been weak defensively, they leave the centre-backs exposed.
“We all know Arsenal are going through their worst spell for years, but the only way to take advantage is by playing well. Everything worked perfectly for us today.”
It did, and that playbook should be simple to follow for Middlesbrough and Leicester City, let alone the tests presented by Tottenham and Manchester United. This season, the status questions aren’t overblown: Arsenal is in trouble.