That’s it then. Final match preparations have been completed, a 2-0 victory against Lazio was secured, an Arsenal performance in which some of the returning players got valuable minutes and as is par for the course for The Arsenal, a positional crisis as we now seem to have both of our left backs injured for the beginning of the season.
Marvellous stuff, eh?
Hopefully Nacho’s injury is very short term and if he’s missing for City but not for Chelski the following week then we can say that it’s only a small issue. The blooding of Maitland-Niles last season at full back will come in bloody handy I suspect. He performed well last season and grew into that position throughout 2017/18 so to now have him available should we need it – and let’s not forget he also has plenty of recovery pace which will be useful against City’s rapid forward line – it doesn’t feel like as much of an ‘Arsenal injury crisis’ as perhaps it might have done.
Torreira, Xhaka and Lichtsteiner all got minutes against Lazio and to come out of the game having won 2-0 with goals from Nelson and Aubameyang is always a positive sign. I didn’t manage to watch all the game as I was at the wedding but by the looks of things Emery was still tinkering with his formations.
I guess from a predictability of Arsenal point of view it will be difficult for Pep to work out who will play and how we will play next Sunday, but 4-4-2 was an intriguing prospect to start the game. Ok, by the looks of it, it didn’t work out. But it’s pleasing to see Emery try it, assess it, then shift slightly in game. One of the things that always used to frustrate us about Wenger is that if we are playing poorly there would be little consideration given to shifting it tactically. We’ve seen over the years many a game in which we’ve been down and the last 20 minutes have been a slow, creeping, death. But at least it looks like Emery isn’t afraid to shuffle his deck a little.
Whether or not that tinkering actually works out in our favour or not remains to be seen, but with a week to go we’re still left guessing about how we’re going to play and that all adds to the excitement.
I did enjoy the way the players shifted throughout the game though and seeing Torreira act as an anchor or even slot in as a defender in front of the back two was good. Given that we still have massive question marks about our defence it’s good to know we have a player who can hopefully provide that little extra cover.
We are precisely a week away from the big kick off and the excitement has reached fever pitch. And I love it.
Bring on the new season.
Up the Arsenal.