Arsenal v Burnley Player Ratings: Two BK MoTM Awards

Another hard fought win against a team that is likely to end in the bottom six by the end of the season. There were plenty of individual positives to take from this game and the biggest one is of course the three points, but it had me also quite worried, especially with big games v top-six contenders coming up.

Zeldzaam goede seizoenstart voor Arsenal in wederopbouw

We struggled playing out from the back all game long and this was mainly to do with the lack of cohesion in midfield. Nobody of Guendouzi, Willock and Ceballos was playing the Xhaka role and it showed. The Clarets had 18! shots – two more than Arsenal – in an away game of which five were on target (Arsenal had nine shots on target though).

Emery also saw a need to improve things (as per his post match interview with the BBC): “We didn’t control the game as much as we wanted. We need to improve. Each match is giving us a lot of information. I think we can do better. We lost some easy balls at times, but in general we can be proud of our first match here“.

Luckily, Emery instructed our players to push up and keep Burnley as much as possible in their own half during the break; so our second half, as so often with our new manager, was much better. This meant we had to play significantly less build-up footie from the back and that suited us, given the absence of both Xhaka and Mesut.

For the usual observations I have not got too much to add to the ones of last week – and in the below player ratings you will still read a few – but one thing is clear IF we play like we did v NU and Burnley we will get punished mercilessly in the two upcoming games.

Leno: 7 – less calm than usual but with the aerial threat of the Clarets and a new CB in front of him this was to be expected.

Nacho: 7 – captain today and a decent defensive performance. Worked hard to be involved in all areas.

Luiz: 8 – Man of the Match (together with Ceballos). Good positioning and calm but extravert leadership of the defence. Must have been quite shocked with our lack of dominance and limited passing ability in our own half. But his experience and positivity made a difference and for me he was our best player on the pitch.

Sok: 7 – Had to work hard especially v aerial menace Barnes. I expected more joined leadership with Luiz from him but Big Sok put in a performance and helped us in keeping the damage to the one goal.

Ainsley: 7 – similar to Nacho’s performance.

Willock and Guendouzi: 6.5 and that is me taking into account their age. They tried hard and both had good moments but failed to dominate the midfield and allow us to pass out the ball from the back in a controlled way. This is of course a new partnership and it will take time to flourish, but today it was below par and the main reason we struggled against Burnley.

Ceballos: 8 – Man of the Match (together with Luiz): worked hard to connect midfield with attack and help out in deeper midfield. He clearly enjoyed himself with some fine Santi-esque twists and turns and wonderful ball control. He also had two assists which will do him really good.

Nelson: 6.5 – very unlucky not to score (assister Nacho ruled offsite). Clearly a work in progress and we need more penetration from him but I liked his work rate. Missed Iwobi today.

Laca: 7.5 – scored a superb, individual goal and worked hard.

Auba: 7.5 – same as Laca.


Pepe: 7 – keen to get involved and some fine ball control and passes to his fellow attackers. Needs to start a game soon.

Kola & Torreira – 6. Didn’t see enough of them to comment.

By TotalArsenal.

61 thoughts on “Arsenal v Burnley Player Ratings: Two BK MoTM Awards

  • Ok,

    Had a first watch (no delay on player? Won’t complain! 🙂 )… My initial thoughts, semi-random:

    A. Willock and Guendouzi don’t have Xhaka’s outlet ability. Willock, has some mongrel but imo not that deep. We missed mongrel and tenacity. Me, all perfect, Xhaka and Torreira, or today at least Torreira in lieu of Guendouzi. As you note, age may play a role. Today they both ran too much and passed too little might be a summary

    B. Ceballos! Wow, impressive. Especially liked his effervescence after first goal. Like he’d scored it. If that continues, and yes it’s game 1, we should try to keep him. Also liked his mongrel and have a go attitude on attack.

    C. Does Monreal ever have a bad game? So consistent and quality. I think his time at Arsenal is underrated.

    D. Pepe also looked incisive on day 1 first real go…

    E. Laca and Auba both scoring and others coming near is a good thing.

    F. Outside of DM play I’m not fussed defensively. Only 1 good opportunity given up really-ish on an aerial attack (shudder). The goal? Well deflections are the Devils Plaything, and there she no helping it. Th deflected shot they “gave up” was very low opportunity, as it should be.

