ARSENAL PREVIEW:- EMERY AND THE CHAIN OF ‘DON’TS’ IN HIS TEAM.
In the Newcastle/City match, Benitez set out in a compact 5:4:1 formation. City scored early and Benitez was forced to fan out his men. And were they impressive? I was surprised at how well they moved the ball around, found an equalizer only for City to nick the game with a 2nd half 30 meter grass hugging screamer from Kyle Walker.
Obviously excited by the performance of his team, Benitez announced that he would play against Arsenal with greater courage. I hope he hasn’t changed his mind after watching our deadly duo (Au-La-La) starting together for the first time under the new coach.
Emery’s knowledge of his team is growing. His long hours on the videos would have helped him gain knowledge of the “dos” in his team. But knowledge is incomplete if the ‘dos’ are known without the ‘don’ts’. Four matches into the season and he must have picked up a string of ‘don’ts’, such as:-
Don’t ask Petr to play out from the back. It petr-ifies him.
Don’t play Sokratis on the left side of the central defense. Right footed, he finds it uncomfortable passing out from the back from that side, often ending up putting the keeper under pressure with yet another back pass.
Don’t play Xhaka and Guendouzi together in the pivot role. Splendid player each but their chemistry isn’t sparking into life. They offer about the same thing.
Don’t leave Torreira on the bench. He knows how to glue everything together.
Don’t shunt Ozil out to the wide right position. It leaves him miserable.
Don’t play Ozil and Ramsey together. They compete for the same tiny space inhibiting each other’s game.
Don’t separate our yin and yang (Au-La-La). The two on the pitch gets the enemy mumbling ……. “Gosh, one is elusive, the other a thunderbolt, oh la la, la la. How in hell do we stop them?”. All their plans in disarray.
Don’t underestimate any premier league team. There are no push overs.
Don’t lose any careless points. The premier league is unforgiving.
Of course there must be some ‘don’ts’ that the coach knows about that we don’t but it is my prayer that such a list does not include “Don’t ever play Leno ahead of Cech” …… for that is a ‘don’t’ that would add fuel to a question that is already being asked. sitting on the bench?
Emery’s four matches so far constitute the perfect premier league sample. A sample that contains the league champions (City), top six team and FA cup winners (Chelsea), expected middle of the table team (West Ham), expected relegation battler with all due respect (Cardiff), two home and two away games. His induction into the premier league is done. He now knows the game and must have got his sleeves all rolled up.
Emery has used a total of only 13 players so far to start these matches not counting Maitland-Niles who was played out of position because of injuries to Monreal and Kolasinac. Against the Toons he might be minded not to start our internationals who played last Tuesday night (Lichsteiner, Sokratis, Xhaka, Welbeck). That might create the opportunity to test out one or two more players before matches start coming thick and fast as other competitions kick in. Dear me, what a daunting task for Emery balancing between learning on the job and having to win his matches. His situation reminds me of an old Roman adage, “Make haste slowly”.
Against Newcastle we could see this team:-
And this bench:-
Leno, Lichsteiner, Sokratis, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ramsey, Welbeck.
Emery wants his team playing with ‘personality’. Nothing tasks the character of a team more than away matches. So far this season we are running the hardest in the league. That shows fight, the very ingredient that we sorely missed the few years past. I expect a win against Newcastle.
Are there ‘don’ts’ you disagree with and other ‘don’ts’ you’d want to highlight? Or are you more at home with the ‘dos’? Whichever, BK would like to share.