Vitoria Preview: Concordia Crescit

I honestly don’t know where to begin today, certainly as far as Emery’s press conference is concerned. I feel like I asked for a babel fish and was given a Google Translate implant instead. Nothing makes sense nor does it bear any relation to reality.

There’s a match to distract us from our woes, thankfully. Of course, with it comes the bear pit of the press conference and Unai must have painful ankles this morning. The traps set sprang and bit him.

Speaking on Monday night’s defeat, he tried to look for a positive: “We are improving defensively,” he said. “We are conceding less goals,” the claim was finished off.

Ahem.

By this stage last season, we conceded 11 goals in the Premier League; this time 12. The quirks of the fixture list render this a meaningless comparison; the only comparable fixture played in both opening nine games of the seasons is Newcastle away.

We lost on Monday night, according to the coach, because Sheffield United won more corners than us. Emery is right to argue we were denied at least one penalty but when you’re reduced to that complaint, there are deeper-seated problems to be addressed.

But it doesn’t matter. We’re improving as a team in his psychedelic world. How? We lost “3- 0” at Wolves last season where they employed a 5-3-2 system (it was 3 – 1 but never mind). Monday night saw us lose 1 – 0 against a 5-3-2 system. So, we’re +2 in goal difference even if it is really only +1.

Essentially, it was waffle and not even interesting waffle. And for tonight, it doesn’t matter. This is the Europa League and we’re enjoying ourselves in the group stage.

It’s A Knockout

Seven goals scored, none conceded; six points from six. Can’t argue with that outcome in a cup competition even if we’re a league. We’re well on course to qualify.

Two more wins and we’re through. Emery pointed out this isn’t a bad situation to be in during the early stage of the season. He’s right; we lose sight of that in the disdain for the Europa League.

Two wins, both with clean sheets. Maybe the Europa League defence needs to play in the Premier League? I jest. Ish. OK, maybe I don’t; I have a feeling tonight will see Bellerin, Holding and Tierney in the XI. That trio is better than our Premier League starting XI in my mind. No question.

The competition isn’t as fierce in the Europa League but even so, to keep clean sheets requires concentration from everyone and we’ve done that. Granit Xhaka isn’t around to cock-up an offside trap and that’s a good thing for this tournament.

There is an element of truth in the comment that we play with more freedom in these matches. Certainly, the forwards find more space so can make hay. So too are the midfield and it will be interesting to see if that continues.

Vitoria haven’t played since the end of last month so it will be interesting to see how sharp they are. Mind you, neither has this Arsenal XI so the question holds true for us as well.

Emery has several questions to answer in his team selection. Mesut Özil is fit; we know this because the only player included in the medical team’s update is Reiss Nelson. The question is will he play?

Dropping Clangers?

It will be baffling if he doesn’t. I understood why he didn’t travel to Sheffield. It’s north of Watford and an away game. Mesut doesn’t do those kinds of away games.

As I said yesterday, if he has any wit, Özil will play the game of his life. Throw down the gauntlet to Emery, dare him to drop him.

He’ll be good but not that good. And with reports we’re dropping £30+m on Dani Ceballos, Emery will be keen to play his compatriot at the weekend to seal the deal.

He may do that this evening, just for the perverse pleasure of seeing Team Mesut spontaneously combust. Or out of sheer cussedness.

Other than that, there are few surprises in store unless he picks Lacazette, Aubameyang or Xhaka. Actually, he can pick the latter if it means he will be nowhere near the starting XI on Sunday. The Goals Against column takes a hit but needs must; there’s a bigger picture.

This is the line-up you probably won’t see at kick-off:

Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Torreira, Smith Rowe; Maitland-Niles, Özil, Pepe; Martinelli

Unai will undoubtedly slip another handful of magic mushrooms before signing off the teamsheet and only seven of that XI will start.

These competitions seems likely to be the only time you’ll see three of the club’s best defence in action. Emery waffled about making too many changes last season so he’s going the other way this time around.

Let’s hope our improved competitiveness remains intact.

Somewhere in Emery’s head, there are good ideas. Unfortunately, they are held captive, bound and gagged by the bad ones he routinely implements. Tonight, I hope, brings some welcome relief.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

80 thoughts on “Vitoria Preview: Concordia Crescit

  1. jonnygunner says:

    Nice’n’esrly YW….as threatened

  2. Adebanjo says:

    At least today’s game ought to be one that is enjoyable from an arsenal fans point of view. And if Ceballos can be done permanently that would be such a welcome development. COYG!

