Arsenal make hay in the sun, but a storm is coming

by .

Unai Emery reversed the fortunes of last season’s openers with his second win in two games. For a brief moment, we are/were top of the league.

The game boasted lots of positives as the club looks to settle a squad of new players. David Luiz and Dani Ceballos earned starts, Auba moved out wide with Lacazette through the middle, Reiss and Willock retained their places.

The first half was pretty bland from a footballing perspective, but ultimately, I think you just have to accept that Emeryball is never going to get you off your backside. My main critique of our style is that we’re very predictable, more so than last season since the club added better ball players to the squad.

We are militant about playing out of the back even when it’s not working for us. Burnley penned us in our own half and it felt like were constantly turned the ball over needlessly. Liverpool will eat up that sort of approach if we don’t put a bit more variety in our build-up play.

The second slight bugbear is the lack of urgency in our game. We give the opposition all the time in the world to reset as we meander the ball forward from wide positions. I don’t think there’s an excuse for slow and methodical in year two.

That said, we’re more interesting when we do click into gear. David Luiz certainly has a lot more authority in defence than we’ve seen over the last ten years. He’s an attacking threat and the opposition knows it. His passing wasn’t elite today, but there’s a lot of variety in the balls he plays. He’s no 5 yard pass merchant.

I thought the passes that came off were excellent. Additionally, he’s a talker and an organizer. When you’re up against it, say what you will, but I’d rather him on my side… and I’d certainly rather him over Mustafi.

Back to the game. The deadlock was broken by Lacazette. He picked up a front post corner, used his weight to lean into those around him, then slid the ball into through Nick Pope’s legs when he was falling to the ground. Very Lacazette.

Something that’s very Arsenal, conceding sloppy goals. Ashley Barnes, the new Kevin Davies, managed to squirm between Luiz and Guendouzi to poke home.

The second half saw an immediate change, the manager introduced Nicolas Pepe. His introduction gave us a little more control out wide and a lot more know-how.

The football sped up a little, generally driven by the hugely impressive Dani Ceballos. He serves two purposes for me, firstly, he does all the things Mesut Ozil doesn’t want to do (turn up to work). He presses, he pesters, he tackles and he makes himself known. He dropped 7 balls recoveries and attempted 5 tackles. Secondly, he’s a better technician than Aaron Ramsey. He’s grown up thinking about the game differently, so hopefully he can give us a little bit of the best bits from both players. I have to say, I am super impressed how quickly he adapted to the pace. He touched the ball 97 times and created 4 chances.

It was the Spaniard that shut down a counter with an aggressive press, Auba picked up the ball, drove at goal, drilling a low shot past the impressive Pope. Our striker really is one of the most potent forces in world football at the minute. He looks so confident and so fit at the minute.

I’m not sure Emery’s defensive subs did much to calm the game. We looked nervous and it gave Burnley a bit of wind in the last twenty minutes. Bernd Leno had a very poor game, he was targetted with high balls into the box all game and it affected him. For me, if you’re going to flap at a ball with a single fist, don’t do it half-hearted. He’s usually so calm, the game reminded me of when Bolton were shooting from corners at Fabianski. I hope his coaches can nip this in the bud and it’s not an ongoing issue.

Mike Dean gave the game an extra 1 minute 40 and that was that, 3 points and an excellent afternoon in the sun for the fans.


A largely positive day at the office. I think we’re in for a shock against Liverpool next week if we don’t button up. We’re still shaky in defence and I think some of our play of the back has a touch of the kamikaze about it. Against rapid opposition with clinical finishing, we could be in a spot of bother. They haven’t been great against Southampton, but they have some many players that can decide a game in a flash.

I’m also hoping we can start to offer a little more variety to our play. If the gameplan is clear, it’s easy to counter. When we have great central players, why not use them?

The positives… Willock looked very good today. He’s rough around the edges, but you can see he’s going to be a very important player for us over the next few years. He created two chances today. Reiss has to impose himself a little more in games. It was notable how much more of a threat we were when Pepe came on. You have to take your chances, he has to keep pushing forward. That said, I thought his tackle early on was great and he was a shoulder away from a good goal.

Also, from a numbers perspective, we created chances. We had 9 shots on target, a huge improvement on last week. Dani Ceballos found an Arsenal player from all 6 of his corners (wow). Pepe, Willock and Ceballos had 11 successful take-ons between the… we’re running at players. Great to see.

