Arsenal Season Review – 2018/19 – The Good, Bad and Ugly Edition (Yes – there WERE good games!)

Arsenal moments – 18/19 PL season

In an earlier post, I gave views on the players and their individual season performances.

Now, I will present views on which games – for me at least – stood out for their goodness, badness, or ugliness.

A good day

 

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A very bad day

So as the players have been rated, what about the performances?

What was good? What was bad? And what was ugly?

Good

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Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham

Despite the talk of them coming to sort us out and slap us, we did the opposite.

We started strongly, with Auba scoring a penalty, but they got 2-1 in front via Dier and Kane. The second half was all us, however, and we put them in their place despite the pre-match bravado.

Spurs 1-1 Arsenal

If it were not for a Mustafi error, and an Auba penalty miss, we would have won this game, and completed a league double over that lot.

Emery “out-tacticted” his old pal Mr. Poch, and if anything it was a mix of our own errors and being too negative that cost us. Even still, our away performances vs. Spurs in recent times have been poor, and this was a welcome reverse of the trend.

Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea

A like result and performance would go down a treat in Baku very soon.

And we really did steamroller them.

Lacazette and Koscielny got the goals, and Chelsea had no real answers or comebacks.

Arsenal 2-0 Man United

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After they came and won in the FA Cup, we managed to defeat them, despite “Ole being at the wheel”.

Xhaka and Aubameyang got the goals, with Auba redeeming himself following the pen miss at Tottenham in the previous game.

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli

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Napoli was a stiff test, and we were handed the toughest draw in the competition at that point.

But we started strongly, and via goals from Ramsey and Koulibaly (og), we were able to take a lead to southern Italy.

Napoli 0-1 Arsenal

The Serie A side was seldom a threat here – and Laca got a wonderful free-kick to secure an away goal. It was a professional performance, and against the biggest challengers to Juve’s Italian dominance of late.

Arsenal 3-1 Valencia

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The Spanish side were the next opponents in the Europa League, and we were able to defeat them well in the first leg, despite them going in front early.

Laca got a brace, and Auba got the third very late on, giving us a convincing first-leg victory.

Valencia 2-4 Arsenal

The return leg followed a similar pattern to the first – they took the lead early on, but an Auba hat-trick and a Lacazette goal secured our first European final since 1994.

Fulham 2-5 Arsenal

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“We got our Arsenal back?” Maybe. But it was a comprehensive performance, with Auba and Laca getting braces, and Ramsey scoring a wonder goal from an expert team move.

As this was in the midst of our unbeaten run, the fan exuberance was understandable at the time.

Cardiff 2-3 Arsenal

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Laca got a brace, and Auba got the first in his Golden Boot winning season.

Cardiff scored their first goals of the season, though we did enough via our star front two to get the win.

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

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The Scouse Reds were flying high – and we were in a way too given our unbeaten run at the time. Club legend and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson came under some flak for his comments on our defence (which in my mind were acceptable), and for saying that against a top side we’d get a hiding. He even said Liverpool in this game would spank us, due to our crap defending.

He was wrong though since the performance on the day was stellar. We didn’t win, but then we matched Liverpool in all areas, and Lacazette’s equalising goal was world-class in its execution.

The Merse was right though in Liverpool slapping us – but that was the Anfield game, which I’ll discuss a little later.

Bad

Arsenal 1-1 Brighton

This game cost us the top four. We were limp, poor in attack, and despite taking an early lead via Auba we gave away a silly penalty in the second half.

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Brighton 1-1 Arsenal

This was a poor performance and a missed opportunity to make ground. Auba opened the scoring, though Brighton equalised in the mid-first half. But overall, we lacked the pace, tempo, and drive, to get something more from this game.

Soton 3-2 Arsenal

Southampton took the time to end our long unbeaten run, and due to a mix of good finishing and our ongoing defensive ineptitude.

Rennes 3-1 Arsenal

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Sokratis got himself sent off insanely, but then Emery didn’t really respond well to the situation.

We turned things around at home, but it was way too much hard work in the process.

BATE 1-0 Arsenal

Laca was sent off towards the end, but it was a muted performance. We turned it around well enough in the second leg, but we dug our own hole here.

Arsenal 1-3 United

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Despite winning the later league game, this FA Cup tie showed “Ole at the wheel”. Tactically, they were strong, and we played into their hands somewhat. And old boy Alexis popped up with the opening goal, and it was a bad defeat against a long-time foe.

Palace 2-2 Arsenal

We didn’t play badly, but Palace was strong too, and with two penalty goals (from Xhaka/Mustafi errors) they were pretty good for the draw.

West Ham 1-0 Arsenal

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Ugly

Arsenal 2-3 Crystal Palace

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This was the seminal game in costing us top four.

I believe Emery got it wrong here, via the team selection. Playing Guendouzi and Elneny in midfield couldn’t handle Palace’s transitions and pressing, and coupled with bad defending, this ultimately cost us the game.

Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

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A pulverising from the Scouser Reds. Our crap defending as a factor, but then joint Golden Boot winners Mane and Salah, with Firmino, made us pay big time. This game epitomised the worst of Arsenal – crap defending, weak mentality, and weak positioning, all rolled into another heavy defeat at Anfield.

Wolves 3-1 Arsenal

Wolves finished seventh, and were well worth the win here. We started well enough, but lacked a cutting edge. However, they caught us in good moments and essentially out-managed us.

Leicester 3-0 Arsenal

Vardy got a brace, and they played us off the park. They out-Arsenaled Arsenal. It wasn’t a pressing display with aggression. But one where they had 75% possession against us – which is unheard of in many cases. What’s more, is that the man who turned us down – citing it an easy decision – grabbed the winning goals for them.

Best performance – Valencia 2-4 Arsenal

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Worst – Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

 

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Best goal – Aaron Ramsey vs. Fulham (A)

 

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Best individual performance – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Valencia (A)

 

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Next up – the head coach himself. El jefe – Senor Unai Emery.

 

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One Response to Arsenal Season Review – 2018/19 – The Good, Bad and Ugly Edition (Yes – there WERE good games!)

  1. Victor Thompson May 23, 2019 at 2:17 pm #

    A good assessment of our season. I am glad that you chose our defeat against Crystal Palace as our seminal game which along with our other defeats cost us our top 4 ( or even 3 ) place in the Premiership. I am particularly pleased that you mentioned that Guendouzi and Elneny playing together was a management mistake. I said that these two should never be played in the same team. Since then, Emery did play them against one of the weaker teams where they were not exposed, but generally he has not risked the possibility of having two decidedly physically wanting midfielders. It is still my opinion that even though he is very adventurous and puts himself about, Guendozi is not an enforcer.

    Finally, unless he plays in the European League Final, Ramsey will not be seen in an Arsenal shirt again and so I am grateful that you picked his goal against Fulham as the best of our year. In my view it would not have been out of place in Arsene`s best teams. It was a work of an artist as he started the move, won possession in midfield and galloped up the right side of the pitch to arrive in the box in time to bamboozle the Fulham defence by pretending to go for it with his front foot. The defenders went for the front foot and he allowed the ball to pass by it and flicked it in with his trailing right foot, all in one glorious move.

    Incidentally, I read today that Arsenal have admitted that letting Ramsey go for nothing was a mistake. Apparently the new recruitment team have said that it was wrong to let a player of his quality run his contract down. That will not be allowed to happen again. Maybe Laca and Auba will be secured before theirs do because if our war chest is £45m this year, we shall not get anyone even close to Ramsey for that kind of
    money.

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