    G. Thought back 4 were more organised and solid

    Cheers — jgc

  • TA, fair assessment in my view although I fell a bit more upbeat about our team not necessarily about our performance of the day

    Ceballos is an important addition to the team. He is a #8 who is a bit of a #4 and a bit of #10. Yes one game is not enough for conclusions but his display is in keeping with the reputation he came here with. So I would dare to say that he more than replaces Ramsey. Both are B2B but while Ramsey likes to be ahead of the ball when his team is in possession, Ceballows stays behind the ball. He is more defense conscious than Ramsey, and defending has always been our weak point.

    I was also excited by Pepe, He is a big upgrade on Mkhi. Luiz would help our defence mature quickly. In the last minute of the injury time, when we were about to take a goal kick, he held on Emery’s instruction that they should go up field. He had his plans. In the last seconds before the kick he gave the order and the whole defence moved quickly up field. That was confidence and authority. That’s leadership.

    Our playing out from the back was poor but with Luiz there it would grow quickly.

    I can already see a better 1st eleven as well as a deeper squad.

  • Thank you TA for a fine post match.

    I agree with much of what you and Geoff write.

    I trust AFC have purchase clause in Ceballos’ contract and one with a fixed fee because this lad is serious quality, I really look forward to seeing his interplay with Ozil. Our front 5 is simply awesome if they can become a cohesive unit.

    The first half was concerning as the midfield was literally men against boys, it is to Emery’s credit that we established more control.

    The shots against was a worry but apart from their goal the defence was well organised and cooped admirably – with this central defensive partnership we will not be bullied. I loved Sokratis battle with Barnes, two hard physical warriors (when did we last have a CF who bullied the opposition?)

    One point of disagreement – Burnley were good, much better than expected and will be top half at season’s end. TA – I bet you a haggis against a smoked fish!

  • PE

    IMO, our passing out this week was weaker because of Guendouzi primarily and lack of Xhaka it represents. Luiz was actually very good at it, so if no Torreira or Xhaka why not move hina step forward. He did so often enough I think because Guendouzi wasn’t…

    Also. TA, like PE I’m optimistic as we could’ve had 2 more and Burnley couldn’t… They had 1-2 good opportunities and the deflection to goal you can’t control.

    Cheer — jgc

  • Non Arsenal, but the MC/ Spurs match was a cracker. Once again Spurs lucked their way to a point.

    The VAR decision which robbed MC of the victory was a disgrace and one which has to be discussed at the highest level. Never a handball as it was ball to hand and not t’other way round or have the laws changed?

  • Ok, two more thoughts:

    A. Guendouzi — I think on detailed view my main criticism is when without the ball hes not moving or getting out of the way. So, it really is he’s not creating space thru movement off the ball, and taking space from others passes.

    B. A thought then: imagine Luiz our Chambers instead of Guendouzi and the other in the back 4…?? Random thought but I think it would have been better

    Cheers — jgc

  • Apparently the rules have changed. Any handball in the box is a foul if a goal is scored results in the goal being ruled out.
    Incredibly stupid

  • Cheers Geoff, all agreed, especially point A. Our defence was put under a lot of pressure and they were nervous in dealing with the highballs by Burnley, but they somehow managed so also agreed with your last point.

  • Cheers PE, I liked what I saw of Ceballos ON THE BALL and have high hopes like you. I am a little bit more critical in terms of positioning and organisational skills: there was a lot of endeavour and positive energy, and indeed football skills, but I missed the calm organisational skills of say Cesc or Santi… But this is likely to come in future games.

  • Geoff, it is good to be optimistic but the fact that they had 18!!! shots – one every five minutes – tells you something was not right. Is this the way we are going to set ourselves up this season at home? If we play like this v Pool and Spuds, I fear for us and I am desperately hoping Xhaka and Torreira get the nod, or at least one of them..

  • Yes Erik, it was a good game and I (hate to say it but…) liked Spuds’ patience in defending and punishing the Northern Oilers when they had a chance. The wing-play by Kd Bruine was sooo effective and I hope Mkhi was watching…

    Unfortunately, if the ball goes against an arm it is likely to be a foul and it wont be long before attackers will aim their shots at arms I reckon.

  • TA

    18 shots, many in late second half chasing with little possession and hmm… I’d say:

    ** in your favour, we didn’t close off crosses well, especially AMN, and that’s youth.

    ** in my favour, it’s not the number of shots you give away, it’s the quality of what you give up. You’ll always give up some. A long ball thru to Leno counts and there’s about 4 or more of those… We gave up 1-2 quality shots vs the 6-9 they gave us (an de Laca’s goal wasn’t one) … we gave up little of quality.

