Tuesday is upon us friends and what I always like a about Tuesday after a Sunday game, is that it’s usually when all of the stats boffins come out with their analysis on matches, firing xG charts into the great beyond of the internet and generally telling us why the game should, or shouldn’t, have gone as according to plan.
And perhaps it’s at this time of the week when we all realise that the reason we’re so absorbed by football, because all the passing range stats, heatmaps and dribbles per match data in the world means the square root of eff all if you’ve lost the game.
I certainly don’t take comfort in it. In fact it annoys me more. Because much like Everton fans are probably feeling at the moment, the bitter taste of defeat trumps all other attempted placebos. We have the same when we play United at Old Trafford. Invariably we lose even when we play well and are the better team so I understand the maddening frustration they’re probably feeling at the moment.
The good thing about football though, is that there is always redemption round the corner, or if your team are the ones on the back of a win, the opportunity to build on a good result and continue with our momentum.
That’s where we’re at this morning and it’s Brentford at home in the League Cup that we have our focus on for tomorrow night. It’s a game that surely Emery will undertake some pretty heavy rotation in; the season is long with (hopefully) plenty of games to play between now and May and with that in mind the need to have squad players with minutes under their belt is vitally important. We can’t have the Wenger approach of having someone like Debuchy ready and able to play (when he wasn’t injured, obviously) and being completely ostracised from the first team, not when there are some long trips to be had in the Europa, especially from next week when the team makes the schlep to Baku.
Despite the fact we have four home games on the bounce and our next two league away days are in London, there’s still a load of travelling to do in Europe and so I expect Unai to give us confirmation when he does his pre match press conference today. My hope is that he says “ALL THE KIDS!” and we make it clear there will be mass rotation in the team, although having just said that, we’ll still need to give some of the rotated players a go and I think he’ll do that tomorrow.
Brentford are no mugs and like Norwich last season who were on a good bit of form when we played them at hope (thank you very much again for the late dramas Eddie!), Brentford have started the season well and currently sit in third in the Championship.
They will come with an idea that they can cause an upset and so whilst I think Unai will conform that we’ll see the likes of Nketiah and Smith-Rowe, I expect players like Leno, Lichtsteiner, Elneny and Welbeck will all be given minutes on the field. Perhaps there’s some questions over the likes of Willock, Pleguezuelo, Sheaf and Thompson and their involvement in the matchday squad.
It’s a fine balance to be struck by el boss because he’s got to find the requisite quality to get us in to the next round, whilst not disrupting the momentum of four victories in a row, as well as keeping in mind that this competition is useful to give the younger players experience. If we’re not in it after tomorrow night then it really does limit the opportunities for some of the players and so there’s added motivation for us to keep this run going.
Plenty to ponder and plenty to look forward to for tomorrow night.
I’ll be in the studio watching the game from LoveSport HQ and so won’t be able to make it unfortunately. It’ll be myself and Harry from the Chronicles of a Gooner podcast, of which I chatted to him last night following the Everton game. We talked Özil, first half slumpiness and a bit more so have a listen and give Harry a follow.
Catch you all in the morrow for a pre match preview.