It Might Be You. It Could Be You. It’s Definitely You.

We all know the default mode on social media is rage. People rage about everything but usually about the trivial stuff. Not the important things like why there so many brown M&M’s when only weirdos like them. No, that’s left to slide under the radar while toys get thrown up in the air and volleyed back into prams.

Pundits are no better. Even ones who played at the highest level and managed less successfully. Yes, Tone, I’m talking about you. Merse, ditto. Yes, ditto. Not Jens. His calm exterior and placid demeanour looked like it would slip, with only decorum preventing a right cross landing on Merse’s chin. Even the host looked petrified the German was going to explode.

The one thing they all had in common was a rush to judgement. One match against the champions was enough to condemn the manager and tactics. Some critics couldn’t wait to put the boot in. Sam Allardyce, an abject failure at everywhere bar Bolton and Blackburn, decided Unai Emery’s tactics were ‘stupid’. Had the Spaniard kept Arsène’s philosophy, that would have been ‘stupid’ as well.

Everyone is stupid in Sam’s world. Football club chairmen who don’t interview him for jobs, FA suits, journalists; everyone but the Walrus of Footballing Love himself. He’s clever; a Mekon whose footballing brain is beyond the capacity of us mere mortals.

Anyway, in a desperate attempt to whip up a frenzy, the talking heads span frenetically as they whirred incomprehensibly about bad tactics, bad players and it was all bad, bad, BAD!! Ivan let it be known the board were going to let Unai have enough rope to hang himself. Sorry, a lot of time to sort it out. Otherwise, the board had nothing to say, Sir Chips claimed.

Don’t @ Me

The usual trolls were out, “@”ing Petr Cech and I’m sure, Unai Emery. Cech – or his PR team – responded, making the, ahem, critic look foolish. He didn’t care; his bio now reads, “Petr Cech @’d me” or something which celebrated the interaction.

So many veins are bulging in heads and on necks that the earth is spinning off its’ access.

This is modern football; hyperbole is king and unfortunately, that king isn’t dead. But if ever there was a king who deserved to be found dead on the commode, it’s hyperbole.

The rest of us look at the performance and wonder how many changes Emery will make for the visit to Stamford Bridge. Despite sub-par distribution, Cech is likely to start. The coach said afterwards that Leno has to be patient and earn his chance. I suspect that a repeat performance from Cech this weekend will see the German in for the match against West Ham.

Emery is in an invidious position. Wholesale changes are out of the question; we don’t have the squad to effect wholesale changes. However, changes to personnel in one or two positions will happen. Nacho Monreal will probably come in on the left, depending on his fitness. Lucas Torreira is another whom I expect to start at Stamford Bridge.

The remainder will probably keep their places. Away from home, we’ll sit and play on the counter-attack. That may suit us better in these early days. Merse got one thing right last night: it’s going to take weeks, maybe months for the coach to get inside the players’ heads to effect change. This is a club over which one person ruled and his philosophy; it will take time for that to change. Players reacted instinctively to Arsène’s thinking; those reactions must be changed which isn’t a quick process.

Loud, Innit?

Patience in modern football is always in short supply, but if ever any were needed Arsenal is the case. I understand some of the lack of patience. Some of it is ego, some is a desire for Wenger’s replacement to fail to crow that it was wrong to sack the Frenchman. Yes, I am aware that a blogger is the last person to point out anyone’s ego.

But there are an awful lot of people who are putting self before the club. Yeah, yeah, bloggers, etc. See the previous comment.

In all this, the only thing which matters is that the coaching staff get their message through to the players. That they make sure the mistakes of Sunday aren’t replaced on Saturday night. It’s a steep learning curve for everyone involved on the playing side and everything else is just noise.

’til Tomorrow.

 

46 thoughts on “It Might Be You. It Could Be You. It’s Definitely You.

