A little swagger adds clarity to Emery’s attacking plan… Positives, Needs and Hopes
I think I am starting to figure it out.
It has not been clear so far, what our attacking plan is. It has made some fans doubt that Emery is even capable.
Here is what I saw against Brentford.
The attacking midfield role (switched between Iwobi and ESR) is used as a decoy in the build-up.
I have noticed that Ramsey and Ozil are rarely played to feet between the lines so I watched closer tonight.
They either stay high with the forwards when our CM’s have it or play in the hole and drag their opponent in the opposite direction that the first pass is going to open up space for player receiving.
If the pass is direct then one or two of the forwards/ attacking midfielder check back as others run behind creating confusion in their back 4. This then offers combinations in the final third.
It worked many times so we regained a little swagger for the first time this season.
I also think that the general instruction for ‘on the ball’ is… the best pass you see rather than long ball or short passing almost exclusively.
* That Arsenal were good tonight. At times really good and that this list of ‘positives’ is quite long.
* This was our best first half of the season.
Solid and safe at the back, better movement and passing in midfield and created many opportunities.
* Mustafi played well. Apart from his next episode of ‘Bizarre ways to fall over’, he was solid, smart and his distribution was very good. Probably senses Holding is breathing down his neck!
* Mkhi wanted to create and was more involved first half. It didn’t always work but he tried many ways. Credit.
* Leno was calm and assured (ignore near bizarre O.G. in first 5 mins).
His presence actually reminds me of Seaman.
Glad he had some opportunities to show off his handling and ability to come for crosses. Both very good.
His starting position will nullify the ball over the top too.
* There may be a textbook of how to play out of the back.
If there is then Arsenal’s second goal could be in it.
Good distribution, one touch passing, runs to move defenders, switch, overlap and finish.
Best goal of the season so far.
* Having said that, we seem to be instructed to only play short from GK when first and second pass options are clear.
Clear change from belligerently doing it regardless in previous games.
* Much better marking on set plays and counters.
I said after Everton that we are ‘easy to attack and find it difficult to create attacks.’
Looked like we had worked on both since.
Brentford played well for 15 mins in the second half but it was never ‘easy.’
* One of the biggest changes from previous seasons is that Guendouzi and Torreira pass forwards as their first thought.
Torreira does it quicker. Why?
I teach my team to ‘scan for colour.’ No need to look for people, takes too long. You have a couple of seconds to see your forward options. Fabregas’s game was built on this.
I have been watching Guendouzi closer. He rarely does. He is so good on the ball that it is hard to spot.
If I were an opposition manager, I would press him and not Torreira, as he needs more touches.
If I were Guendouzi, I would scan.
* When you do not notice Nacho Monreal, he has played well.
* For me, the simplest way to score is to get a dribbler with a change of pace.
Beat the full back, get in the box and cut him off as soon as you sense him on your shoulder. Do not dive. You do not have to. They will bring you down.
Iwobi did this in the first half and should have got a penalty.
* Danny Welbeck was very good in the first half. A bit of everything.
Two quality headers this season too.
I know Lacazette got a goal but I did not see the need for that particular change and moving Welbeck. He vanished afterwards.
* Nice to see that Smith Rowe is quick too.
His lack of composure will be down to nerves/excitement rather than ability, I am sure. Anticipates well too.
* Lichtsteiner, like Sokratis, understands tactical fouling. Love it!
* Back tackling.
Since moving from Hertfordshire to Tennessee and being here 19 years, I get confused as to whether some of my terms are English or American.
If ‘back tackling’ is, a US term then I will simply say that we have created many turnovers this season by our CF sneaking up behind their player and winning it.
* Elneny is not an eye catcher but I am never disappointed in him.
Does exactly what he is capable of doing.
Wish others had this habit 😉
* Brentford were on a roll from 55-70 mins.
We smartly slowed game down last 15 and it somewhat zapped their enthusiasm.
* I hope that Emery has shown the team clips of the value of challenging the CB’s in the air. Led to two great chances for ESR and Laca’s goal.
* I am not sure if this was intentional but I do not remember giving Brentford any free kicks in the final third beyond their goal.
Opportunities for CB’s to come up as that ball is bent in and we close our eyes is an equalizer for lower division teams. They may not be able to play through you but they relish those.
Well done, Arsenal.
* I have wondered for a few games why we have played a handful of low percentage passes each game.
Emery is known as a ‘direct’ coach preferring forward passes.
I wonder if language barrier or newness has confused some of our players.
My thought is that he likes longer passes than Wenger but still needs intentionality as the reason.
* Was the lack of ‘first man press’ due to us not playing a high line so players were further from opponents?
* Do we go left far more than right as a way to surprise and shift opponent when we do use the right flank?
* I mentioned at the beginning how our #10 is being used as a decoy. Is that why Ramsey is playing there?
Unlike Ozil, he does not necessarily want to be involved in build up play.
Playing Mesut there in this system might be a waste.
This position has yet to click yet, one way or the other.
Let us hope it will.
* City are superior for many reasons. One is that their Forwards are not ball watching in the final third. They are more alive than others are. I still think that our front four need to play with that excitement. Would maximize their undoubted potential.
* First half was a mix of ‘lots of almost’ more ‘very good’ and one moment of ‘excellence.’
We are still to dominate for two halves… yet.
* Much like Iwobi, Holding could save us £40M + if he gets a run and keeps improving.
* Welbeck is ‘playing better’ than Auba.
Auba has struggled in general play. I hope Welbeck’s form continues and it kick starts Auba too.
* Would like to see Lichtsteiner given a run. Better defender than Hector. Let’s wait to see about attacking.
Either way, Bellerin has played so much over the years I wonder if he is close to an injury.
Hoping that the swagger shown tonight leads to the guns coming out soon and that we start to fulfil our attacking potential 👍🏻
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.