Sexy Pepe, Indispensable Torreira, Luiz Made a (good) Difference: 8 Observations v Pool

It has been a few days since we lost at Anfield, but it may still be worth making some observations (further to the very fine ones by Djifa/Gino in the previous post).

Mohamed Salah

Eight Observations from a game that simply came too early in the season for Emery:

  1. I liked Emery’s initial strategy of sitting back and playing with two fast and furious CFs, both positioned on the wings/away from each other to give the Pool defence something to think about. If and when we got the ball forward both Auba and Pepe used the available space well and they had decent chances to put us in front. A bit more sharpness and calm and they could each have scored. If they had done so, it could have been different. Setting his team up to absorb pressure and play on the break, Emery made a good tactical start with the team;
  2. But it remains to be seen whether scoring first would not have led to the same outcome: a thumping loss. Betis had a similar tactics v Barcelona this weekend and THEY did manage to score first… but they also still ended up losing big (5-2). Pool were clearly the better team both in terms of organisation and individual sharpness, and an early goal against them would probably have spurred them on even more. The issue I have from a tactical point of view is that before and after Pool scored their second goal, we did not see a meaningful Plan-B from Emery and the game was lost in just 10-15 minutes early on in the second half.  After the third goal Pool took the foot of the gas and we fought well to somehow get a goal back. But it was this ability of Pool to see the game out and to some extent play with us that I found most deflating (even though they conceded an avoidable goal late on).
  3. Now many have said that ‘Champions of Europe’, Pool, are a great team and were playing at home so let’s not be too hard on Emery. I respect that point of view. I did not expect us to win but wanted to see the tactical strength of Emery and his in-game tactical decision making; and although Emery made a promising start we withered away as the game went on and the full strength of our squad was never on display. It was also clear that Pool had targeted our right side (tactically) and especially AMN and Guendouzi were put under tremendous pressure to hold the fort… We somehow got away with our lack of defensive strength (numbers of players to prevent a breach of our wall there) but Emery should have intervened. This worried me but there is still time for Emery to get the tactical decisions right this season. And a big test awaits him against the canny Argentinian coach of our bitterest rivals this Sunday.
  4.  Luiz was good, almost great. I know he was involved in the second and third goal by Pool but David gave us structure, believe and leadership in defence. The penalty he gave away was a reflex, he said; and Salah would probably have scored if Luiz had not pulled him back (it was a quick and clever move by the Egyptian after all). I was actually impressed with Luiz for not making the foul on Salah for the third goal. I have no doubt that Koscielny (who?!) or Mustafi would have risked a foul/yellow card and have been sent off as a result. There was still time and space for his fellow defenders to block Salah but Big Sok hesitated for half a second and came too late to the rescue.
  5. Torreira is back and he looked awesome in our new away shirt. It was important to score a goal and not just for the away fans. We needed that sort of determination from the start and Lucas made a difference when he came on. Play Xhaka as our pivot and the indispensable Torreira next to him in each and every big game, is all I want to say (again and again).
  6. The big question to ask Emery is of course why did you not play the experienced midfielders of Torreira, Ozil and Mkhi in this game. Guendouzi, Willock and Ceballos were started instead and collectively they were well out of their league. If this is Emery’s attempt to put his own identity on the team – his trademark – he will be out of a job soon. Playing one of these players in an otherwise experienced team is okay, but all three is plain silly. when we face a team like Pool away. Xhaka-Guendouzi does not work: they do not complement each other at all. Willock tried hard to fill in the large spaces in midfield but was lost and poor Ceballos looked like the court jester. We did not display our full potential (and lost the game so easily) once again because of lack of balance in midfield, and Emery’s team selection choices remain a big concern.
  7. How sexy is the football of Pepe? He makes me think of Donna Summer but that’s for another post! It was nice to see Van Dijk being given a proper game by our new signing and he looks so determined to attack and destroy opponents. Ten games in, he would have scored at least once but he will need to settle in a bit more before we get the full value out of him.
  8.  The away support was great: made themselves heart throughout the game and stood right behind the team, and we are going to need this badly for the 17 remaining away games of course.

