The points and performance debate….
No argument that the points matter. They matter more than the performance.
That’s not what this question is about though.
It’s about how the present is making us feel about the future.
It’s fair to also say that Emery has been given the squad to produce far better performances than what we are seeing.
So it’s about this too, as if we were Crystal Palace all this wouldn’t matter.
I have been trying to think of the perfect thought, phrase or word to describe how I feel about ‘Premier League Arsenal’ and I found it….. fortunate.
Burnley were in the game throughout, Villa should never have sat off us with more players, Watford should have beaten us, we let Utd off the hook and they could’ve won and Bournemouth were totally outplayed in the first half but should’ve at least equalized in the 2nd.
Not everyone will be off their game like Utd and Spurs were or lack the belief and quality to take what they should’ve from us like Burnley, Villa, Watford and Bournemouth.
What’s going to happen when we play a team who is firing or simply a better team? We got a glimpse when we went to Anfield.
So, we are third because it’s possible to be fortunate over a period but I’ve never seen a team have a ‘lucky’ season. We are also third because yet again we are not the only team playing way below their potential.
It’s true that we are team of very few collective appearances and so it will hopefully get better the more we play together. We don’t have three of our first choice defenders playing so maybe we wait to judge?
If I was coaching against Arsenal though, I’d encourage my team in the knowledge that Arsenal never play two good halves. They’ve had good halves against Spurs and Villa but not one impressive game in eight attempts. I’d also work hard on finishing as everyone gets plenty of good chances against us.
So, what matters?
Three points will always matter more to a team capable of winning.
I am not of the opinion that this is ‘all that matters’ though, as that’s a black and white viewpoint.
Whether you tend to judge with stats or your eyes, neither suggests that Arsenal play two good halves. Our fans are happy with the table but the games and the thought of the games are stressful and we’ve all seen ‘Cup Arsenal’ and we are wondering why we seem so stressed.
* Interestingly Kolasinac’s defending has improved and he saved us today but his attacking and his cutbacks in particular are not as good as he’s capable of. For this game, I’m just appreciative of his defending.
* Will Chambers for the second time be put on the bench after a run of good performances? The interesting point about his game is that he can make mistakes during the game as he did in this one but it seems to have no effect on his confidence. He has also proved to be a weapon going forward. I’d keep playing him right back and play Bellerin in the cup games until proved otherwise.
* The first half gave many positives. Pepe and Saka were both given the ball early which is every wingers dream. Saka was more dangerous as Pepe seems to cut back too early and makes life harder.
The press had a great effect on stifling Bournemouth’s hopes of attacking.
There were many interceptions as players started with defensive hunger and far more second balls won than usual.
* If we are going to keep Sokratis in the line up then the fact he’s been dropped from the Greece squad is probably a good thing that may keep him fresh. He’s played more than most and he’s not young anymore.
* I’m not sure if Pepe is playing for the Ivory Coast during the international break but I’d be tempted to claim a fractured eyebrow or such and keep him at Colney and work on his choices.
He needs to not always want the ball to his feet.
Auba was breaking clear and Pepe had an easy opportunity to run behind for a one on one but didn’t.
This would change more than just goal opportunities for him. When he gets it to his feet he invariably cuts back allowing the next wave of defenders to get into position. With Auba not really being a link player or strong in the air, Pepe cutting back is not creating anything there either.
Also, as we don’t play with a 10 then Pepe often has to pause and wait for options to connect with.
* We could win most games just off of corners. You’d think that after the goal we’d be encouraged to continue the same tactic but….
We had so so many in the first half but over half of them are played short and lead to nothing. I still don’t understand why you bring your Centre Backs forward and risk transition to not even cross the ball.
This will hurt us sooner or later.
I still have nightmares about the video of Emery crossing in practice. Does he take the corners in practice too?
* Until Pepe and Saka start scoring or Lacazette comes back or Willock gets a regular chance, that starting line up seriously lacked goals.
* We held a higher line in the first half whereas second half we became ‘easy to transition against’ yet again.
* At the beginning of last season Emery was winning games with substitutions.
This season he is giving teams the initiative with his substitutions.
* Did we run our legs off in the first half?
Is this why we can’t play two good halves?
Not fit enough?
In the second half we played way too many low percentage long balls which was highly frustrating.
* If what is being talked about on social media re: Ozil and his creative ways of getting out of training, then the club perhaps cannot tell us what’s going on like we want them to.
If they did then the likelihood that another team will take him in January when we couldn’t find a team to take him in the summer, drops even further.
It’s still astonishing that he is a captain whatever the truth is.
My hope is that it all ends quietly.
My fear is that I won’t.
It quite easily could be that when our full backs return then ‘PL Arsenal’ becomes a reflection of ‘Cup Arsenal.’
For now, God bless Spurs, Utd and last years pretenders Everton, Watford and Wolves for starting poorly as our league position is kinda wild all things considered 😂