Arsenal 1 – 2 Eintracht F: Eight Small Positives from a Defining Game

Arsenal 1 – 2 Eintracht Frankfurt – Everything has an ending, except for the sausage; it has two.

What a weird game that was. A (bad) dreamlike half-empty stadium, a good start with a refreshingly solid midfield – Willock, Luiz and Xhaka – and then the German sausages slapped the team in the face with two quick goals and all looked, and was, lost.

Key to this was the early injury to David Luiz who was replaced by the other curly one, who looks so sexy with the ball but has still little defensive/positional awareness and operates in some sort of vacuum on the pitch. As a result, we lost the battle in midfield, allowed the Eintracht to start attacking us where it can hurt and the rest is history. The all so familiar sugar on a stick.

This does not take away some fine individual performances:

  1. Tierney had a good battle on the left flank and he is starting to look the player we hoped he will be;
  2. Willock was majestic at times, purring and buzzing all over the pitch and very close to a goal a few times. There is a great intelligence in his football and he clearly benefitted from working alongside the experienced Xhaka and Luiz;
  3. Luiz looked lively and a co-leader in midfield. Loved his presence and desire to get stuck in. That was a good tactical move by Emery;
  4. Martinelli was all over the pitch and also close to a goal. He really made us press better and produced a fine assist for Auba’s goal. I don’t think Emery should have taken him off as Saka looked more shot in the second half;
  5. Saka produced some fine wingplay and deserved at least one assist from it. I love his ability to combine intensity with a calm head when it matters. One of our most talented youngsters in the last ten years;
  6. Xhaka really tried to lift the team and give structure to it but it will take time to see him assimilate back into it all. The crowd did well to support him;
  7. Martinez looked confident and did nothing wrong.
  8. Mustafi worked hard and was keen to change things round but he overdid it and had to be substituted.

I was less impressed with some of the other players but I rather focus on the few titbits of positives. The game was lost due to lack of  tactical adjustment after Luiz was forced to come off.

The game came to an ending and it is hard to imagine that there will not be another ending.

I don’t need to tell what ending I am talking about. Thanks Unai for the hard work and passion.

By TotalArsenal.

27 thoughts on “Arsenal 1 – 2 Eintracht F: Eight Small Positives from a Defining Game

  • Thanks for the Positives in a time of gloom It is just so depressing watching Arsenal these days, always with the hope that something will change only to be continually disappointed.
    When Unai arrived at the Emirates I was so impressed that he didn’t use an Interpreter however I now believe this bold step may have speeded his decline. Certainly I, whose first language is English ,have substantial difficulty understanding what he is saying. How much harder it must be for some one whose first language is German or French.
    I understand each of the words he uses but not in truth what he actually means. So, when it comes to a nuanced subject like tactics or motivation how much more difficult it must be. Can you imagine in the heat of battle the briefing of a substitute on the touch line, I think they must often run on wondering “what the hell did he just tell me to do” I believe I saw evidence of this last night when Gendouzi came on and certainly his subsequent performance would suggest he had no clear idea of what was wanted of him.

  • TA. Thanks for manning up and finding so many positives.

    John 80 makes a good point about Douzi. He has huge potential but clearly lacks guidance, he needs a strong hand and to work within a framework.

    Biggest disappointment of last night was the complete lack of influence of Ozil. The chap was on the pitch for 30 minutes but completely anonymous. I expect better.

  • Yep. Unai’s been fired and what timing. Talk about a “Black Friday” for Unai.

    Didn’t someone say “Freddie by February”? Well, you were Wrong! 😜

  • TA …. admirable self control.👍. I’ll do my best to follow the key.

    I was excited to see Luiz in the midfield though unfortunately he lasted only about 30 mins. I haven’t watched the match so l can’t access the connection of Luiz at midfield with the fact that we conceded only one attempt at goal in the 1st half.

    From all I’ve gathered Sokratis had another very poor game. He will always be very poor on the left side of the CD. Fans see these things from a zillion miles away but not Emery. I think Emery is a dreamer. Am being nice because. Someone else was more pointed calling him delusional. He takes the pictures his mind conjures as reality. Am waiting for the big news …… not so much about his replacement …. just that he is gone.

