Happy match day folks. And it’s a match day in which there exists much more optimism and hope as a result of a new man picking the team than we’ve had for some time.
It’s Freddie’s Arsenal now and that means anything could happen today. Which is exciting. We could get a total change of formation. We could see players picked who were out in the cold. We could see performances from players who have been pretty dire at times this season. The possibilities feel endless. It feels like it could be the beginning of something exciting. Of renewed hope and vigour.
Of course it also could swing the other way. After all we have players woefully out of form, who haven’t won in their last seven games, who don’t look like they have the confidence to bring themselves back when they go behind. So to assume that we have a Swedish hero who has rode in on a white horse to hit the reset buttons in these players minds, with no residual fallout from what has happened this season so far, may be a tad naive.
But at least as I sit here now I – hopefully you guys too – have renewed hope that we could get something different this afternoon.
Norwich are our opponents and they will be buoyed from an away victory against Everton. They sit second from bottom and have just three wins and one draw this season, but to underestimate them would be folly, because in front of their home crowd they will be sniffing another upset like many other teams have done this season.
They will press us high and will look to put our back line under pressure early on and with an Arsenal team who like to play out from the back and have done all season because of Emery, it will be interesting to see if they’ll have been given more freedom from Freddie to assess each situation. Can players who have played this way for 18 months suddenly switch that off? Especially as Freddie has hardly any training with them to set out his vision.
That’s why I suspect we’ll still get a playing style with Arsenal today that will still feel a little like Emery’s. My only hope is the players are executing the game plan with more freedom and not with a million instructions given to them on each player to confuse the hell out of them.
Norwich played a 4-2-3-1 against Everton and hit the Toffees on the counter and whilst there is an expectation that some of that might happen today, I wonder if we won’t see them be a little more aggressive at home. The hope is that if they are we can exploit spaces where they have pressed higher up the pitch.
For the team selection, as I mentioned it’s anybodies guess, but I hope he goes with a 4-2-3-1 with the following line up:
Leno, Bellerin (if fit), Chambers, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Torreira, Pepe, Özil, Aubameyang and Lacazette up top. I think that’s our strongest line up and also it gets our four creative and threatening attacking players on the pitch together. We need goals with our beleaguered defence and that’s why I’m hoping Freddie sticks to his initial interviews and players exciting and happy football. We need a result and we need to see some signs that the players are reacting to his arrival.
That team also gives some players who were out in the cold a chance at redemption, which is why I would pick it today, with the view that rotation could be something to look at next Thursday at home to Brighton. Play your best players Freddie. Please.
And if we go behind let’s see some character. Going behind this season has felt like it’s been players that just give up at times and we just don’t see the fight back. I want to see an Arsenal team that responds the right way to going behind.
And if we go in front I want to see an Arsenal team not fearful of hanging on to a lead, but going for more! That’s what we’ve become accustomed too in our recent history. We can’t defend anyway so we might as well go for it now.
Let the shackles come off. To quote a Wengerism, let’s see no handbrake today!
Come on Freddie and come on Arsenal – let’s move forward together and give us all something positive to believe in again.
Catch you all tomorrow. Up the Arsenal.