Monday’s are rubbish. They’re especially rubbish when you don’t quite feel 100% and after a weekend of being slightly under the weather, I already feel a little worn down because of feeling a bit offish.
Still, at least we don’t have to wait long before we see The Arsenal again. It’s a home game to PSG on Wednesday night and an opportunity to get the points to secure the top spot instead of facing the inevitable game against Bayern and Barca. Ahead of that game though, the official site has run a story about Arsène’s team selection, in which he talks about why he picked the players he did. I find this very interesting actually, because he talks up the players he picked being those ‘up for a fight’. I wonder how those players not in the team feel about that!?!
To be fair to him, I think what he’s really talking about is the physicality of the squad selection and most probably the ability to cover ground. For all of Rambo, Coquelin and Elneny’s flaws, those three in particular cover a lot of grass. So perhaps that gives an insight in to his thinking and whilst he got it wrong in my opinion – I thought we could have had more build up from a better passing midfield and pace on the flanks – at least we get more insight than we usually do.
Part of me wonders if that’s because of the access to dat, information, etc, that we all get these days. Five or six years ago we probably wouldn’t have got an article like that on the official site, but perhaps the PR people have had a word, seen what has been said in the media, by fans, then Arsène has decided to at least attempt to provide an explanation.
It’s also an interesting insight in to the fact that he does indeed look at the opposition. I wonder if he thought United’s attack would have pace to hurt us and as a result, wanted to pick a side that had players who would cover space and track back if the ball turns over. And at times in the first half I felt like it worked. Sure, Cech made a few very fine saves, but by-and-large it all looked to be working quite well. It’s just going forward we just didn’t look at it.
Whether there will be any changes for a home game to PSG remains to be seen. A win against the French side secures top spot and turns the final game of the group stages in to a dead rubber. The fact that we’re at home might also place more emphasis on us attacking the French Champions too. After all, qualification is secure, so if Arsenal go for the jugular and don’t succeed, it’s not like it’s a life or death situation in terms of group progression, is it?
I’d also like to see us be better going forwards because of what we’ve seen in the last two games either side of the international break. I thought we were well marshalled by a well-drilled Pochettino side at home, then were pinned back in the second half of the game at the weekend, so it would be nice to know that we’re not going through a sticky patch in front of goal, by beating PSG and Bournemouth over the next week. If we could bag a number of goals too in both of those games, then it’ll feel like we’ve navigated November and managed to minimise the ‘blip’ in to draws rather than defeats.
And you never know how handy those extra points will be at the end of the season. Theo alluded to that in his post match comments to Sky straight after the game. Perhaps a couple of years ago that result would have seen us come away with nothing? Then perhaps that extra point becomes precious in May.
Who knows. It’s all hypothetical and before then it feels like we’ve got a mountain of results to get through before we start to get all introspective on the season. So for now, I’ll clock off and see if I can shake off this man flu.