Jack’s Accelerations, Macey’s Pressence, Debuchy is Back: 8 Observations from Arsenal v RSB

Arsenal are through to the next round of the UEFA cup with two games to spare. Well done you youngsters and fringers. Many will point our that we did not play attractive football against RSB and I will not argue with you, but you really are missing the point if you feel that this matters a lot. The second team are of course not going to be an all conquering, free-flowing, beautiful Arsenal football playing machine; for this the components are not compatible enough, and they are still ‘finding each other’.

What we are getting from this is experience for the young talents and match fitness for the experienced fringe players, but I have said this now enough times. You also have to look a bit deeper to see the beauty and positives from a game like this.

Eight observations from Arsenal v Red Star Belgrade:

  1. Macey had a very good game with plenty of ‘presence’. Being a good goalkeeper has a lot to do with mental strength, and Macey showed strong concentration levels, fearlessness and the ability to make himself a big, orange octopus when faced with an attacker who only had him to deal with. He saved us acrobatically from a certain goal, even though he needed a big dollop of luck with it (the ball hit the underside of the bar and did then not fall to a RSB player to slot it in). Macey announcing himself like this is reason alone to value last night’s game;
  2. Willock shows what a great dynamo and stride he could have in future. Yes there were only glimpses of this during the game and his final ball was still below par, but we were up against a physical, unadventurous team and our attackers lacked mobility and imagination for Willock to be more effective. I like his potential and he was the best young-Gunner on the pitch in my opinion.
  3. Elneny played as a/our leader from the back. His positioning was very good and I loved the way he moved the ball forward with good energy and thrust. He was all over the pitch and usually able to intervene before danger could ensue. He played a big part in our clean-sheet on the night – and I for one was very happy to achieve one after three ‘1-0 behinds’ in Arsenal’s previous outings.
  4. Jack’s accelerations were a joy to watch; those little bursts forward to free himself up and allow his colleagues to move into space to receive the ball were of special quality. But it all had to come from him and nobody really was at the same wavelength. Nevertheless, he got very close to score the winner and this game will have done him good. I would not  be surprised at all if he were to start against MC on Sunday, but that is for another post.
  5. Unfortunately, our two main attackers, OG and TW, were static or not at the game for most of the time. For me they were the only real disappointments, as they left the young midfielders with limited options when coming forward. Of course, it also has to be said that RSB had parked a very physically aggressive bus and the referee allowed them to commit foul after foul, but still, I expected more from our experienced attackers.
  6. Maitland-Niles and Nelson had half-decent games and I think they struggled more than a bit with the ‘manliness’ of their opponents. Still, a really good experience for both of them, and there were glimpses of what is to come on a more regular basis.
  7. Debuchy played with passion and experience and this was a joy to watch. This man wants to be back in the first team, or indeed play first team football for another team. I thought his positioning and interventions were strong and he also should take pride in having kept a clean sheet.
  8. And finally, Holding: I liked his forward runs and confidence on the ball. He was also strong in the air and showed physical strength against very physical opponents. Rob is making good progress this season.

Two more UEFA League games to play in this group and we could see Arsene try out a more attacking style of football for these. Replacing either Walcott or Ollie with Iwobi, if indeed available, so Jack has somebody to play with, could make a big difference. I cannot wait to see them play together again.

By TotalArsenal.

33 thoughts on “Jack’s Accelerations, Macey’s Pressence, Debuchy is Back: 8 Observations from Arsenal v RSB

  • Hey good stuff there, TA… Finding positives in that game takes some deep digging… And you didn’t even mention that we’re through to the next round of the tournament, the actual (result oriented) goal of the entire group stage.

    If we’re gonna stick with positives I think you could give more credit to our wingbacks–likely a position that causes the need for a lot of deeper thinking on the part of those learning it–who showed some real flashes. Pace and directness from Nelson on the right and some physical presence (and pace) and a decent array of ball skills from AMN on the left. Truth be told, I think both seem brighter prospects, long term, than Willock–a guy who reminds me of a (slightly) less skilled Gedion Zelalem. Of course, I have interest in GZ as an American, while you’ve perhaps seen what he’s up to more recently…at VVV-Venlo (2nd tier, Dutch football)… He’s still under contract with Arsenal, however, so you never know… Clearly, of the younger guys, Macey stood–literally–head and shoulders above the rest… 🙂

