Look, I know I’m not one for finding excuses that show Wenger is progressing his thinking, especially after we’ve just lost away to the worst team in the Bundesliga, but once again, our manager is using words that mean something in a pregame interview.
“Every game gives you a different problem to sort out, for you to find a strategic solution to be efficient. Against Burnley, that will be different. They are a team who maybe play a bit deeper than Tottenham because they have a strong defensive efficiency.
“You have to keep your nerve, even if you have the ball, to be calm and accurate. You have to be defensively strong as well because they are very efficient going forward.”
That word strategic is an important one because Wenger doesn’t often use it. It shows he’s paying attention a little more this year, and you can see it in some of our games. Whether it’s the attempt to box City in, or snuffing out balls into the gap just in front of the defence against Spurs, he’s trying to offer up more bespoke tactical thoughts than simply: ‘Play with the handbrake off’
This test today should be the point in which we show Burnley who is boss in the league. However, playing a team that operates on 30% possession and still scalps big teams is a worry. We had a very good game last weekend, super intense, highly skilled and clinical. But that was Spurs. Wenger now has to motivate his team to head to Turfmoor and put in a performance, because anything less than full throttle is going to see us come away with an unsatisfactory result.
We can’t let our foot off the gas, especially against a team that’s occupying a fraudulent position in the table.
“Burnley are the most unexpected team to be there with 22 points. You cannot deny that, of course. But if you analyse our games physically, we have been strong physically since the start of the season.”
Wenger makes an important point, we shouldn’t be having any problems after giving the whole of our first team a week off. We should know the game plan, we should have energy in our legs, and we should have the winds of a derby day win in our sails. This is a very important game and it’ll set the tone for the month ahead.
It’ll also give us the chance to push further on from Liverpool, or catch up to Chelsea who are within striking distance of second place. I don’t expect many upsets, so I’d imagine we’ll sustain our position in the league, but the exercise in focus and maintaining momentum is the one we’ll all be paying attention to.
I’m also looking forward to seeing if Mesut Ozil can play like a demon again, he played out of his skin last week and it was a delight to watch. I’m also enjoying some of the more tangible stats floating around about Aaron Ramsey, he’s retrieved the ball more times in the oppositions final third than any other name in the league. He’s starting to come good in a big way, a bit more of an edge in the final third and he’ll be a world beater. Let’s pray for healthy players and a solid victory today!
There’s a little bit of noise around Jack Wilshere and his future at the club, the Englishman isn’t near the England squad for the World Cup and he can’t usurp Mesut from the starting 11.
“I’ve been at this club for 10 years. I don’t have to say how much this club means to me, how good they have been to me.
“But, at the same time, the boss has got to be honest with me and I’m sure he will.
“I think we will have to talk about that [leaving in January] when it comes down to it.
“We have got a month until then, and me and the boss will probably have a conversation before then and see what happens because obviously when January comes I have only got six months left on my contract.
“We have known each other for long enough and we have a good relationship where we can be honest with each other so I’m sure we will be and then we will go from there.”
Jack is a terrific player who hasn’t been served by the club. I think he was given too much too young, I don’t think we looked after his fitness, and we didn’t tailor a way of working with him that could develop his talent. He’s still a very good player, and I’d like to see him given more game time considering the future of Mesut is away from N5, but Wenger really doesn’t seem keen?
It’ll be a shame if we lose him from the squad, and it’d be a black mark on Wenger’s record of Brit youth development if he goes, but hopefully the next manager he has earmarked is developmental and we’ll extract the max out of the exciting crop of kids coming through.
Right, see you in the comments, and after the match tomorrow with a review!