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:
- Tierney had a good battle on the left flank and he is starting to look the player we hoped he will be;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- Martinez looked confident and did nothing wrong.
- 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.