Arsenal 2 – 2 Crystal Patrick
Eight oobservations from an intriguing game:
- Our formation and lineup were very attack minded but we did not dare to push up much after the first goal and Arteta’s plan to dominate CP in their own half therefore failed and we paid the price for it.
- Partey as the sole DM remains clearly a work in progress. We need our young advanced midfielders to be much more dynamic and ball tight for this. Ode, ESR and Saka as a trio were disappointing on the night as they were roughed out of the game, and we need more from OES.
- Arteta did the right thing to bring on Sambi as we needed to reestablish dominance in midfield but he had a poor showing IMHO with limited positional awareness and movement into the key spaces to make things happen. This were Granit excells. I would not play him on the left for a while. In fact, more assimilation needs to be done and Elneny next to Partey seems required now. The midfield balance is the big issue and needs resolving quickly.
- Auba was inspirational and he was rewarded with a goal for his focus and determination. And Laca’s entrance to the arena was well needed and saved us from a loss. Arteta will need to incorporate both more regularly, especially against deep sitting teams.
- Tomiyasu was awesome and so was Tierney. They had to defend a lot of space around them due to the lineup but they did it very well. Our central defenders were left far too exposed and I don’t blame them for the goals. Both central midfielders made mistakes that cost us but the whole team will learn from this.
- It was great to see Vieira at the home of football and his team set up and tactics did impress me. He knew where to hurt us and would have deserved to beat us, and many a team will struggle against them.
- The kick against Saka and Dean’s and VAR’s responses were a disgrace to the game. Honestly, what is going on?! Dean’s leniency towards our opposition roughing us up and kicking our players left, right and centre was of course no surprise, but it remains disgraceful that such an incompetent referee is allowed to officiate PL games. He would have no chance in any other key European competition.
- I will finish with the obvious big positive: Arsenal’s fighting spirit and never say die attitude were a joy to watch. Get the midfield balance back and Arsenal will go places. It’s time for Elneny.