Big week ahead…



796 Responses to “Arsenal make hay in the sun, but a storm is coming”

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  1. Guns of Hackney

    I’ve been a big critic of emery but today proved me wrong. I wasn’t harsh enough.

    Poor performance. Win by a player that we will never own. Weird.

    What exactly is the plan with cabellos? He gets us CL…great, then goes back to Real. He tanks…we don’t qualify and he either stays and is shit or goes back.

    We don’t win.

    Emery out.

  2. raptora

    “I’ve been a big critic of emery but today proved me wrong. I wasn’t harsh enough.”

    I give you that GoH. I laughed my ass off when I read it. LOL

  3. Micheal

    Why does the team not address the obvious weakness in defence ? What sort of training do we do, FFS ?
    I accept Luiz was decent. But we all know that this defence will be over-powered by fast-moving, high press teams like Liverpool and robust, high-ballers like Burnley. Entirely predictable.
    And with Xhka in the team,. the sloppy defence is given no cover.
    Hire a good defensive coach ! How difficult can that be ?

  4. Batistuta


    Again, you didn’t just call last seasons golden boot winner mediocre right?

    Look, no one is saying don’t criticise but you’ve made him sound like we had Bendtner up front all day, he’s one of the most lethal strikers in the world

  5. Godfather

    Arsenal will definitely need three at the back against Liverpool. The Scousers are just to fleet of foot to play two CDs against. And Lord help Arsenal if they are careless with the ball and try and force themselves to playing out from the back. Liverpool have no legit playmakers from the midfield and rely on turnovers. If we can keep things compact and not lose the ball carelessly there might be a chance at a tie. If Chaka plays then the Gunners will leave Anfield with a cricket score

  6. Wenker-wanger

    Liverpool are a powerful team driven by the energy of klopps pressing demands. I believe we have the players to really trouble them. We need to really avoid the pitfalls of sloppy passing out from the back. It can be a suicide tactic if its not carried out quickly and accurately. Burnley strangely enough are a style of football less suited to us than Liverpool.
    I think the players will up their game for liverpool…I’m going for a shock draw.

  7. vickingz

    @ Batistuta,

    Bro, I can only be responsible for what I wrote but not how you decided to understand it. Nowhere have I likened him to bendtner and maybe I wasn’t well taught “figure of speech”.

    Lemme ask, if you scored 40 out of available 100 and you happened to be the highest scorer, should it be termed “Excellent”?

  8. Batistuta


    Auba is an excellent and world class striker, you’ve picked on the worst possible player to pick on, every stroker misses sitters, did you see the one Firminho missed before he them scored? He’s a striker, hell miss chances but the guy does bang them in as evidenced since he came here.

    Does he miss chances? Sure same as most Strikers but using that as a stick to beat him with is just plain weird

  9. Emiratesstroller

    Returned back from Emirates.

    Let’s start with positives.

    1. Ceballos is an excellent addition to squad. He had an excellent game.
    2.Pepe came on at half time. He is obviously an upgrade on any player we have
    had playing on wing in recent seasons. Very difficult to dislodge and clearly with lot of pace. Will need two to three games to reach full fitness.
    3. Combination of Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang will be lethal PROVIDED
    that they receive ball.

    The negatives.

    1. Leno’s distribution is INFURIATING. Too many short passes rather than proper clearances. Burnley’s pressing game kept us necessarily on the
    blackfoot far too often.
    2. The combination of Luiz and Sokratis at centre back does not fill me with a
    lot of confidence. It looked less solid than Sokratis with Chambers.
    3.I am not a fan of Guendouzi. He runs around like a rabbit, but is too easily
    dispossessed from ball and for a tall player his aerial performance when attempting to head a ball is abysmal. I don’t get what Emery sees in this player.
    4.The combination of Willock and Guendouzi in midfield lacks experience and does not work. For all the negativity about Xhaka he does provide more
    solidity than what was on show today.

    Burnley are a hard working team today and the margin between both teams was not that big.

    The team needs both Bellerin and Tierney to come into the backline and provide more solidity. Also I don’t think Luiz playing alongside Sokratis is any
    better than Koscielny or Mustafi in backline.

    We will need to improve considerably in defence and midfield against Liverpool and Spurs if we are to get any points from these two games.

  10. Pierre

    Pep using his keeper as a sweeper ten yards outside his box for the start of the game , this gives them an extra outfield player …

  11. UTarse

    Ceballos, what.a.player.