    We agree on: we need Xhaka and Torreira, or jgc’s Luiz or Chambers sliding up idea … Guendouzi and Willock are not strong or experienced enuff for next week. BUT, that’ll settle and gel .. Eventually, Bellerin will be back and Holding and possibilities will increase.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Yes TA, not much worries about loss of possession with Santi or Cesc. With Ceballos there is the worry that there would be a few costly turn overs. Only 23 yr old and having not been playing much at Real, he might get better there. Again Cesc and Santi are simply out of this world. Maybe not realistic to use them for comparison.

  • Good point about Guendouzi, Geoff. We must remember he is still young but Emery seems to be making him a team starter and we need to look at him with a more critical eye. Many love Guendouzi and want Xhaka gone and it frustrates the hell out of me. Guen is good on the ball and he loves to run forward with it, but in modern football there is seldom time for this – a quick pass forward or sideways is often much more effective. Xhaka makes himself available in space, anticipates the pass coming and where he needs to play the ball next. He will only take additional touches to create better angles or allow other players to free themselves up. This is soooo important in our game and that’s why he is so pivotal to our team. Guendouzi has to learn this and it will take time. My biggest concern is not that he is prone to mistakes (Xhaka is this too and it comes with that pressured position) but that he does not make the players around him good/better. He is a bit of a loner on the pitch if you look carefully. I think his heart is in the right place and there is lots of potential but he is not ready for regular starts imo.

  • Good points, JGC. Our chances were better ones and we have better attackers to finish them.

    My point is that IF we allow Pool and Spuds to play so much in our half as we did with Burnley we will get hammered, as they will create better chances from that dominance/positioning and have the players (like us) to take them.

  • Agreed PE. I remember seeing Cesc live at Anfield for the first time. He was 17 or 18 but his positional awareness was straightaway of the highest order. Such a shame we did not allow him to come back and let him go to the Chavs instead.

  • TA et al,

    Guendouzi and Xhaka etc — we agree 100% or more

    Last thought? Rather than look at what might or should be, let’s look at what we have? For what we have and what’s we played (or who really) on the day, this early in the season too, we look pretty damn good!!

    Lots of youth, like Guendouzi or not, and some who are waiting for injuries to heal perhaps. All healthy, Guendouzi, Willock, Nelson, AMN surely don’t start… That’s a lot of changes.

    I’m optimistic, but also patient and content that what we’ve put out there so early goes so well. Today wasn’t so stressful…

    Cheers — jgc

  • It surprises me how regularly Emery plays Guendouzi. It makes me worry that Emery might be slightly defense blind. He seems to be so keen on Douzi’ line braking passes. It’s great but I consider him poor defensively. He is also too keen on many touches which is not good for playing out from the back particularly as he lacks quickness. I’d never play him and Xhaka together, but between the two of them I’d opt for Xhaka.

    Against Liv at away I’d want a midfield 3 of Chambers, Torreira and Ceballos.

  • Agreed guys, we all want Guendouzi to do well and a be success but there is lots to learn. It is okay that quite a few fans don’t see this – most fans only judge a player on a few good OR bad things done WITH the ball – but for Emery to not see this is a disaster waiting to happen. But I am sure common sense will prevail against Pool and we will see a different midfield pairing. Xhaka was genuinely injured but leaving Torreira out for so long was a mystery to me..

  • Re football predictions, every weekend there will be 10 points to be gained. If one person has the most correct predictions they get the full 10 points, and if there is not a single winner the points will be shared between the winners of that weekend… So every weekend there is a new chance for everyone and whoever has the most points by the end of the season wins an Arsenal away shirt! But we will only continue with this if we have at least five participants on average every weekend.

  • Morning all, I’m late to the conversation but it’s only 6:15am here.

    There was a lot to like in the game especially the performances of Luiz, Cebba and Pepe. My understanding is that there is not a purchase clause in Cebba loan agreement, but I’ll do some research.

    To wins to start the season for only the 5th time in our EPL history is great – the downside is that if we allow either Liverpool or Spurs 18 shots on goal we will be sitting ducks.

    I’ll bet a Moose steak v a Seal flipper that Burnley finish below 12th,

  • Yes GN5, to win our first two is great of course and I do believe the team will grow a lot this season. A real shame we have to play Pool away so early in the season, but if we play like the Chavs did against them we have a very decent chance to get something from the game.