  1. Great blog YW, but far be it from me to condemn all and sundry. But Sunday’s result was precisely what I expected, predicted and foretold! I’m not changing my mind about our pending fixture this Saturday. However I’m hoping something good will come from our tough start to the season and that is the manager to realise, who he can depend upon to deliver his philosophy on the pitch. I’d also like him to seriously consider the fringe player’s instead of listening to those at the club that think they know better. Actually look at the player’s and decide for yourself Unai, not just chalk them off because someone told you to!

    My frustrations revolve around a player we pay a LOT of money to and clearly doesn’t warrant that kind of salary. Would said player get into any of the starting 11’s in the top 5 EPL teams? So why continue to play him? Does he actually make us that much better that we can’t afford to drop him? Don’t get me wrong, there were other’s that need some time on the bench to reflect upon their individual performance. Bringing in Torriera for Xhaka is a no brainer. Playing one of Ozil, Ramsey or Miki centrally and utilising PEA and Welbz on the wings makes sense and Laca through the middle. Or maybe take a more pragmatic approach and set up shop for a draw. We’re away from home, it wouldn’t be criminal!?

  2. There are lots of positivities in the game against Man City, anyone bad mouthing the performance and the coach is only doing that out of hatred or just wanting Unai to fail so there’ll be opportunity to talk about Wenger leaving. BAD LOSERS.

  3. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    Agree. No one really thought we’d win it, which shows how badly Wenger managed the team and transfers over last 5 years.

    There was glimpses of change that I liked. But I think it shows Laca and Auba need to start together, I felt when Laca came on he ignited a bit of a fire. AMN was poor but he’s not a lb, lichtsteiner was much better when he came on.

    Tbh, the poorest contributions were ozil, Ramsey and Xhaka…. Guendouzi looked good as the game went on I think he and Torriera looked good. Starting to feel 30m for Ramsey would have been a good deal for us. Doesn’t look interested at all and I expected better from ozil.

  4. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    I think most (sensible) fans expected that this game came too soon, and were not expecting miracles…in fact most have been saying that Emery will need at least half a season before he can start to be judged, as it’s going to take time for him to:

    a.) Get to know this squad properly and what combinations work
    b.) Instil confidence in the squad
    c.) Get the players to play in the way he wants (which isn’t just about receiving instructions, it’s about doing things instinctively)

    Further to this, most (sensible) fans realised we’d be nowhere near challenging for the title this year, and that it will take a few transfer windows to start moving in that direction.

    We have a talented squad, but the gulf in class between us and other teams that have been heavily investing for a few years now is too big to cross in 6 weeks of pre-season and one transfer window.

    I thought that now Arsene had left that we’d get some of the earlier patience that was displayed before it became clear we were living groundhog day – but I forgot that the year is 2018 and all anyone cares about is being as hysterical as possible in the hope that they get enough retweets. Unai will need time, and we’re going to have to get used to stumbling a bit before we can walk and then run. City is too high a barometer for this – it’s throwing away points at home to the likes of Swansea on a regular basis that we need to address, and that if it isn’t addressed, that will be a more useful barometer through which to judge Emery’s progress.

  5. Emery is going to need at least 3 Transfer windows and be able to ” decide” with Sven whom He actually wants. I did not agree with Cech starting but under stand the logic by Emery.

    When I look at the squad it’s blatantly obvious We currently have a number of types of Player whom are to similar.

    We have no Wingers at all. The only Player up top with genuine pace is PEA. Laca is no slouch. Miki, Ozil and Ramsey are to similar for Me. None have games based around playing without the Ball. Emery is going to have to decide upon whom he can’t trust to expedite his Plans.

    A seismic shift in the attitude of the Mental attitude of the Players is necessary. Players we know are a selfish, egoistic lot.

    Pep and Klopp have “created ” a Collective Mentality in their respective Squads. It’s The Team that is of upmost importance. Of course everybody wants to play but only 11 can walk out onto the pitch.

    It means that Players must learn to sacrifice “Self” for the Team. It’s seems Sturbridge has finally learned this at Liverpool.

    Competition based on meritocracy and the capacity to produce and not based on Egos is the way to muster a “Collective”. The Invincibles had the lot.