    This fella could be the difference between 5th and 4th, I hope he stays fit.

    Better atmosphere than normal at the fortress Emirates.

    If you can’t be happy with 6 points from 2 games and not playing that well then you don’t support Arsenal.

    Up The Arse

  12. TR7


    ‘Leno’s distribution is INFURIATING. Too many short passes rather than proper clearances.’

    He was bought to play short passes from the back.

  13. Dream10

    These bastards Man City are on PEDs man.
    The Spuds can’t get out of their own final third lol.

    We’ve been outshot 27-24 over the first two matches. This is after facing Newcastle and Burnley. Despite the six points, we should be doing better

  14. Elmo

    “Dani Ceballos found an Arsenal player from all 6 of his corners (wow).”

    Not intending to knock the boy, but weren’t almost all of them short corners?

  15. Carts

    good 3 points, but Burnley were definitely in it

    Equally, Liverpool weren’t great this afternoon, maybe due to their midweek exploits.

    I do agree that Liverpool away when they’ve had time to recover is going to be a massive task

  16. Dream10

    Derby’s Cocu praises Krystian Bielik’s ability to bring the ball out of defence and take the initiative in possession. His skill set would have been useful for us as Emery is insistent on doing this.

  17. Dissenter

    That’s why city are a class above all the rest, even Liverpool

    They look so measured. it’s like playing a supercomputer in chess.

  18. Dream10

    Sterling unbelievable. Lovely play all around. Spuds have a pressing XI out there, but are sitting back. Still can’t get the ball.

  19. vickingz

    Derby’s Cocu praises Krystian Bielik’s ability to bring the ball out of defence and take the initiative in possession. His skill set would have been useful for us as Emery is insistent on doing this.

    He ain’t good enough to play here apparently.

  20. Ishola70

    Kin ell

    Lamela has actually done something of note on a football pitch now.

    Man City soft in the centre there.

  21. raptora

    Your 3 comments after Arsenal’s win are 1. about the genius that Pep is; 2. how you’d like Arsenal taking a chance on Daniel Farke and; 3. again about Guardiola.

    Are you even a Gooner?!

  22. Dissenter

    It’s so nice seeing Spurs about to repeat the Ramsey error with Eriksen. He will go for free.

    Juventus are licking their lips and cannot believe their luck.

  23. Batistuta


    It gets weird in here sometimes, some absolute beauties though Red and his Ospina fetish is never going to be defeated

  24. Dissenter

    What happened to Moussa Cissoko?

    It’s like someone cast a spell on him and he became a changed man.
    He’s been on fire since the start of 2018-2019.

  25. Dissenter

    Somethings can’t be taught like the art of goal scoring.
    The way Aguero makes goal scoring look easy or the way Auba scores his “tap-ins”.

  26. Dissenter

    “You can’t defend that…top top class”

    You mean is you were Poch, you would shrug that off.
    That was a goal that was defendable, it’s not like a lucky double deflection or something.

  27. WengerEagle

    Aguero such a phenomenal CF over the years.

    Has a legitimate case to being the 2nd greatest CF the PL has ever seen after Henry. Shares the same goal/game average [0.69] as Henry but for me Henry was the better all round player and had more to his game as great as Kun is.

    Ronaldo and Suarez had the higher peaks and Shearer will likely keep the goal record but for me it’s Henry at the top and Aguero 2nd.

  28. WengerEagle


    Suarez had the highest peak and his 2013/14 season for me was the greatest ever individual PL season effort even ahead of Ronaldo’s 2007/08 season.

    But yes, Aguero for his consistency and longevity is right behind Henry at the top.

  29. Dream10

    De Bruyne is an amazing crosser of the ball. Guardiola’s system put him in such good positions to deliver a final ball.

  30. Dissenter

    When you think of it, there were NO reports of Arsenal offering RVP a deal at the time.
    He could very well be right that we may have decided his restlessness was too much to handle.

  31. WengerEagle

    Aguero’s currently 6th [166 PL goals] but he’ll leapfrog Henry and Lampard pretty soon. Providing he’s fit for most of the season, could easily be sitting in 3rd on the all-time list [needs 22 more PL goals] behind Rooney and Big Al.

  32. TR7


    KDB’s cross was inch perfect and Kun finished it in a jiffy. Did not give any defender an chance. You can only applaud the brilliance of the opposition, not much any Spurs player could do there.

