Naive Arsenal need to change narrative at Chelsea

by & filed under News Review.

Alex Lacazette is dropping a different sort of criticism into the ether… he’s moved beyond liking naughty Instagram posts, he’s now saying actual words with bite.

“They [Sheffield United] were not very dangerous but this match summarises how we are this season. We are winning the match but don’t get it over the line,”

“We are quite naive at the moment. We need to be nastier and more consistent in the 90th to 93rd minutes of matches.

“Especially when we can do better than this. We have the players required. It is a shame.”

YES ALEX. I don’t normally like to see players and coaches airing dirty laundry, but when it’s this sort of thing, it kind of signifies a shift in mentality. It’s more punchy than Johann Djourou or Denilson telling the fans we should be doing better. This feels like a rallying cry. We are better than the results we’re dropping, he can feel that the squad is underperforming, he’s one of the more senior players and he has a right to say these things.

Sure, there will be criticism of him, there haven’t been a lot of goals to speak of, but as everyone keeps telling me, he’s putting in a filthy shift for the greater good.

Mikel Arteta didn’t shirk from the comments.

“Yes, I think it’s part of the game management and I think there were things we could have done better to put more pressure on the opponent, to bring the ball into certain areas where we could rest with the ball and control the game better. That will come. It’s a good process for us to learn about those situations.”

One of the more ridiculous notions being peddled is that nothing has changed, which I’m guessing is why the new manager is being asked about the players and whether they are still feeling the excitement a few games in.

“I don’t have that feeling. The feedback I’m getting from them is very positive, they know when we haven’t won the reasons why and there are many different aspects to that – some we can influence some we cannot influence – but they are there and they are very aware of that.”

Here’s where he’s seeing the improvements since the last time we played Chelsea.

“Well a lot of things have happened and it feels longer than a month to be fair. The amount of games, the (amount) we’ve trained, the amount of things that happened. Yes, a lot of things changed, a lot of positives in terms of reactions and the things they are taking on board, the way we have managed to change the energy, atmosphere, relationship and chemistry with our fans was massively important for us. So yes, in terms of results it could have been a little bit different, I think we have been very unlucky and other aspects have influenced that.”

It was very amusing to see the vampires out post-Sheffield United.

‘WE AIN’T HAD A NEW MANAGER BOUNCE’

‘WHY AREN’T WE IN THE TOP 4’

‘HE’S A FRAUD’

I have absolute faith that these people will be deleting their tweets and apologising for their limited world view of football coaching that led them to those opinions. Xavi refused the Barca role because he lacked the confidence to take over a sinking ship midseason (thanks Wasi).

Mikel has jumped off an Elon Musk Space X passenger ship to Arsenal’s Titanic. He is picking up the worst Arsenal moment in almost 40 years. Emery had fired his captain, alienated Ozil, pushed LT out the door after playing him as a 10, had AMN taking red cards to get out of playing full back, had Auba leaking stories about leaving the club, and had us in a death spiral. The confidence in the squad was at ground zero when he landed. Remember fans pontificating on our players being so bad they were uncoachable?

There is no quick fix for Arsenal, anywhere. Look at what is happening at Spurs under Jose Mourinho, no new manager bounce, no improvement in style or thinking, he can’t even make the defence solid. He’s working with Champions League finalists.

Also, we don’t need a quick fix, we need something that’s future-facing, and that takes time. So ignore the people creating false expectations, we’re moving in the right direction, and the form will come.

The Chelsea game is huge for Arsenal. We still have a pretty broken squad of players, but there has to come a point where the vision clicks, and hopefully a bit of luck falls our way. Chelsea are further ahead under Frank Lampard, but have still been very, very inconsistent. A win against them will show a very defined mark of improvement and it’ll be huge for the fans to go away from home against a big club and win.

It’ll be tough though. We’re still playing midfielders in defence, we don’t have an Auba to lean on, and the squad is struggling for confidence. I think fitness is still a challenge, Statsbomb had a rolling xG chart that shows we’re tanking in the second half, maybe a combination of new ideas, legginess, and panic because of second-half-history is going against us. We need to get over those things and start pulling in the three points.

The real progress that Arteta has made has been in solidifying the team. We don’t leak chances like we used to and the idea of defending being a collective endeavour is now mainstream in the squad. I really want to see us continue defending well, but coming up with some new ideas to be more positive going forward. We’re very much reliant on Ozil being in form, the rest of our players struggle to break the lines, so we need a bit more boldness tomorrow.

I’m unsure who is going to start tomorrow, but Eddie might find himself some game time.

“It would depend on the circumstances, the players we have available, his performance, the way he trains the impact he makes every time he plays. He’s a young player but I have to try and treat him exactly the same as the other ones. (If) I put him in the pitch because I think he deserves it. The way he trains, the way he shows every day how much he wants it and it will depend on him.”

