I can’t believe football is back. It feels like an age since Luiz rose high in the air to flick home the only goal of the match against Bournemouth. The fixtures from now to the end of the year come thick and fast but OGAAT (One Game At A Time) would continue to prevail. The ‘next’ game is always all important and for us that all important game is a premiership trip to Bramall Lane against 13th placed Sheffield United.
Sheffield is a very clumsy team in the sense that opposition never know how to gauge or engage them. They have lost three of their four matches at home but are yet to lose a single away match. It doesn’t rhyme, does it? They have beaten Everton and drawn with Chelsea both away from home. They narrowly lost to the mighty Liverpool team 0-1 at home courtesy of a howler by their keeper. Obviously, the big teams don’t awe them. If you are still not unsure about who they are, they have conceded only 7 goals, one less than Liverpool who’ve conceded the least.
They lead the league in the long balls and like to stretch the field when in offense. They deliver a lot of crosses and 43% of their attack come from their right flank, our left. I guess Tierney on that our left is very much used to such teams in the Scottish league, with a mix of the seventies and now. Trust Emery to have worked this one out having had the whole interlull to pore through the videos. Tierney is expected to make his premier league debut. With only 18% (the least in the league) of their attack coming from the centre, our central midfielders mightn’t have much to worry about in terms of their creativity, but Guendouzi and co have to be ready for 90 minutes of sweat. Have you ever heard about hard running and fight?
Now to us. Nobody seems to have figured Emery’s team out. We keep peering, desperate to get to know him and his team. He is so elusive. Should we take him for his word and accept that it’s all about being chameleonic? After wk 8 this is what some vital stats say about the team:
01) Most goals for ————- 6th (5th of big 6) — City 1st (Liv 2nd) in the League.
02) Least goals against——– 9th (4th of big 6) — Liv 1st (Sheffield/Leic 2nd).
03) Most possession ———- 8th (6th of big 6) — City 1st (Liv 2nd).
04) Highest passing accuracy- 8th (6th of big 6) — City 1st (Liv 2nd).
05) Most attempted shots—– 8th (4th of big 6) — City 1st (Chls 2nd).
06) Most shots on target.—— 6th (4th of big 6) — City 1st (Chls 2nd).
07) Least shots conceded —- 18th (6th of big 6) — City 1st (Chls 2nd).
08) Most tackles.————– 8th (4th of big 6) — B’mouth 1st (City 2nd).
09) Most interceptions. ——- 17th (4th of big 6) — B’mouth 1st ( (Chls 2nd).
10) Most dribbles————– 1st (1st of big 6) — Arse 1st (City 2nd).
11) Least unsuccessful touches 14th (5th of big 6) – City 1st (Villa 2nd).
13) Most key passes ———– 6th (4th of big 6) – City 1st (Chls 2nd).
14) Most accurate long balls — 12th (5th of big 6) – Liv 1st (Evert 2nd).
15) Position on the table ——– 3rd (3rd of big 6) – Liv 1st (City 2nd).
These stats are chameleonic (1st, 18th, 6th, 17th, 3rd, …). The mathematics shouldn’t work out 3rd on the table for us. Most of us worry that we might have already exhausted our quota of luck for the season.
It’s a bit curious but during the 22 game unbeaten run last season everybody was saying the same about us having the rub of the green. Can there be more to it than meets the eye? Can it be cunning Emery and his pigments? That would need a lot of convincing and I doubt am ever going to get fond of a chameleon. I love the beasts who vanquish through sheer motor power and elegance. That is not to say that at this moment I wouldn’t bite off the fingers that offers me 3 points at Bramall Lane together with all the pigments in the world. Helpfully our injured players are all back in one go to give us more hope (or is it more pigments?).
Sheffield has conceded only 7 goals but they have managed the least number of shots on target in the league @ 2.5 per game. Obviously Emery’s tactical balance should be tilted offensively. Lacazette is now available and I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be the PALs against their mean defence.
They would come from the wings and we would also come from the wings, toe to toe kind of. That shouldn’t bother us as we have the hard working pair of Chambers and Tierney as our full and flying backs. Sokratis and Luiz would be there for their aerial bombardment with Leno behind them. Of course we know that Xhaka and Guendouzi would be in Emery’s line up, once fit. The one position remaining to be filled is anybody’s guess. Ozil? Ceballos? Willock? Torreira?
Am still trying to figure that one out as this post goes to print. Meanwhile let’s have your opinion on the comments section. Who of these four names do you expect would start? Or whom of them would you like to start? I will chip in too as soon as I get it resolved for myself, the noises from the camp suggesting it could be a surprise.
I want Emery to succeed, not because I love his face but I don’t want the pains of further stagnation. I also don’t want us running from pillar to post changing managers. It might get us into United’s type of recurring mess.
Three points and another clean sheet to the good guys. COYRRG!!!