5 talking points post Spurs, in your face, right now…
1. The Santi effect:
From @Orbinho on Twitter:
Aug 2014 to Nov 16 Arsenal Premier League win percentage AT HOME with Santi Cazorla starting With – 72% Without – 47%
With – 72% Without – 47%
Ok, ok, enough of this already We get it. Santi Cazorla is a good player. But look, he’s 32 years old, injury prone and we had EXACTLY the same issue last year. We’re super dependent on him and we didn’t make provisions for him again. Hence playing him 3 games a week. This was stupid and remiss and we’re paying the price right now.
We should have looked at players who could replace him, or at least do part of the job he does.
‘There aren’t many Santi’s out there’
There are when you have a highly paid scouting network looking every day. Look at that Dortmund side. Loaded with pacey, young creative players with bags of energy. They’re finding the sort of players we love by the bucket load. There should have been a santi solution two seasons ago.
But, here’s the thing… I think Santi clouds an issue no one is willing to accept (bar James here)
2. Coquelin doesn’t help
The defensive minded midfielder is a good player. I’m honestly not saying he can’t do a job for us. I called for a player like him for years when everyone was telling me you didn’t need a defensive midfielder because that position was dead and Alex Song was the future of football.
NOW LOOK AT YOU ALL!
He has pashun by the bucket load, he presses hard and against weaker teams he can pass. However, in high pressure games like the one at the weekend, he just can’t be trusted. He contributed 25 passes to a game that saw us out passed by Spurs by over 100. That’s quite substantial. I’m not saying it was all his fault, but when you have a player who really isn’t comfortable in possession it affects your ability to built play and pass through the lines. Look, just to drive home the point, Victor Wanyama dropped 52 passes yesterday… and everyone laughed at him as a potential Arsenal signing.
3. Xhaka makes the case
This guy really could be a very complete midfielder for us moving forward. We all know he’s good moving the ball forward, but there were plenty questioning his ability to defend because Wenger said he was more of an attacking player. Yesterday he made 10 ball recoveries, 5 tackles as well as 4 interceptions. Coquelin made 1 tackle. People complained that Coquelin was pressing, which meant Xhaka looked great. Sorry, can’t be buying that. If Coquelin is only good for running about in a very basic press, that’s not good enough for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey knows how to press, pass, shoot and create. Elneney if you want a bit more stability. He has a supreme engine, he works the ball around the pitch, he can be a threat on goal and we saw his instinctive one touch pass to Ozil last week.
There are internal solutions that we could action that could account for the lack of a Santi in the starting 11. I don’t think Arsenal are bad without Santi… I think the alternative Wenger tends to employ just doesn’t work for us. Hopefully Wenger will see that and make amends.
4. Wenger the pretender?
Lots of important questions are being raised of the manager after yesterday. Does he have what it takes to contend in a league that is looking more and more spectacular by the week? Conte is proving out that he’s one of the best managers in the business. Chelsea look incredibly mean moving forward, Victor Moses is looking a demon, which is amazing. Hazard is back to his best, Diego is bossing it. Liverpool look scary good at the moment, Klopp looks like he’s absolutely loving the setup over there… Firmino and Coutinho are a devastating pair. City will get things right at some point, that much you can guarantee. Spurs are solid.
So can Wenger be good enough this year? Is he smart enough to see the issues we’re having without Santi? Can he answer the challenge of rotating his superstars? Can he work his way past a 6 man defence against United at the weekend? It’s a huge game and a massive chance to bury Mourinho this year. We both have a week to work on a plan, I hope ours is devastating.
This is a big week. A massive one. United and Arsenal both need that win for different reasons that are pivotal to the season… can’t wait.
I really can’t!