It’s match day today and the tam will most likely – unless they did last night – be on their way to face an in-form Leicester City side that I don’t think many people have us down for victory for the evening. I can totally understand that and to be honest with you I am not holding out much expectation that we’ll come away from the King Power with any points come 7.30pm this evening.
We’re just not very good at the moment. Added to that Leicester are and have been banging in goals, not conceding, looking like they have a gameplay and style of play that would be something we’d be extremely envious about. Conversely we have no real kind of structure to our play, we don’t look like we’re in any kind of form or confidence and we have a manager who gives out more waffle than an American diner.
Unai Emery gave his press conference yesterday and I still can’t really work out what he’s saying most of the time. He was asked yesterday if the defence is lacking confidence and the first words out of his mouth were: “We need to improve and also we are in one process. They are having a lot of things, first we are speaking about the captain’s circumstances, then also some circumstances with some players – with Sead Kolasinac and with Mesut Ozil – then also circumstances that didn’t help us with Granit Xhaka”. I mean it’s a simple question that he hasn’t really made very clear at all. He could have gone in so many directions with an answer but instead just gave us waffle. And this is the guy who is supposed to be giving out tactical instructions to his players?
It doesn’t really fill me with optimism for this evening and all I really have is a hope that we can get a win, but that’s all it is – hope. We don’t have any data or form to suggest we’ll get any kind of performance from this collective of players and as the manager scrabbles around trying to find a different formation every game, we have no idea how we’re going to line up, so god only knows what the players are thinking.
Emery was asked about the back three and that’s what he’s said is an option for tonight. Given the players we have i guess it might make some form of sense. Chambers would be better at centre half. It is a widely held view that David Luiz is a better centre back in a three than a four. Plus if Kolasinac is going to start given Tierney played 90 on Wednesday, he’s always been better as a wing back. Bellerin too is a decent wing back but the reliance on them to provide width and space is something that puts quite a bit of pressure on. If he goes with three at the back it’ll give him two midfielders and given that Torreira and Guendouzi feel like the only options, that would probably mean that they get the start. In front of them you’d expect Ozil to feature and then the two in front of them have to be Auba and Laca given that they didn’t get too many minutes between them on Wednesday.
On paper that team doesn’t feel too bad and feels like it could be a good one to create chances. But this would be given that Unai plays that formation and those players. The second issue is that this Arsenal team looks on its knees, confidence-wise, so even if that XI start at 5.30pm tonight, I would still not put a single penny of my hard-earned cash on them getting any points from an away trip to Leicester.
And that shows just how far we have fallen under Emery, that I’m basically dreading having to watch The Arsenal. I always get nervous ahead of Arsenal games, but these days I also just feel like i’m waiting for the inevitable. Like I said above all I really have is hope. I have hope that some kind of miracle happens and this team suddenly clicks, but with the likes of Vardy, Maddison, Barnes and Perez all ready to do us damage tonight I’m not having too much expectation.
Vardy has eight goals in eight games against us for christ’s sake. It’s like we’re already starting a goal down.
They’ll look to exploit our spaces we have in midfield and Vardy will be a guy who will look to make those short-burst runs in behind the sluggish back line that we have. And I’m fully expecting him to get joy. Perez and Barnes will provide width at times and if we go with a back three and wing backs they’ll most likely give us plenty of problems when they inevitably get in behind Kolasinac and Bellerin – assuming they start.
I suspect we will set up quite defensively this evening, as it’s now become quite clear that it is how Unai Emery plays away from home, although we set up defensively and are actually quite crap in defence. We’ll be relying on breaks on the counter but we’re not a quick team. We have to avoid Auba and Laca being isolated up top and we also need Ozil to find pockets of space in that midfield to transition us from back to front quickly.
We also have to hope that the idiots at the back don’t give away another penalty. The am aunt we’ve given away already this season is farcical, but we need to sort ourselves out with our dangling legs. I’d also love us not to go a man down like the last two seasons away to Leicester. That’d be nice to finish with 11 men on the pitch.
Like I say, I’m not expecting much from tonight, but I always hope for the best. uni Emery needs the win and a defeat must surely put him on the brink of an exit from the club, but I can’t bring myself to be hopeful that defeat brings about that change. I don’t care who is in charge at The Arsenal, victory always comes first.
Get yer tin hats on folks. It could be a long evening.