  6. jabberwocky

    “it’s throwing away points at home to the likes of Swansea on a regular basis that we need to address”

    I think that might prove difficult this season or maybe we could try throwing away points to the likes of Stoke… oh wait a minute!?

  7. Why does everyone automatically assume I’m hating on Unai or the team as a whole. I absolutely understand it’s a work in progress and we are a long way behind the likes of Chelsea, City, Utd and Liverpool who’s board and owner’s had the foresight to invest heavily in their squads. I completely blame our owner and board/management for our stagnation and their failure to adapt/change with the times. Sports entertainment is BIG money and it doesn’t take a visionary to understand that the stronger your brand, the more you can command. How do you improve your brand in Sports entertainment? By winning. Something our current incumbent owner/board/management know nothing about. (Not including Unai and his back room staff in that, as clearly they’ve come on board after the event). For time memorial under the Wenger reign I have been saying that he has brought in a culture of arrogance! As for the “I told you so” well I bloody well did and I remember distinctly a few of you on here stating I was negative or I should be more optimistic, or I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I should back the team. Well I won’t apologise for being a realist. Because quite clearly the majority of so called fans on here are deluded! I’m wondering if you even know what tube stations to get off to get to the Emirates!? I bet you know how to get to Old Trafford or the new Spuds ground though!

  8. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    (unless you’re referring to another comment) I never said you were hating on Unai & the team, just saying that, on this blog at least, I haven’t seen many people saying we’d be able to challenge City in the first game or over the course of this season, so wasn’t sure what you were railing against? YW was pretty clear in stating that we’d stagnated over the last few seasons as well (or even longer tbh) so again, unless you’re referring to the ‘blog wars’ era, I’m not sure if there were many people here who were saying everything was fine and Arsene should continue as normal.

    Anyway what does it matter, we asked for change, we’ve got change, and now we have to give said change time to take effect…and if it doesn’t, then we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

  9. Chukwudi:
    There are lots of positivities in the game against Man City, anyone bad mouthing the performance and the coach is only doing that out of hatred or just wanting Unai to fail so there’ll be opportunity to talk about Wenger leaving. BAD LOSERS.

    Yes there were lots of positives, Guendouzi for one. Partnered with Torriera. I wouldn’t offload Elneny just yet either given that it’s quite apparent we can’t play, Ozil, Ramsey and Miki in the same team. Another positive is that it’s quite apparent PEA and Lac should play together. But let’s face it, if it had been a Mourinho team he would of set his stall up for a draw. Plain and simple, because he looks at the fixture and thinks what’s realistic from the group of player’s he has at his disposal. A draw would have been a great result! Let’s see what Unai is made of on Saturday. Again a draw would be a great result.

    On a side note, any news on the injury that forced AMN off on Sunday? What’s wrong with him? Is he out for the Chavs game? If so how long for?

  10. Great post yogi.

    I suspect most of us accept that Arsene did a really poor job of team building in this decade and other then PEA and perhaps Lacazette Arsene didn’t leave Emery with a lot of players that would get regular minutes on the other top 6 teams in England much less the worlds other big teams. The idea that a new manager could “coach up” the team and suddenly Bellerin’s inner Dani Alves or Ramseys inner Frank Lampard or the Mesut Ozil from 6 years ago or a brilliant new Mkhitaryan, Mustafi, Iwobe , Elneny and Xhaka would burst out was not realistic. Those players are what they are and a manager can’t change that. Even Pep struggled in his first season because he didn’t have the proper squad composition or mentality to play the high energy fast paced style he wanted to play. It took Pep 3 transfer windows and a full season. Unfortunately Stan is not going to spend money the way Pep did so its going to take us more time and a lot of very careful planning to rebuild a stronger squad.

    I think there is every reason to hope that Emery can mold this squad into a team that can overperform and be more then the sum of its parts and hopefully with some help from a couple of the other top 6 teams melting down we might be able to climb back into 4th place.

