Gooners, pick your headline…. POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES

Goals galore

Headline #1… Contenders?

That looked like a team uninterested in settling for Top 4. Looked like a serious team with top quality, work ethic, team spirit and a coach who has a nasty habit of making a difference with his decisions.

Headline #2….. Have Arsenal discovered gold with new formation?

‪4-2-2-2 suited all the players. First time this season we have had an attacking line up where all players were in their best position.‬
Iwobi and Mkhi are not sideline wingers. They played in a square with  Xhaka and Torreira.
Neither are Ramsey and Ozil.
Two up top suited both Welbeck and Auba.

Headline #3….. Top performance adds final piece to competitive puzzle

Eight wins in a row was a big improvement. In the last few weeks many have stated that we will finally come unstuck if we don’t add ‘performance’ to result.
I agree.
Lose but play very well and you can at least believe that fortunes will change.
Today’s performance was top level. Individually and collectively we have added a large spoonful of belief.

Headline #4….. The Lacazette compliment

Alex Lacazette was easily the best player on the field in a performance where almost all were 8 out of 10.
To say that he is without question our starting #9 in a team with Auba and Welbeck is a big compliment.
He is scoring regularly, links very well with his team and is the best first defender in the PL.

Headline 5….. Vertical Emery adding dynamism

Wenger’s first 10 years were much different from his last 12. The style changed. Whether intentionally or not, we would win possession and invariably make a sideways or backwards pass which would quash our opportunity to counter with space to move in.
Emery’s style is called direct. A better word is vertical. In England, direct is seen as long ball.
Emery likes players to play vertically especially on the dribble so that the opponent doesn’t have time to get set up. Many of our goals and opportunities today were the product of ‘vertical play.’
Many ways to play football, but my preference is to find a way of playing that your opponent is uncomfortable with.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal are vertical.

FORMATION: ‪4-2-2-2‬ (attacking)
4-4-2 (defensively)

Audacious

POSITIVES

* Early on this vertical style took Welbeck 40 yards and led to a Mkhi shot.
Fulham never got close to setting up.

* The clear half time instruction to be careful when we played out of the back. First half we looked like we had mistakes in us due to shaky playing out of back.
On this subject I’ve been wondering something …. they say Emery thinks more about opponents than most. We haven’t attempted to play out of the back with regularity this season. In order to stop this style coaches (I’d imagine) are spending time pre-game doing sessions, video and conversation on this.
Is Emery toying with them?
Potentially many teams have wasted time this season preparing for something we rarely do (on Emery’s instruction). Sneaky conspiracy theory right there!

* Yet again, Emery gets his team selection and subs spot on.
Leaving out Auba and Ramsey (and probably Ozil) gives that accountability for performance.
Welbeck and Iwobi have been more deserving.
No accident that Auba and Ramsey come on with purpose.

* Lucas Torreira is a half second ahead of everyone else. Sees opportunities to anticipate quicker.

* Bernd Leno has a braver starting position than Petr Cech

* Do you remember this?…, Before Emery I often joked that there were thumb tacks in the opponents 6 yd box.
We rarely scored tap ins and almost avoided this space.
That’s changed too 😊

* Not just contesting but winning long balls is now creating goals. Lacazette wins long ball and is on the end of move for first goal.

 

* Last blog I mentioned that the ‘New Arsenal’ had a clear look.
Accountability, results and attitude have clearly changed.
Add ‘intensity’ to this.
I can’t remember a league game this season that our opponents have not been ‘intense’ and made victory easy for us. First half we matched Fulham’s intensity. Nothing came easy. We earned the luxury to lay off in the last 15 minutes due to our intensity off the ball the first 75 mins.

* Holding was very dominant. My favourite moment was in the 35th minute in our box. We lost control of the ball in the box. It was close enough to be tempting. He stood off and didn’t risk a penalty.

* Mustafi had his best game of the season.

* In the 41st minute I saw Xhaka sprint for 4 balls in a row.
Never seen that. Xhaka is not an off the ball sprinter. Is he changing?

* Either Emery knew that Fulham would play 3-5-2 or in-game he instructed players to exploit space behind their right wing back 👍🏻

* I credit Ramsey’s attitude. He looks detached from the group and troubled but he played for the badge.

* Mkhi is a ‘moments of quality’ player. Sounds like a chocolate slogan. Vanishes for spells but always seems to affect the game.

* Arsenal have to be the best team in the PL on % of goals to shots.
Anyone?

NEEDS

* As I mention regularly, Bellerin doesn’t like the outside of his foot.
Early on we nearly went one down as he refused to use his outside and gave Fulham a gift of a chance.
Bellerin lost the ball too often in the first half but improved second half.
Fine shot, should shoot more.
Fans talking about his speed are right I think. He isn’t particularly fast at all anymore.

* Auba needs to be stronger in holding up the play. No excuse. Lacazette is smaller but is stronger. It’s all a choice.

* There are times when I feel we need to disguise our passes. Not always, but I’ve noticed that most of the turnovers are due to telegraphing passes.

* I’m being picky mentioning this today but Lacazette would score more goals if he made two runs in the penalty area.

HOPES

* Our possession under pressure/ quick passing has not featured much this season.
Hoping our 3rd goal gives players necessary belief.

* I hope Emery continues selecting his team based on performance not reputation.

* The fact that opponents are playing us as if the believe they can beat us may be a blessing in disguise.
May make us sharper for bigger games if we have to play this way weekly.

* That Mesut Ozil finds form like the others are.

* That the 5 headlines at the top of the page become regular occurrences!

@mike_mmcdonald

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One Response to Gooners, pick your headline…. POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES

  1. DEW October 8, 2018 at 10:38 am #

    I like it when people say we won 6 games in a row because it was against smaller teams, but deep down they knew it well how unpredictable any PL fixture result is.

    I also agree with you on the benefit the team has got from the players playing in their natural positions. In going forward the right and the left wings were in action and it was also possible to attack through the middle. But there was one missing player from the starting line up, the one that fills and connect the dots in the middle. The lack of this player is the reason for first half mistakes that lead to the goal and dangerous situation, it is also the reason why the performance of Xhaka drops and why Ramsey has big impact when brought in.

    Look Lacazette, Welbeck, Iwobi, and Mki, are all players designed to go forward and to give defense cover in their respective positions. We all know that Xhaka needs time, space, and options to make his magic happen. So it is left down to Torreira to fill and connect the dots. Though Torreira is “half second ahead” of everyone the burden on him was too big. As a result the team was in desperate need of a player with higher ‘possession game index’. This is the reason for me Ramsey had a big impact on the game upon arrival. Ozil has also higher ‘possession game index’ may be higher than Ramsey, but his influence will unbalance the team and hence limits the creativity and attacking options. Overall, the team was dangerous going forward, solid in defending but average on keeping the ball when put under pressure. My suggestion is to use one player with higher ‘possession game index’.

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