Do you remember…….?
Arshavin’s one touch vs Barcelona.
Henry’s rare late header vs Utd.
Fabregas from kick off vs Spurs.
Kanu going solo vs Chelsea.
I remember where I was, who I was with and the level of mad-crazy I went.
Fans love moments. They are important.
Martinelli vs Chelsea has now become one. A ‘do you remember’ moment.
Yesterday’s game might not have been as important as some of these previous moments but it seemed pivotal.
It was more than Martinelli.
That moment will be big for him as an individual but the performance and outcome was bigger for Arsenal Football Club.
It doesn’t look likely that this moment will take us to the CL in the short term but the optimist in me wonders if it will be a catalyst for the future.
I can’t remember the last time we went down to ten men away at a rival and dug out that level of heroic performance. Could be a pivot moment.
As a coach you hope for organic moments. You want a reference point rather than yet another motivational speech. You want to be able to say, ‘remember Chelsea away’ and simply let the memory do the talking for you. Instant belief that comes from the reality of a current memory and not a chest thumping team huddle or whipped up coaching speech.
Arsenal could’ve wallowed in yet another Mustafi moment but they rose instead.
Add to this another potential turning point that I don’t think many have noticed…… Arsenal’s highlights this year have been Arteta, Auba, Leno but more so, the younger players.
Arsenal have needed the senior players to step up. Imagine the influence and motivation that will have happened in the changing room when two of Arsenals natural leaders, Bellerin and Xhaka, are now seen as heroes. Alongside the greatly improved Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac and Torreira, we may be on a roll.
Let’s hope this inspires Ozil and Lacazette.
* Arteta’s decision to pause on the first half substitution may prove to be a sliding doors moment for Granit Xhaka.
It’s important to remember if you get frustrated with Xhaka that this seasons version isn’t downing tools. So, if he’s not good enough then that’s on the coach and the club as he can only do what he’s able to.
* Saka may not have had a moment like Martinelli yet but he has something that no other young player that I can think of can claim. Consistency.
Youngsters are not even expected to be consistent. Excuses are regularly and fairly made as consistency is unreasonable.
So I ask you, have you seen Saka give less than 7/10 at left back?
* Nice to get a break at last. Arteta hasn’t had one yet. Thank you for wearing the wrong studs, N’golo!
* I’m a believer in blessings. I’ve received so many in my life.
It was so cool to see Bellerin scoring with the same leg on the same pitch that took him out.
I think you were being smiled down on, Hector.
You could tell from his reaction, he felt so.
* I keep noticing new things under our new coach.
Loved that Luiz whacked Abraham in his first moment and that Bellerin went in hard on his first tackle.
Important moments that help frame the game.
* Am I missing something or were both Chelsea goals controversial?
Isn’t the new rule such that players don’t suffer a penalty kick, red card and suspension?
Isn’t it a yellow and a penalty?
Wasn’t Abraham directly in line with Leno, blocking his sight lines and standing offside on the second goal?
Two more poor decisions yet again against AFC.
* Back to pretending I’m the Arsenal coach…..
I think Mikel Arteta needs to come to the conclusion that we are making life way too difficult and in multiple ways.
– The players are far too quick to close their hips and return the ball from where it came. I’m understanding that this may well be intentional as we look to take rests in possession and/or we may be trying to draw their midfield towards us, but there are so many opportunities missed where attacking players are available.
– For regular readers I apologize for being repetitive but ….. Pepe.
The guy has a unique talent to unbalance opponents. Either he doesn’t understand or hasn’t been instructed in the value of making your life easier.
The one time that we found Ozil and Pepe two vs one on the wing, Pepe stopped and wanted the ball to his feet. Not only is it tactically smarter to run behind when two vs one, but Pepe is fast and Ozil thrives on this pass.
He stopped, the traffic arrived. Sigh.
He also needs to ‘come and spin’ behind the defence as an outlet rather than always checking to the halfway line and having to somehow create a goal of the season dribble when he could run free with the occasional ball over the top.
Finally, on Pepe, I was surprised that we didn’t try to isolate him vs Emerson (who was on yellow) as this may have evened out the game numerically.
– Lacazette checks into the hole well but as we don’t have a third midfielder and Ozil is 25 yards away, Lacazette hasn’t got a one touch lay off option.
– Ozil has spent the last 2.5 years being allowed to play the game at his own pace. His laid back performance alongside his previous lack of effort may well see Arteta sit him down anyway but think on this…. he is constantly criticized for his off the ball effort but for me it’s his on the ball decisions that are the reason he was signed, loved and why he plays.
Mesut Ozil slows the game down in a world where the best playmakers speed it up. Rarely takes one touch forward and passes forwards. Almost never.
He turns in huge circles or invites pressure when he has none, only to spend 2-4 seconds body feinting all whilst the opponent is finding their shape.
No wonder he has 1 assist. Like Pepe, he is doing what he wants, not what is best for the team.
Give me Grealish or Ziyech this summer. I can understand the lack of effort somewhat but don’t understand his lack of desire to even try to make the difference.
That’s what he’s paid £350K a week for, right?
– The fact that Ozil is taking up a midfield place that could be going to a third man runner is frustrating.
It seems that our style of play with Lacazette checking would suit a runner like Willock, Guendouzi or even Ceballos.
– Why is Rob Holding’s rustiness worse than Mustafi’s two freebies per game?
Mustafi has good qualities as he proved for the rest of the game, but no team in the top flight of anywhere can afford two freebies per game.
Maybe they were hoping that a couple of solid performances would have bumped up Mustafi’s price tag or the desire for someone to want him?
These are just 5 in a longer list of ways that I think we make our lives more difficult than they need to be.
* I was surprised that Martinelli wasn’t put on the shoulder of the last defender as a 1 v 1 outlet. When you are 10 v 11 this tactic can negate the man difference if you play behind their defence.
* Arsenal have a real chance of getting into the CL through the EL. Unless we get Dembele and Umtiti for Auba, why would we risk losing our main player with such great stakes on the line.
Even if they did offer us two for one, that’s a big ask for a team with hardly any goals left in them.
* If Arsenal do get Bruno Guimaraes my main excitement is that it would enhance our chances of keeping Martinelli.
Guimaraes is a big talent as he has such an all round game. Can do some of what all our midfielders can do plus the stamina that left when Ramsey departed.
* A thought…. Willian is a very good footballer. He’s free in June. Can play 3 positions.
We will have to buy free players alongside others that we’ll have to go big on.
Got similar football feet to Ceballos but with a greater desire to penetrate.
If we can’t get Mertens then maybe this is a thought.
Two months ago Arsenal would’ve caved in the circumstances that showed up at Chelsea.
I’m hoping that we now go on a run of wins to match the impressive progress made since Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal.
Big character. Check ✅