  3. Ferkov says:

    That’s fully boomable JG. You must be gutted. I can hardly see yet, have to read later.

  4. Adam Singh says:

    Early post!

    The problem with playing tierney holding and Bellerin tonight is I think that reduces the chance of playing on Sunday. We’ve got the cup defence playing in the league and the league defence playing in the cup.

    I had hoped he would have switched after the international break but looks like he will be sticking to Sokratis and co for the Palace game. Time for Zaha to show us what £70m can really buy you!

  5. Dukey says:

    What happened to the divas being positive? So their shit does stink after all. Tut tut.

    I had high hopes for Emery.

  6. Spike says:

    Well done Yogi, for managing to listen to the utter garbled shite that spews from Emerys mouth!

    I cant even bare to see his fuckin face any more, never mind hear what he has to say!

    Hes clueless, inept, bonkers and deluded.

    Oh, good morning!!!

  7. Spike says:

    Dukey,

    Me too! I thought he was going to be a really astute hiring by the club, then again it was Gazidis wasnt it?

  8. Papa Bear says:

    Mr. Powerpoint impressed (or likely deceived) Bald Ivan, Raul and Mute Stan eventually with his protagonist claim and his broad knowledge of arsenal’s youths.

    And apparently after every lots lots lots of video sessions to contain each of opponents analysis, Emery’s came up with a genius idea that the best tactic in football is by CONFUSING the opponents with constant changes in line ups and tactics to contain them. But in the process he is the one got confused.

  9. Wailesy says:

    Nice one Yogi

    The Watford gag in particular.

    Emery certainly is frustrating to listen to. I gave up a while ago, so to the players it seems.
    Mustafi. Fuck I almost forgot we still had him.

  10. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Emery’s not only putting out teams that play like Arsene’s but his press conferences are up there with Arsene’s for being almost surreal.

    I suspect he doesn’t know his best side , is reluctant to drop certain ‘established ‘ players & isn’t getting the side to play as he wants them to.

    He’s been at the club long enough now to be able to get those things right.

  11. jonnygunner says:

    That team selection would beat the ‘first team’ at this moment in time I reckon YW

  12. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Effervescent as always YW!

    So none of us are buying UE’s twaddle. More importantly, the UEFA cup side and EFL cup side are more exciting to watch then our PL match day 11. Next Wednesday is shaping up to be a clash of youth vs. an experienced second 11. It’s certainly going to be more entertaining than watching Xhaka and co cede possession and calamity goals to Palace. Expect another drubbing as Zaha will be looking to retract his doubters.

  13. Dukey says:

    Well it seems Emery is prioritising the Europa over the league. Very strange. Maybe he loves trophies and is going after the bull he has the chance of getting.

    I think the divas should now re name the site positively Arsene all.

  14. thrillbo says:

    Hello all, just popping in to see what’s up. Man i am completely deflated. Truly have been completely deflated (with respect to arsenal) for a solid 4 or 5 years now. Can bang on a few points quickly that have likely already been said.

    Pepe – use your weak foot man. he had a SITTER tap in, but the big money winger only has 1 foot.

    This season is still crap to watch but in many of our games we have an early chance to sneak out in front. Not that we could hold and maintain the win but at least we get some spark and confidence.

    I recall vs liverpool I think it was pepe or Auba who had a really good look and just missed. Happened on monday again and there are a few other instances i recall. Game starts off scrappy, not much going on then BOOM auba sneaks one in and the 1-0 changes whole complexity of the game.

    Think we have major systemic issues though as we can all see. Lower tables sides are better organized, better trained, defend as a unit. Seems like these are ‘the basics’ and yet we struggle to even deploy a solid XI out there. It would be great to have some confidence that our midfield & defense provides more protection than a wet noodle but that is what we have. Especially with mr foulsalot Xhaka. Twice a game he just shoves somebody over for no reason. Back to the goal, 50 yards out. Lets give em a shove and a free kick into our box eh? Sounds great captain!

  15. C says:

    I just want a good performance of free flowing attacking futbol. Get match time for Bellerin, Holding, Tierney, Lacazette , Gabriel, Ozil and Torriera.

  16. Blue Yonder says:

    The only problem with starting the likes of Bellerin, Tierney, et al, tonight is their not starting against Palace. And Palace always worries me. Emery could pull a switcheroo with his squads but I think he’s afraid to do anything radical now so it’s unlikely.
    If Ozil doesn’t start tonight, then I don’t know when he will.
    While Emery has certainly created his own mess, I don’t envy him the choices he has to make these days.

