Eight Observations v Spuds: Structure v Chaos, Saliba the Swan, Is there a MOTM?

Till at least half January we can call ourselves the Kings of North London. The boys did us proud with a fine win. Whilst Arsenal played the game beautifully, our neighbours were accused of playing football that resembles a nr2 in the toilet department. As per Allezkev’s excellent post, the atmosphere at Ashburton Grove was phenomenal and the team has fully reconnected with the supporters.

Eight Observations:

  1. Way back when Partey was interviewed by Arsenal, he apparently said he felt he could form a great duo with Xhaka. Arteta has found a way to get the very best out of both, and seeing them together thanking the supporters after the match was a fine thing to behold. Both scored unforgettable goals to take the win, but more than that they bossed the midfield. Fingers crossed they stay fit and play many key games together this season.
  2. Chaos v structure – how we cracked Conte’s wall of potatoes! Whereas Granit and Thomas mainly bring structure to our game, the likes of Martinelli, Jesus, Saka and Ode bring organised chaos, which, I admit is almost an oxymoron (just like a handsome or inspiring Spud is one). The energy of these four players is amazing and they never leave the opponents alone. They give them no time to settle and organise themselves. Arteta wanted this from Auba and Laca and did not get it enough, especially from the former. The Big difference is also that the awesome foursome do not just create pressure and chaos collectively, they also deliver the bacon, with a goal for Jesus, an assist for Martinelli and a shot by Saka that led to the all important second goal.
  3. I cannot pick a MOTM. XhakA deserved it but they all played fabulously. It was a true team performance and I thought that Martinelli most epitomised the spirit of this new team with a relentless and high quality performance. So if I had to choose I would give it to our young Gabby.
  4. Seeing a defender slide across the field like William Saliba is a joy to behold. It all seems effortlessly like a swan on Ashburton lake. Let’s hope this calm rubs off on Big Gab who still needs to overcome his unforced panicky moments in the big games. I think Big Gab is suffering a bit from Xhaka playing much higher up the pitch, though, and his team working with Zinchenko is a work in progress.
  5. The small yet big differences: Ramsdale makes a crucial safe from a hopeful poke by Richarlison yet Lloris fumbles Saka’s shot and GJ9 pounces and scores. That’s all about focus and concentration and our boys had it in spades. The Spuds were simply not at the races all over the field.
  6. I love our full backs White and Zinchenko. Are they wingback? Possibly, but they do not overly commit to attacking. Instead, they like to squeeze in and help out midfield regularly. They also want to own their entire flank, wherever the action is, and they make it look easy.
  7. Some have criticised that we don’t push on to score five or more. It is clear that when we make subs we lose some of our focus and intensity, and that is an area for improvement. Yet, if and when possible, Arteta simply needs to make changes to keep our key players fit with so many games to be played before the start of the World Cup. Arteta knew when the game was won and changes could be made. It’s about preserving resources right now and we may have to wait for big wins a while longer.
  8. There’s still work to do this week before Arsenal play Pool. The Spuds final ball in attack was poor and a slicker team would have caused more difficulties in our defence. The Scousers will be a step up on Sunday, so Arteta and the team should still find some important lessons from analysing the game. Especially when Partey was pushed up high we looked vulnerable on the counter attack, and on our left flank we seemed to miss Tierneys speed at times.

By TotalArsenal

58 thoughts on “Eight Observations v Spuds: Structure v Chaos, Saliba the Swan, Is there a MOTM?

  • An apt description of their football, Total. And a good breakdown of ours.
    Point 6 is perceptive. I think Ben and Oleksandr squeezing in to support the midfield is what allows Granit the freedom to get further forward. It is a tactical triumph. I am interested to see if Kieran and Tomi start on Thursday evening and if they follow the same tactic.

  • I wonder if Tomiyasu will start as a centre back on Thursday?

    Liverpool have held a psychological advantage over Arsenal for quite a few seasons now, pretty much throughout Klopps reign as boss, we’ve been completely crushed at Anfield and at home our record has been abysmal, but this Liverpool team for all its talents and big names is showing signs of age, cracks are appearing and this Arsenal team has the energy, ability and desire to pass them to death. I’m not worried about Liverpool at all and I fully expect to see this full-strength Arsenal beat them.

  • If we beat pools then the three points will give us depth when we play CITY AND THAT WILL BE CRUCIAL IN OUR ADVANCE towards the end of first round. Safe journey young Gunners.

  • AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City D
    Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur * H (2-0)
    Crystal Palace v Leeds United * H (2-0)
    Arsenal v Liverpool * H (3-1)
    Real Sociedad v Villarreal A

  • That’s a fine post Total, It’s hard not to be impressed by our team, manager and supporters they are all playing their roles admirably. Although any one of our players could have been named MOM I believe that it was our fans that pulled us through the sticky moments in the game – especially when they were awarded their penalty – at another time the fans would have gone quiet (at best) but this time they roared into action.

    For many a long season I’ve believed the the crowd have been our biggest problem and were almost the twelfth man for the opposition but the season the pendulum has swung and they are now our twelfth man.

  • Spring is beautiful, Total. The orchard is at that lovely stage when the oranges are still in spate with the blossoms of next years fruit sharing the trees, a combination of the colours orange, white and green with a heavenly fragrance in the evenings. Jamie and I are building a bush hut down by our creek, Sarah is planting out the vegetables and … Arsenal are top of the league.

  • Fine post with lots of valid observations.
    The only different opinion I have is re 7.