  • When everybody is hovering around Emery like condors it is nice to read about positives, TA. In fact I agree with 7 out of them, especially on the Luiz experiment, Mustafi’s appreciation and Xhaka’s importance. The only point I would challenge is the evaluation of Willock. While I appreciate the energy and athleticism of the U21 international as anybody, I feel (not just yesterday) that too many exciting counterattack or promising chance created by teammates go begging due to him making the wrong decision or mis-executing the right one. He is technically gifted, but was constantly let down by his end product. Joe was fouled 3 times (the second most after Saka’s 4), but this was the only stat that he really excelled. I think going on loan and constantly playing in a strong league could be a good move for him, because he obviously has the potential.

    Here are some quotes from player ratings to show how differently some fans/bloggers/journalists see the performance of the same person:

    Shkodran Mustafi
    Solid in the first half but slow out to try and block Kamada’s second goal. (5)
    Played some nice combinations with Chambers, passed the ball quickly and progressively, and made several excellent defensive interventions, especially from crosses. (7)
    He was okay. (5)
    Mustafi kept the Frankfurt forwards at bay for much of the game, he displayed his aerial prowess and did not allow Goncalo Paciencia to impact the game with his physical presence. (7)

    Bukayo Saka
    Saka troubled the ageing Frankfurt defence with his pace and also had a golden opportunity to score. However, his decisiveness from the reverse fixture was missing completely. He ran after balls just for the sake of it and the intent was missing in his play. (5.5)
    On a night when not much was positive, he was in flashes. (7)
    He was poor. Things just didn’t work out for Bukayo Saka this evening whatever he tried to do. (4)
    There were still flashes of his best qualities, including an assist for Aubameyang, but in all likelihood a period of outclassing opponents in the Under-23s might be just what the 18-year-old needs. (5)

    Joe Willock
    The panache and energy faded in the second half as he made mistakes and lost possession time and again. (5.5)
    Love me a bit of Joe. (7)
    The Englishman should’ve added at least one goal to his tally this evening. (5)
    Provided some energy and impetus when driving forwards, on and off the ball. (7.5 – MOM)

    Matteo Guendouzi
    Typical Guendouzi performance: covering lots of ground and keeping things ticking over but lacking any real quality going forwards. (5)
    The Frenchman looked tired and leggy without being effective in either half. He was sloppy on the ball and lethargic without it. (3)
    Ran around, got booked. (6)
    Only Aubameyang has played more minutes in all competitions this season so it was perhaps little wonder that Guendouzi seemed to be a yard slower than normal. (5)

  • So … he’s gone and Freddie takes over. Really??? Freddie?? Is this the level of head coach we are looking for?

    Still – thank you UE, you did your best . Good luck for the future.

  • Freddie’s interim …. . BFG has a good relationship with the older members of the squad and should be Freddie’s assistance.

  • I’m part happy/satisfied about the change, part worried about Freddie lacking the background and experience to manage the team until reinforcement arrives.
    I told before, I don’t think ‘Arsenal DNA’ has any tangible value when it comes to manage the team. Sure, it could be a factor players looking up to club legends, but I don’t see players not looking up to Allegri, Enrique or Benitez. Anyway, my main concern against Ljungberg (whom I personally like a lot), that he started coaching in 2016, and he has only 26 (good but not great U23) games under his belt. Comparing that to Lampard and Solskjaer (whom I also consider inexperienced), the former has 78, the latter has 345 (25 youth and 241 with Molde winning the Norwegian championship twice and the cup once).
    Maybe someone should invite Bergkamp to start coaching strikers at the Academy. He could do miracles with Balogun, Greenwood and co.

    Meanwhile a pretty good article on Emery’s reign:

  • Freddie has a great relationship with the players, he is just an interim choice until they select a new manager. After the last 9/20 miserable games they must have been looking for a replacement so it should not take too long.

    Now I’m excited,

  • Ok. Someone has gone. Another has came in. First, about the former manager.

    I know that he has a team of good coaches backing him, and his run of 22 games without a loss last season is good. Last season his tactics were new and teams were at a loss on how to counter him. However, this season it seemed a waste that he made decisions hap-hazardly and made changes that were not helping the team.

    Fred is well known among the BoD and the fans alike. He plays hard for the shirt and wears his heart on his sleeve. The one moment i cannot forget is the time he dyed his hair red, and cut it to a mohawk. That is the way that all fans want the club to be playing.

    For me, it is a time of soul searching for the team and the fans. Why has it came to such a low point in history that we have to let a manager leave? Are we partially to blame? What can we expect from the team, moving ahead?

    I have wrote about the consequences of sacking Emery before the season ends, and i hope that the board takes it into careful consideration what path we should take moving forward.

    The soul-searching questions are for all to discuss and answer.


