Mikel Arteta seemed relatively pleased in his press conference when talking about the two new additions to the side. With Cedric Soares, he’s hired in some needed experience and a player he hopes is desperate to take his chance at an elite club. With Pablo Mari, a player he specifically said the club have looked at for months, he has a ball playing center-back with a left foot he hopes can open up the pitch and give him more options.
Soares dropped his first press conference and to be honest, he just seems really fucking energised to be at a big club.
That’s massive for me to come here. Like I said, I came to the Premier League four-and-a-half years ago and now to achieve this move to Arsenal is massive. It’s all I wanted and it’s really important in my career as well.
He explained his game, and it reads fairly Mikel Arteta.
It’s a tough one! One hundred per cent that I will give all my best every day and every game. That’s for sure. I try to be a guy with energy, a player that goes up and down. I like to consider myself a team player and yes, what can I say? It’s difficult when you need to talk about yourself! But again, I will give my 100 per cent for the team and for the fans.
If he comes in, works hard, puts in a shift for his team and lands 9 assists, I will be happy. At this point, we have to ignore the super-agent fingerprints (Correction: Kia for Suarez) and hope that the club offered Arteta the options he needed, and they actually work for him.
Defensively, Matt Scott had some numbers on the players. A bit of a bruiser with some untapped attacking flair.
Cedric has the seventh-highest tackle rate per 90mins among all Premier League defenders this season. The nearest Arsenal player is Calum Chambers in 20th. After him, it’s Sead Kolasinac. In 48th. pic.twitter.com/ZXshBO9K8Y
— Football DNA (@ftballDNA) January 28, 2020
The great thing about new players is regardless of what you think about quality, they refresh the squad from an energy perspective. Players are like fans, they get excited about new transfers and fresh blood in the office. After Sunday, the squad, coronavirus issues pending, fly out to Dubai for some training. Arteta made a point that the players haven’t had more than 2 days off since he started. He wants to use the trip to develop his concepts and to ‘live’ with the players a bit.
I thought Mikel’s point about being happy about the window, more so because of the lack of exits, was pertinent. Before Emery was booted, we were looking at Auba, Torreira and Xhaka exiting. A month later, all three look revitalised on the pitch. Additionally, the big hype conversation amongst the fans is around how good AMN could be in the midfield (reminder of what he can do below).
📽️Ainsley Maitland-Niles vs Man Utd at Old Trafford, EPL 2017/18🎥
Granit Xhaka at the base of the midfield 3
AMN in the box-to-box bridge CM role while Iwobi has the free CM/CAM role
Bullish midfield display from Niles on the day pic.twitter.com/Ui5h3YUZ41
— Phantomn AFC (@PhantomnAFC) January 30, 2020
The overriding thought seems to be that he’ll be pushed into the midfield, with right-back duties handed back to the specialists. AMN brings power, pace and a lot of mobility to a midfield that has lacked it. The player has always drawn heavy critique, unfair in my opinion, but I think it’s absolutely apparent now that if you’re not coached properly or told what to do on the pitch, you’ll probably not develop.
I watched an HBO doc about Nick Saban and Bill Belichek last night. One dominates the NFL, the other, College Football. It was quite interesting listening to them talk about sport. One of their big slogans is ‘do your job’, they both talked about that goes beyond just a nice soundbite… the gist, if you don’t tell athletes exactly what they should be doing, they won’t know. Communication and attention to detail is absolutely essential.
We’re seeing that sort of mindset being brought to The Arsenal. Everyone knows their role on the pitch. Is it perfect yet? No. But we’re on the right track. The length of passing lanes has shortened, players off the ball movement is strategic, we press in packs, and we have players operating in intelligent ways that highlight their positive attributes, and minimise their not-so-great attributes.
It’s been hard to judge talent under the latter years of Wenger and entire tenure Unai Emery because it was unclear what the job was. Now the players are being held accountable to a specific role, it’s going to be far easier to see who can live up to the new standards, and who can’t.
The impressive thing is this: Everyone is back on the table. That’s what makes the backend of the season so interesting. We’re seeing a reinvigorated set of players and now we’ll be able to make honest assessments of talent. It’s amusing that some fans think this is an about-face by me, it’s absolutely not, when the information changes, you reassess. Only dim people lock themselves into a forever view I’m afraid. If I am proved totally wrong by David Luiz and Granit Xhaka, I will eat that humble pie and wash it down with some of that MustafiCouldBeBaresi Hot Sauce. Sometimes in life, you have to accept you were wrong and hit the town dancing with the L.
A huge game this Sunday. We need to go to Burnley with energy and purpose and we need to bring home the 3 points. David Luiz returns to the side, so does Auba. It’ll be interesting to see who keeps their place. I’m hoping we see Gabriel in the starting 11. Will we see Saka? What will the defence look like? So much to look forward to.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments. x