    I think the we are ‘inherently’ losing the momentum and motivation somewhere around the hour mark or at the halfway point to the second half, and the substitute players in fact are injecting energy to the team: I see Sambi, Tierney and Nketiah trying to push the attacks all the time (which is 8-12 minutes per game to be fair). So the lost intensity – of which I cannot deny – is not because of the substitution, but rather in spite of the extra energy coming from the bench, however the team focus (or stamina?) has been decreased to a level that the new guys couldn’t turn it around despite their best efforts.

  • Thanks, TA; my (only) (little) caveat would be the same as Pb, I’m among the ones who are a bit concerned with the goals we … don’t score; more than that about the relatively few opportunities we create, but then again as I wrote during the game the whole point of “the other mob” under Conte is to annihilate whatever their opponents try to create, so …
    I hope we’ll get a glimpse of Reiss tonight, not sure I’d start him though
    Something like (“out of possession” setup):
    would be fine with me
    (but I doubt Martin will sit this game out, for obvious reasons)
    I think a proper 90-minute full-speed runout up and down a flank is what our boy of the rising sun needs right now
    BigGab could do with building back his confidence, tonight’s game might be an opportunity for it
    I’d be very curious to have Alex tested in Granit’s position/role. We may believe that our deputy captain is indestructible but he’s not; Alex can both play alongside Tom when out of possession, and fiil the Granit’s spot when in possession – this 3-2-4-1 which was a joy to watch saturday
    Tonight we’d get when attacking
    which looks appealing to me
    Lastly, I’d rather Marti, not Reiss, got another start, since he needs to score again asap. As for Reiss he hasn’t played in such a long time that taking Marti off and bringing him on for 30 minutes once the Glimt boys have started tiring a little is the proper way to put him back on saddle imo
    I haven’t watched any highlights of Glimt’s games, but they ‘ll be a tough nut to crack, if only because they’re bound to be impressive athletes – all Norwegian players are
    Early spring looks glorious indeed under your latitude, Stu

  • What a heavenly description, Stu. I am hearing Vivaldi in the background. Summer in England followed by Spring in New Zealand… Bliss! ☀️☀️

  • I posted a “reply”, TA, but I think I mixed things up when filling up the mail/name/website boxes
    Maybe in your spams …

  • That’s a fine comment, Le Gall!

    I like your line ups and thoughts. I expect GJ9 to start alongside Eddie and Marquinos. A Sambi and Zinch midfield with Vieira on the hole.

  • Stuart your sermons must be wonderful to listen to – you have such a descriptive way with words.
    Have you any recordings that you can share with us?

  • Kev, please provide a selfie.
    The stadium atmosphere is quite exciting, but I’m more interested in you, brother. 🙂

  • Those Bodo fans look a lot of fun. I heard on “Handbrake off” that their name means “Lightening of Bodo”.
    Thanks for your hugely encouraging e mail, GN5. I shall respond after this mornings game.
    As for sermons, this is my Fathers Day message from last month. https://www.kerikeribaptist.nz/stu-angus-4-september-2022

    My youngest son, Solomon is into Vivaldi, Total. My turntable spins Amos Lee and Ray Montaigne lately. And Dylan, always Dylan.

    Arsenal XI: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Marquinhos, Vieira, Martinelli, Nketiah.

  • Those Bodo fans look a lot of fun. I heard on “Handbrake off” that their name means “Lightening of Bodo”.
    Thanks for your hugely encouraging e mail, GN5. I shall respond after this mornings game.
    As for sermons, this is my Fathers Day message from last month. https://www.kerikeribaptist.nz/stu-angus-4-september-2022

    My youngest son, Solomon is into Vivaldi, Total. My turntable spins Amos Lee and Ray Montaigne lately. And Dylan, always Dylan.

    Arsenal XI: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Marquinhos, Vieira, Martinelli, Nketiah.

  • You fella’s are pretty onto it with your team selections.
    PSV having a good time in Zurich.

  • The Zinch not even on the bench – let’s hope it’s only a precaution for Sunday.
    Anyway, Mr. Reliable Tierney would be ready …
    Some time ago, I was offered this

    Might be anathema for purists, but it was a very nice surprise and I put it on quite often (Hugues de Courson is a former folk singer, he has done something about Mozart and Egypt, too)

  • That’s very cool, Le Gall. I’ll try it out on my sons.
    Sol’s still abed, Total, but I shall pass on your salute when he is up.

  • Before anyone would imply that Arteta showed some balls by rotating the team, this is EXACTLY the line-up and formation from Zurich, so basically had nothing to do with the current form and fitness.
    Nevertheless it should be a sure 3 points in the bank, and hopefully we will see Nelson, Soares and M. Smith, but if I’m being honest maybe Reiss will get a 20-minutes run.

  • What a shot from KT, and superb predatory instincts from Eddie. Big Rob looking tidy.

  • Yes it all Bodos well for the boys.

    I love the structure to the team, especially at the back and in midfield. Eddie is up for it alright. Need a bit more from Marquinos, Vieira and Martinelli. Will come in the second half, I reckon. 🙂

  • A job well done, if ever there was one
    I loved Eddie’s goal, in the box his reactions are as fast as those of a cat on the prowl
    GabMarq’s second outing is not as brilliant as the first, we may see Reiss sooner than what you’ve predicted, Pb
    Rob’s joy after his goal was heartwarwing; he’s been faultless (as he so often is) actually, if I were GabMag I’d give a serious thought to improving my consistency
    The Vikings in the stands have been hushed a little, I think after the second they started thinking they were in for a rout – give the NLUBar tip to those you come across with, Kev, they might need it to properly cheer up

  • You simply cannot get the Internet in the Emirates. That was a really tough game, Glimt are big, fit, physical and skilful, we did well to win that game 3-0.

  • LeG there was a lot of yellow shirts in the stadium, I hope they enjoyed their trip to London…

    Peter you really wouldn’t want a selfie, honest…

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