  • Excellent work TA at the most trying of times…which will likely get lost as folks try and get positive about Freddy (by Friday, indeed, I was wrong, Eris… 😉 )…

    I also want to give praise to the new fellow with the first comment (John 80)… I too had a whiff of enthusiasm when Emery gave that first presser in English, but I agree that it could be part of his downfall–or at least that I’ve got just about zero confidence in the (over) instructions he might have given his players (in English, Spanish or French–what must be his best idioms). Erik the Red notes that Ozil was ineffective last night. Emery’s German might have been even worse…

    Trust me, I have sympathy for those learning other languages, given that I’m working hard myself in a new land and have my ups and downs…

    In the end, UE probably deserves our sympathies on a grander level…or, at least, those fans (not supporters, though I hate to have to make the distinction…) who expect fundamental (or maybe Fjundemental…) changes to happen at our club with the lopping off of the figurehead (Fjigerhead?…), I believe, will be (severely) disappointed…

    Until the guy(s?) with ALL the power (the Kroenke family) believe that the most important thing is a better product (on the pitch), it’s just a different version of the same stuff. At least, we’ve got some talent in the squad–and a couple of easy (or easier…) matches in the next little bit. Unfortunately, those Wal-Mart owner types aren’t known for treating their customers (or workers for that matter) with anything but disdain…

    Finally, for those (unlike me) who didn’t take the day off for some Thanksgiving (or at least ceviche de cameron y cerveza…) at least there’s something new, so let the fun (Fjun…) begin… A change is a good as a rest, I think they say… 😀

  • PBarany. 10.34. The diffencel between opinions is amusing and what makes football such a wonderful game. We see it as we see it 😀

    BTW the reason why Mustafi was slow to close down for their second goal was that he was injured and on the ground seconds before the strike. I thought that once again Mustafi had a good game.

  • thanks, ta; i like your comment about joe, in particular
    he’s an amazing young player, who has to be given more playing time
    matteo being given precedence over him is one of ue’s things that have been beyond me – we were one-nil up when matteo was brought in yesterday (just sayin’)
    it’s all over now, the best of luck to Freddie; a huge majority of us fans will feel like helping him, which is a very good thing after the toxicity of the last two years
    i don’t care much about the results, to tell the truth; i hope he’ll bring style to our team, and i sure wish he could be allowed to “take care of our own” – i mean give playing time to the best generation of youngsters we’ve had in ages (bukayo, ainsley, reiss, joe, emil, bringing eddie home might be a good idea, imo, …)
    after a glance at the physio room (rob, granit, luiz, hector shouldn’t be available sunday), it might be a good idea to go to Norwich with:
    for the first time in months, i have hope, and look forward to sunday

  • My thoughts exactly.
    The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) said Emery’s dismissal was “unfortunate but inevitable” and the “more difficult challenge is to recruit a suitable successor”.

    It added: “We are far from certain that Arsenal has the right personnel to lead this process.

    “The AST has long been advocating that the most important changes needed at Arsenal are in the boardroom where Arsenal need better governance.”

  • Not much action GN5…Are others at work or something?… 😉 I too was thinking about linking to the AST statement…

    I’m looking forward to TA’s thoughts on the managerial change–as well as some other regulars (Admir, JW, who am I missing?… Oh yeah, the Cockie Monster…and a bunch of others who’ve dropped off over the seasons)…

    As we’ve been waiting for this moment (I thought February was awfully optimistic, truth be told, and really find it hard to believe that Emery couldn’t get this group up for promotion given two LONG seasons…), BUT, I think we also have to, as JK says, do some soul searching… It WILL be more fun, for a bit, and who knows, Freddy might keep us ahead of other (traditional) rivals (ManU, Spurs) for a bit…(and we might also be able to overtake less traditional rivals like Burnley and Sheffield United… 😮 ) BUT, a manager with some experience, maybe some successes in the cup competitions, specifically in Europe, might be our best chance at promotion (back to the CL…) so, IMO, let’s enjoy the fun…and, use talent plus (unleashed, finally) some adrenaline to go to Norwich on Sunday and do something Pep’s team couldn’t…get a result there. Then it’s Brighton at home (the fixture after which, last season, Emery was done for all intents and purposes…)

