‘WHO STOLE THE JUMPERS?’
Positives, Needs and Hopes
One of Unai Emery’s very first soundbites was, “We want to be protagonists!”
I’m glad he wants to be as all fans love attacking football but we are protagonists only every once in a while.
Personally, I would not have made this statement without the individual brilliance to support it.
Modern football teams all know how to play in a deep block. Most do it at least every other game. To be a protagonist in modern football you need individuals with guts. The crowd are impatient often giving the collective ‘sigh’ when possession is lost so you need a fearless dribbler who knows he may get 4 ‘sighs’ but eventually he will get the ‘cheer,’ and fans will forget the ‘sighs.’
Arsenal look like a team of players who are passing responsibility.
Too scared to risk a ‘sigh’ so they just give it to the next guy.
Against the deep block you play quick combinations, find your dribbler or just take what you are given and shoot.
We didn’t do the first one, don’t have the player to do the second one and passed the buck to the point when the third one didn’t seem to even enter the equation.
All teams face these games against the deep block but don’t try to create the perfect 70% chance, they just take what they’ve been given and shoot through the block. It looked like a half field game of keepaway that we won comfortably but yet lost the game easily.
Are we still stuck in the Wenger years of hapless defending and an allergy to shooting or does our new coach have a similar philosophy of perfection?
It might be important to remember that we became boring before we became bad over the last five years. Endless games of keepaway with no shooting!
Who stole the jumpers?!
* Somehow if Utd don’t lose to Chelsea and we beat Leicester, we go 4th.
Begs the question really… If he has the spark that he showed during this cameo that the others are too scared to offer, why isn’t he used more?
Here’s another question… If he has the spark then could Saka or Amaechi offer the same as one of our bench options? Hard to say. We haven’t even tried it to find out!
How about another one…. If our midfielders are simply content with stat padding and playing ‘no risk football’ then could Willock’s forward thrusts offer what we need whilst Ramsey is out?
This is supposed to be ‘positives.’ I’m struggling so I better not force it.
Let’s move on…
I had so many potential titles for this blog. I’m not going to waste them as they all have validity so here goes….
* ‘The desperate need for unpredictability’
Arsenal football club will reignite when those spending the money make the decision to purchase one or two dribblers that don’t want to fit what the collective are trying to achieve.
The best example I can think of is Ajax. They match the ability to play keepaway with two highly unpredictable wingers in Neres and Ziyech, who are allowed to create an individual way rather than join the team pattern.
I’d imagine Ajax fans anticipate excitement pre-game. I don’t think we do.
* ‘Entering the Exit door’
Either certain players/their agents have already been told they are off or they are expediting their own exit at the same time as transfers are being discussed.
Mkhi and Ozil’s wages could give us an extra half million a week to spend for starters. Kolasinac and Xhaka need to watch their back as their form has dropped off too. If Arsenal have a chance at Rabiot then Xhaka needs to be careful. He has a higher ceiling and he is free.
Somebody will arrive this summer on a free as we obviously don’t have the funds for every position but we do have the wages.
* ‘5 captains but where’s the leadership?’
It has been a common scene at Arsenal this season ….. During away games in particular when we go a goal down I don’t see it. With five captains and often many of them on the field surely there should be more belief? Do you see too many sad faces. I do.
* ‘The 2nd half mystery’
The first half didn’t work. So why did the second half look like the first half?
* ‘If you could only go big on one’
The twitter vibe I get is that if we only have funds for one £40million + purchase this summer then most would use to buy a centre back.
If that happens, I’m cool as there is a clear need.
If it was my money and I was offered Umtiti or Zaha let’s say, I’d take Zaha.
I think that when all are fit that we already have three good centre backs in Sokratis, Koscielny and Holding. If Mavropanos comes good, that’s four.
I’d use the sale of Mustafi and ElNeny to buy Hermoso who is on the cusp of the Spanish National team and has all the necessary qualities to be a huge success at centre back. He will cost about £25M.
If the season was to start and we had Sokratis, Koscielny, Holding and Mavropanos I wouldn’t be half as concerned than I would be if we didn’t have one winger with individual brilliance.
At least we started this current campaign with some good options at centre back. Our winger options are really inside forwards with limited creativity.
Arsenal should not have gotten me pining for two U-23 prospects to fix our absent need.
* ‘We all guess, but we just don’t know’
When you scroll through fan opinion you get many different thoughts on whatever the latest problem is.
What you’ll hardly ever get is an insight into the dressing room.
What we don’t know is that something might be going on that has unsettled the team. Our two latest performances would lead me to wonder.
Earlier in the season I got the vibe that the players wanted Ozil back. We got a boost when he returned.
Are the players concerned about the flip flop from back three to four?
Are they upset at selection? Have certain players on their last two years been told that they are not being renewed?
I just feel that something is up.
* ‘Do you get THAT feeling?’
You know when certain players are in certain attacking positions you expect something to happen.
I’m talking about watching Jadon Sancho with his head up on the edge of the box. Raheem Sterling attacking the back post at speed for yet another low drilled cross for yet another tap in. Eden Hazard in full flow. Hakim Ziyech just before he uses his left foot. Son when he’s about to shoot. How about Ruben Neves at a dead ball!
I say this with no anger but I don’t feel this way about anyone at Arsenal.
When Lacazette scores I feel impressed. When Auba scored against Palace from the top of the box I was surprised. It’s now to the point that when Ozil splits the defence I remember that I used to expect it.
Iwobi and Mkhi completing a final third action makes me proud of them. A weird emotion when I should feel excitement from an attacking midfielder.
The only time I expect is when Ozil goes one on one as his shot to goal ratio when he does his ‘chop’ is probably 75% or higher.
The biggest problem in this regard is that our forwards don’t have movement that regularly removes them from defensive pressure. Secondly, without the unpredictable winger I don’t feel the likelihood of a positive outcome.
* ‘The missing piece of the collective’
Our general play is fine.
Go back and pause the TV when the ball is traveling from A to B.
We don’t move as the ball is moving. If we do, it’s not quick enough.
When I teach my team this important advanced element, we play 3v3.
There are constant opportunities for players to be uninvolved yet be the only option.
A passes to B. C is uninvolved in the first action. He can wait for B to look at him but then the defence’s focus is now on C.
When C moves whilst eyes are on A and B he can become undetected and opens up the one touch option.
Arsenal players move when B is about to receive. This is half a second too late. The perfect example is the lack of one touch line breaking passes from Torreira and Guendouzi. Both are capable of it but Ozil, Mkhi and Iwobi aren’t available quick enough.
The other unfinished example is the switch pass between the lines.
Ball is on one side. We pass it once inside and then split their midfield with a diagonal switch ball to the feet of an attacking midfielder between the lines. We get excited as a clear 3v2 situation could develop or perhaps a ball behind the defence.
Unfortunately, Lacazette doesn’t move until the focus is on him and Ozil can’t play Kolasinac behind the defence because he also has moved too late.
* Man Utd 0 Chelsea 0
We don’t deserve it but do they either?
* Might be time for a team meeting.
I’m not as concerned about the Semi Final as I expect one of our big performances that show up once in a while.
I’m more concerned at how Leicester could do exactly what Wolves just did. Same amount of quality in the Leicester team.
I’m concerned that Brighton are making it hard for many and I’m seeing the same from Burnley.
Life is different every day for me. I’m sure it can be the same for you.
Being an Arsenal fan the last 12 years has helped me understand the roller coaster of life.
I’m prepared after I get an unexpected raise to be able to deal with an over heated engine!
I thank Arsenal for giving me 12 years of inconsistency so I can deal with my life much better 😆