Watford arrive at the Emirates with Unai Emery content that the rain has held off. There’s even a tad of sunshine, albeit with a chill in the air. So long as he doesn’t see Troy Deeney’s cojones, he’ll be a happy man.
Six wins on the bounce and confidence should be high with performances improving. In patches; we’ve yet to see a 90-minute match. Vorskla was the closest, but the two late goals spoiled it.
We didn’t turn up for the first half last week and typically, we arrived from minute 45 onwards. The club employs psychologists so their job is simple: convince the players that each match is made up of three halves. They are footballers, they’ll never twig.
Either that or kidnap them, pretend they are in Albania and brainwash them. Whatever it takes to make it work. Unai thinks we’re walking that path:
I think and I work with my mentality to look forward to being better in each moment and after each match. Now, the table is also, I think, giving us the moment they are doing at the moment, each team.
Our performance also, after the first two against Manchester City and against Chelsea, is getting better. But we need also, our challenge is, tomorrow we are on a good way but also when they are coming
toa lot of matches and difficult matches, to be more prepared for the possibility to win against the first teams like Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, but also for very difficult games like tomorrow, against Watford.
I think the Premier League is the most important competition for us because it is giving us the best performance in 38 matches and I think the regularity is giving us our best performance.Unai Emery on how we’re improving
Improving or Numbing?
There’s a sense that it’s all coming together; far from the complete article but we are better off than last season.
Emery thinks it is down to confidence which is returning:
Each match gives us the opportunity to take more confidence. We are winning, I think the confidence is the best on our individual players and also on our collective work. But every match is one challenge to show and to give, to find our best moment and best performance.on if he feels confidence is building in the squad…
Defensively, we’re getting better. Or are we becoming immune to the mistakes? Maybe. Is immune is the wrong word? Numb. That’s a good word. Numb and Number.
According to Sokratis, the “defensive unit is getting better and better every month”, but so is “the whole team”. He also likes Lucas Torreira. A lot.
He works very good, he is small but he is strong enough. I like him very much because he gives everything, he tries to defend every time and when we have players who do this work in front of us, it is very important.Sokratis on Torreira
Emery brought the Uruguayan into the side and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Torreira lived up to expectations. Money well spent, you can see that after just one Premier League start. OK, a couple of substitute appearances served as appetisers but it’s amazing the impact one player can have on a side. Why didn’t anyone think of playing with a defensive midfielder before?
At this point, you’re wondering if I’m going to talk about Aaron Ramsey’s situation. It hasn’t changed from yesterday with Emery not shedding any light on it either. So there it is.
There was one phrase Emery used yesterday which I liked:
I think each player is thinking well, but also we need more.Pin it on the wall, Unai
More. Demanding more. Not in a greedy way but demanding excellence from every player, every match. Satisfied with winning but not satisfied enough and always wanting more. Chasing the excellence even though he knows it’s unattainable by this current squad.
We can take a step further along the path with three points today. I’d expect the line-up to be similar to that which beat Everton:
Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ozil,
No Ramsey which probably won’t happen. I can’t see Emery not playing the Welshman even though the side has a better balance with a more natural wide player.
Whatever the XI, I’m feeling confident of winning. Just the small matter of 90 minutes to prove that confidence isn’t misplaced.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.