Not much time tonight, but here are my eight observations:
- The obvious one: the eleven players on the pitch were not a team. So many misplaced balls, unspotted runs, offsites, space left in and around the box etc, etc. I know it is the start of a new era etc, etc, but still it surprised me how disconnected we played.
- Guendouzi is a promising player and at times even brilliant…. but he still has a lot to learn tactically. He should not have started v MC in my opinion. You cannot allow a player to run across our box and then shoot, using our defenders as a shield to fool the keeper. Guendouzi may have drive and looks good on the ball but he also made a number of mistakes. We have better and more experienced players, like Elneny and Torreira, who really should be ahead in the picking order. Let’s ease Guendouzi in.
- Xhaka and Rambo, our experienced midfielders, also had ineffective games. The three did not work together well and MC ruled the midfield as a result. Some say we played much better when Torreira came on but that’s when MC put the foot off the gas and the game was truly lost. Xhaka is being targeted at the moment, and yes he had a bad game but so did Rambo, who was all over the pitch and yet unable to give us time to reshape and get control in midfield when he had the ball.
- Mustafi and Sokratis worked well together. Definitely not faultless, but I liked the energy and focus by the pair and I can see them grow and grow together this season.
- Auba, Mkhi and Ozil worked hard enough but were poor in finding each other and did not work as a well oiled machine. We had chances in this game and could have scored one, two or even more goals, but all our attackers were poor with their finishing. Ozil was rusty but he at least was in the right place at the right time a lot.
- Cech had it tough with the MC pressing and with receiving back pass after back pass, but he made some good saves and had no chance with the two goals we conceded. It looks like Leno will be too tough a competition for him in the long run, but Petr’s fighting spirit is simply inspiring.
- Lichtsteiner replaced AMN successfully and he added quite a bit of bite to our defence. Laca and Torreira also had effective cameos, and all three are pushing for a start v the Chavs.
- The team and the manager never gave up but they did not get a lucky break which we needed desperately. The support was great in the first half but I felt we needed more from them in the second half. It will take time for Emery to build a solid, quality unit and we as fans have to be behind the team in each and every game.