Here we are folks, the even of the most exciting season to hit these shores in over a decade. New manager, new philosophy, new players, new thinking and new hope for a fanbase that’s had a bland old ride.
The two opening games are against arguably two of the most exciting managers on the planet. Guardiola is the king, Sarri is a disciple, both are going to play expansive, direct, exhilarating football with players that are levels above ours. Unai Emery has a shite record against Pep, losing 6 and drawing 4 of ten appearances. Sure, he’s not exactly been blessed with the funds or quality the opposing manager has had for those games, but it’s still shabby.
The big question we have ahead of Sunday’s late game is whether he’s had enough time to instil any sort of rigour into the back 5, and the starting 11 overall.
“Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly. But in these two moments in the match we need to work.
“To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.
“We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.
“When we are thinking in an attacking moment, I want the goalkeeper thinking for that, he is the first.
“The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: ‘We need to protect the goalkeepers.’ I want those two moments to feel the same for all players.
It’s great to hear a manager talk about the defensive as a collective issue, tomorrow will give us an insight into how good Emery thinks we are this season, and how he plans to make up the 10 points or more he’s going to need to to break into the CL. Are we going to be pragmatic tomorrow, accept we can’t play City off the park, and look for an attacking angle, or are we going to go another route?
“Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball,”
“And then when we have the space, to be aggressive going forward.
You can be a protagonist like Wenger, where you go all guns blazing, or you can be a bit more strategic about it and invite pressure to hit with the counter punch. Our core strength in tomorrows game moving forward is going to be speed and finishing. We have enough players in our midfield who can find Aubamayeng if City overextends themselves, the question really though, will be whether we have the discipline and will to keep a rampant team at bay for 90minutes.
Who knows… what we do know if Petr Cech is captain this weekend. Apparently, number 1 is going to be Kos, number 3 Rambo, with Ozil and Xhaka filling the remaining slots. Seems odd that we’d blow so much on a new keeper only to have Cech as a captain.
For me, 5 captains is a bit of a cop-out. It’s confusing, it’s idealistic and it puts us in the same place we were with Wenger. Notable that all of the captains are from the last era. Interesting that you’d sign in Licht and Sokratis as leaders and opt for old guard? I think having lots of captains sounds good on paper, but like anyone who has worked in a flat hierarchy, it’s generall carnage. Humans need a leader. They’re not good at working with 5. Just my opinion, but hey, we’ll see how it pans out.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments!