It was a tough run of matches post the latest interlul: Bournemouth and MU away, and Spuddies and Huddersfield at home. If Arsenal can turn this Saturday’s game v the Terriers into a win then we will have taken a whopping ten points from those encounters. Now that would be something to be pleased about.
It was a hard-fought battle against the Spuds with a second half that we will all remember for a long time. Three-nil we won in the second half but it came with a price: knackered legs for our trip to, and game in, Manchester yesterday. Yet we controlled most of the game and made a big push towards the end to score a third goal, as the players wanted more than a draw against our once archenemy. And that is all you can hope for. Key is that we did not lose to them and kept the gap at eight points, and I am proud of the boys for achieving this in Emery’s first game at Old Trafford.
Unai has his players united whereas Mourinho’s eleven are a confused bunch of sulkers, and long may it continue.
I guess the only downer on our team is how soon we gave away our advantages when we got in front, twice. Pretty unforgiveable from a defensive point of view and caused by a lack of organisation and concentration. IMO having had to break up the Xhaka-Torreira partnership cost us. A defensively minded midfielder like Torreira sniffs out danger and goes instinctively with midfield runners to avoid them getting easily on the end of a ball into the box, but when you play at OT it is simply not enough. Guendouzi was ball watching for both goals and left far too much to do for his fellow central midfielder.
I like the young Frenchman going forward and picking passes and that’s why he should be playing higher up the pitch. Elneny would have been a better option to partner our very own terrier, but it looks like the Egyptian is sadly not in Emery’s plans.
Luckily, Xhaka will be back again v Huddersfield and the partnership-made-in-football-heaven will be reunited on the pitch. It will not be easy to get all three points as legs will be very tired come Saturday, but if we do, we will really be in a fantastic position to proper nestle ourselves in the top four come January.
Arsenal Unaited have everything going for it but we need to focus on OGAAT. Bring on the Terriers!
21 thoughts on “Arsenal Unaited power on for a settled Top-4 spot after Christmas”
Arsenal are indeed, Unai-ted and I am convinced we would be in the top 3 at the turn of the year. It is important, however, that we take the Huddersfield challenge seriously and have a few fresh legs on board (Xhaka, for one; try AM-N too, at some point) because the quick succession of the games in December will require a careful rotation of the squad. Emery just has to trust the players he has, including Elneny.
Agreed Eris, we indeed need to take the Huddersfield game v seriously. Hopefully the home crowd will carry the team to victory.
I would say we take the games one by one and get as much points from them.
We need fresher legs for the run in of games and during and after the festive period we will need rotation for the lads to be on their best.
Xhaka-Torreira partnership should work for us nicely against the Terriers.
Differences aside TA– yours is a good review, thanks.
Emery has has had the club focused in every match. Huddersfield to be no different. This will be a tight one– as the Terriers don’t give away goals. Coincidently, HT opened vs Chelsea, then City, shipping nine. Having given up just over 1 goal per match since. Their issue has been finding the net– just once scoring as many as 2 goals (vs Wolves late-Nov.). Though not for lacking volume of shots.
An angle perhaps not discussed from the United match– was not just he physicality of the match– but the strategy behind it. Mourinho made 7 changes (from Soton) with 1st-time starts this season for the likes of Rojo and Dalot. Rash challenges were frequent– many unpunished– giving license to continue. Mourinho’s club’s prospects of a slim chance to ascend to top-4 is abetted by depleting the depth of those above MU in the standings– when playing head-to-head. United have 3 such matches– vs Pool, Bournemouth, and Spurs by second week of January. Be interesting to see if those clubs are ‘attacked’ in-kind.
Might have been helpful had the schedule afforded us the norm– playing Huddersfield on Sunday. That extra day to mend more fully welcomed by those starting tomorrow on 2-days recovery.
News out that Rob Holding is done for the season. Ruptured ACL.
Sincerely gutted for him.
As if more reasons to loathe Mourinho and United are required.
I saw some highlights of Huddersfield’s last League game and they’re a big, physical team who launch it into the box Pulis style, so this isn’t going to be easy, not least allowing for the fatigue our players will have to manage after two titanic encounters.
Huddersfield can sit and defend, we’ll have to make the play, it won’t be pretty but we’ve just gotta get on with it and focus on accumulating points during this period, 5 games, 15 points to play for up until the turn of the year, I’d happily take 13…
Options for the Rob Holding ‘crisis’
(it’s not really a crisis, but you know how it is after reading to much NewsNow rubbish).
Go with what we have, focus on getting Mavropanos and Koscielny fit and back into the squad and work on Jenkinson who could come in for a few cup ties?
Use Elneny, Monreal and Lichtsteiner as emergency defenders in a 3 whilst Kozzer and Mavro get back on their feet?
Recall Calum Chambers – if we can?
Sign a centre back in January, maybe bring forward a deal we had earmarked for next summer?