  17. C says:

    Martinez
    Bellerin—-Mustsfi—-Holding—-Tierney
    Torriera—–Willock—-Maitland-Niles
    Smith-Rowe—-Lacazette—Gabriel

    Bench: leno, Chambers, Sead, Ceballos, Pepe, Saka, Guendouzi

  18. Noon Gunner says:

    That’s a lively enough team to win comfortably. But Ozil nowhere to be seen is surely a signpost to a full-blown crisis in his career at AFC? No speculation any longer. Is it as simple as Ozil v Emery? If so, the stakes are awfully high for Emery these days.

  19. Ferkov says:

    Noon Gunner,

    At 350k a week, and more fans than Emery, Maureenesq kamikazi hand being played

  20. Bufallo says:

    Ozil may be infuriating but he is also capable of
    genius and given his massive salary and our not being very good, should be on the bench at the very least. If Emery is trying to get a reaction from Ozil he isn’t getting one, except probably a wave when he outlasts him. What was wrong with Ozil exactly when things were going well for Emery ?!

  21. Bufallo says:

    excited to see smith-rose and martinelli tonight
    don’t want to hear from emery. he should be fined for using the
    word process by the club.

  22. Dukey says:

    C:
    I just want a good performance of free flowing attacking futbol.Get match time for Bellerin, Holding, Tierney, Lacazette , Gabriel, Ozil and Torriera.

    I couldn’t give a fuck about tonight’s performance. In fact I’d like this team to have a stinker, then maybe Emery might stick them in the league side!

  23. Noon Gunner says:

    Dukey,

    I disagree, Dukey. It’s a sideshow, yes, but if these guys play Vitoria fluently off the park it will stand, like previous two Europa matches, as a persistent challenge to UE’s PL selections. If they play a stinker he can feel justified keeping his disjointed, mixed-bag PL side.

  24. JonJon says:

    somethings obviously going on behind the scenes between the club and ozil.

    i say the club as theres no way emery would be doing this to the german without the full backing of the clubs senior bosses.

    only problem emery has is that he has to show hes competent enough in his own job – which hes not – ozil will last longer than emery – he knows it.

    emery will be gone before xmas at this rate – we are playing shit hes talking shit and the board have backed him 100%.

    we saw how ruthless raul was in the summer with the clearout. if this shitshow continues and the results aren’t there either then my view is… hes gone…

    which wouldnt be a bad thing

    anyway – looking forward to seeing our second team which is better than our first team play again tonight.. its a little ray of light in the dark cloud and thunder emerys created for himself….

  25. Noon Gunner says:

    Masterful bit of goalmouth defending and absolutely not attack yet from AFC. Has this team also been Emerized??

  26. Noon Gunner says:

    Their ex-Spuds player scores, through a forest of fumbling defenders! The humiliation rumbles on

  27. Bufallo says:

    sure about that jonjon, 2nd being best than 1st ?

  28. JonJon says:

    stand corrected

    could be sacked before bonfire night…

    goody gumdrops.

  29. Dukey says:

    Our stock has fallen so low now they have decided to put a female pundit on us!

  30. Noon Gunner says:

    So many errors – we look incompetent. In a daze.

  31. C says:

    That boy just scores when he plays!!!!!

  32. Noon Gunner says:

    Brilliant flick-on pass by Willock in the build-up.

  33. Bufallo says:

    cracking finish, pathetic defending. we look totally disorganised.

  34. Noon Gunner says:

    Clueless, clueless defending…so what’s new?

  35. Bufallo says:

    AMN is looking like a newborn foal

  36. Noon Gunner says:

    I deeply suspect the mental preparation for games like this. An assumption of superiority and probably a whole lot of other contributing factors. But we look so fragile. And this has been going on for years…how hard can it be to sort out??

  37. Ras says:

    I’m not surprised that it’s quite a disjointed performance so far. To many individual errors so far. AMN having a stinker.

    What is abundantly clear is that there is no apparent form of Game plan.

  38. Noon Gunner says:

    Of course another plausible explanation for this weak display is that the players are having a hard time taking their manager seriously and haven’t worked out how to play for the club, or the fans, or even their self respect.

  39. Ferkov says:

    That’s brightened my week. Sorry All, very selfish, but I got blindsided by my daughter and missed the first half. In Strangled tones. Something better Change!