Alex on the podcast below said the home fans went nuts for his appearance, here’s hoping he can deliver on the expectation. Some fans felt he didn’t quite put the shift in they were looking for, but let’s see what he can do if he’s given time in a huge game. He should be looking at Tammy Abrahams and Mason Mount and wanting a bit of what they’re getting this season. He has the talent, he’s cool in front of goal, it’s just a matter of making it count when he gets the chance… something he was struggling with before his loan move.

This is a huge game, I can’t wait, let me know what you think in the comments!

P.S. I recorded a podcast with Alex below. It’s good. Listen in and an give it 5* on iTunes.

Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify

322 Responses to “Naive Arsenal need to change narrative at Chelsea”

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  1. Pierre

    Un
    “The tactic is to provide cover for he marauding full back while giving the team the option of its best passer from deep more time
    It’s not just charity for xakha
    It’s to help the team.”

    Spot on .

    Is it wise to talk tactics with ishola..

  2. Ishola70

    And let’s not go there if teams start to really target Xhaka in his filling in role in the LB position.

    He is not a good defender at all so the notion that he is providing strong cover there is laughable. He is a body there that is all.

    We have already had a taster of Xhaka getting exposed in the LB position with his awful attempted challenge on the left side when he was booked late on against Sheffield United.

    If teams really target that area with this tactic in place it will get messy in the long run.

  3. Un na naai

    And let’s not go there if teams start to really target Xhaka in his filling in role in the LB position.He is not a good defender at all so the notion that he is providing strong cover there is laughable. He is a body there that is all.

    Well ishola defensive performances have improved immensely with him in that role so reality contradicts what’s going on inside your head

  4. Bob N16

    Let’s see what our squad is like in August. If Ozil and Xhaka are still in it, I will be concerned. That being said, posters who are critical of Arteta for playing them both at the moment are possibly being naive. Arteta is being a pragmatist.

    Some might argue that we should be selling Xhaka for whatever we can get right now but those people should ask themselves whether we would be better off selling in the summer window, a time when most clubs want to do business. By the summer Ozil will only have one year left of his absurd contract. This will hopefully mean that a club will be willing to take him on a free and allow us to wash our hands of him. With Ozil’s wages off the payroll as well as whatever we can get for Xhaka (25m?), we can feed this into the upgrade in midfield we badly need.

    For me the rest of the season is all about progression in way of playing and giving game time to players who can develop under Arteta. That being said, Xhaka and Ozil will get game time!

  5. Samesong

    Chelsea are looking to complete the #PL double over Arsenal for the fifth time

    Only Liverpool (5) and Man Utd (5) have done this against the Gunners

  6. Ishola70

    Don

    The tactic is in it’s infancy.

    Xhaka has already made a fool of himself against Sheffield United trying to defend as a LB and failing miserably with the booking he got.

    He was on thin ice against Leeds several times.

    If this tactic is for the long term teams will latch on that Xhaka is not a good defensive cover in the LB position.

    You have seen him play. You know how poor he can be off the ball so to suggest that Xhaka will be seeing off marauding opposition wingers long term is fanciful to say the least.

  7. Un na naai

    Ishola

    I’m not suggesting that xakha on his own and isolated at left back will all of a sudden become Stuart Pearce. We both know that and you’re putting words into my mouth and creating a straw man to sway this in your favour but I’m not going to let you

    What I am suggesting is that Xakha as part of a group of players working within the tactical and positional structures set by Arteta will assist the actual left back and Luiz on that side of the field in negating an attacking threat from the right wing. Not many players isolated by and classy marauding right winger can do it on their own. Trust me. I played left back at a semi pro level for a while. I know.

  8. Ishola70

    Ok Don.

    But the warning signs have already been seen.

    Warning signs don’t always result in goals against.

    But funnily enough the first time the tactic was used Bournemouth scored their goal from the right wing and Xhaka was doing his filling in stylee there.

    There would be no need for these convoluted tactics if only Arsenal had a CM who could handle himself better in the middle of the pitch.

  9. Un na naai

    Some might argue that we should be selling Xhaka for whatever we can get right now but those people should ask themselves whether we would be better off selling in the summer window,

    Bob
    This is it though. Even if we somehow manage to get someone who is superior there will be the inevitable adjustment period in a team still finding its feet playing for a coach still finding his feet- with no preseason.

    Makes no sense to try and get the long term answer for our no8 position in January unless someone became available who was too good to turn down and those types of midfielders are out of our price range right now

    I’m sure Arteta and edu will have someone lined up.
    Someone Arteta really rates and knows will bring his vision to life

  10. Pierre

    Ishola
    “If teams really target that area with this tactic in place it will get messy in the long run.”