  33. Dream10


    Didn’t RVP decline to extent his contract?
    That means a deal was on the table…
    He reconsidered when Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud were signed, no?

  34. TR7


    Yes, Suarez was like mini-Messi in 2013-2014 season, absolutely ran the show like a one man army. Perhaps the best performance of a striker ever in the EPL. But agree with you Kun is just relentless and he is a class player too, not just a goal scorer.

  35. Freddie Ljungberg


    Bob and his Wilshere/all english players obsession is up there for sure.
    Pure maniac that one, it’s all he ever comments on. Been doing it for years.

  36. Dissenter

    Inch perfect delivery, as you call it, means a defender was a second too late.
    That’s a play that managers will direct and email to the defenders tonight to review with all the mistakes made.
    It was defendable. We have to disagree. I guess.

  37. Freddie Ljungberg

    It’s been remarkably civil here lately bar a few incidents, is Don banned or just on a long weekend with the Klan?

  38. Dream10

    Wenger Eagle

    I think Aguero will get 20-25 PL goals this season and then return to Atlético Madrid or go to Serie A. Unlikely, but can see Kane breaking Shearer’s record if he can play another 200 PL matches over the next nine years, until he’s 35. Health is the key factor.

  39. Dissenter

    I recall that RVP was concerned about the direction the club was going and was deemed too much of a loud mouth by the Monsieur who [like most managers in his era] wants total dominance.
    RVP was untouchable so he could get with a lot, we needed his goals to remain in the CL.

    Saying a contract wasn’t offered may very well mean that a credible contract offer was not on the table.

  40. chris

    I am in Frankfurt this weekend but managed to catch most of the 2nd half in an Irish bar. Lots of positives to take from the win but we still look a little suspect in the usual places also. I look forward to the time when all new signings are bedded in but good to see our academy lads getting game time and doing rather well as a whole.

    Gotta say watching football in German bars is a great experience. Where we were It appeared there was at least 2 of the 1530 KOs on live, with one channel appearing to cut to goals from all games while floating between action in each game, a bit like BT Sport Goals show, or NFL Redzone. No blackouts for matches here.

    I realise it is a sensitive issue for some and also lower league clubs in this country but surely in this day and age also the time has to be coming where there is a ‘match choice’ as such for all 3pm games, or to begin with at least a live 3pm match. This seems to happen in most of the rest of the world except the UK

  41. Dissenter

    Careful though, don’t you think you may have crossed the line with that remark about the klan?
    That’s a tad too harsh imo.

  42. Pierre

    Your 3 comments after Arsenal’s win are 1. about the genius that Pep is; 2. how you’d like Arsenal taking a chance on Daniel Farke and; 3. again about Guardiola.Are you even a Gooner?!”

    A pathetic attempt at trolling raptora

    Nice of you to take such interest in my comments but here are are 3 of my comments during and after the game

    “Ceballos is the way he plays the game. Definitely playing better football with him in the side , he and willock a good combination.”

    “Very mature performance from willock. Playing a good role for the team..”

    “Guendouzi already looks a much more mature player in the 2 games so far this season compared to last .”

    Another poor attempt at trolling , have you had lessons from Tony who also made a bit of a plonker of himself earlier with his sad attempt at trolling.

  43. Slade

    “I know we have got six points but we should be doing better”.
    This is brilliant analysis, absolutely brilliant.

  44. Freddie Ljungberg


    Meh, it’s pretty obvious what he is and what he stands for, nothing harsh about it. Just glad he doesn’t pollute the blog anymore.

  45. Freddie Ljungberg


    Yeah, I know, pathetic really when his whole game plan is bullying the other team, bit rich to be whining afterwards then.

    Did you see Ceballos talking to Mikhi on the bench after he got subbed? Pretty clear what he thought about their tactics

  46. Bob N16

    6pts in the bag. Next two games will be more than challenging.

    Ceballos quality. Pepe’s going to be fun to watch. Torreira needs to start. Love seeing our academy boys getting games.

    Lots to be positive about.

  47. Goonah

    Ceballos gets a 10 from me even if he should have done better on their goal
    His workrate was such a positive and he played like cesc/santi/hleb rolled into one.
    Such a shame they or he didnt want an option to buy in the contract

  48. TR7

    Erikson is not nearly half as good as the hype around him and that’s why nobody is willing to put top dollars for him. If Poch plays Moura more often he won’t even miss Erikson.

