Ok, so what are we talking about this morning?
Manchester City vs Aston Villa.
Wow. Don Unai Emery is really making his mark on the Premier League. Language barrier squashed, redemption tour bigger than ERAS, big results like a team trying to be in the mentions of ‘title talk’ twitter (x).
I can’t remember many Manchester City performances as drab as the one at Villa Park the other night. Unai had his player monstering a meek Manchester City midfield all evening (Rodri, clearly their best player). His side had 22 shots, with 7 hitting the target… to City’s 2 attempts all night. The win was one for the history books.
So what are we thinking for the weekend?
1. It’ll be really fucking hard
This is one of the first games of the season where I’d genuinely be happy exiting with a point. I think they are 14 home wins on the bounce or something mad like that. This game is going to be beastly. If we escape with more than a point, be thankful.
2. This is the same vibe as Newcastle two seasons ago
Villa is built like the Newcastle team that bullied us into a loss when we could tasted top 4. It’s a group of young athletes on the up that truly believe the world is disrespecting them as professionals. They are fired up. They are wildly brave, extremely good in the final third, and everyone is a runner… even Tielemans these days. Martin Odegaard was getting ghosted by Ross Barkley the other night, if he plays like that against Villa, we’re going to get toasted.
3. It’s Unai
He’s a great manager of smaller clubs. He doesn’t shy away from a fight. He will try and open teams up. He loves a D vs G type battle. That’s his weakness. He will come to play even if it means getting battered. There won’t be a deep-block and we have to be prepared to play a chaotic game. Villa are like Spurs. Feast or famine… and there has been a lot of feast.
I’m worried about this. The Unai Cuck Army has been sitting on the edge of their seats salivating over Villa. I think they might actually be upset that the Unai redemption is being overshadowed by Arteta. We need to keep it that way so the apologists of criminal football can’t convince us that actually, it was a mistake to allow him to leave.
I don’t want to spend too much time here, but isn’t it amusing that the manager who gave Spurs their club back has 1 point in 15 with a game against Newcastle this weekend?
Yes, it is.
Big Ange took a point off City. 3 goals from 0.4 xG. Journos queued up to say:
‘Was he tactically vindicated?’
Luck is not vindication, and Spurs have had a lot of it.
Now they are facing the injury equivalent of compound interest. They lost players before the fixture crunch, which means a smaller pool of players not getting rotated, now the smaller pool is getting injured.
They lost Son.
It is going to be VERY hard for them to beat Newcastle at the weekend, because I have no doubt Eddie Howe will be seeking a massive response from his side after a SHOCKING loss to Everton.
I love it. Literally, I couldn’t be happier. Personally, the first-world suffering I went through on this very site telling Arsenal fans the winnertivity strategy of Mourinho and Conte was a fast-track to hell, has made this flop out worth it.
Tomiyasu is out for 6 weeks or so, and it was oh-so predictable. The biggest weakness of Arteta is his macho approach to player fitness, which is entirely baffling because he spent most of his Arsenal tenure injured. Tactically, we don’t see messy patterns of the same mistakes. If we, as fans, see something rubbish. It’s usually fixed. Where we don’t see improvements is on the fitness front.
Tomiyasu, by my calculation, is now in his third season of breaking down once he’s hit good form. Why does Arteta insist on overplaying him when a rank amateur like me knows what the outcome will be?
I really feel for the player… mostly because I know Arteta should be doing better here.
His biggest weakness is maintaining the fitness of his best players.
Worth noting that the fittest team in the league is City.
There’s some hype that Partey and Emile are going to be fit for this weekend. I’d tamp down that excitement on Thomas Partey – but pretty sure Emile will be back sooner or later. I’m not even sure I want TP05 back early. If he’s starting Liverpool, he’s going AFCON. That’s not good for us.
All of this does leave us short defensively. We’re getting to that part of the season when Cedric Soares dusts off his Copa Mundials. I’m game for that… but only if it’s for the PSV game.
We have to get through the Villa game, then one of Arteta’s young coaches needs to force him to put out ZERO first-teamers in Holland. The airport is next door to the stadium, our players could be back in bed by 11 if we play it right. But, what I’d prefer is our core group watching the PSV game IN BED.
We have to take the January window week by week, but as things stand, it seems like defence is the most likely need of recruits. We’re short. Shifting players around to make up the deficit was a struggle last season and I don’t want to be praying the Decland Rice can cover at right-back this season.
I think @AFCcamden is probably right… a defender will be the move.
I’d love a striker, but where’s the value in January?
I’d love a midfielder, but it looks like we’re covered there, and again, it’s better to move on key targets when clubs have three months to replace… not 30 days in a primo market.
On the out-going front, I think there are players we’ll be open to moving.
Aaron Ramsdale to Newcastle for over £35m seems the most obvious. I know it feels like Raya ain’t the full package, but everyone I speak to that knows what they’re doing is telling me to buy stocks now. I didn’t go back in on Bitcoin at the bottom, so I have to put my pennies into Raya.
Thomas Partey is an expensive player that is at the peak of his powers. I think he’s the unlock for a BIG trophy run. He’s also an asset we could sell to move on a BIG midfielder this summer. Saudi, Italy, and France all names that could take a punt. Still think he’ll stay and NOT go to AFCON.
I’m gonna put Emile in here, but really, I don’t believe it. He needs 10 games to prove he’s still alive before we can get a decent fee for him.
Kiwior to Milan? All I hear is that he’s very impressive in training. He was signed early to prevent his fee going to £6om like Lisandro Martinez. I do NOT expect him to leave.
Ok, good post, chaps and chapesses. Now I need you to take a listen of our latest podcast with special guest, Jacob Hawley. We’re looking to expand the bench next year, so tell us what you think of Jacob!
Also, get on his Instagram; it’s top quality.