After a day in which Unai Emery has had a press conference ahead of a game I like to have a little read over his comments on the official website to see if there’s anything that I can glean that gives an insight in to how the team will set up in the upcoming match.
As much as we all knew that Wenger’s time was up, one thing you could say was that his press conferences weren’t boring and he would always have something to say. Towards the end he frustrated us, but compared to Unai’s press conferences he was a master, whereas our Spanish manager is not.
Hey, I just want Arsenal to win football games so ultimately this is a bit of a moot point in the context of a football season, but Emery’s press conferences are a lot of words about nothing aren’t they?
Perhaps that’s because of his grasp of English, perhaps it’s because he knows the English press will twist any word and so he makes benign statements, but yesterday’s press conference didn’t exactly sound like a rally cry. Nor did it give me any more confidence that in Sunday the players are going to put their psychological problems behind themselves and keep us in the Champions League race.
He did get pissy with the press when they proved him about the away form, asking them how many times he had to answer the same question, but when he doesn’t really answer the question each time it’s asked, he’s going to get people asking him to clarify. Which of course he doesn’t really do. So hey ho.
At least the good news from The medical room is that Aubameyang should be fit and travel. Even if he doesn’t start he’ll be an option from the bench and as I said in yesterday’s blog, with the lack of goals spread across the rest of the team, we can’t really afford to miss either of our two top scorers. Hopefully they’re on the scoresheet tomorrow.
Even if they are though, something will need to happen at the other end because we know that we’re going to concede, with our defensive woes and experienced players brain farting left, right and centre all the time.
Even if we just cut out the constant stupid and glaringly obvious mistakes we’d give ourselves a chance in away games. The mistakes our players make – when you look at Leno v Wolves, or Mustafi v Palace – seem like the sort of thing you’d see in non-league football. Our players don’t have to channel their inner Maldini’s, they just have to do the basics right. If a team cuts us apart with flowing football that we just can’t get near then fine, but route one balls over the top that we let bounce without just heading or booting away is really basic stuff.
When Aaron Ramsey lost his form the season after he had his storming season in front of goal, I seem to recall that he had a series of games in which he just went back to basics. He released the ball when he was supposed to, he cut out the tricks and flicks that lost possession, he stopped trying diagonal Hollywood balls from one side of the pitch to the other. Slowly it built his confidence and he was able to start getting back to the player that we all knew he could be. That’s what our defence needs to do. Just win the balls we should win, take no chances, row z it if you have to. Let’s build some momentum by getting the basics right.
Or are these defenders not capable?
Let’s see tomorrow.