  • Great game last evening guys. And TA, good summary as I had something on and couldn’t watch the game, only managed to watch the highlights which was clearly inconclusive of how we did as a whole.

    Burnley had always tried to hurt us on the long balls, and knowing so, Emery played Luiz which is good at long balls. He definitely showed us what we were missing last evening.

    Overall we stuck to our game plan and am glad that the lads played together and worked hard as a team. Another game this season, another win (second behind Liv ahead of tonight’s games).

    Citeh is unfortunate not to get maximum points in their draw against the spuddies, and we did well in the midfield and defense to ensure that Burnley doesn’t hurt us too much. We conceded but Ceballos’ midfield mastery helped us in the end. A pity that we could not score more, but still a good 3 points and we saw it through to the end.

  • I found this statement – it’s not conclusive evidence but it backs up my “understanding”

    Arsenal have completed the signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal.

    The London club won’t have the option to buy the midfielder when his loan expires but will pay his full 3 million euro yearly wage.

  • Yes that’s how understood it, GN5. RM can get him back and we cannot just buy him without their permission. Having said that, Ceballos may like it at THOF and we may well be able to pay better wages, so he may decide he wants to stay and that still goes a long way… I also have high hopes for Emile Smith-Rowe and I expect the club to have big plans for him … and be the replacement for Ceballos next season.

  • I am disappointed by Dyche’s post match comments suggesting that Arsenal players dived. I didn’t see anything obvious, what I did see was Burnley players being over physical and our lads facing down as a result of heavy pressure.

    We should also have had a penalty. Where was VAR for that?

    And as always Dean was useless

  • Hi TA, Fine job on the match report…and some interesting comments too…

    I had good intent re: waking up early (VERY early…) and doing a live-blog but some intestinal distress during the night put paid to that idea…even if it led to some interesting (magazine) reading instead. In the end, the lost sleep had to be replaced…

    So, I was watching on tape delay but then wifey came down for her coffee and divulged the final score so I didn’t get the full dramatic experience… 😦 Next weekend looks more promising for a live-blog…

    BUT, does it look promising for a positive Arsenal experience or result? Hmmmm… I wonder… And, at this point, with the initial two wins banked, we are (at least) happy to move on to these sorts of questions…

    I basically agree with just about all your observations (even if they’re hidden in player ratings this time around). I too was impressed with David Luiz–or maybe I continue to worry about Leno and him being more than just a shot stopper so I liked Sideshow Bob taking a spot on the main stage ahead of our keeper. Likewise, I was unimpressed with our playing out of the back and our control in MF, despite the strong showing (in a “free role”) by Dani C. To win the match we needed both our CFs (hard workers with strong “striker mentalities,” I think) to make their magic, though there were some other fine chances and I particularly liked the very solid strikes by Nelson (and his replacement, Pepe) that Pope saved (or were ruled offside in the buildup). I think Burnley are most definitely a bottom half team, though they may stay above the relegation fray just because their ambitions seem modest and Dyche has his squad so tightly knitted. (What to bet with Erik the red, I guess, becomes my only question… 😉 …)

    From what I see, I think Emery has several ideas to try and enable us to play on the break (or, at least, with LOTS of space ahead of us). These include this (weird) set up on goal kicks and playing it around the back (luring the opponent forward by daring them to press us) but, ultimately, being completely happy to boot it forward (from keeper, CBs or DMs) with little likelihood of winning the long balls. While this means that we fail to dominate the lesser teams (except, perhaps, with a meaningless possession stat) it might mean we’re in with a better chance to nick a result vs the better teams, esp. if we can score first (or keep them from scoring as long as possible). Is it cowardly football? Well, the answer is in the eye of the beholder–or at least highly determined by results. Draw at Anfield (or in the NLD) and fans will see all the “chances we had to win it.” Lose (esp. by more than a single goal) and things start appearing a good deal grimmer.

