Heroes are born quickly: decisive team selection gives Arsenal perfect season start



Part of the unrest in previous seasons was not just the results or the lack of style but that the fans didn’t have a hero.

Heroes can be frustratingly inconsistent but they offer a fan the breath of their footballing existence…. hope.

When I started watching Arsenal seriously Anders Limpar had a cape.
If all was going wrong his cape gave me hope.
We were blessed with many heroes and an overflow of hope in Wenger’s first years.
Aubameyang might have worn a mask last year but he didn’t wear a cape often enough.

Fans don’t just go to games or religiously book a regular reservation on the couch just for 3 points.

Fans want heroes.

That game was far more emotional than I’d expected. I was beyond tense. My son has a habit of being accidentally profound. At the beginning of the second half when I was pacing he said, “ …. but we’ve got Pepe and Ceballos, Dad.”
I remembered Ceballos’ heroic first half performance and I felt hope. He is a blend of endeavor, skill and elite quality.

Arsenal’s bold decision to spend big on Pepe has given us hope.
More than the hope of hope, Pepe started to perform. When players start to perform it can look like many things but Pepe has razzle dazzle. If you have razzle dazzle AND perform then you wear a cape.
Aubameyang has decided to put his cape on this season and looks a different animal. Willock and Nelson could be given one.
David Luiz may be a clown to some but he’s got hero written all over him.
That passing range is next level and adds a new dimension to Arsenal and his composure calmed everybody. All heroes are calm when others are pacing!


(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Sometimes the capes are undeserved as fans can pine for something they don’t really have. Heroes are born quickly and perhaps too quickly as fans want to have players on pedestals.
Consistency and showing up for big games will make the cape permanent.

Either way, Arsenal look different.

It looks like we have some heroes!


* Big credit to Burnley. Their high press was very well organized and they caused us problems the whole game.
I was so tense. My tension wasn’t reflected by Arsenal, however. Their composure was admirable. Whether it was playing out of the back or never being more than a goal in front we didn’t ever look flustered.
If I was to guess I’d say that David Luiz’s presence is a big factor. He has an ‘I got this’ attitude and I’m sure it’s infectious. Add to this that Dani Ceballos is the first press resistant centre mid since Cazorla. I’d say that his confidence adds to others.
Dani Ceballos might be the end of Mesut Ozil as both men have elite quality but Ceballos adds effort and looks a more serious footballer.

* I liked Emery’s selection boldness. Mkhi was poor last week, Reiss starts.
Willock is still unproven but Torreira still sat the bench.
Chambers was arguably MOTM last week but Luiz is the next level.


* Have you noticed that Lacazette is arguably better in front of the near post than in front of the goal?
Some players excel when expectations are lower.

* Luiz’s passing ability will open up our midfield this season.
Someone will have to step to him leaving a midfielder with more space.

* Leno has lightning reactions. His best quality.

* Over time we will see that a team hi-pressing may fall into a trap.
It’s not just Ceballos that resists pressure, Guendouzi is similar. Auba and Pepe’s pace and direct style will lead to many counter attacking goals.

* If the team can continue to show the same levels of composure and become tighter at the back then the crowd will become more comfortable.

* When Monreal is solid nobody applauds. Just a thought.

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* Teams that play out from the back are facing many opponents.
The crowd are edgy and that can affect the success ratio.
The biggest hurdle will be that it is a predictable passing pattern that coaches are figuring out.
Ball goes here, then there, then splits and as long as players follow their man they have hope of getting a toe in and winning it high. For it to remain there needs to be variety as the players know what’s coming next.
It also needs quicker movement off the ball as the vertical pass to the forward is almost always putting him under intense pressure. He needs a one touch option.
It may be a deal breaker. Whichever team makes the least mistakes playing out of the back gets the trophy!

* I wonder why we played with a slower tempo? We’ve had a quicker tempo in pre season. The pitch looked very dry which may have been a factor.

* We had many attacks where we got out of a tight corner out wide, switched it but didn’t capitalize.
The pass to the central midfielder opened everything up but too often he would play it sideways again allowing Burnley time to get back. Alternatively we’d pass it forward too quickly.
If the centre mid keeps it then we have 4 on 3. If he passes too early or sideways it’s 3 on 3 or 4 on 7.
Simple fix, though.


* I think Martinez is closer in ability to Leno than most.
If Leno can’t fix his physicality issue we may see a change.
He removes his body from a crowd and punches with an already fully extended arm, therefore not getting distance. Burnley had scouted him and picked on this weakness. Others will now too.

* Sokratis was troubled in the air which troubles him and then… here comes the yellow. Makes me wonder if in time, that it will be Holding and a Luiz.

* The front 3 be it Nelson or Pepe have no ‘automatic’ yet. In time that should be significantly better.

* This isn’t an Arsenal problem…. we occasionally see drills of unopposed crossing and finishing. Do we (and others) practice opposed crossing and finishing?
Too often players get in promising wide positions look stuck. Then delay. Then there is a growing crowd. Then it gets blocked.
I like what City do.
Pep picks on opponents biggest weaknesses and tells his players to ‘fire’ the ball between the keeper and the defensive line. It is then the RESPONSIBILITY of the attackers to meet it.
Picking out a player is hard.
What is much easier is what City do. Pass the responsibility to the finisher to get into position as the winger has a split second to pick out a solution.
Auba would flourish on bullets fired to the back post.

* Guendouzi is very good. I like to imagine what I’d say if I had a chance to coach players. Maybe that’s weird 😊
I’d tell him to pin his hair back. Why? I think he can’t see round the corner. When balls are played to him under pressure he has the ability to one touch it over his shoulder. I just don’t think he can see over his shoulder.



* Like everyone I hope that the security concerns around Ozil and Kolasinac go away.
I do think that the reason we are keeping Monreal is because Kolasinac may feel like he has to leave England.

* I’m hoping Saka gets the same amount of bench opportunities that Martinelli gets over the course of the season.

* I was debating with @YankeeGunner about whether Luiz should have played today.
I felt that the timing (with Chambers being MOTM last week) might crush Chambers just when he was on a high.
I hope it didn’t.
To Elliot’s credit he was right. Luiz played and proved that he should have played.

* I hope Emery has the guts to play the same midfield three against Liverpool. Xhaka is more beneficial against the other 2/3rds of the league but often gets exposed against the big teams.
It’s going to be almost impossible to not play Ceballos, that’s for sure!


There is so much hope to point to.

Much is going well and our first eleven are either absent or not quite in their groove.

Result wise we are still teetering close to the edge but a win against Spurs or positive result against Liverpool could give us a major psychological boost.

Feeling good 👍🏻

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