  11. MesutsLeftFoot:
    HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    Agree. No one really thought we’d win it, which shows how badly Wenger managed the team and transfers over last 5 years.

    There was glimpses of change that I liked. But I think it shows Laca and Auba need to start together, I felt when Laca came on he ignited a bit of a fire. AMN was poor but he’s not a lb, lichtsteiner was much better when he came on.

    Tbh, the poorest contributions were ozil, Ramsey and Xhaka…. Guendouzi looked good as the game went on I think he and Torriera looked good. Starting to feel 30m for Ramsey would have been a good deal for us. Doesn’t look interested at all and I expected better from ozil.

    Couldn’t agree more mate. We’ve got an over abundance of similar type player’s in that role. £30 mil is good business in my eyes. Take it and run. I’m thinking the Lich should be ahead of Bellerin or maybe even pair him at CB with Sok. It would add a bit more bite to our defense although Lich is a bit liable for committing unnecessary fouls. I liked Sok taking one for the team in the first half and doing a cynical foul (can’t remember who it was he put on their arse!). But it’s that approach and mentality we need from a defender. The “oh you’re quite skillful and you’ve got the ball past me, but I’m afraid you won’t be going with it”! type defender.

  12. Ras:
    Emery is going to need at least 3 Transfer windows and be able to ” decide” with Sven whom He actually wants. I did not agree with Cech starting but under stand the logic by Emery.

    When I look at the squad it’s blatantly obvious We currently have a number of types of Player whom are to similar.

    We have no Wingers at all. The only Player up top with genuine pace is PEA. Laca is no slouch. Miki, Ozil and Ramsey are to similar for Me. None have games based around playing without the Ball. Emery is going to have to decide upon whom he can’t trust to expedite his Plans.

    A seismic shift in the attitude of the Mental attitude of the Players is necessary. Players we know are a selfish, egoistic lot.

    Pep and Klopp have “created ” a Collective Mentality in their respective Squads. It’s The Team that is of upmost importance. Of course everybody wants to play but only 11 can walk out onto the pitch.

    It means that Players must learn to sacrifice “Self” for the Team. It’s seems Sturbridge has finally learned this at Liverpool.

    Competition based on meritocracy and the capacity to produce and not based on Egos is the way to muster a “Collective”. The Invincibles had the lot.

    Here, here dear boy!

    But I’m afraid ego’s still rule the roost at AFC and I’m wondering what Unai can do about it!

  13. Bill,

    Completely agree Bill, but it’s just not going to happen anytime soon. Certainly not overnight! And with Stan’s sell to buy policy, I doubt we’ll be seeing a top four place for at least 3 – 4 seasons.

  14. The one thing we do have is a couple of forwards who potentiallly could score 40 league goals between them. We need to build around that advantage. If Emery can somehow get us to play better team defense and concede a lot fewer goals and then find a way to move the ball forward as quickly as possible and get the ball to PEA and Lacazette before the defense sets up then we have a chance to outperform our overall talent level. However, if we continue to try run our attack thru the creative midfielders and build up slowly from the back then we neuter the one attacking advantage we have. Hopefully Emery will be flexible rather then dogmatic and he will evolve his approach to being more pragmatic.

  15. There are many different ways to Play football.

    A Manager on starting at a new Club has to see if He has the types of Players whom can carry out his ideas , philosophies on the pitch. It’s going to take time to see whom can adapt to Emerys philosophy.

    Does Emery have to be lucid and possibly adapt his Philosophy bearing in mind they are not ” His” players, and he’s able to bring in Players whom can do what he wants?

    We have an imbalanced squad. We have to many would be Number 8s and 10s. Ozil, Miki, Ramsey, Iwobi.

    AW was à collectionner of the 10s. Now no longer with us is it time to get rid, to sell.

    Time to be pragmatic. We have no Wingets. No genuine speedsters on either wing.

    You see what Pep had at Bayern K Conman, Ribéry, Robben anothervwhose name slips me

    Now at City Sterling, Sane, Mahrez, as well as full backs wing backs Walker n Mendy whom can run all day, All possess great athleticism and speed.