  49. Dissenter

    Ant team that can repeatedly match city like equals has to be considered title contenders.
    Spurs are up there, not too many teams can play city like they are doing.

  50. Ishola70

    Moura prays again to the skies before coming on and again delivers.

    Unbelievable that Spurs are level here.

    To say they have been absolutely outplayed isn’t doing justice.

  51. Nelson

    The coaching stuff should watch the video how MC plays the ball out from the back.

    – When SPUDS is not committing 4 players to press, then the CBs and midfielders will execute short passes to bring the ball out.
    – When SPUDS is committing a lot of players pressing, MC sends the wingers and strikers back to receive a longer outlet pass.

  52. Ishola70


    “Spurs are up there, not too many teams can play city like they are doing.”

    This is nonsense.

    Man City should already have the three points in the bag.

    Plenty of chances to have seen then home and dried by now.

  53. Pierre

    The way Ceballos received the adulation from the Arsenal fans , there is a possibility that he may want to sign for The Arsenal.

    I would say he must be a pretty happy man tonight due to the way he was received by the fans.

  54. Ishola70

    Well Pierre you were very questioning of Ceballos prior. Very questioning.

    I hope his performance today was humbling for you.

  55. KAY Boss

    RH, WE, U guys are being too harsh on Torriera. He’s a good Ayer no matter his size. You are down playing purposely on his size more than his ability. If he’s used accordingly, he’ll be a great asset. Too much negativity after a win.
    Good to have 3points. That’s all that matters.

  56. TR7

    Why replace Aguero with Jesus who is bang average ? I mean he could still go on to score a winner here but there’s nothing that Jesus can do which Kun can’t. Pep has always had something against Aguero, he reduced him to a bench role early on ,only to eat humble pie later and let him be the no 1 striker yet again.

  57. Dissenter

    A freely scoring Sterling may not be great for City.
    I think Sterling has become a bit selfish this season and is not as invested in creating assists for the likes of Aguero.
    It may cause problems for city down the road.

  58. MGooner

    I reiterate what I said before the first game: Ceballos will put us on another level but he needs good midfield partners.

    And mind you, there are many players like Ceballos in Spain who will not cost that much. their players are educated like that.

    Ozil has a great opportunity to rediscover his form with the new team – He could have a blinder of a season if he puts his head to it.

    Worried about Gwen -he should be a sub at most.

  59. Dissenter

    You mean Pep gives Aguero something to play for.He gets him so angry and pumped up and won’t let him think he’s undroppable.
    It’s good man management you’re ridiculing.

  60. Nelson

    Jesus’s position is wrong. He stands next to sterling at the far post. One of them should stand at the near post.

  61. Rambo Ramsey

    This is why Pepsy doesn’t cut it in the Champions League these days.

    Pretty football, class, domination don’t matter. Only end result.

  62. Pierre

    Have always praised his football ability , his ability to keep possession and his passing ability and I have always said I liked and rated him.

    I did question whether he was a ball carrying, mazy dribbler.

    Watching him now , I would put him close to cazorla in his style of play though i did say he could play in xhakas position as he is gòod at recycling the ball and looked a similar type of player in that respect.

    However, after today’s performance , playing him deep would probably negate a lot of his qualities , today’s role looked perfect for him with 2 central midfielders providing cover.

  63. Ishola70


    “Ozil has a great opportunity to rediscover his form with the new team ”

    Why are you pining still for Mesut Ozil?

    Don’t Man City show you that it’s about attacking and defending as one as a whole team.

    There is no room for passengers for any real top teams now.

  64. TR7


    Aguero doesn’t need Pep’s great man management technique to keep him hungry. Given his track record at Atletico and under Mancini and Pelligrini, one can say he is a highly motivated top class performer anyway. Wonder why Pep doesn’t employ the same.technique on KDB, Ederson, Sterling etc.

  65. Valentin

    Today proved that a midfield trio of Willock Guendouzi/Torreira Ceballos is more balanced and more effective than any with Xhaka.
    David Luiz ability with long diagonal passes means that we don’t miss Xhaka long passes.

  66. KAY Boss

    Pepe is good but he needs to work on his end product. This nonsense of playing from the back must stop. Too predictable. We need to move the ball faster.
    I don’t get the hype about being scared of Liverpool. If we set up right we can win. Until Klopp arrived we used to be comfortable at Merseyside.