PSG Preview: Hard Work and Energy Plus Campbell’s Canned

Paris St-Germain provide the final opposition for the Singapore leg of the pre-season tour. At this point, the klaxon ought to sound and a recording play: “The result is not important. Do not lose your s*** over it.”

Unai Emery said the same in a more cerebral way, declaring:

“For us, it’s about continuing our preparations. It’s another match but we don’t want to change our focus. Our focus is to get every player up to speed and work on tactical things to get better for when we start [Premier League] competition.”

Not for him worrying about where we finish in the ‘table’ of the ICC 2018. Thankfully.

As the players watched his press conference unfold, a few shifted uncomfortably when the Spaniard said he wants “to build a team with a good spirit, a good energy and a very good quality of players.” Eyes scanned the room, noting Mustafi shuffling uneasily on his feet.

Poor old Shkodran. Everyone picks on him. It’s a shame he’s not the captain, because then he’d be ‘Shkodran Leader Mustafi’ in headlines where he played well. Ah well, can’t have everything in life.

The work on getting the players ready for the new season physically is largely completed reading between the lines. Now, Emery is focused elsewhere:

“Now, for me, it’s the moment to work on tactical things, to work on getting every player up to speed. The result isn’t the most important thing for me right now, it’s other things. It’s all about the positioning, the movement on the pitch, the individual quality and the combinations together.”

There you go; he’s not overly bothered by results treating victory and defeat stoically. I wonder how he manages defeat or a half-time deficit? Hairdryer treatment? Or more reasoned analysis? I’m going with the latter.

Alex And The New Deal

The last World Cup ‘stars’ return to training on Monday when “the combinations” become clearer. Everyone’s raring to see Lucas Torreira in action. Then we find out if he is the best thing since a baker looked at an uncut loaf and sliced it.

One player impressing Emery at the moment is Alex Iwobi. That’s no surprise if he’s the energetic and enthusiastic Iwobi; wait until the shrinking violet turns up. And he will; at 22, he isn’t old enough to know how to drag a team out of a slough and is dragged down with the rest. That’s not his fault; players at that age who can pull a team through are few and far between.

The darting runs will impress the new boss. He likes the lively players who make things happen. Every time Emery talks about his side, it’s about energy and hard work because that’s what he wants from a team. Iwobi gives that but needs to work on his end product.

As with other members of the squad, his goal output isn’t where it ought to be for a player of his talent. It’s a cop-out to say his game isn’t based on that; as an attacking player, he ought to be a goalscorer as well. They all should be, no matter how many assists or pre-assists they rack up. In the league, title challengers need attacking midfielders to score around 10 goals a season unless you have a phenomenon up front.

Iwobi – and Özil – can grow the selfish streak or self-belief in their decision-making. There’s a balance between the two but sometimes, shooting is the better option. As Germany showed in the World Cup, creating is nothing but frustration without an end product.

Enough cod psychology for the day, eh?

Joel-loan, Joel-loan, Joel-loan, Joooooeeel-loan

Elsewhere, Joel Campbell thinks Arsenal won’t loan him out because he is in the final year of his contract.

“A loan deal will be impossible, I have only one year of my contract left so they won’t loan me. I now have to see if I stay or if I’m sold.”

It’s surprising he or his agent haven’t spoken to the club. A Skype conversation or phone call would resolve his future quickly you’d have thought. And for a player whose future isn’t at Arsenal, surely that was the priority. I think he’s overly pessimistic about a loan spell. The club will take anything to get him off the books for another season.

What’s interesting is that none of the clubs he spent loan spells with has come in for him. Maybe they did but Arsenal wanted too much money. I don’t think so, though. Where he will end up, I don’t know, but a spell in the lower echelons of Portugal or Spain’s top-flight seems likely. Maybe the MLS is his level? Whatever it is, I don’t think he’s cut out for the Premier League.

His signing underlines how poorly we spent money in the past. Every manager has blind spots – Mee, Howe, Graham all made bad signings – but when we were relatively cash-strapped, we outdid ourselves with bad deals.

Enjoy today’s match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

32 thoughts on “PSG Preview: Hard Work and Energy Plus Campbell’s Canned

  1. Michael says:

    We are surely due a name and shame bit lol.

  2. HenryB says:

    Morning Yogi,

    Your Post highlight some of the areas of concern for me. Why not sell Joel-leon, the non-loan man.
    Why was he not sold last year – or the year before – or ….. more poor administration which hopefully the new regime won’t perpetuate.

    And I am very worried too about the possible ramifications of the Shkodran Leader!
    Where do you get them?? 😂

    Hopefully our defensive will not let us down again next season, as I have heard a lot more about ‘tactics’ this summer — wassat? tactical thingummies? never heard of such things.