    I do agree with most of the observations about the older, more experienced players though I thought Giroud and Theo did well enough given the (lack of) service they received–and the lack of protection afforded by the ref (another keenly noted detail). It was my first time seeing Debuchy in forever (no telly for me for the reverse fixture nor the Norwich match in the league cup) and he reminded me of his (not insubstantial) quality. Elneny seems to be learning the middle-middle role and looked at least strong enough for me to leave him up in my avatar photo… Coordinating with the young wingbacks must be difficult but I thought we were far stronger on the right (Debuchy’s side) than on Holding’s. Maybe if you add the combined ages (Holding 22 + AMN 20 = 42 vs Debs 32 + Nelson 17 = 49) it helps explain it… Golly, I miss that guy in the middle, 25 year old Mustafi. Maybe Elneny being the same age (3 months younger, in fact…) is another reason he’s being groomed for that spot…

    And then there’s positive #9…

    …A rested and fresh 11 for the match up in Manchester on Sunday…

  • Sorry for hijacking your positive thread, TA, but I was just about to post this comment, a response to Johnny the New Yahker’s at the bottom of the last post…

    As always, readers should feel free to skip my long-winded (and all too repetitive, and, this time at least, not so positive) writing…

    Hey, J… I’m sensing some big-time expectation (or “demand?”) creep happening with you when it comes to Sunday’s match… Today, you suggest that “we should believe we can beat them or draw” (i.e., get a result), when just a couple of days back you were more focused on the performances (up there and vs Totts after the break). Even further back you (I think it was you…) were buying into (at least somewhat…) my argument that–at least financially–we should be thinking about ourselves as in the 2nd tier below the three silly money clubs, the two Mancs and Chelsea…

    Now, having myself watched both “Arsenal” and City play this week I think there’s even LESS reason to believe we can get a result. I use the quotes around our club’s name, however, because maybe, with a fully changed 11, we stand a better chance… Like I said (also a couple of days back) 1 point from the next six seems like HIGH expectations to me…

    (In other words, looking even further forward, I’ve gotta salute our neighbors to the north for taking 4 of 6 pts in their recent home and away in Europe. I guess we did likewise with the 2nd team in our group but most would admit RS Belgrade aren’t quite a club at the level of Real Madrid…)

    Back to ManCity, the team most pundits would argue are playing the best football in all of Europe… On 1 September we were going to cash in on our BEST player (in many Gooners’ estimation, not mine…) showing just how different we are in terms of ambition towards player recruitment. I guess we showed the tiniest bit of ambition towards player retention by not letting the deal go through without spending the money on an up-and-comer (Thomas Lemar). Instead, if momentum is the strongest force in the universe, we’ll be losing Alexis (to City) on a free next summer–unless we’re somehow able to sell him to a continental team for a nominal fee in January.

    Now, that’s not to say that a team whose best player appears excess to needs of another team can’t get a result from that team. After all, look at Stoke and Watford beating us this season. (Or, perhaps, us drawing at Stamford Bridge…) The disappointing losses (Stoke and Watford) were in their home stadiums, however, and, most likely, they went into those games figuring they had nothing to lose (and everything to gain).

    And that, my friend, would be my advice to you and every other Gooner out there who might care to read my shit(e)… 😀 😦

  • Cheers Seventeenho. The first line of the post covered the ‘positive’ of making it through to the next round… but yes could easily have been repeated in the observations.. 🙂

  • Blimey Seventeenho, just a point from the next two games…. what a bleak outlook. Sure these are two tough games but let’s not start with that mindset. Four points I am going for.

  • Sorry Total… Maybe I am taking the “low expectations = key to happiness” thing too far… I have been feeling on the bleaker side lately… And now yesterday’s sunshine is turning to cold, rain and snow… 😦

    Also sorry that my (very) cursory research re: GZ wasn’t up to date… Damn Wikipedia… Gotta say I love the name of the club… VVV-Venlo 🙂 Or am I reading it wrong and it’s sponsored by the car company with the deceitful diesel testing (Volkswagen)?…

    I dunno, I think, with more reasonable expectations, Arsenal could move confidently into our next phase in pretty good shape and well able to compete at the top of the 2nd tier of (three) English clubs (where Spurs, in my view, currently sit) and, now and again, pip the silly money clubs. (The Spurs “brand” is clearly on the up and even has a presence near my hometown with a youth club… https://www.spurssoccer.com/ ) Unfortunately, we probably need to clear out the, er, deadwood, or, in my view, some of the best elements at the club (Alexis, Ozil and Wenger, plus, probably those attackers from yesterday, Theo, Ollie and Jack and the underappreciated defenders like Elneny and Debuchy) to make it happen. Change, for better or worse, seems to sell better than consistency in football these days. More frowny faces…

    So, in the end, I really (really) appreciate the sunnier perspective and the (deep) appreciation of what we’ve got. It just doesn’t quite feel as real (to me) as what I’m sensing… And, as always, I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong… 😀

  • Speaking of guys who can go positive…

    And now that we’ve heard from the sometimes ‘mudgeonly Retsub…

    Where’s PE?…

  • Ah Seventeenho, I also have no high expectations but hope, and I like to think that our first team is pretty good across the positions. MC like to attack and we have the players to spring attacks for tight areas in midfield. We need to sit deeper and compact and try to own the midfield, or at least not lose it.

