I have read the current contributions by various writers and I have gleaned a few of their conclusions, which I find interesting.
The first and somewhat disappointing one is that sections of the crowd were already verbally abusive on the first match of the season and many left early. It is particularly disappointing because it appeared that for the first time in a long time the fans were behind the team. I hope that that will have changed and we will once again a loyal support, particularly since there are new players in the team who were not party to the past few years of decline. Give them a chance to establish themselves.
It is unreasonable to expect that we will jump one or two places to regain our 4th place unless one of two things happens: – (a) we improve enough to be better than Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea. (b) Those three teams get worse than they were last year. Judging by the weekend neither event looks likely.
Four of the above teams have strengthened their squads whilst Spurs are satisfied that there will be sufficient improvement in their Academy players coming through to reinforce what is a settled and efficient first 11. In other words, the world has not stood still because Wenger left. On the contrary, there has been a monumental change in the management and control of the club and it is possible that Emery and his new signings will do their best and it will still not be enough to counteract the possible negatives that 100% ownership by Kroenke may bring about.
Guardiola was already the greatest manager in world football and it seems that he gets any player whom he believes will add another ingredient to ensure that the Rolls Royce of a team will continue to glide all over lesser teams. Liverpool have spent £174m and they look like a very potent team now. Man United will still be top 3 despite “The Special One” bemoaning that the Glazers would not fill his begging bowl. Chelsea looked as if they are settling down after the histrionics at management last year and they are probably our best chance to overtake but in reality, they do seem to have a better balance to their team than we do.
My analysis of our team yesterday, is that Emery used the wrong tactics. We used to concentrate our attacks down the middle of the pitch and we tried to walk through packed defences, whilst at the same time we had at least five players who were all over the place in defence. They were an open door to opposing teams once our attacks predictably broke down. I have noticed how many commentators commented that the defenders were finally, communicating with each other. I had been saying all season that Mustafa and Kos in particular should have been within talking distance of each other. I do applaud that Mustafi and Sokratis were doing that. It is even more important this year because Sokratis appears to be slower than Mustafi. They did appear to be providing a solid centre but the use of Bellerin and MIles to desert the wings and bolster the centre was a disaster and gave Mahrez and Sterling free rein to run at them. Incidentally, Sokratis was positioned to block Silva`s shot but he turned his body away from the shot and allowed the ball to go past him into the net.
I also agree with one commentator that Ramsey and Ozil were positioned the wrong way round. Ozil was trying to open City`s defence from midfield where City were dominating and Ramsey was running up avenues expecting the ball and finding himself stranded and impotent.
Torreira looks as if he is a nullifier in the centre of midfield and if he is going to be effective, the construction of our midfield will have to be changed. He is a hit man and it appears to be all that he knows. I don`t think that he is ever going to be a provider of Ozil – type passes or a Cazorla link between defence and attack, so someone else will have to do that job. Personally, I think we should play an alternative to Zhaka if Torreira plays.
This is only my analysis but I think it shows that we have to give Emery time to assess the players he has, in regular combat and then try to find an efficient game plan to allow us to compete with our nearest rivals to the top four. We are not going to be first or second this year and that is down to Wenger not Emery. For the players who are going to fight for the shirt, I hope the fans will give them time to bed in. This is the Premier League, the hardest league in the world and they are briefed to overturn the cream of that league when in reality the current champions of that league have the most impressive pool of players on the planet.
In reality, our future depends on how much investment Mr. Kroenke is prepared to put into the fight.