  3. C says:

    Morning all and good stuff Yogi.

    Results don’t truly matter but seeing the development of the players and how they react to the new tactics and Emery does….though it would be good to see us beat PSG.

    Good business in wrapping up Iwobi, you are right that he is still so young and he does have talent and potential that, like many seemed to stagnate and be affected by the previous regime. I think Emery’s style will also suit Iwobi who is at his best when he is allowed to run, press and attack as opposed to the way Arsene wanted to play.

    Torriera is coming, Torriera is coming!

  4. C says:

    Team news is in and Emery looks to be ready:

    Subs: Cech, Ramsey, Lacazette, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos, Lucas, Nelson, Nketiah, Osei-Tutu, Smith Rowe, Willock, Martinez

  5. AK says:

    I liked Joel had a better final third than a few regulars but good luck to him. Our CB situation is not sorted, i had hoped we’d cash in on flip flopper mustafi and upgrade. maybe one of tthe understudies will step up

  6. C says:

    Campbell, think he offers more than Welbeck but think he is more suited for La Liga.

  7. Ras says:

    Good afternoon. Watching the Match and it’s so blatantly obvious that Leno has to be the number 1. He instills a calm and is far more commanding of the 18 yard box.

    Pre season or not El Neny is surplus to requirements. Quendozi can do all that he can and more. His willingness to get on the ball and orchestrate is a plus. He has boundless energy and covers the terrain well. Yes he’s young and inexperienced but has been impressive pre season. A good signing.

    El Neny is A tidy and neat player but not what We need.

    I declare my Love for PEA. His smile his demeanour is infectious.

  8. Michael says:

    And Ozil with a smile on his face.

  9. C says:


    Agree completely about Leno.

    Its fun watching Raboit and Guendouzi since most believe they are almost mirror images of each other in style with only Raboit offering a bit more attacking wise and Guendouzi defensively.

    The other thing is just how much more effective and at a better pace we are playing with.

  10. Ras says:


    Hello C I think that given the age etc of Quendozi we have unearthed a diamond.

    In the same way that Campbell iHas no future at Arsenal i feel the same re El Nenny.

    C Sead worries Me. Yes it’s pre season but he’s to casual for my liking. His first tendency is always to play – pass backwards.

    C i think that if We go with a midfield 3 of Ramsey Xhaka and Torreira We run the risk of being swept aside in Midfield. We know Ramsey is going to go ” Walkabout” Xhakia’s limitations have been seen by all and sundry.

    To give the Team more balance I’d go with Torreira, Quendozi and another. It would mean Ramsey and Xhaka fight it out between themselves for the last spot. I would even bring AN Miles into the equation. He’s ready this season to compete for a Midfield birth.

    To get the maximum from our front 3 We are going to need a

  11. G4E says:

    Good Show…..

    I think you can see we have a shape now.

    I would of course mention that this was not really PSG.

    I’m just glad we have a shape and we defend much better. Hence, there is hope.

  12. Michael says:

    Hard not to be impressed with Guendozi.

    Even Bill might smile 🙂

  13. Eris says:

    Game vs PSG looks to be in the bag for the good guys. To the article itself, I rate Mustafi and feel there is a good defender in there somewhere; there’s a reason he was the mainstay in our defence last season, playing in every combo with another CB and having the best stats in interceptions, blocks and tackles. Easy to blame him for his clear errors but that’s partly because he is always about.
    Joel Campbell is a good footballer, tricky, intelligent, incisive and scores/assists everywhere he’s been on loan. He was bought for next to nothing (£1m) and shouldn’t be referred to as a manager’s blind spot, on any account.

  14. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Quote enjoyed today’s game. Similar to athletico expect they weren’t just taking players down as soon as we got past them.

    Everyone looked quite good. Emilie Rowe, Nelson and Eddie all looked really good today. Have to say Iwobi even looks sharp. I wonder if he’ll start bit laca and Auba come Chelsea. Time will tell I guess but 5-1 is what id expect against a under powered PSG given we had ozil, Auba, Ramsey etc all available.

    With Xhaka, lichtsteiner and Torriera still to join up I’m looking forward to this season. Definitely more energy in the team, they all look fit and all looked like they knew wha lt they had to do

  15. consolsbob says:


    Still trolling, Henry?

    How are your ‘mates’ on the fun bus getting along?

  16. Wavey says:

    Afternoon all,

    Gutted that I missed the game today. Pre-season it may be, but I haven’t had a chance to see our young French lad strut his stuff yet. Plenty of good comments on the BBC website about his performance against ATM. Looking forward to see how they perform against Chelsea.

