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Arsenal V Atletico Madrid – Positives, needs and hopes after today’s match

AFC vs AM ….. Positives, needs and hopes

Starting 11

I thought you might like bullet points on the game just finished.
Living in the US we get every AFC game pre-season and during season. You lot still get to go to the game so you win!

* First Half formation 4-3-3 or could be 4-2-3-1, hard to say.
Second half 5-4-1. A very compact central back 5.

POSITIVES

* We started with a hi-tempo on and off the ball.
BIG improvement for Arsenal

* Players have been told to become leaner (Kolasinac and Ramsey in particular) and build upper arm muscle over summer break.

* Worked harder, but could be first game enthusiasm/ trying to impress

* Auba, Laca, Nelson rotated positions but looked best in original shape with Nelson right and Auba left.

* Guendouzi best player in first half.
Favourite qualities… wants the ball, accelerates off his first touch to beat first press

* Lacazette played with more physicality

* Obvious that team working on playing out of back and hi-press. Much better at latter right now

* Emile Smith Rowe is a natural footballer.
Like Guendouzi, he accelerates after his first touch and evades back tackling. Has very quick feet. In my coaching experience, first touch is most important, no doubt. Most underrated technical skill is the second touch. Most defenders bite after your first touch. If your second touch happens before they bite, you escape (see his goal).

* More crosses, less overplaying. Crosses poor, but early days.

* ESR corners found their targets. Interesting that in a team of experience the 17 yr old was given this responsibility.

ESR – Baller

* Osei Tutu is quick. Looks quicker than Bellerin who looked out of sorts to me? I am not a Hector fan so could be exaggerated.

* Sokratis looked sharper. Phew! Was starting to worry!

* Niles will be first of next generation of English players in the England squad, in my opinion (followed by Sancho and Hudson Odoi).
He has everything but his electric penetration, composure and final ball are most impressive

* Cech looked rejuvenated. Early days for sure but he has improved physique, caught every cross where most goalies are punching/flapping and made the save of the pre-season.
Saved a penalty too 😳

* First half we looked very good but lacked quality in final third.
Second half we looked defensively solid after the subs and formation change but ceded possession and had almost zero goal threat.

* For me, biggest happy of the game was watching Emery help the players.
Breathe of fresh air from a manager who only complained from his chair, occasionally looked like he had a stomach ache and was too insecure to allow Bould to coach.

IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED

* Final 1/3rd especially weight of pass. Again, it is the first real game on dodgy pitch so…

* Mustafi and Holding may not start but they get too tight when not needed. Mustafi is good for one mistake a game minimum and Holding was responsible for their goal.

Holding errror for goal

* I have always thought that Bellerin is overrated. I think it is because fans love pace. I do not think he uses his pace well.
If I was him I’d realize that I spend 60% of every game on the wing, I’d stay after practice and work on ways to use my pace whilst on the dribble. Maybe a trick or two, Hector?
I saw on Insta that Ramsay beat him during sprint tests… wow!
Maybe I’m overly worried at Hector pulling up 3 times today when I thought his ‘speed’ could have got the ball and maybe the Sidibe rumours are just rumours, or maybe there is an issue?

HOPES

* I get the feeling that AFC are 2-3 weeks away from buying a big player, a top quality winger.
Reiss Nelson has that much time to persuade Emery to not do that.
When I saw him today, he finally played with boldness. His worst habit is drifting in and out of games and being submissive.
Keep taking on your defender, Reiss!
If you lose it, who cares. It is worth it for the five times you create and the opportunity for us to see the quality of your final ball!

* Mr Emery,
Please, please, please start Maitland-Niles ahead of Xhaka!

Please Mr Emery

Please.

Prediction…. I have seen Naby Keita. He is going to rock the league.
Maitland-Niles is our Keita.
He can do everything.

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