  • Actually it is Voetbal Vereniging Venlo (Football Association Venlo) or VVV in short. They are the dominant team in the North of Limburg, the province I grew up in.

  • I think we can also take confidence from the fact that we won the FA Cup three times in four seasons, and we did so by beating all our rivals on the way. During the big games we can raise our level but MC is of course another level at the moment. I must say I feel pretty good about our first team getting a result at the Oilers’ Den.

  • Isn’t Gedion Zelalem back at Arsenal with an injury copped while on international duty? If I recall rightly, theo lay Arsenal player currently on loan at VVV Venlo is Kelechi Nwakali.

  • TA, I just lost a comment, maybe due to a banned word or something? Is there any (administrative) way we can clean that up?… In the meantime, I’ll try to copy everything before I post it…

    Retsub did a drive-by in one of the recent posts… Just scroll through and look for the puppy…

    I’m still calling out PE… What’s the time of the evening there in Nigeria, ‘Eris?…

    Indeed, match to match, there’s ALWAYS hope… Maybe I’ll hope that Sterling is on the ball more than usual given that he was supposed to be a make-weight in a deal for Alexis over the summer. The rich only get richer, I find, esp. here in the States where (a good chunk of) the poor folks vote for such ideas… 😮

    Anyhow, I had more to say (in the lost comment) but it must not have been too important as I can’t remember it now… 😀 😦

  • Yes, 17, you are remembering my comments correctly. My feelings about the club wax and wane like emotions. But I stand by the earlier comments. Sometimes i need to temper my expectations, to make occasional disappointment less painful. So now im not expecting a win, but hoping to see one Sunday …. for me this is more of a challenge to Arsene and the boys….
    …. meaning, If we really think we are one of the best clubs in England, we should be able to get a result against any team. That’s also coupled with believing that the hype on Man City is getting overdone.

    People talking about maybe the best team ever in Premier league, and foolishly invoking the invincibles.

    I hope we can take that opportunity away early this Sunday.

  • I did not realise PE has gone missing… Thanks for telling me Retsub has commented recently.. good to know he is still alive and kicking. 🙂

    What about the beast of Bosnia, Admir? I guess we have to lose on Sunday to hear from him again hahaha 😉

  • 17, it is precisely, 11:30 pm in Nigeria now. We are London (GMT) +1 at the moment, clock having moved….

  • So, I should be sleeping but for some program I was watching on tv, keeping my attention.
    Nice piece of information that Wenger v Pep stat, TA. Another reads that we have only lost one of our last 9 (all competitions), vs City. But, does that resonate with the pundits? Nah!!

  • Yep confirmation that I am still alive and kicking. I think like 17HT, i was feeling a little down (not all Arsenal related) I even managed a slightly negative thought when Eddy at the double emerged against Norwich. I had a vision of the Norwich captain saying to his team ” don’t worry about that little Squirt over there. Chelsea kicked him out because he is too small Concentrate on making Giroud he’s the danger” how negative is that???? but there is probably a small grain of truth in it. Eddy! Eddy!

    So rather than say anything too negative I decided to take the high grounds and “Shut ones Gob” TA I admire your positive attitude and hope it carries over to the team on Sunday. Ozil was truly great against Everton. But will he deliver against City? I sincerely hope so, but we will see. 17 HT this is one of those over a pint of beer debates we once discussed,

    One positive I took out of the Spurs v Madrid match, was unless things change quickly Real will be looking for a new manager and hopefully the Spurs guy (I am not going to try to spell it) will be high on their agenda.. A little upset in the Spurs camp ahead of the derby would do no harm. Similar to Wenger last season?at the very least we can start a rumour. Would really like to see Jack in this one..

    Finally, my old Mucker Kev. A long while ago you made a passing reference to American Civil War cards. I too was an avid collector. I seem to remember that the one everyone was missing was a cavalry officer, falling into a pit of spikes. Painful death or something like that? Cheerful huh? You can still get them on E Bay, but they aint cheap.