  17. C says:


    I think Elneny as a squad player works especially when you consider we should really be going for thr FA Cup ans CC and he would be really good and also to help see out matches. I like Elneny more than most but I think it all comes down to if we bring in another midfielder and what role does he play under Emery.

    Guendouzi I have liked from day 1 and even knowing a little about him from before its interesting to see his confidence and how big he is. He and Raboit were almost like watching twins playing against each other.

    As a midfield 3, we know Torriera and Ozil are there, who will be the 3rd is the question and right now I would prefer somebody more defensive because even thus far you see Emery lets his front 4 attack and everybody provide a base for them. I agree about Ramsey and his ‘walkabouts’.

    Sead, I think his first instinct is the quick 1-2 and his bombing down the flank. There is a player there he just needs to continue to develop and his first season wasn’t ideal given Arsene not giving a shit about defending.

  18. C says:


    No, Bill will tell us he has a great head of hair and can pass a bit but he’s too young..remember, only older players are good players

  19. Bil says:

    Great post yogi

    I agree with your concerns about Iwobe. If he is going to be a forward then he has to score and if he does not then we can’t to play him at that position over the long term. We have seen the same thing from a dozen young Arsenal players in the past and the same has been true in every big team in the world so its not just an Arsenal/Arsene Wenger thing. I have always thought Iwobe could be a decent central midfielder because end product is not as critical from players in the central midfield.

    I wish I could have seen the game. I listened to the second half on the radio while I was walking my dogs. That was a lot of fun to hear and its certainly exciting to actually be looking forward to a season without Arsene Wenger. I did see the replay of the first half goal. From the stats we had the majority of the ball possession in the first half and probably pinged a whole lot of passes around the midfield but the only goal we actually could score took 2 passes and about 3 seconds. I very much prefer 2 passes 3 seconds and then a shot compared to watching 500 short passes. I hope we see a lot more of the former during this season.

  20. Bil says:


    No, Bill will tell us he has a great head of hair and can pass a bit but he’s too young..remember, only older players are good players

    May Guendouzi will be different but if we look back at the last 10 years the skeptical approach has given us the right answer almost 100% of the time.

  21. C says:


    New era, new manager and Emery has won giving younger but talented players key roles with specific instructions. Wait, Klopp just went to the CL Final with youth at both FB’s….

  22. C says:

    Emery on Ozil and tactically how he wants to use Ozil:

    “We want to give him and our players the best position they feel most comfortable in on the pitch,” Emery told The Independent. “He started today at number 10 with Matteo [Guendouzi] and Mohamed [Elneny] behind him. The first one would go up and then find him between the lines, or sometimes [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan.

    “When we do have the ball, we can press with the striker and a number 10 almost like a 4-4-2 in a press. But it depends because Mesut can also play on the right and go inside, driving in to open up space for the right-back.

    “We want to find a space for him and the other players where they can use their qualities through good positioning. I think in the first half today we played good with quality players, but I want to improve this pressing. In the second half they were tired, but the young players gave us the pressing back and allowed us to change our positions and play with three in midfield.”

  23. theskywalker says:

    Since approximately 12 years ago the Emirates building was up, I have been waiting for a proper coach and a team that can play as a team under the guidance of the coach. After, reading about the good win against PSG ( Our team can only play against what is in front), as usual, I took a short walk passing the above beautiful structure this evening (my house is just 6 minutes away by walk), I finally got the hope that we have an evolving team and a coach worthy of this great club that the above building so majestically heralds.
    It is going to be a new era, no doubt. Tuchel’s comments shows him in bad light.

  24. nicky says:

    Could it be that up to this coming season, Arsenal Football Club have just not employed attackers capable of feeding off the immense foresight of playmakers like Mesut Ozil.
    In order to succeed, it takes players of like mind and the ability to think a move or two ahead of play.
    We now may have a game plan and the players to take that advantage. 😉

  25. paragoon says:

    I think, up til now, the lack of system in place has limited the efficiency of our better plays more than anything else. This press for example, when synchronized, players don’t need to make much tackles but the idea is to narrow passing lines of the opponents forcing them into making errors.

    Then again off the ball movements and awareness can never be overstated. Under the last regime we had one, especially the later years. We had a manager who favored possession football but didn’t have a system for it. Mustafi, for eh, would get the ball but Ramsey and Xhaka won’t create space deep to receive the ball which in turn forces Musti into errors. El Neny was the only midfieder who knew it was important to come deep to receive the ball.

    Then we have the forward movements, players didn’t know where to go to, there were no specific combinations learnt nor practiced etc.

    It will take time but once it comes together it will be beautiful. This season is a learning curve but making top 4 won’t be so difficult and I believe we have a bigger chance than we had last season, of getting the EL.

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