    Wait for it …

    I’m sure the opposition will score a goal due to this tactic sometime in the future and ishola and fred will be waiting to pounce, because in their sad , negative little world , that’s what they do.

  11. Un na naai

    There would be no need for these convoluted tactics if only Arsenal had a CM who could handle himself better in the middle of the pitch.

    Ishola
    Convoluted tactics are employed by the very best coaches in the world to

    1)draw the best from their team
    2) negate attacking threats of the other team
    3) Surprise opposing managers with curve ball game plans

    It’s standard practise at the top.

  12. Ishola70

    Pierre

    “I’m sure the opposition will score a goal due to this tactic sometime in the future”

    They already have. Bournemouth.

    And we know of course that there will be other goals scored by the opposition originating from their right wing down the line.

    It happens.

    Let me ask you why Arsenal are the only team in the EPL using this certain tactic? Is it because it is so cute and clever? Or is it because the tactic is about indulging and aiding one certain individual player?

    The filling in at LB is a misnomer in this instance.

    The main purpose of the tactic is to get Xhaka away from the middle of the park.

  13. Un na naai

    Also
    Xakha is handling himself better in the middle of the pitch

    You can’t ask him to do things that he’s just not capable of doing. That’s not his fault
    You can’t ask Arteta to drop him because we don’t have better on the bench and that leaves Luiz as our ONLY player who offer fast and accurate deep progressions meaning the opposing team can negate it more easily
    And you can’t ask the club to sell now if there is nobody who can offer what he offers available right now at better value or with a more rounded skill set.

    You’ll just need to be patient and wait for the summer
    Arteta inherited what he inherited and he’s doing the best he can with what he has
    He’s already improved our defensive shape immeasurably and that was (along with attitude and energy) the first thing he needed to address

    He’s done that while finding a way to make our full back an attacking threat and keep Xakha’s deep passing as an attacking threat

    What are you complying about
    All in all I say he deserves a medal for it
    Emery couldn’t do it in 2 years with two pre seasons
    Arteta did it in 2-3 games

  14. Un na naai

    Let me ask you why Arsenal are the only team in the EPL using this certain tactic? Is it because it is so cute and clever? Or is it because the tactic is about indulging and aiding one certain individual player?

    Ishola
    You’ve literally had it broken down for you at length
    It’s to aid the team not xakha
    It keeps his long passing as a threat while allowing our left wing back to provide width and also be a threat

    This then allows Aubameyang or martinelli to get into the box where they are a threat
    I know it’s complex (or convoluted) and your brain is turning to scrambled eggs at the thought of it so if this simple break down of what it offers and the fact that we are much better defensively since it was introduced doesn’t convince you then we are flogging a dead horse and I’m not going to continue any further with it

    Once again it’s your clear bias showing and you’re looking for any chink in the armour to complain about

    If anything you want to complain about the lack of creativity at the other end
    That’s the real issue we are facing today. Not the defence

  15. Ishola70

    Don

    You should know not to shout from the roof tops about a tactic or formation being tops after such a short period.

    Remember Wenger’s three at the back at the tail end of the season a few years ago? The team were actually showing duck eggs. No goals conceded for consecutive games.

    The team were going to conquer on the back of this new found defensive fortress.

    Didn’t happen in the long run.

    I don’t want to see convoluted tactics because a player can’t handle himself in central midfield.

    I want to see a CM brought in that can handle himself in the middle of the pitch.

  16. Daniel Altos

    Bloody hell…does ozil really have 9 goal involvements in 43 matches?Shocking stat that one….if we reach 10games with Arteta and still only have one win out of 10 then it will start to look pretty bad….we have to conjure up a result from somewhere…..tonight might be a start.

  17. Daniel Altos

    Pedro am sorry but how is Barca a sinking ship?Yes they were playing averagely but they still were on top of laliga and their defence was really solid

  18. Daniel Altos

    Iwobi I would take over ozil…well at least he can dribble in tight spaces and can actually run…yes his passing isn’t as good as ozil’s but what use is passing if 80% of our passes are sideways and we attack with fullbacks most of the time anyway(something which legrove seems to be against)…am full on the john fleck propaganda.Also Emiliano buendia has 7 assists in a shit Norwich team and he’s got a good pass in him,can dribble and good work rate….this may sound mad but I actually think he is a better footballer than James maddison.

  19. Thorough

    I’m not saying I haven’t seen discernible progress under Arteta but immediately I saw the lineup I decided I wasn’t watching. We’re underutilizing the squad it’s not funny. What has Ceballos done wrong not deserve a spot ahead of or in place of Ozil or Xhaka? Mustafi is forced and that’s understandable. But sticking to the same failing players, the death of Emery, will likely be his downfall too if he continues down this foolish path.