Listen, I’ll take the win. Away from home, Arteta’s first European away game, a victory, a clean sheet, and a very valuable away goal.
That’s all we need at this stage.
We’re in our worst season in 400 years, we’re shite on the road, I’m struggling to believe that anyone is out there at the moment bitching about the performance.
The first half wasn’t exactly sexy. From a defensive perspective, we were a bit loose and we gifted chances to a team that were well off the mark in the final third. It does have to be noted, most smart clubs in Europe don’t blow their load in the first thirty, staying in contention is the name of the game, so by that barometer, we did a good job.
The second half was incredibly bland, but the Greeks couldn’t keep up the same intensity. Bernd Leno was called upon to make some good saves, but I have to break to it people, most keepers at top clubs have to make saves. We also had some good chances that we spurned, our game in the final third is still pretty bland, but we’re at least venturing into the opposition half and players are still suffering from a lack of confidence.
It wasn’t a great day at the office for Martinelli. His decision making was poor and he had a weird moment with Xhaka. I think he was pulled early to save him from himself. A great talent, but we have to remember he’s young, and inconsistency is just part of the game.
We nicked it in the end though. Mustafi played a stunning long ball to Auba on the right, he showed tight control and rolled it Saka, he hit a low cross to Lacazette and the finish was perfect.
You can’t argue that sort of performance in Europe. We have suffered it over and over again. At this level, it’s about making the least mistakes and waiting for your moment. We did that and took our chance.
We still have a lot to do in the home leg, but we own the away goal and they’ll have to come at us… dangerous game with the attacking players we have on call.
So what do we have? 3 wins in 4. 3 clean sheets in a row. 2020 unbeaten. The squad looking like they are beginning to believe.
… and what of that squad? Xhaka, Mustafi and Luiz are looking superb. Even Sokratis had a solid game last night. Players people had in the bin… including me… are playing far beyond our expectations.
So why are people moaning?
There’s a dog shit website peddling deeply thought out 9 game analysis designed as Spurs fan catnip that’s pushing numbers to make it seem like we’re not moving forward, but that shouldn’t worry people, it’s a piss poor analysis. If you are comparing Emery’s last X amount of game with Arteta’s first X amount of games, you shouldn’t be allowed near the internet. Arteta picked up a sinking ship and a group of players those exact same people said were uncoachable. We’re now 2 months in and we’re seeing the folly of that narrative. Things are steadily improving and the vampires are struggling because they don’t know where to pivot – shit data formulated by clickbait merchants isn’t a counter to what’s going on. Fact is, we have the right coach, the players are on board and things are steadily moving forwards.
We have a huge game on Sunday with a massive point to prove. Hopefully, the squad can make another statement about the new regime.
Onwards and upwards.