Morning campers, how’s everyone doing on this wet and drizzly day (well, for Londoners, anyway)? Are we all feeling excited and expectant that Arsenal will pick up three points on our first three o’clock kick off of the season?
No, me neither, but i’ll always have my hope. I’ll always have my desire for Arsenal to win football matches and despite the fact that I think we have a real issue with our current head coach, I I still want to see us win today. We have to win. Anything else simply isn’t acceptable.
What is also unacceptable is the appalling use of VAR that we’ve been subjected to in the last three games. Not getting a penalty against Bournemouth, not getting one that was an utter stonewaller against Sheffield United, then the joke that was the VAR disallowed winner by Sokratis last weekend. Let’s actually have it go in our favour for a change if it’s going to happen, eh? Oh and let’s try our best not to give away another penalty, please, for the love of god.
Emery’s decisions he has to make today is who coms in and starts and given that he’s already admitted that Xhaka won’t feature in the matchday squad this weekend. So we’ll definitely see one change, but how many other changes will there be from the side that drew last Sunday?
If I had to place a bet then I’d say we’d go with Leno in goal, Chambers at right back, centre halves of Sokratis and Luiz with Kieran Tierney probably replacing what looked like an injured Kolasinac on Wednesday evening. That’s a back four which is pretty much to be expected, bit it’s the rest of the team that is open to a little bit more interpretation. Given that Torreira went off on Wednesday I’m putting two and two together and I think it will be a base of him and Guendouzi. Then, the question is who plays in front of them. Emery suggested that Ozil would be used this weekend and having come off on around the 65 minute mark on Wednesday you’d expect he should be free to play from the start today. But I have a sneaky suspicion that Emery will not go that far because I still think the tension between the two is there and if Emery has an option to he won’t play Ozil. Which is why Ceballos is my outside bet to start in front of Guendouzi and Torreira this afternoon. It’s not who I would pick and I don’t think you should be dropping a player when he’s clearly the best one on the park in the previous game, but that’s just my hunch. But if Ozil does play, Wolves at home is the sort of game that you’d expect Ozil to do the business on. So play him. See if he can dictate in the space between midfield and attack and see if he can give opportunities to the likes of Pepe, Auba and Lacazette.
Of course what could happen is the same as last weekend and we go 4-4-2 with Ceballos and Pepe as wingers and Laca and Auba up top, but whilst we started well against Palace, the lack of creativity came through in the second half and simply put, that’s because I think we don’t really have the players for a 4-4-2. We need to stop putting square pegs in round holes and go with our best players in their best positions. For me that’s a front three with Ozil behind.
As for Wolves, well, they are a team that rely on width and like many teams i the Premier League they look to exploit on the counter away from home with an aggressive pressing style. The likes of Adama Traore are vital to their success and he was a key player for them when they beat Man City at the Etihad. The battle between him and Tierney on Arsenal’s left will therefore certainly be an interesting one I’d wager, because Tierney will want to get forward but will be acutely aware of what threat he will pose on Wolves’ right hand side.
What it means for us is that we need to be more defensively resolute…ha-ha-ha…
This game is going to be a tough one. If you remember Wolves last year they were unlucky not to beat us and probably – were it not for some profligacy in attack – should have come away from the Emirates with all three points. They will be looking to replicate that format against an arguably worse Arsenal team this weekend given the form we are in. We look like we’re on our knees at the moment and so for me it feels like “any win will do” this afternoon, even if it is gritty and ugly to watch. I’ve accepted that that’s us right now. That final third is not very good to watch at the moment and that’s because we have no connector between midfield and attack. We need that creativity in the team to be injected this afternoon and that’s what I hope we get.
If we don’t get three points today then you have to wonder how long emery has got because we’ve got Leicester away next weekend and right now that’s feeling like a bit of an ‘L’ with the way we are playing and the way they are playing. So let’s at least get the job done this afternoon please, Arsenal.
Come on you reds.
Catch you tomorrow for a match review.