THE NLD EXPOSED EMERY’S DILEMMA.
Klopp’s Liverpool is admired by all. It has become a benchmark for ambitious football technocrats. Coaches dream of mirroring Klopp’s Liverpool. But the dream begins in earnest only when equivalent playing personnel are believed to have been acquired.
Opinions sampling through some sites show that about 90% of Arsenal fans want Emery to play the PALs together regularly. Many reason that it’s best for a team to play its best players though there is always the strong argument that the best individual players don’t necessarily make the best team. Others who favour the PALs playing together draw their inspiration from the Liverpool’s so called Fab-3. They feel that our PALs are as good if not better than the devastating Liverpool trio.
We have witnessed the PALs start together only once and that was in our last match against the Spuds. There was no doubting their amazing offensive threat, recognized clearly by the Spuds themselves. In response and contrary to their playing style, the Spuds sought safety in sitting deep. Frankly, I don’t see many who wouldn’t. That, however, is only half of the story of that encounter.
Whenever the Spuds had the ball, they cut through our midfield like knife through butter. Our midfield-3 simply couldn’t deny the Spuds space. How then is Liverpool’s famed midfield-3 able to cope with those same wide spaces? Is it simply because their midfield-3 are more physical and athletic than ours. It is much more than that. The major reason is hidden in the fact that Liverpool has a midfield-4 camouflaged as a midfield-3.
Enter Roberto Firmino. Only recently have the experts begun to recognize Firmino as the heart of this marvellous Liverpool team of hearts. Before he came to Liverpool, Firmino was a #10 who scored a lot of goals. Klopp’s simply tore off the old name tag of a #10, gave a him a new name tag of a striker but left Firmino still a 10 who scores a lot of goals. Change of bottle, the liquor remaining the same.
Or is it Firmino who pulled the wool over the eyes of the world? He is such an unobtrusive player, visible only to the educated eye. A facilitator, he loves nothing other than to share in the glory of the team that his quiet sweat helped so much to shine.
The PALs are all great players on their own right, but non of the three has that facilitator #10 role of Firmino. 7amkickoff did an interesting article showing Firmino and Lacazette nearly identical but for the great disparity in their passing stats:
While Firmino has the passing generosity of a midfielder, Lacazette has the “good selfishness” of a striker. They have distinct footballing personalities. If we have to mirror the way Liverpool plays, we have to look for a Firmino and the good news is that we already have a couple of his like with us: in the genius of Ozil as a facilitator as well as in Dani Ceballos and the up and coming ESR.
In summary, in order to balance the terrific offensive firepower at his disposal that stands on a porous midfield, Emery should lean more on using only 2 of the PALs at a time and in place of the third of the trio use a facilitator like Ozil or Ceballos to help strengthen the midfield. That also gives us the luxury of a super sub on the bench. Of course nothing stops Emery showing up in certain encounters triple barrelled.
How many Gooners are with me on this? Sooner than later we would learn on what side Emery is.