By TotalArsenal

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Sexy Pepe, Indispensable Torreira, Luiz Made a (good) Difference: 8 Observations v Pool

  1. Lionbrave says:

    This Is the sort of POST needed at the moment, and not that which puts every player we have down, with fans thinking that’s the way to make them play.
    A reminder to AFC fans that these are early days in this season. Let us rally behind the team with our support. They will get better.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Lionbrave, I believe in our players and like them to be used to their full potential.

  3. GunnerN5 says:

    Here’s our latest team news ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur:

    Rob Holding
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation and successfully completed 90 for the U-23s against Everton on Friday.

    Emile Smith Rowe
    Groin. Successfully completed 80 minutes for the U-23s against Everton on Friday and 90 minutes for the U-21s against Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

    Hector Bellerin
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Kieran Tierney
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    Good morning all………..

    Here’s our latest team news ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur:

    Rob Holding
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation and successfully completed 90 for the U-23s against Everton on Friday.

    Emile Smith Rowe
    Groin. Successfully completed 80 minutes for the U-23s against Everton on Friday and 90 minutes for the U-21s against Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

    Hector Bellerin
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Kieran Tierney
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Progressing well and aiming to participate in full training in September.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

  5. jw1 says:

    Rare day when we agree on ALL points TA. Nice review sir.

    Felt as strongly too– of David Luiz’s overall composure and organizational contribution. That third goal by Salah? Mo beats almost anyone with that effort.

    Guessing now, that last season’s halftime subbing pattern were part brilliant coincidence, part paranoia– than Emery acting the clever tactician. Saturday’s match called for more than his initial stratagem. Requiring Plans B and C in one’s pocket probably. UE’s decision tree is one of few branches. Last year’s squad by dint of inheriting players. But this time around, has many more-than-adequate choices. Bit more talent. But harder to combo optimally.

    Also hard to distill much from the common foe Arsenal and Spurs have played– Newcastle (considering the Newks 1-3 loss to Norwich sandwiched in). Tots (except for Lucas Moura) looked disinterested much of the match (watched as much as I could on DVR last night– till it cured my being awake).

    Where Pool were a test we didn’t pass? Likely could not have passed no matter what– this early in the term? Sunday vs Spurs should indicate whether Unai Emery can be better (than his last match) for the longer-term. A 6-pointer– playing a direct competitor for one of two CL places on offer.

    Would like to see all 3 of the ALPs play at peak at THOF on Sunday. 😉

    jw1

  6. jw1 says:

    Morning GN5! (yep, CDT time zone here.)
    Thanks for those updates.

    jw1

  7. Pony Eye says:

    TA, I join Lionbrave in congratulating your post. As each day appears I see more reasons to appreciate our game at the cauldron that is the Anfield. In fact this game has aided me tremendously in discovering the Emery “prosses” and I hope the way I see it would soon be shared with BK’ers.

    As you said it is still early days, not time enough for Emery to have dotted all the i(s) of the carryover from last season, the new recruitments and the promoted academy players. Am convinced that Emery and his players, unlike last season, now have a meeting point. That one alone is already half of the job done.

  8. Pony Eye says:

    “process” for prosses

  9. Pony Eye says:

    Ah, my correction of my comment has arrived before the comment. Hope the comment shows up later.

  10. Erik the Red says:

    Fine post and I agree with almost everything.

    Whilst I accept football is a matter of opinion I find the knee jerk reaction to the loss at Anfield baffling. How can anyone call a manager who has won the Europa 3 times, the French double and been voted European manager of the Year, “naive and tactically hopeless”. Others used the word “cowardly”.

    He is not – UE is a man working hard to re-establish AFC’s place at the top table with the tools at his disposal.

  11. Erik the Red says:

    Fine post and I agree with almost everything.

    Whilst I accept football is a matter of opinion I find the knee jerk reaction to the loss at Anfield baffling. How can anyone call a manager who has won the Europa 3 times, the French double and been voted European manager of the Year, “naive and tactically hopeless”. Others used the word “cowardly”.

    He is not – UE is a man working hard to re-establish AFC’s place at the top table with the tools at his disposal.

