The close friendship between happiness and frustration
Positives, Needs and Hopes.
I am so happy that we are winning the games that we do not necessarily deserve to.
I am frustrated that we are winning but not playing particularly well.
Happy, frustrated. Frustrated or happy?
I have decided…I am 63% happy and 37% frustrated 😆
Happily frustrated. That’s me!
How are Arsenal Football Club 4 points off the top of the league?!?!
Liverpool, City, Chelsea all playing some scintillating stuff.
Arsenal are like the boys at the school dance that are attracting the same amount of female attention as the popular kids and half the school is looking on wondering why!
Formation: 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-2-1 if you saw Ramsey as anonymous
* That Holding is looking good. Very good. Is it out of line to think that it is a good thing that Mustafi was poor?
If Holding were quick, he would have almost the full package.
He has started 4 times in 2018. We have won all four. Useless stat or revealing?
* The list of improvements from last season is becoming clearer.
We are seeing habits repeating themselves. Positive habits.
Here are a few…
1. Grinding out victories when not playing well was never a Wenger quality. If we played poorly, we invariably lost.
We played well, we won 70% of the time because he left us exposed and players were allowed to not care enough.
We have not played well for 90 mins in any of our league games and we have won five in a row 😳
2. Do not look like conceding from corners
3. Accountability has improved Iwobi, Lacazette and Cech in particular.
4. Long term, accountability will improve many more or lead to us becoming a better selling team.
5. No needless horizontal passing/stat padding, boring the soul out of Arsenal fans
6. Substitutions that are well thought through and that are consistently changing games.
7. Best of all… the evolution of ‘playing out of the back.’
First two games we seemed to do it whether it was a good idea or not.
Emery has clearly showed the humility to admit that we only need to go short if it is going to be a positive solution. We are now making the right choice rather than ceding to a style regardless.
This is bigger than just playing out of the back.
It tells me that we will do what works rather than force a style to create an ‘I told you so’ moment.
* In the 32nd minute we kept possession for over 20 passes. With the more direct vertical game and the end-to-end nature that this can bring, it is important that we combine this with phases of recycling/possession with a purpose, so we do not exhaust ourselves or become predictable.
Last 10 minutes we used possession to defuse Watford’s enthusiasm.
* I do not think it is a coincidence that Petr Cech (and others) have bulked up their upper torso and upper arms and that he is becoming more dominant in the air.
Get well soon, Petr!
* First game I have seen Leno play where he had big moments when it mattered. It wasn’t perfect but encouraging.
* Alex Iwobi has 180’d. In short, last season he gave the vibe that he didn’t care enough.
He looks serious now about fulfilling his potential and he is a true difference maker.
I thought that he would never make a winger. He wanted to shift the responsibility.
I had him down as a ball carrying centre midfielder in a 4-3-3 or nothing.
As stated in previous articles, Iwobi may save us big money. Two assists in ten minutes!
* If Welbeck keeps this up it would be hard to replace him with similar versatile, impactful quality.
* Credit the hierarchy at Watford. They have found a tactically astute coach, a modern powerful team and play fearlessly.
I am expecting at least one of Watford, Wolves, Leicester or Everton to break up the Top 6.
Watford and Wolves are bold and will be rewarded.
* Is the ‘new everything’ the reason for the sketchy team performances or are we waiting for a better team to expose us?
Before we scored, I was thinking … we are at home playing Watford in an end-to-end game where both teams had equal opportunities to shine and we do not look superior.
I think we should.
Our players that are supposed to be ‘better’ than our opponents are not making that difference yet.
I always watch Graham on AFTV. I hope someone at the club is savvy enough to do the same.
I digress. He stated in his tweets the last few days that we are not building around Auba and Ozil.
I agree with Graham. That is two elite players that I am forgetting are out there sometimes.
I feel the direct style suits Mustafi and Xhaka’s desire to pass long. I am not criticizing this but I am concerned that a lower level of player is able to show their gifts and (perhaps) our two elite guys are sidekicks.
* Iwobi to RW, Ozil to CAM and Ramsey to the bench is an easy change in the current situation.
Solves three problems at least. Ozil playing in natural area. Iwobi’s form gets longer than 30 minutes and Ramsey’s lack of form is replaced with a more effective player.
Their Right Back was raw and had mistakes in him.
Would have loved to see Iwobi running at him from minute one.
* Away team locker room…. “Arsenal are spluttering, not fully sure of themselves and still vulnerable at the back. Do not be afraid! You can take them.”
I am thinking that until we start to demand respect with our performances other teams will look forward to playing us as I believe we are seen as ‘very beatable.’
* The direct vertical pass to a vertical run is ordinarily easy for Centre Backs. Even if you have Pirlo in your midfield, the vertical run in particular does not move defenders or cause unrest.
* Mustafi’s big weakness is impatience.
We all see him on the ground. I think that is laziness. Does not want to run the extra 30 yards and delay.
He rams into back of forwards. On the halfway line is one thing but the modern day free kick bent in from the wing to the back post is creating many goals and is a nightmare for defenders.
* Need to play quicker in midfield.
* Trust Iwobi or buy us an individual.
Someone who does not care about possession but wants to win games with direct dribbling.
The Watford game is one of many already this season that was crying out for individual brilliance when the team was finding the collective effort unrewarding.
Zaha is an Arsenal fan. After not succeeding at Utd and being at the peak of his powers, I would say his motivation is very high.
His product level would double because he would get the ball more.
* That Mesut finds his passing ability again.
* Sokratis and Holding. Please.
* Players dive for two reasons. Firstly, because if they do not they do not get the penalty (Lacazette).
Secondly, because the reward is huge for a moment that was perhaps a 5% goal scoring opportunity.
I hope the FA look at that Lacazette moment as it is a perfect example of something that is an easy fix.
Finally, this blog writing is therapeutic.
I’m 74% happy now 😊
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.