  • Just one pint, Retsub?… 🙂 Yes, we will see how Ozil does vs Man City…

    I think Zidane and a pair of CL trophies isn’t such an easy sacking. To me, the REALLY good clubs don’t need to worry too much about the autumn, though 8 points behind Barca, even in early Nov. isn’t so great. Their season really heats up in the new year. Only in England can you lose your campaign during (or before…) the quote-unquote “festive” season… That said, Pochettino could get sucked away by one of the silly money clubs and Spain is a good call even with the Che’s odd Spanish. To me the better bet is Harry Kane moving there in the mold (mould?…) of fellow (tiny) totts, Luka Modric (the better signing, IMO…) or Gareth Bale… Are we still the bigger club if we buy from Spain (our recent pattern at least…) rather than sell that direction?…

    Civil war cards? I’ve never been much of a collector sort but anything I did have burnt up with our house. (If anything, my vinyl record collection is what pains me the most…) That was in 2007. Since I only became a fan in 2006, my Arsenal kit collection (only two, BacSag 3 and LoloKos 6) could be my new one. Maybe I need to write an “I will buy your used Arsenal kit” post. If the matches at City (and vs Spurs) go as I fear they might, the timing could be ripe…

    😀 😦

    And, if the results were to turn on the BFG being turned at CB… The timing in fact, could be even more Per-fect… (get it?…) Now who has that Mertesacker 4 jersey I’m after?… More smileys/frownys…

    (Apologies for turning to puns, it’s Friday night here and pints, indeed, have been had…)

  • Good Man 17HT have a cyber pint on me. Sorry to hear about your house that must have been pretty grim. Whilst we are the subject, what did the Cheese say to the mirror. ..”.. Haloumi

    And another one I thought was really bad.

    A guy is sitting at home watching Arsenal lose and is really fed up. Somebody knocks on the door, the guys storms over flings the door open and there wasn’t,t anyone their. He looks down and there is a tortoise so he picks it up and kicks 50 yards down the road. Three weeks later another knock on the door and once again the tortoise is sitting their. The tortoise look up and says “what did you do that for?

  • Yes, T, we will have to talk more about Jack getting weekend games…
    And for me, if Debuchy is fit, he should also be considered.

  • Hi Jnyc.. Debuchy play Koscielny post..
    He never play as RWB.. so we never can’t really know his best..
    Yes, he once is a great RB.. but as I remember, here is not so good interpersonal attack..

    So, playing him to replace Koscielny when Kos is fit, is impossible.. and we surely never want Kos get some more injured.. hehehehe..

    The more reasonable post is to replace Bellerin.. but for that Wenger must put him on that position first.. The problem is Nelson also did very good in his role.. hehehehe..

    And Jack.. here is playing Sanchez or Ozil role now.. and he did great so far..
    Maybe Wenger prepared him to do that job, when Sanchez or Ozil gone..
    So as long as Sanchez and Ozil are there.. Wilshere will always be the third or Fourth..

  • Busy yesterday, so just caught up. Not had a chance to read comments but that was a great post Totaal…
    Yep, Macey fills the goal ok, I like him and would prefer to see him in goal for most of the remainder of our cup games. Not sure that Arsene would do that to Ospina even thought it would be of a long term benefit to Arsenal imo.
    Willock has just signed a new long term contract, now we need to get Nelson and Ntekiah signed up as those three along with AMN are going to be big players for us as the FACup squad of 14/15/17 gradually breaks up.
    As far as Giroud and Walcott are concerned, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if both are moved on next summer, with an eye to getting their wages off of the clubs’ books.

  • Debuchy is under contract until 2019, he has little or no monetary value on the transfer market and with BFG retiring and Kozzers glass Achilles we’d be smarter than the average bear to keep him.
    Holding to my mind is a future Arsenal captain, the more he plays the better he plays, we need a few more tough northern lads in our dressing room.

    Great to see Jack fit and gradually getting there, as for Elneny, he’s done ok in an emergency and I reckon that’s what it should remain. Mo can do a job in several different positions, he’s not good enough to be a regular in the 1st XI but he’s a valuable member of the squad. I like him.

  • Henry I worry that Wilshere will lose patience with Arsenal and maybe leave to play regularly. I think his contract will be up. It’s Ozil ahead of him, but even if Ozil leaves, Im Afraid he would be behind Ramsey too, depending on the formation.

    Hi Kev. I dont think Arsene would let Ospina lose his place, he’s very loyal to him. I still think he’s a very good 2nd keeper. Only his size keeps him from being considered a top goalkeeper.

  • Retsub, yeah, ‘Painful Death’, there were quite a few more delightful cards along those lines, the artwork was gory but just what small boys enjoyed.
    Like you I never completed my set of cards.

    Sorry to hear about your fire 17tino, thankfully it’s something I’ve never experienced, can’t imagine how it feels to go through such a traumatic episode..

  • Ospina is too important to be dropped for Macey.

    Let’s hope that tonight the lads can work their magic and keep the Citizens at bay .

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