First thing I thought when I started this was…
‘I have nothing to say’
It’s preseason, we’ve lost two games already and what was on show yesterday was very weak. We lost by one to a very poor Monaco side that were grossly off the pace the day before. The goal we conceded was about as pedestrian as the pace we played at.
Koscielny looked very uninterested in being at The Emirates, Giroud looked painfully off the pace and Arteta hopefully flagged to the manager exactly the reason he needs to go hard for a centre midfielder this summer.
It is only preseason, but the lack of sharpness / bite was quite alarming. I couldn’t work out whether it was because we were rusty or was it a hangover of last years stylistic choice of play. Whatever it was, it was painful to watch.
The second half was more bearable. I thought we looked quite exciting when Zelalem and Akpom came onto the pitch. The two combined really well, Akpom running the line smartly before being taken down in the area… the lino disagreed. I really like Akpom, he looks better technically and he has a more mature vibe on the pitch than Sanogo. I wonder if he’ll get a go. It already feels like the chosen one is the Frenchman. The only way to get around that is to go out on loan and smash it. Just like Joel Campbell has
All in all, we lacked sharpness, we played with the handbreak on, we were a little bit not good. Whatever the cliche, we need to pick things up heading into the new season. I still have big concerns that nothing has really changed. Did you hear Shad Forsythe’s job title announced on BT Sport? It was like one of those crazy NHS titles you see given for totally pointless jobs. Why not just call a spade a spade in your brief… he’s the new Head of Fitness. Not a partner of Tony Colbert. Interesting that the club are briefing BT into that story at any level.
Calum Chambers looked pretty good, as I mentioned the other day, he’s being groomed as a centre back. Makes sense with Bellerin showing promise. I also thought Debuchy looked ok, didn’t blow me away and made one horrendous challenge on Falcao… but he’ll do ok for us next season. Cazorla look awful. He’s slowing down and he’s not going to offer what he used to. If we can get a wedge for him and bring in some pace there, it’d be a huge improvement.
Abou Diaby wasn’t at the game along with the other problem kids Miyachi and Gnabry… all three are injury nightmares. Abou Diaby, ‘not injured, but not quite fit enough’ to play a 45 minute slot despite training all last week shows you how little we can rely on him this season. Go out and sign Carvahlo. A beast in midfield who apparently boasts a fantastic range of passing. That’s exactly what we need. The major difference between yesterday and the Saturday was the pace. Throw pace at any line up and it’s more threatening even if it isn’t as tactically sound.
For me, looking at the squad we have right now, we’re not title contenders yet. We need a striker, we need a defensive minded midfielder and we need a centre back. If we have £30m available, we should be moving for Hummels. If Sporting want £24m for Carvahlo and we can get him for that, we should move for him. If we need a striker, I bet we could get Mario for £15m. He’s worth a punt because Giroud isn’t good enough at the highest level. Let’s not mince around with another season for the sake of a few pounds. We need to go big, strike while the momentum is hot and make a go of it THIS year. We can’t keep doing transition.
I’m pensive about the season ahead. Lose to City and you’re on a bad run of games heading into a tricky game against a powerful Palace team who won’t have had anywhere near the international commitments we’ve had.
In the states, The NFL have agreed a deal with Microsoft to supply their tablets to all the teams, 13 a piece, to help them monitor data during games. The tablets will be blocked off from WIFI, so they can’t get video or internet. Quite an interesting move, the first time they’ve been allowed computers by the sidelines. I wonder how long before football starts allowing such tech? I mean, it wouldn’t be of interest to Arsene, he doesn’t use video analysis now and he can. We saw the GPS trackers on the players yesterday, we’ve been doing that for years… as tech gets smaller and smarter, I wonder how long it’ll be before the players are allowed it under their shirts?
Smart use of data is king… I suspect in 3 years time there will be some serious improvements to how the game is run and perceived. The people who are most likely to be able to force a move are the TV companies. If someone pitched the idea that wearable tech will make the viewing experience more immersive… well, I’m sure it’ll get more of an ear.
I’m speaking to some people about doing some more video / podcast stuff this season. I’ve never really dabbled because I don’t have access to equipment that allows me to deliver a high quality offering outside the blog.
The idea I’ve had loosely is that I introduce people, ideas, concepts technologies to fans. Getting under the skin of what football is about now. I think too much of broadcast is lowest common denominator, when in actual fact, most football fans want to be told something they’ve never heard before. I don’t care what X person thinks about Nik Bendtners boots, what I do care about is having the false ten explained to me or hearing about genetics being used to predict long term player performance.
There are so many interesting developments in the game with so few people talking about them. So maybe a play on the intelligent underground element to the game people don’t talk too much about could be a nice compliment to the what we’re doing.
Let me know what you think!
Right, that’s your lot for Monday. Have a grand old day.