  12. Erik the Red says:

    Bolleaux. Comment gone into spam again.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    That is a good point, Erik. His cv is impressive and yet you must admit some of his tactical decisions/adjustments and team selections are at least a bit iffy. Why is that you think?

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    I like your style TA, it will help me to keep a more positive outlook. I was very nervous about us getting another embarrassing pounding but in point of fact we could have been 2/3 goals up before they scored however they were the better team and the result proved that. Lets face the facts, we are not (as yet) of the same caliber as either Pool or City so this Sundays game against one of the “best of the rest” will be very telling.

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s a tad strange that it’s all quiet during the final days of the European transfer window – I thought we would have seen some of Emery’s less than favorite players moved on

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GN5. The European TW finishes on 2 Sep, I think.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    CL group stages – only ones with a competitive edge are groups D, F, G and H..
    Group A: Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Bruges, Galatasaray
    Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade
    Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta
    Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow
    Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk
    Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague
    Group G: Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig
    Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Massive honour for Van Dijk to be voted Best Player in Europe, and first Dutchman to receive it! Well deserved I think.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    There has been a lot of unfounded speculation that Ozil would be sold but Emery is clearly saying that Mesut is staying:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/49515672

  20. jw1 says:

    Congrats to VVD– TA. Think you’re right to be proud.
    He is the difference-maker at Pool.

    jw1

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Ah just realised you wrote days not day, GN5… Apologies… as now it makes sense what you are saying,

  22. jw1 says:

    For whatever clarity can be taken– here is what Arseblog reports on Arsenal transfer prospects:

    https://arseblog.news/2019/08/emery-confirms-monreal-could-go-updates-on-ozil-too/

    jw1

  23. Pony Eye says:

    TA, please ignore the mail I sent to you. I’d reach you again later.

  24. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    TA can’t comment a lot to your observations..
    But many sources said that Emery was to reckless to play 4-4-2 scheme..
    A new formation that never ever been used in the whole last season (cmiiw) and try it to Liverpool.. hehehhe..

    I just want to see the best players play in 4-3-3 formation for NLD..
    We can bear to lose to Pool but not to Spurs..
    People want to see PAL, why can we just do it for the happiest of the fans..
    Pepe is ready.. Auba and Lacazette are more than ready..
    Put Ceballos back to CAM position and Xhaka – Torriera as double pivot.. than we will make some fun game.. hehehe..

  25. Pony Eye says:

    Henry, Emery used the 4:4:2 to give us the 4-2 victory over Tot last season.
    By the way 4:4:2 was the formation of the Invincibles.

    In case you think it’s outdated that’s what Simione uses at A. Madrid. Even Barca sometimes set out in a 4:4:2.

  26. Pony Eye says:

    I don’t subscribe to “best players”. I subscribe to “best team”. Meanwhile the personnel of the “best team” can alter depending on the opposition.

  27. henrychan says:

    Hi PE..
    Thanks for the info..
    Spurs had a very bad days in Emirates.. and that bad days must be continued.. hehehe.

    I will agree if Emery used 4-4-2 regularly.. But not suddenly to face a team like Liverpool. Crazy..

    PE.. if we do play 4-4-2.. Who are your favorite Midfielders..??

  28. Pony Eye says:

    Hennry, I’d give my opinion soon but of course Emery knows best.

  29. Pony Eye says:

    TA, A NEW MAIL IN YOUR BOX.

  30. GunnerN5 says:

    FINAL GROUP STANDINGS 2019/20

    Group A: Sevilla, APOEL, Qarabag, Dudelange

    Group B: Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano

    Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor

    Group D: Sporting, PSV, Rosenborg, LASK

    Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, Cluj

    Group F: Arsenal, Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria

    Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers

    Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets, Espanyol, Ferencvaros

    Group I: Wolfsburg, Gent, St-Etienne, Olexandriya

    Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basakehir, Wolfsberg

    Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Wolves, Slovan Bratislava

    Group L: Manchester United, Astana, Partizan, AZ Alkmaar

  31. Lari03 says:

    Great Europa group for the Arsenal. Opponents from Portugal, Germany, and Belgium.

    Wolves against Braga should be addressed as a proper “Iberian” derby as their best players are Portuguese.

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GN5 and Lari03. Should be some nice games for the boys.

    New Post New Post!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s