    Regardless, I think these early 6 points keep us going. And now, assuming we rotate towards more experienced players (or even to 3 CBs and Kola as a wingback–as we did after he subbed in for Lacazette–and thus use fewer of our young MFs) AND can nick a draw (or at least keep the results close in these next couple) I think Emery has set himself up well for the autumn (with a sufficiently deep squad and thus plenty of player blame to spread around) so that he can get to January with sufficient hope for CL promotion in the 2nd half, you know, barring the complete collapse we saw last time around. In other words, already, I think my ideas for Freddy by February (or Enrique en Enero or any other management swaps) look like back burner ideas. 😦 This is the result of spreading the management decisions around, and despite the improved squad (and not such a bad group inherited from Wenger…) things look promising (for now, at least) in our promotion campaign. Let’s not kid ourselves, however, these are our aspirations. (Win up at Anfield and back it up vs Spurs for a perfect August and then we can start dreaming… 😀 …)

    All told, it’s a long season, (even more so as I try and watch Sheffield United and Crystal Palace in the early Sunday match) so maybe the extra sleep makes sense…

  • Yes Erik, Dyche is on a crusade and a little boy needs to put a finger in him! Nobody likes diving but, like you, I didn’t see any of it during the game.

  • Hey Seventeenho. sorry to hear you had to warm the toilet seat for ages. I did miss you and it made me go all schizophrenic on the blog, you know! 🙂

    Agreed re the value of the six points for us and Emery. We can go into the Pool away game with some comfort and if he plays it well, we really can get something from the game. But will he?!

  • Yeah, I saw that, TA, though I couldn’t quite untangle all the voices… 😀

    I haven’t seen Dyche’s interview but that’s what a “real” manager can do for his team, point irrational fingers and otherwise take the heat off his players. (Very Wenger-esque, or maybe Pulis-esque… 😮 ) There was the very late tangle that saw Barnes pull down Kola (and get a yellow for doing so–so, Dean maybe not so useless)…and the play that saw LT11 whipsawed over Leno (and then stay down for a bit)…but neither looked too divey to me. Again, however, I think Dyche–compared to the miserable situation Steve Bruce finds himself in at Toonies, for example, can likely keep his (not very good) team out of relegation territory.

    Indeed, the next couple of outings see us against teams unlikely to have such worries (and with pretty solid coaches, too)… If Emery puts out “stronger” squads (which fail–thus bringing out the Ozil/Xhaka haters…) it makes the young guns look good. In some ways we’re entering “can’t lose” (anything but points…) territory…

  • No diving in those incidents, Seventeenho, agreed. Chavs leading the Foxes by a forced-mistake goal. Good open game with both midfields struggling to control the game. All quite frantic.

  • LC level it 1/2 way through the 2nd period… Chavs defenders looking pretty tiny there on the set piece goal…

    Re: the early Chavs goal…that playing it out of the back can be a real problem, esp. in a loud (away) stadium…

  • I need to get going on that “work” project but now I feel compelled to see out this match… I hate to think about how Arsenal might’ve played yesterday if we’d have had to play Pool in Instabul last Wednesday…though maybe another pre-season game (if it doesn’t go the full 2 hours plus pens) would be OK…

    In the meantime, I’ve been glancing at Tim’s statistical analysis (of yesterday’s game) over at 7am… (He too seems enthused enough here in the early season)… Some good comments there as well.

  • Both teams trying hard for full points…but neither can collect… 😀 …Which should help Arsenal in this (our?) part of the table, long term…

    Frankie at least gets his first (point) of the season…

  • It was a very positive game against Burnley. Yes we didn’t easily score more goals as some people expected, but I am so surprised that some people still underrate this Burnley side. Burnley was so physical, even a bit more than usual, they were fit, tough, very organized and they effectively pressed us high up the pitch, I must say Sean Dyche did a very good job.

    One of the biggest positives yesterday is our defense, I strongly believe Luiz inclusion made the difference. We were rock solid and stood our ground against a very physical side, especially in dealing with the aerial balls. The goal we conceeded was more of luck to them.

    I am not too worried about our performance against Burnley, simply because we missed missed a couple of players (XHAKA & TORREIRA). Especially Xhaka, Xhaka is actually the most important player in our midfield and unfortunately He has no replacement. Our first first choice Midfield Pivot pairing remains Xhaka and Torreira, but I understand Torreira was still lacking match fitness.
    Guendouzi is a highly talented player, but he still has a lot to learn, His game is more individualized and it makes his midfield partners look bad, which doesn’t allow us control the midfield the way we should.
    I suggest our midfield paring especially in our next couple games should be XHAKA, TORREIRA & CEBALLOS OR if Torreira is not completely match fit yet, we could use XHAKA, CHAMBERS & CEBALLOS, this will definitely make our midfield a lot more robust and we could control the midfield better.

