Everyone is going Iwobi and Arsenal crazy at the moment. Even Sir Alex Ferguson has us as title contenders, citing Alex Iwobi as a player…
‘The team is more sturdy. They’ve got better and more aggressive. I’m impressed with the young boy Alex Iwobi.’
To be fair, the exUnited manager has said similar things in the past, so has Jose Mourinho. It feels like they’re more genuine this time, but I’m still very much seated in the, ‘we’ve been here’ before phase of my hope journey.
We have a very good squad this year, but look, beating Reading and Nottingham Forest is not proof the squad is good enough to compete during the back end of the season. We used to have a League Cup team of children that made mincemeat of Premier League first teams. A comfortable win over struggling Reading should be par the course.
There are some things that give me pause for excitement.
In years gone past, you’d have to factor in our usual December collapse wrapped in poor form, fatigued players and injury pile ups. This season could still go that way, but it’s impossible to deny that massive strides have been taken by the club over the past 3-4 seasons with the hiring of fitness experts from around the world as well as the addition this season of a special pitch that’s better on the ankles. We pick up
We pick up less injuries for sure. However, I’m still not sure Wenger quite understands rotation, he’s addicted to using the same team over and over again which adds to the prospect of fatigue, which he’s highlighted as an issue this season… which can progress to muscle injuries. I think Southampton’s Puel has used 44 players this season, not sure that’s all about rotation, but his team have been good. No point in having lots of players if you don’t use them.
Also, I felt that the back half of last season was particularly lackluster. We just didn’t seem to have anything in the tank. Part of that was guts, part of that was surely heavy legs.
There seems to be a vision of style this year. We have what looks like a strategic pressing game, whilst not the most advanced in Europe, it at least looks intelligent. We have a bit of intensity about our passing again, the set up is far more mobile and fast and we have interchangeable cogs moving forward which makes our movment very hard to follow and nullify.
We still have Arsenal moments, like Boro or even Burnley to a degree… and some ingame management would be nice from Wenger, but that’ll likely only come when he moves on.
Whilst it’d be unlikely we’ll ever see tactical flexibility like we do with struggling Pep G, Conte or a Thomas Tuchel… we are going to see flexibility in the players we use. If we’re struggling with height, we can bring on WELBZ or Giroud, if we need more steel in midfield, we can play Xhaka next to Coquelin. We have multiple options across the front three. We can make smart subs to change games… we’ve not had that for quite a while.
… remember the days of bringing on 4 strikers and Kanu would score the winner? Great times.
Hearing Walcott moan at the start of the year about not getting games, seeing Chambo and Lucas bitching about the same thing… it means the players want to play and they’re fired up by competition. Wenger does a bad job keeping everyone involved, and he has to improve there… but players are coming back into contention and doing a job. Case in point… Lucas and Chamberlain.
So what are the concerns, the league is in the bag right?
Firstly, I think Pep will work things out at City eventually. He’s going through a rough patch at the moment, but he’ll try everything to make things work there. He has an excellent squad and he’s the best in the biz by a long distance.
Secondly, the big worry for me is that Chelsea and Liverpool don’t have Champions League. It’s a massive bonus not having heavy legs going into the weekend’s games. We’ve seen Leicester win the league off the back of that, a few seasons back, Liverpool nearly won the league under Brendan Rodgers. So when you have two brilliant managers with a whole week to plan their attack on the league, well, it’s a massive bonus…. it makes it harder for Jurgen Klopp to do his usual in damaging his squad and it gives tactical mastermind Conte the opportunity to plan like a demon.
So it’ll be a very hard season, but the good things, and where I can’t complain, is Wenger eventually put enough names on the squad list. Where I can’t complain is that he didn’t get plan A, so he bought plan C. Where I can’t complain is our scouting department worked smart, instead of going big because we could have.
I’m in a good spot this season. I still think Wenger should hang up the red tie this summer, but he’s given himself a chance this year… and that’s all we ask for, am I right?
YEAH I’M RIGHT! x