IT’S A LEARNING CURVE FOR EMERY AND CO.
It’s a learning curve. The team learning Emery’s philosophy. Emery learning the team and learning the premier league. I hope, though, that they are all fast learners.
Playing City in our first match of the season was a blessing in disguise. It was throwing the Emery revolution into the deep end. All the fancy theorizing were blown off in 90 minutes of play and only hard facts remained. It has giving us clarity and brought us to the point.
The eight things we learnt from this match:
1). The corner stone of Emery’s possession philosophy is playing out from the back. He is left with a tough choice. Sacrifice that tactics or sacrifice Peter Cech. The two cannot mix. It is unfair to ask a 36 year old hero, in the last year of his contract, to start learning new tricks.
2). Our back line can hold their own. This became more apparent when Lichsteiner replaced Maitland-Nikes. He kept the team emotional strong. Bellerin was in for the fight. Mustafi was a stalwart and Sokratis who never smiles took an intelligent yellow for the team. Their playing out from the back however lacked creativity but the keeper’s handicap as the conductor might have been responsible.
3). Guendouzi embodies a lot of what Emery wants. Enthusiasm, energy, movement and directness. But the young lad is prone to getting his pocket picked in delicate areas. He would learn quickly, which is what I cannot say of Xhaka’s slowness in same delicate areas. It looks to me that the two should not be played together.
4). Torreira was the surprise name missing in the starting line up. I suppose Emery is giving him time to acclimatize some more. What I find most exciting about him is his disciplined management of space as well as his unfettered passing skills. He should be the man in front of our defense and his presence there would cover for Guendouzi/Xhaka’s weak point.
5). I just couldn’t understand what Ramsey was doing. Was he the striker? After tons of running around, he had only 19 touches of the ball (WhoScored) before he was yanked off in the 54th minute. By comparison Guendouzi had 72 touches in 90 minutes. Ramsey completely abandoned the role of helping to build play. This contributed in no small measure to our poor attacking display. Emery has created five captains by which he has bought space for himself for sitting any captain on the bench or taking any off during play.
6). Our dreaded forward line could not click. They were probably not well supported. We couldn’t bring the ball out of the back creatively. Our midfield lack enough bodies. Mkhitaryan was lightweight. Ozil was not in his groove and Aubamayang is a player who needs to be fed. Things however improved when Lacazette came in. Was it him? Was it the absence of Ramsey? Or was it that when he came in Ozil dropped deeper and started helping to build play? These are some of the things Emery would be pondering over. Big thanks to City.
7). Generally their was greater energy, desire and movement in the team. The players have understood what is wanted of them and they can only get better at it. In fact it is now more of Emery getting to know his men who are best revealed in the cauldron of battle the like of which only teams like City can provide. Our luck then that it came early.
8). The Arsenal fans where fantastic with their support and understanding but trust that Emery knows that not withstanding he has to work at a feverish pace. It’s back to the drawing board, this time with no frills, just hard plain facts.
We will get there and quickly too.