  40. jonnygunner says:

    Dukey:
    Our stock has fallen so low now they have decided to put a female pundit on us!

    Yeap-and she’s excruciating to listen to

  41. Noon Gunner says:

    Not surprised to see AMN and Willock hooked – both had a very poor half. For Guendouzi & Ceballos.

  42. Noon Gunner says:

    My commentator: “Arsenal need to better at just about everything.”
    Amen…

  43. Adam Singh says:

    Can someone explain to me why the fuck Torreira is playing n10 role and not DM. Has emery been on the sherry since lunchtime.

  44. Noon Gunner says:

    We are offering wonderful practice for any up-and-coming club that’s short on self-confidence.

  45. Noon Gunner says:

    Lacazette must stay behind for extra drama classes after the match today. That fall was rank amateur.

  46. Noon Gunner says:

    Is Duracell bunny Guendouzi Emery’s camouflage to disguise his lack of a coherent game plan?

  47. Noon Gunner says:

    It really bugs me to see our talented players running around so headlessly, game after game. I long to see us playing in a strong system.

  48. Noon Gunner says:

    Laca. Toys. Cot. Hooked for Pepe. Get your shit together, sunshine.

  49. Bufallo says:

    what an absolute pair of belters form pepe….cracking for him
    and huge plaudits again to guendozi, never say die we need 10 more of him

  50. Noon Gunner says:

    Bufallo,

    Yeah – and Guendouzi determinedly bought that winning free kick. No contact. He’s a warrior. And see how he was ready to start a fight when Laca faked imminent death?

  51. C says:

    That’s how you make an impact and show your quality.

  52. SV says:

    Talk about the cultured left foot…

    More of it in the EPL please, Pepe. Europa is like friendlies, we will not win it. But enjoyable nonetheless.

  53. Dukey says:

    Pepe arrives. I’d love it, love it to see the midfield trio of gundozi, torriera and ceballos in the league.

    Emery, stop fucking about and just start playing the best players so they can start getting a rhythm going.

    Poor keown, has to sit next to that snake.

  54. Bufallo says:

    and he threw the water bottle off to get tierney to get on with it when he had cramp while the others where di@king around…..his attitude pays off. fergie would have loved the boy !
    quite enjoyed seeing rvp in the studio, good pundit

  55. Presto de Soto says:

    Pepe to Emery’s rescue.

  56. Noon Gunner says:

    The yawning crack of our incoherence gets Pepe’ed over. I feel for Vitoria – they outplayed us most of the game.

  57. Spike says:

    C,

    I’m so happy for Pepe! Hope he can kick on from here.

  58. Spike says:

    C,

    Yep, but it’ll only happen when Emery gets sacked!

  59. Femi Adeoye says:

    Pepe-ring over the Cracks: Arsenal vs Victoria review

  60. Femi Adeoye says:

    Guendozi carrying the team on his shoulders. He’s everything right now.

  61. Bill says:

    Unfortunately the awesome performances we have regularly seen in the Europa league games have proven meaningless with regard to predicting future great performances. Same thing was true with the Carling Cup games from the project youth era. With that said I certainly hope that Pepe comes good and justifies the transfer fee.

    It certainly did not look to me that having Torriera in the midfield did much to improve our team defense. I understand he was not playing the deepest midfield position but that does not mean he can’t help the team by playing defense when he is on the pitch.

  62. JersiBennyman says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Same feeling for Vitoria, but theirs was written in the stars, we just march with our frailty in full view. Another semi’s in the making. Except the “Pulis” is gone .

  63. C says:

    Spike,

    Yea, I’m happy Pepe got his goals….he looked much more confident after the 1st one too.

    Hopefully Emery saw it because it suits his 433 much better than with Xhaka.

  64. Papa Bear says:

    Oh how I missed the wizard Santi, if only he is still young and still here, how he can dribble and set up the tempo and teach young Guen to control the ball better. Pepe would feast on Santi’s creting spaces for Pepe and Laca would be perfect to hold up the ball.

    We lost that #8 Santi role(Ceballos hasn’t prove it yet that he would be as good as Cazorla) and #10 in prime Ozil. That’s why our current midfield is so lost and running around aimlessl like headless little chickens lost their hen.

    Still I am relieved and happy for Pepe. At least our tridente would make out of something from the midfield disaster of this confused and out of depth mediocre coach.

  65. Ras says:

    Dukey,

    The midfield trio of that which you have prescribed would never work in PL on a prolonged basis.

    Ceballos and Guendouzi are to similar.

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