    Peps decision to part with Joe Hart when he arrived at City told the Assembled ranks watching that it was his way or none. Where’s Hart now? Burnley.

    Emery has to be bravevand do his own thing.

  16. Bill,

    Again, I do think you believe that talent/ability to perform is more ‘fixed’ than it actually is – as it doesn’t factor in confidence, form or other psychological factors; as players are human beings not something from a computer game with fixed attributes. To say that Emery will not be able to ‘coach up’ any of our squad because they are how they are is a little pre-emptive as we simply don’t know at this stage. The idea that he can ‘coach up’ our entire squad and improve everyone is of course, massively far fetched, and the reality is that I’m sure our starting 11 in 18 months time will look massively different from our current one. That being said, we’re going to have to wait and see who (if anyone) responds to his methods and can overcome the bad habits/lack of confidence they’re haunted by now, and who cannot and needs to be shifted. There is no doubt that we need an overhaul of playing staff before we challenge for the title, but in terms of to the extent of this overhaul, we’ll have to wait and see.

    I don’t see it as an either/or situation, it’s just something that no one can possibly know at this juncture, so to just sit back and give him a chance to do what he wants to do, and see how it pans out.

  17. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    WE are going to have to wait and See Henry.

    I like yourself know We can’t truly can’t be judged against City.

    We will hopefully see tangible progress against the likes of Burnley, Swansea, Southampton etc. It is against this back drop away from Home where Wf shall see growth or not

  18. Ras:
    HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    WE are going to have to wait and See Henry.

    I like yourself know We can’t truly can’t be judged against City.

    We will hopefully see tangible progress against the likes of Burnley, Swansea, Southampton etc. It is against this back drop away from Home where Wf shall see growth or not

    Well I’m looking forward to how he and the team approach the West Ham game. For me they are in a similar position to ourselves, new management, new player’s and still trying to work out best 11, tactics and formation. So I am going to be a bit more critical in that particular instance.

  19. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    Chelsea is another team in a similar situation if we are honest. New manager, completely different tactics, formation and style of play, players that either wanted to leave dont fit the style or simply are out of form. I am more interested to see how things turn out against Chelsea as a barometer.

    I want to see Torriera and Guendouzi partnered in midfield, I want to see Leno in goal with Aubameyang and Lacazette playing together with either Iwobi or Welbeck as the 3rd in the front 3.

  20. C are you saying our squad is as good as Chelsea’s? A team that won the EPL only 2 seasons ago and who haven’t lost any of their key personnel on the playing staff? Good luck with that buddy.

  21. Henry,
    Your point about tube stations, below, reminded me of one match I attended.

    HenryNorrisDialSquare:
    I’m wondering if you even know what tube stations to get off to get to the Emirates!?

    When the tube pulled into Arsenal station, the driver made an announcement along the lines of…. “This is Gillespie Road, Gillespie Road, for those of you who are going to the football.” which he said in a less than joyful tone. I suspect he was a Spuds fan.

  22. Stu have you experienced the lone Spuds fan wading his way through us Gooner’s turning up for a home game at the station in his Spuds shirt expecting us to do the same moronic violence that a Gooner would expect if they did the same thing a White Spuds lane!? Do you know if it’s an initiation, rite of ritual thing for their fighting firm?

  23. Jabberwocky

    It depends what your level of expectation is regarding “coaching up”. I think the team can get better as a whole which I described in the comment @ 3:17 but coaches can’t change who a player really is. He can’t turn bring back Ozil from 6 years ago or turn Bellerin into Cafu or turn Xhaka and Elneny into more then they are. I don’t think a team with Ozil, Mkhitaryan Xhaka, Mustafi, Socaritis has the personnel that is best suited to play a high pressing high energy fast tempo game and Emery can’t change who those players are. It took Pep 3 transfer windows to build the squad that could do what he wanted. Its going to take a while and what I hope for a slow but steady rebuilding of the squad but until we can do that, I hope that Emery is pragmatic enough to accept that he may have to alter his preferred formula at least for a while in order to get the results we need to give us a chance to climb back to 4th. I hope that makes sense.

