I have been out of the game for a few days, taking in some Tenessee. Amazing, that even when rocking the Smokey’s, you find Arsenal fans wandering around. We are truly a global powerhouse when it comes to fans.
So we’ve now dropped 3 games of preseason, and whilst it’s hard to draw aggressive conclusions you’re willing to die for, one thing can’t be denied, the team has changed.
Some early observations, it’s quite clear we signed Leno because he’s sharper and very good on the ground. We play out of the back much more frequently and it appears the hoof is only reserved for mega danger moments. That’s so refreshing to watch. The German has a nice range of passing, I get very nervous watching him play balls through the middle, but when the team is built around giving him options, it works.
That said, I felt that our transitions through the back were clunky at times. The team is still getting used to the pressure associated with a system and we’ll see unforced errors particularly in the beginning. But damn, when the players get it right, it’s a spectacle. Some of the movement was so fluid, real dream-like stuff at times.
The PSG game was fun to watch, but we were given space to run wild. The pressure test comes in the Premier League, where we’ll be pressed and rattled. That said, you can’t knock a great friendly result. 5-1 against the richest team in the world is not to be sniffed at. Could have been 10 if it weren’t for Buffon.
I thought Guendouzi looked very impressive. He isn’t shy, he wants to ball, and his range of aggressive passing through the lines is very, very exciting. What he has that Xhaka doesn’t is pace over 10m and bags of strength. I loved his work rate and I thought he looked far more experienced than his 19 years on this planet would suggest. Sven really has uncovered a gem there. Imagine that, 2 DMs in the side that want to play there?!
It’s also clear that however the backline works out this season, we have a disgraceful amount of talent going forward. Ozil looked very fit and focused. I’m expecting big things from Mikki. I’m hoping to see a lot of development with Iwobi and decision making. We’re also going to do some damage with Auba and Lacazette. Goals are gold, and Emery is very lucky to have such a potent force this season.
Final part of this review, because my hand is hurting… Smith Rowe looks a bit tasty, no? I love his leggy style of play, reminded me of Paul Pogba the way he’d control the space around the ball, turn, and he’d be away. He has bundles of creativity and that little bit of youthful fearlessness that sees him try the sublime (that goal). It’s early days, but he looks the biz, has the frame for it too. Oh, and it was great to see Eddie score. Imagine Emery bringing through an English striker?
Right, over and out. A great few days for the Arsenal!