Well that was an easy, stress-free Sunday afternoon of football, wasn’t it? I am not entirely sure why this formation worked so well against, it must be said, a weak Newcastle team. A clean sheet, a good number of chances for Arsenal and two goals to the good; it was just what we needed. Arteta, as expected, made a large number of changes and the players who were picked did put in a shift, I guess with the hope of also starting on Thursday – the next game of the season.
Regulars on Bergkampesque know how much I rate Elneny as back-up DM and I was glad he scored a rare goal for the team. There is no doubt that Partey is the better player of the two but every team needs players like Mo on the bench/team: those who accept that they will not play all the time but will give their all when they get a chance. Mo is such a player and that is what I like about him. Auba also really needed a game AND a goal and he got one in fine fashion. All good.
Another good thing about yesterday’s game is that Auba, Odegaard, Ryan, Big Gab, Luiz and Martinelli got a full work-out before Thursday’s game. This will have made them match fit and so Arteta will have good options to pick from against fellow-slick-haired Emery on Thursday. Thank you Magpies for giving us this wonderful practice and preparation game!
I know we have become used to cup success but we should not take it for granted that we are once again close to a cup final. We are a team in transition under Arteta and he is making good progress in my opinion. The problem is that he is not allowed to just focus on the team for next season and use the current one for this sole purpose. Mikel is also tasked to try and get us into the CL already this season for obvious financial reasons, and his only route to do so is through the Europa League. I was not impressed with the way he set up the team and especially the first half against Villareal, but the team fought back to leave the Madrigal with just a small loss and the very precious away-goal in the bag. It was pretty ugly but effective.
I really find it amazing that in this transitional year we are very close to playing in an European final again. For this we need one more fecking fantastic game from the boys and I sense that a) the players really know this and b) they are so ready for it. Some are worried about having to play the final, if we were to make it, against Manure who are currently playing very well. But a final is an unique occasion and Arteta has had the number of OGS in a few encounters already. As Mikel said recently: we can beat any team on the day.
So to make this post a bit more interactive here are a few questions for you for the Thursday home game against Emery’s Yellow Submarine – and I would love to hear your responses in the comments section:
- Which formation should Arteta pick: 4-2-3-1, 3-4-3, 4-1-4-1, other?
- Who should he put in goal: Leno or Ryan?
- Who should be our central defence: two (or three?) out of Luiz, Holding, Big Gab, Mari, Chambers?
- Who should be our full-backs (or wing backs): Tierney, Xhaka, Soares, Chambers, Hector?
- Who should captain the team?
- Who should play in midfield – three positions with either two ‘DMs’ and AM or one DM and two AMs?
- Who should play in attack: CF and wingers?
- Who should be the super-sub to potentially clinch the game in the last 20-30 minutes?
Over to you!