  24. Excellent post, YW.

    “…..everything else is just noise.”

    Yup. Way too much. Sadly it’s become nigh on impossible to tune out.

  25. Harry:
    Excellent post, YW.

    “…..everything else is just noise.”

    Yup. Way too much. Sadly it’s become nigh on impossible to tune out.

    The blog becomes redundant if nobody comments. It’s kind of the whole point Harry a forum for like minded individuals to converse. Or are you too elitist to partake!?

  26. Bill,

    Being flexible rather than dogmatic was supposed to be an Emery trait. But as I said the other day, I was surprised and a bit concerned that instead of designing an opening match strategy guaged to the opposition and the circumstances it seems that Emery decided to adhere to the approach he wants for most games tactically. Maybe he figured we were unlikely to beat City any way so we would be better off testing ourselves against the best press. Ultimately, I agree however that until we bring in players suited to the approach he has in mind (how many of our transfer targets were already identified by Sven before the new coach was determined?) that an approach like you describe might best work with the assets we have.

  27. I am fully expecting that given the state of our squad, the years of stagnation, the fact that KSE will do nothing particular to enhance AFC’s competitiveness beyond what the club generates itself at best, we have to be prepared for a long and difficult transition. I was never of the belief that just changing the manager would catapult us forward. The players weren’t great and were used to the culture of top 4 ambition. We had slipped even from there. We plugged a few holes that were evident before the new coach really could have input but the only signing we made of any potential significance this season is Torreira. Hopefully he comes good and we can scrape our way into the top 4 so that the rebuilding can happen with those resources and CL football. But we could slip further back. It is possible too.

    At the very least it will be an interesting season whether fulfilling or not. That’s a start.

  28. Bill,

    You say ‘he can’t bring back the Ozil from 6 years ago’ as if it were a definite, set in stone, law of nature. Now don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying the he will improve Ozil to that level, I’m just saying that categorically saying that he wont as fact, is as much a subjective opinion as saying he will. Also – who is to say that he can’t improve Bellerin? Maybe he will, maybe he wont.

    The thing is that football players are humans and are therefore complex, and if managers can’t effect their natural talent then what is the point in coaching? I remember reading ages ago that Henry and Shevchenko were both not considered the most talented of their age group (Louis Saha was expected to be the most successful based on raw talent, likewise with Rebrov and some other players i cant quite remember) – but they became the players they were through hard work (as in, talent on its own is not enough). I’ll admit this is youth players we’re talking about, rather than established professionals, but work ethic, confidence and coaching were vitally important.

    So basically what I’m saying is: yes, it is wholly unreasonable to expect anyone, even the greatest manager who ever lived, to take journeymen professionals and turn them into world class stars. However, stating that talent is fixed and that no amount of coaching will change the fixed output of a given player as their career and individual success is predetermined by, lets say, 21, is also wrong. Emery will have to sell a load of these players in the coming seasons, as they are unlikely to improve to the level we require. HOWEVER, he may (and I emphasise may), be able to help players like (I use him as an example of a young talent who has plateaued, not him specifically) Bellerin to sort their heads out, and make the next step up in ability.

    These players are not on ‘Football Manager’ or ‘FIFA’, where they have 79/100 shooting or 84/100 short passing and that doesn’t change, they’re humans who are are exceedingly complicated. Further to this – Arsene’s style was to ‘go out and play’ and utilise the intelligence of the players – which is all well and good if you’re attacking, but when it comes to defending, leads to the clusterf*cks we’ve seen in recent seasons as no one knows what they’re supposed to be doing or where they are going.

    So to finish: you’re right to be pessimistic over Emery’s ability to bring the best out in all of these players, or that a bit of coaching will turn us into world beaters without further player recruitment; however, you’re jumping the gun a bit in stating that Emery has no chance of improving any of our players (either through coaching or choosing tactics that match their skillsets), and that they are all sub par and will remain so for the rest of their careers.