  • It was a very positive game against Burnley. Yes we didn’t easily score more goals as some people expected, but I am so surprised that some people still underrate this Burnley side. Burnley was so physical, even a bit more than usual, they were fit, tough, very organized and they effectively pressed us high up the pitch, I must say Sean Dyche did a very good job. We should learn how to grind out results, not just winning pretty.

    One of the biggest positives yesterday is our defense, I strongly believe Luiz inclusion made the difference. We were rock solid and stood our ground against a very physical side, especially in dealing with the aerial balls. The goal we conceeded was more of luck to them.

    I am not too worried about our performance against Burnley, simply because we missed missed a couple of players (XHAKA & TORREIRA). Especially Xhaka, Xhaka is actually the most important player in our midfield and unfortunately He has no replacement. Our first first choice Midfield Pivot pairing remains Xhaka and Torreira, but I understand Torreira was still lacking match fitness.
    Guendouzi is a highly talented player, but he still has a lot to learn, His game is more individualized and it makes his midfield partners look bad, which doesn’t allow us control the midfield the way we should.
    I suggest our midfield paring especially in our next couple games should be XHAKA, TORREIRA & CEBALLOS OR if Torreira is not completely match fit yet, we could use XHAKA, CHAMBERS & CEBALLOS, this will definitely make our midfield a lot more robust and we could control the midfield better.

  • Cheers Steve, a very fair comment and lots to agree with. Glad we see the midfield situation the same. When you read some of the other blogs, it feels like everybody has gone mad.

    Good point as well about the strength of Burnley and maybe I am underestimating them a bit. When we are at home, especially, I expect us to dominate the game more and make the midfield our own much easier than we did. But it is of course not only up to us and some credit should go to Burnley.

  • For now, one transfer I will like to see arsenal do during the January transfer window is to sign Ndidi from Leicester City and sell Elneny.
    Imagine a midfield partnership of NDIDI, XHAKA & CEBALLOS, the midfield will be everything we have always wanted, with tackles, bite, robustness, control, passes, flair, skills, physicality, intimation and strength. This will make arsenal be a very serious force to be reckoned with.

  • Thanks TA, I also expect us to dominate games at home, but on a second thought, I also understand that in football, it is “Man vs Man”, and as you plan what what you will do to your opponent, they are also planning what to do to you, at the end, only one will work. We just have to understand that we can’t always have it our way, the most important thing is that we have the 3 points.

  • Do we really need him, Steve, or should we just push forward Chambers or indeed Luiz, if we wanted two DM beast in midfield. And definitely Ozil is in the first three for me.

  • Hi TA and Steve

    I like, as you know, the pushing forward Chambers or Luiz idea.

    The Ozil vs Ceballos thing is interesting. Versus teams like mid-lower table with pressing, I could see playing both. Against a Pool or City, well, tactics there are more important and depends on how the game unfolds…. for me at least

    cheers — jgc

  • TA and all,

    As for dominating games at home or away. These are all top professionals, for the most part, for a top team, which we aspire to be at least, a rectangular patch of grass is a rectangular patch of grass. How much of it you use or dont doesnt matter much either.

    What matters? (to me at least)…

    a. Possession to an extent – cant score without the ball. Equally, you dont need the ball much some might argue to score lots. Also true. I would finally note the thing most people miss I think, if you have the ball, they cant score. So, it matters in controlling a game. Finally, if your possession is all your half or wobbly, then it’s not very good, is it?

    — So, let’s go for “Ownership and Control” (of the ball)

    b. Not shots, but quality of shots. Lots of bombs forward to GK or outside the box low percentage shots dont matter to me too much. Yes, if it’s all that, without you getting any, bad things will happen. But, as long as I get mine…

    — So, let’s go for “Quality of Opportunities (Shots)”

    To me, it thus matters less where you play, where you play out from etc, just control the ball and its ownership as well as you can, and when you dont have it, you will give up opportunities, so dont give up good ones. Give away many poor ones for a few very good ones of your own and you will very often win. And you wont have to very often do that to win in the league either.

    Note, I saw both of these yesterday, give or take some weakness through the Guendouzi-Willock pairing we have discussed a lot.

    Just some Monday morning thoughts at the opening of work — jgc

  • Nice write-up, TA. I’d agree with Dani’s MoTM, he was a rare breath of fresh air yesterday.

    As for DL, I will wait a bit. It’s not easy to organize a defence that is likely to look completely different in October (Bellerin, Holdini and Tierney). We basically play our 2nd defensive line-up (bar Leno).

