Morning gooner. It’s one of those rarest of things in the UK today – bank holiday – which means a bit of s lie in and a morning spent in me PJs watching the Unai Emery press conference again, as well as some more fall out from the victory against West Ham.
I don’t really watch many other videos of other Premier League coaches, so my frame of reference is small and pretty much just includes Arsene and Unai, but I do love that he’s willing to delve a little more into the tactical side of what goes well/doesn’t go well. His post match presser on Saturday had Emery talking about getting the balance in the team right, about how he was pleased with the win but the team needs to work more on what we re doing defensively. It’s good because you can see more what he’s thinking and how he is intending on improving this Arsenal team. It almost makes me feel more at ease because half the battle with Wenger was that we all feared that his team constantly made the same mistakes and we never learned from them.
For me I think there will be two parts to his team that he needs to sort the balance out, which is the full backs and our central midfield, because we leave too much space and teams will know this and start to exploit it like Man City, Chelski and even West Ham did on Saturday. When going forward at times on Saturday we had both full backs in the opposition third, whilst the midfield took up a high position. IT’s all geared towards winning the ball back in the opposition half I know, but the problem is that when we lose the ball and it transitions over to the opposition, then we are vulnerable to any kind of rapid pace and counter. And the problem there is that the Premier League is all about physicality and pace. It is a rapid league and every team is designed to be able too move forward quickly. That means that we’re going to face this same problem again and again unless this balance is found.
For me it either means a midfielder is deployed a little deeper even when we’re going forward – with the instructions that he will have to be covering a lot of ground – which means we need to have somebody with an engine. The obvious candidate feels like Torreira there and as he plays more and more I think we’ll start to see him get in to the Arsenal team more frequently from the start.
The other option is that only one full back presses at any one time. If Hector is marauding forward, Mancho should probably be sitting, or at least not be as far forward as he was at times at the weekend. This seems like a rather inappropriate observation given that our equaliser came from the two full backs being in the opposition box on Saturday, but how many chances may we have avoided having if we’d have adopted a slightly more pragmatic approach?
As a football fan I’m designed naturally to be more risk-averse when it comes to my team and that’s why I am advocating a less gung-ho approach. It’s fun to see us score and create chances, but it’s also terrifying every time an opponent starts a counter against us. We’ll all have a lovely old season when Arsenal are going forward this year, but defensively I feel like this team are going to age me rapidly if we keep being as open as we have been.
The other stuff that seems to not be going away is this persistent talk of Mesut Ozil being happy about a positional change and that is why he was ‘sick’ this weekend. Emery denied it of course and you’d expect that to be the end of it, but the press are going in on it this morning with questions as to why a player would be sick and then be at the game on Saturday having recovered. Of course as long as there isn’t any public comment from Oil’s camp or Emery’s then we have to take it at face value, but if Ozil is unhappy about playing at number 10 then I don’t mind that too much. He’s a guy who might be asked to play wide right or left and if that’s the case i’m sure he’ll do it. He wants to play football, he’s one of our best players, so I’d like to see him on the pitch anywhere in the attacking trio if I’m honest.
If he misses the Cardiff game next weekend, or if he’s on the bench, then perhaps we can read more in to it from the manager, but until then we’ll just have to accept what the manager says and hope that we get the Ozil back that we saw two years ago. The one who racked up goals and assists.
I think we will. I think he’s a player who seems to divide opinion but as I said in my pre-match preview on Saturday if he finds space in between defence and midfield and we have the right players offering the right movement, he will be deadly for us, and that’s the Mesut Ozil we all want to see.
Right, that’s it from me, because I can’t be arsed to delve into that kind of speculation any more than I already have.