    It then gets tougher…a Monday night at the Olympic stadium (WHU, though Pellegrini might choose to give a good fight then muck it at the end, you know, hoping for the sack then our job if he and his agent and Raul are all on the same page)… Then MUCH tougher as we host last year’s domestic treble winners (ManCity) followed by away at Everton to start the “festive schedule.” He may not be not the flavor (flavour…) of the moment in Portuguese sausage makers (I prefer the standard ones, Linguica and Chourico–though I’ve heard the latter changed, in Rhode Island to Cherise…?…). Moo’s already up the 7 Sisters and Nuno is stroking that beard of his–while considering if this is the moment to snake his way out of the Black Country, but Marco Silva was also mooted…you know, back when his team was getting results. Now, (like Emery and Maybe Pelligrini) he could be on the managerial merry go round…

    After Everton there’s the short trip to (Howe do you feel about the Arsenal job, Eddie?…) Bournemouth…That’s on Boxing Day, a Thursday, then we, swallow hard now, Freddy my friend…host (on the following Sunday and Wednesday, to greet the new decade…) Chelsea and Manchester United…

    If I know my Arsenal supporters/fans/Bloggers/Tweet Elite, their heads photo-shopped onto Rocky’s body…) Freddy’s Arsenal better be dam*ed near perfect or it’s…

    Freddy (gone) by February… (And, if Freddy somehow does run the table…then we’ve got our own mess like OGS–up there in Manclandia…)

    Meet the new boss (ArsenalTV and it’s ilk?…) same as… ?… 😦

    Happy (Black) Friday…. 😀

  • I might be naive, GunnerN5, but I don’t question the boardroom (yet).
    This governance thing is a fine catchphrase, but most supporter only wants more – preferably unlimited – money spent on new signings. Which often represents double standard, as most fans despise Chelsea and Man City who spent fortunes (sometimes on unworthy players), violated financial fair play (as well as youth signing regulations), etc.

    To be perfectly honest AFTV irritates me a lot more than Raul Sanllehi. I think we have a fine squad with good players and hot young prospects. Now we need a manager that doesn’t force his philosophy on the players, but tailors the tactics to the strength and weaknesses of the existing squad. And instead of spending zillions on high profile signings he improves the team only when necessary, but then with top quality players.

  • It’s always seems to be quite during the day 17HT, our fellow bloggers have work responsibilities, all I have to manage these days are my medical appointments.

    It was inevitable that Emery had to go and I’m happy that they pulled the plug quickly, or it would have turned into a circus at the Emirates. Mind you it may have been the low attendance and not the poor results that made them react, after all we are American owned and the bottom line is their number one concern.

    Emery was out of his depth and it showed at the end of last season when he threw away the opportunity to get into the top four by a single point – here are the results from our final five games.
    Crystal Palace (h) lost 2-3, Wolves (a) lost 1-3, Leicester (a) lost 0-3, Brighton (h) drew 1-1, Burnley (a) won 3-1 – so we ended up with 4 points out of 15. That in itself was a sack-able offense.

    I’m glad he’s gone but I’m very nervous over our ability to find the ideal replacement.

  • Arsenal interim boss Freddie Ljungberg breaks silence after replacing Unai Emery

    Emery was sacked from his post as manager by the Arsenal board on Friday after a dismal run of results, with Ljungberg now tasked with handling first-team affairs

    Freddie Ljunberg has vowed to “give everything” to Arsenal after taking temporary charge following Unai Emery’s sacking.

    The former Gunners midfielder has been handed the managerial reins after Emery was dismissed off the back of a run of seven games without a win.

    Ljungberg was confirmed as his replacement on an interim basis as the club pointed to “results and performances not being at the level required” for the reason behind Emery’s exit.

    Ljungberg said on Twitter : “However long I oversee Arsenal for I will give everything I have to put smiles on faces again.

    “We have a busy few weeks ahead and the team needs your support. Let’s get to work!”
    Related Articles

    The start of this season has proved a challenge and a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night proved to be the last straw for Emery.

    Speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and the club’s owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Josh Kroenke said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand.

    “We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”

    The club statement added: “The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.

    “We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach. We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.

    “The search for a new head coach is underway and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete.”

  • pbarany, I’m with you on spending – it’s not so much the money you spend on players, it’s more about the quality you add to the squad. I’ve never watched AFTV, I’ve seen a few clips but I have no wish to watch it on a regular basis.
    I would hate this to become a similar scenario to the mid 50’s when after the successes of Tom Whittaker we suffered through 3 managers in 10 seasons and they did nothing, it was a period when we went 17 seasons from 1953/54 to 1969/70 before we won anything.

  • Well it is done. Always a bit sorry for the one who loses out, especially as he did care and worked very hard. Thanks Unai for trying as hard as you could.

    Thanks for the comments Bkers. Let’s continue discussion on a new blog that I will issue shortly.

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