Unai Emery has started taking press conferences to the same levels Arsene Wenger did towards the end, they’re almost not worth paying attention to.
We want to find balance.
We want to control games.
We want to defend.
It’s a little harder to fathom the true message due to the language issues, but the manager to his credit seems mostly uninterested in what outsiders think of him.
The most interesting part was his messaging was around the captains’ armband.
The vote gives me this information and the teammates decided that vote gives him confidence. Now the big thing is that we are going to work individually and collectively to be strong, and to show our supporters our way and how we can be strong with every player and our captains. I have big confidence and trust in every player, the captain and not the captain, because I think now in the dressing room we have a very big spirit.
Translation: The players voted for it so stfu.
Fair play, he made democracy work to give him a cover, if the players say so, who are we to argue?
The manager alluded to the slow start this season being down to messy transfer window. In fairness to him, that is an acceptable excuse. In the post WE BOUGHT PLAYERS hedonism, we quickly forgot that two weeks before fans were posting videos of themselves lambasting the club for inaction and selfishness. Playing devils EKB here, Raul didn’t bring the milkshake to the yard early enough. Emery could also say that some of the player exits were late and out of his hands. Monreal would have made a difference to the leadership struggles and the lack of a leftback. Mikhi might… I mean… he… Emery didn’t want him axed.
The allusions would hold more weight if our grim performances didn’t closely ape what we saw in the backend of last season, but hey, let’s roll with what the manager thinks and look for the positives.
We’re heading into a much simpler set of games. They’re not easy, but they are a lot more do-able than some of the challenges we’ve faced up to over the last 10 games.
What we are all hoping for today is this: Emery has realised he has good enough players to offer up a more protagonistic approach to the game.
> Attack with vigour.
Bournemouth sit 1 point behind us in 11th place. Statistically, they are having a poor season in the same way we are. They’ve been extremely open, racking up an average of 16.9 shots per game… not as bad as us, with 18. On the attacking front, they average 10.7 shots a game, with a very low 4.3 on target. They’ve actually managed 1 more goal than us, but boast the same goal difference as us with +1.
In short, they’re playing like a team that’s going to find themselves in a relegation battle this season. I mean, from an xG standpoint, so are we. We’re 15th for xPts so far this season, they’re 19th. The main difference for Arsenal is we have great players, we’ve played some tough teams on paper, we’re about to hit an easy run. Bournemouth’s correction could spell trouble.
Based on the above and the 2.5 good performances we’ve seen over the last week, it would be nice to expect a walk in the park, but we know the manager will level in with some changes that’ll make things difficult for himself. Xhaka is the captain so he’ll start, Matteo is a leader amongst men, and the coach has shown a reticence to play Ceballos or Willock, so we could see LT back in. 3 holding midfielders starting in slightly incorrect positions has been the story of our bad games this season, I truly hope someone has pointed that out in the video analysis room.
That said, even with our blandest midfield on show, I have my doubts a team that doesn’t press will give us too many problems. Xhaka with space is a different beast, so are most of our players, could even be a good chance for Ceballos to find his sea-legs.
I think most of the joy we’ll be having tomorrow is in the final third – if Emery can find the right balance to release his speed demons. This should be a day for Pepe to shine. I’d love to see Saka back out on the right starting again, he’s been electric in every game, I see no reason to rest him.
There’s also the added the deliciousness of Martinelli. The manager had mixed feelings on his true position (of course he would).
‘In pre-season he played in different positions, above all he preferred to play as a left-winger but he can also play as a right-winger.’
‘I’m using him as a striker because he played there in Brazil. It’s not the best position for him but the first thing in his mind is to help us.’
Emery has finally stumbled into a happy mistake if he thinks striker isn’t the lads best position, but either way, it’s great to know the player is so versatile. Dividing up the season on the left between him and Saka/Reiss is exciting… being the back-up to Pepe also makes sense. In the meantime, if Arsenal go 3-0 up at halftime, take Auba off and put him through the middle.
I’m trying to work out who Martinellis is like as a player. He has elements on Robin Van Persie about him. The Dutchman was so arrogant at Feyenoord in his early days that he’d pinch freekicks from senior players. They have similar no-nonsense attitudes on the pitch and there seems a definite desire to strike from distance and dance with the ball. Robin also had a stint out wide in his early days for Holland. Dare I say… I think some of his footwork has a touch of Bobby P about it. He’s obviously not flatfooted, but he’s light on his feet and can deliver a ball.
Cannot wait for him to discover Nando’s, dial-in hookers and Celta Vigo on loan…
Just kidding, this kid looks the real deal. Let’s hope Emery trusts him in the big games.
Right, that’s me done.
Tell me who you think Gabriel is like and I’ll tell you that you are a LIAR.
See you in the comments. x