    It’s not either or, and it’s good to be realistic – but (in the nicest possible way 🙂 ) you push realistic too far where it becomes opinion being treated as fact, because in the absence of any data beyond what we see and how we shape it with past experience and how we subjectively think things play out – which is similar to thinking that untapped potential will spill forth with a little bit of coaching, which is just a hope and subjective opinion too.

    Anyway this is all semantics, everyone knows we need investment, investment we’re not going to get in one go, so let’s see what Emery can do with our squad and make a more informed opinion in 12 months time.

    FWIW – I agree with you regarding players like Campbell, Perez etc – the reason they haven’t succeeded with us or with any of the clubs they’ve gone on loan to is highly likely to be because they aren’t, and have never been, good enough. Doesn’t mean that a player going through a funk can’t be shown the way and improve to have a great career with us though 🙂

  29. HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    Actually mate when they won the title Costa bossed the PL and in his place enter Morata and Giroud. Chelsea are NOT the same team that won the PL two years ago. Cesc was still key to them, Conte had them defensively brilliant, Courtious was sublime, etc. Good luck thinking they are the same team.

  30. Yes, Limey. Hello. Good to see you back, btw.

    I wasn’t referring to this ‘ere blog, HenryNorrisDialSquare, nor any particular comment(s) of yours. Just broadly concurring with the sentiments expressed in Yogi’s post. Feel free to voice whatever fucking opinion you like, whenever you like.

  31. We had pretty decent luck against Conte’s Chelsea. Away to them is still a very difficult fixture. I wonder how we will fare against early Sarri Chelsea? Can we improve our away form? If we equal our away draw last lesson, I’ll be satisfied that we havrn’t Lost ground to them even though I do think that overall they have a stronger squad—Kante alone is such a difference maker. If we beat them, I’ll be ecstatic and feel like we might have a decent chance to finish 5th or better despite the big transition we are undergoing.

  32. Early days. I think next Saturday might be a bit too early too. Chelsea away is a hard task.

    Last season even Wenger played very defensive in this fixture. Why not start 2 defensive midfielders? PEA up front for pace.

    This is where we are. No change from last season yet…

  33. LSG,

    It will be brilliant to watch Kante vs Torriera. Actually it will be really interesting midfield battle between possibly Torriera/Guendouzi/Ozil vs Kante/Jorginho/Barkely

  34. Jabberwocky

    I will get back to you with a better answer to your comment when I have more to time. For now the one comment I will make is regarding your last paragraph. I agree completely about Joel Campbell and Lucas’s perez etc. Any player can go thru short runs of bad form but no matter which manager they play for, very few top players go thru 2-3 years “funks”. At some point it stops being a funk and becomes the new reality. When you see a player be ineffective for that long you have to adjust your view of their ceiling.

  35. Aubameyang has spoke:

    We really get on well,’ Aubameyang told ESPN. ‘There is a spark between us when we are both on the pitch together.

    ‘We look for each other, we saw it [on Sunday] against City when he came on. I don’t mind playing on the left if Laca is in the centre. We both want to do our best for the team.’

    We still need some time to adapt to the new manager and to integrate the new players,’ Aubameyang added.

    ‘It is hard to test ourselves in a first game like this against City because they are so strong. We have to stay positive, work on the things we did well and improve on the rest. We will have a better idea next weekend after the Chelsea game.

    ‘The message of the new coach is all about showing character, to put a lot of intensity, play high up the pitch and implement a big pressing. That’s the style we will play this season.’

  36. C:
    HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    Actually mate when they won the title Costa bossed the PL and in his place enter Morata and Giroud.Chelsea are NOT the same team that won the PL two years ago.Cesc was still key to them, Conte had them defensively brilliant, Courtious was sublime, etc. Good luck thinking they are the same team.

    Just remember you said that Saturday C

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