    Burnley look like a 13th placed team to me – Man C, Spuds, Pool, Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, WHU, Bournemouth and, possibly, Watford to finish above them.

    As for the Liverpool game, we have to up our game a lot. Liverpool were fatigued against Soton and could have been a goal down before Mane’s goal. If we keep losong possession around Leno, we’ll get massacred.

    Here is a delicate question:

    the last game we had played before Özil signed was against Spuds (1-0, Giroud scored the winner).

    He signed on 2nd September.

    This season, we play Spuds on 1st September and the window for Spanish clubs closes on 2nd September.

    Will Spuds be the last team we played before having Mesut and the first team aftee we sell him?

  • @TA, I think we need him, but before then, we should try Chambers out in our defensive midfield and see how his partnership with Xhaka will fare. Only then we can say. We probably won’t Ndidi after all, if Chambers does well. I know Chambers played in the defensive midfield at Fulham and he did very well.

  • Cheers Geoff, quality of opportunities goes a long way, but I stick to what I said earlier that against stronger, more ruthless opposition we will pay for our lack of dominance in midfield..

  • Steve, I think that Emery wants to play with a deeper laying mid and b2b mid, and I think he is looking at Ceballos to be the b2b and Xhaka deeper laying mid. However, he also has Torreira, Willock and Guendouzi, so he has quite a few options and I don’t think he is interested in a more traditional DM type. The question is whether either Chambers or Luiz could play the ‘Xhaka’ role…

  • TA,

    We are agreeing (mostly) violently.. you wrote: “…but I stick to what I said earlier that against stronger, more ruthless opposition we will pay for our lack of dominance in midfield”

    I am saying that with the DM part of midfield we put out Saturday, we will give up a lot of good opportunities against City/Pool et al. Maybe not, but likely.

    What I am trying to say is that the number alone doesnt mean anything. If we give up 30 shots against Pool, all from 25m or more out, I will be more than content to think we did well. If, on the other hand, we got 0 shots, I would think we could have drawn 0-0 or lost 1-0.. The number needs to be seen in context of the opportunity given/taken in the shot. You cannot eliminate all shots..

    cheers — jgc

  • Coming on late here; but better late than not, I guess.

    Agree with your ratings and the post, generally. The comments have also been top notch.

    I think it was Erik the red who objected first to Sean Dyke’s reported comment about Arsenal players diving…., only from the full transcript (and he did backtrack) of his post-game press conference, it was apparent he was speaking about the state of the game, in general. Something to do with a pre-season Premier League meeting. Excerpts below:

    ‘I was at a Premier League meeting a couple of weeks ago and they told us the worst that can happen is a yellow card. So basically every player in the Premier League can cheat at least once a game. Have you ever thought about that?

    ‘I don’t know any sport where they tell you that you can cheat once a game. I’ve never seen that in sport before. I find that really peculiar. It’s so poor for the game.’

    Asked what would be his solution, Dyche said: ‘Simple. Ban them. It would be out of football within a month. They used to highlight it on Match of the Day. Now, they don’t even show it. It doesn’t even get shown. That’s peculiar.’

    Now, it will be clearer had the reports indicated the question he was addressing; but, of course, it sells more papers if it’s presented as if he was criticizing the “cheating Arsenal players”, also making him out as a whiner and our boys, divers. I saw a quote too where he stated directly that it had nothing to do with the game vs Arsenal.

  • I left out this bit of the quotes from Sean Dyke’s post-match news conference, where he said that he did not specifically refer to Arsenal:
    ““I said I was unhappy with the greater good of the game. Not Arsenal. The game is in a really poor state for players diving, feigning injuries, all sorts. I find it peculiar,”

  • Eris, I have always hated the media. The title is the click bait for more views.

    The diving issue had always been there and we were one of the teams that dive less compared to mid table teams that play route one football.

    I felt that we have an outside chance to draw or win against Liv if we play our game well, and the likes of Luiz, Ceballos and Pepe can help us do exactly that. Sokratis, Xhaka and Torreira will also help us with our goal.

  • All agreed, Geoff. Best thing is to keep opponents away from our box and then there will be less shots (on target) and at least less dangerous ones.

  • When you have such a brilliant voice like Dyche, you just feel you’ve got to say something… and that is what he did. Best to move on from it and let’s hope the referee is not looking to punish any bit of ‘Arsenal diving’ in the coming matches..

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