It’s very interesting reading the different perspectives on what’s going on at the club at the minute. The general notion is Arsenal are winning ugly and we’re shithousing our way up the league.
I’m not quite sure I buy it.
This bit of analysis from Gracenote was very interesting.
The other 19 clubs are all within 3 points of their expected points totals based on the quality/frequency of chances in their matches. pic.twitter.com/IjVT53nXLm
— Simon Gleave (@SimonGleave) September 30, 2018
Now, you can take a few things away from this.
We’ve been ruthlessly efficient in front of goal to start with, and we’ve had some luck. Yesterday we only managed two shots on target and we claimed an own goal.
Defensively, we’ve been shite, but thankfully, the teams we’ve played have been useless in front of goal (and our keepers have been good).
What this table tells you is we’ve been very fortuitous. The idea that we’re ‘shithousing’ teams doesn’t really sit right with me. This isn’t doing what you have to do to win, like Inter Milan in the semi-final of the CL against Barcelona. This isn’t United under Mourinho. This isn’t Ramos like evil genius. This is Arsenal playing really badly and falling up the stairs.
We’re not creating good chances moving forward, and we’re terrible at the back… but we’re 4 points off the top of the table, so it’s hard to be real about the situation without sounding like a brat. But, you know, I am a brat. I think a big reality slap is heading our way if we don’t quickly improve.
We’re 9 competitive games into the season and we’re still shite. That’s with the players training almost every single day (which comes with its own issues, usually in December). The ideas, whatever they are, aren’t settling with the players at the minute. We’ve seen Bielsa at Leeds turn them into a spectacle, they’re scoring freely, 2 a game, and they’re conceding less (a goal a game last season, 0.8 a game this season). I mention Bielsa because he’s bringing elite level ideas to very average players. Emery took over from an artist, not a butcher, it shouldn’t be taking this long to see an identity.
The play has to get better if we’re going to make it into the top 4 this season, because luck won’t carry us through December. Emery has either got to make changes to the way he’s setting up so he can get the team clicking from the off, or we’re going to have to do some reshaping in the January transfer window.
Starting Ramsey seems like a bad idea. The club withdrew the offer because they didn’t see value in Ramsey signing a £300k a week contract. So it’s not about the Welshman, it’s about Arsenal making an aggressive call on his ability. No wonder he looks pissed off, he’s just been told by the clubs hierarchy they don’t rate him. Here’s the thing, I absolutely agree with that decision. Trouble is, now he’s going to be uninterested for the rest of the season. He’d be a useful player if he was on top form.
Mesut Ozil needs to play as a #10, or it’s simply not worth it. Emery is going to have to work out a way to make him work harder for the team, or he’s going to have to build the system to be able to deal with his lack of defensive work. He’s the most creative player in the league, we’re not creating anything, let’s make it work.
We also need to work out why our defence is so poor. Is it a back to basics kind of issue? Who knows. But it shouldn’t take more than 3 months to see an improvement. I mean, it doesn’t help having someone like Xhaka protecting you, but honestly, I don’t understand how we’ve regressed so badly at the back.
Anyway, a little bit of a moan this morning.
What do you think about it all? Let me know in the comments! x