Take an experienced centre back on loan?
Promote one of our academy prospects like Medley, Osei Tutu or Ballard?
Excellent point Eris, it crossed my mind after the Man U game that Huddersfield would be the perfect opportunity to give Maitland-Niles a start even if he’s being lined up to play against Qarabag next Thursday, give someone a rest and a seat on the bench because Southampton (a) and Brighton (a) are going to be enormously difficult games to win, both those sides will be highly motivated as Arsenal still, even now, have this perception of having a soft centre…
Apparently Mustafi and Sokratis are both one booking away from a suspension.
I was impressed with Julio Pleguezuelo’s play aside Mustafi vs Blackpool (EFL early-on). Know he’d just add to our CBs lacking height– but did feel his positional sense was good. Has some quickness and a bit of pace too. Maybe not PL matches– but possibly easing the load vs Qarabag next Thursday?
Gotta’ use the ‘Hide Publication’ feature on NewsNow for the worst of ’em Kev! 😉
Great point JW, I’d forgotten about Pleguezuelo, I think he’s currently recovering from another injury but yeah, I really liked him, he was calm and composed on the ball, very technical, a bit small but in a 3 it wouldn’t be so much of a problem.
Internal solution then? 😉
JW I just look at the headlines and that’s enough for me, that and whoever put it up.
There was a good piece on 365 dissing the rubbish coming out of the ‘currant bun’.
You could see that those tossers had been sitting on that (non) story waiting to do a job on Emery if it had gone south. Fit for hanging on a piece of string in the toilet….
With ‘all good things’ this run will end. But very little from this point can make it ‘go south’ IMO.
In addition to the ‘Hide’ feature Kev? You also get a ‘Highlight Publication’ to show those you’re looking for. If you ‘left-click’ or ‘tap’ (on a touchscreen) on the name of the site following the title of article– you get those two choices. Really separates out the chaff– and makes it easier to locate just (or mostly!) what I’d like to see.
Thanks for that JW, I use an iPad so I guess it’s possible to do on that platform?
Ezra Konsa, the lad whose ripping it up at Brentford could be one to target, but I’d like to see Medley get a chance before we buy.
Maybe play Koscielny and Medley against Qarabag?
Yeah, TA, knackered legs prevented our moving into our now famed 2nd half gear. Man U had an extra day rest over us. Pity about Holding’s. I wish him the best. What a tough top 4 race. A photo finish it would be.
Holding will be missed but, as Kev stated, not exactly a crisis situation with Kos, Monreal and Mavropanos on the mend. Huddersfield town is an opportunity to play some of the bit-part players and give the likes of Torreira a rest, for more serious opposition. Other than Aaron Mooy, Steve Mounie and Billing (hear he is a Nigerian, by birth), no threatening names come to mind in their squad.
We should be able to take them with something like the Vorskla squad. Not underrating them; just being realistic about the strength of both teams. Imagine what the rest will do for Torreira, Bellerin, Kola, Mustafi, Laca and Iwobi. To be fresh for the next round of challenging games will be a luxury only us and maybe, Chelsea (of the top 6 teams) can afford.
Wondering? How Emery might think to play the issue which Kev brought up about bookings/suspensions. In context to the idea of keeping Arsenal fresh for the upcoming PL skein of festive matches mentioned by Eris? Then, ensuring the team isn’t weakened from a cluster of one-match suspensions in any one match.
In addition to both Sokratis and Mustafi– Lucas Torreira also sits on 4 cumulative yellows. Would it be a thought where one should take a booking tomorrow (if none occur in the run-of-play)? Whereby missing Southampton– a week from Saturday (12/16)? Then the other two, one at Soton (or both) to sit the EFL Spuds match?
Emery has been keen to ‘win everything’– but hasn’t been faced with a run of matches as now, in England. IMO, we can’t have two of that threesome get booked in the same match. Till perhaps, later in the month when Koscielny and Monreal might be ready (readier?). Though, Liverpool away looms on Dec 29th.
That’s a real head scratching situation right there for the management. I’d say Mustafi goes first. We play him alongside Koscielny or Lichsteiner tomorrow and he takes a yellow late in the game (assuming he doesn’t earn one rightly). So, he misses S’pton, which Sokratis starts and does same; dependin* on how things are going, both Torreira and Sokratis can have a go.
What are the chances we have a ‘friendly’ Ref on those days and he just lets off the players with a talking-to instead? 😅. That’s a serious consideration since it can be deemed unsportsmanlike to be found actively trying to court a yellow card. I feel the players will only get one chance to cop one, if it’s the cynical kind they have to go for.
There’s always ‘dissent’! 😉
I wouldn’t encourage any body already on 4 cards taking a premeditated card except if the player(s) is/are already pencilled for a rest for a next match. I’d gamble on the best but be ready to accept the worst.
A MAIL IN YOUR BOX.