I’m fine with the result.
Arsenal weren’t humiliated.
We put up a fight for the most part.
There were hints of a game plan.
We were a threat on the counter.
It’s weak sauce that my standards are that low this season, but I think the manager has some mitigating factors to lean back on. Namely, he had a disrupted preseason, we have a lot of new players bedding in, and I’m not convinced that he’s ever going to be a big game manager.
The strategy was negative. We didn’t set-up with an attacking vision in mind. We played Xhaka. Nacho started. We didn’t play a supreme brand of football, and we mostly took our chances from long balls. We tried to play out the back again.
The reality is this: We’re not good enough to be beating the European champions.
I think this game, like our two starting games last season, came too early for us to make an impact.
The manager is a militant pragmatist and we set up that way. I’m not quite sure why there’s a clamouring for Arsenal to head to one of fiercest teams in the world and go toe-to-toe with them. That was the way of Wenger. We’d have been sliced apart if we’d gone there guns blazing.
Another reality check. We conceded 18 shots against Burnley. We conceded 8 against Newcastle. Emery does not have an answer to defence in general, let alone a Liverpool one. The set up was to be expected, and I don’t think we’ll be the best team to play that way against them this season.
I thought we were better than usual with our deep build. Luiz made us more interesting, we were a touch faster moving out of tricky/self-imposed situations, we moved more long balls than we have done in the first two games. The slow build still wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t a disaster.
Pépé showed signs of brilliance that leads me to believe he could be a truly electric player for us. He’s James Rodriguez levels of left-footedness, but the way he shuffles the ball between his feet is outrageous. On a better day, he’s scoring twice and we’re causing Liverpool a real headache.
Willock looked powerful. He always looks like he’s about to fall over, but his drive and aggression tells me he’s ready for the top of the game. He’s a first-team player, no doubt. I think when he matures, he could be a 15 goal a season player. He is very quick and I reckon he’s watched some Freddie videos over the last few years.
Add Tierney and Bellerin, and we’re looking more deadly. Get LT in that midfield; playing at his best, and we’re a faster more mobile side. His late striker felt like a statement goal. He can’t be a pussy this season, Milan is a pipe dream, Arsenal is where it’s at. He needs to wrestle a starting spot, I thought his new haircut was sharp, I thought his quick passing added something when he arrived late in the game.
David Luiz has made three errors in 2 games. His presence is better for the defence, he’s imposing, he’s better on the ball than the rest of them, but he needs to start bringing a little more composure to his game. Steaming in on Salah and totally missing is embarrassing. The shirt pull for the penalty was about as subtle as a pair of Hector Bellerin silk trousers. We should be expecting more from him, and I’m confident that’ll come.
That’s a lie. I’m not confident it’ll come. I’m worried that we have a manager who is very poor at organising defences and Luiz has moved from the comfort of a pragmatic system, to the insane asylum with Kevin Keegan’s defensive protege.
Auba went missing a touch for me, he’s not quite elite levels against big teams. That said, it was a beast of a game and he was trying to outsmart VVD. 3 months down the line, maybe the game is different? Pepe seemed to always be the last man with the long balls. We’re three games in and I’m still not convinced that this one-dimensional system of Emery’s is going to make us a chance creation machine, but we’ll see.
Worth mentioning that no one is complaining Ozil was left out of the squad? We lost and I still don’t care or wonder what could have been.
Reality is we’re a proper manager away from being a serious outfit, but really, you’re stretching if you think the result was the way it was because we didn’t go guns blazing.
I think it’d be a fair argument to say that tactically, even for a pragmatist, it seemed like we’d not thought much beyond a deep block and long balls. Liverpool had 25 attempts at our goal. So we really did sit back and let things happen to us.
Things have to get better, we have to see an improvement to the underlying structure of the team both in attack and defence. We must make top 4.
No excuses for Emery.
It’s so amusing reading the folk who had no opinion on the intricacies of elite football when Wenger was failing, all of a sudden find a critical voice. Now they all understand football structure, elite performance and the power of a decentralized hierarchy.
All the things that weren’t real when the main man was in charge.
If you were blind for ten years when it was outrageously clear what the problems were; losing to the European champions can’t be the spark that gives you permission to have fire opinions on current Arsenal issues.
AKB wokeness is a thing and the hypocrisy is stunning to watch.
Yesterday was a defeat worth taking seriously. There were some nice bits that could help us push away from Chelsea and United, but we really have to make something count against Spurs next week. It needs to be more of a game and we can’t be sitting on our goal line in a home game.
Let’s see what the rebound looks like.
Huge game, but we’re more than capable of doing something special. Let me know YOUR comments in the… comments.