Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea: Gunners perfect the ‘boring boring stuff’ to seize crucial victory over Top 4 rivals. [Positives Needs & Hopes]


The Spectacular Unspectacular


Fans need hope but boy, oh boy has society done a number on our levels of patience.
Yesterday, was a spectacular display of seriousness.
Flicking through Twitter I have started to only pay attention to those who don’t have extreme views.
“We are awful”, “So and so is a genius”, “We need 6 more players to compete” and on and on.
Here is what I see….
Arsenal were spectacular today at the unspectacular.
The intensity, tackling, blocking, second effort, squeezing the space and sprints.
None of that can make a newspaper headline because it’s not ‘awful,’ ‘brilliant’ or quite frankly ‘very interesting’ to most.
Perhaps the absolute truth of what is happening at Arsenal is that we are sometimes good (not brilliant) at those aspects of the game that don’t bring headlines. So they get ignored somewhat.
Coaching is good at Arsenal and in some cases, very impressive. In 4 months Holding was coached to become our most reliable CB. Kolasinac has been coached to not only become one of the best LWB’s in the league but his defending is improving. Xhaka may make the odd mistake but he’s been coached to care more about runners and filling the gap between centre backs when we are pinned. Iwobi has been coached to release his ‘backpack of worry’ and go again etc, etc…

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Kolasinac could save Arsenal £30M” is not a headline, but it should be acknowledged by Arsenal fans.
Emery has proved that COACHING can change your circumstance. High level thinking, tactics, substitutions etc…
Yet which of us midweek concern ourselves with the hope that ‘Guendouzi needs to be more spatially aware and we hope he is being taught this’ rather than ‘he needs to be replaced, he’s too young and let’s sign Antonio Awesome!’
We want all problems to be fixed NOW with transfers, sackings or some similar form of instant gratification.
Here is an evil thought…, what if we gave Koscielny time, remember that he would have been a WC winner if not for injury. See how well Sokratis has started after just 4 months, remember that Holding was very good and see great hope in Mavropanos. That Mustafi has better defensive numbers than most CB’s in the league, observe the improvement of Kola and Bellerin and not pine for a complete defensive overhaul but instead trust a coach who improves players to improve what we have!!
We have a leader and speed in Sokratis, experience in Kos, height and talent in Mavropanos and Holding and improving full backs.
So many want Van Dijk’s twin brother.
Maybe the next best all around defender is actually Sokratis?
When I think about Arsenal’s needs for player change I look firstly at our best performances. Three jump to my mind. Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea at home. In all three games we showed we have the ‘capability to compete.’
So, what’s the real problem with us not competing.
To me, it’s pulling yesterday’s performance out of the players every game. Not a transfer. Not a new coach. 
We are good. We could be very good. I just don’t think that it’s smart to think that change is always the answer. 
If this was a tweet I’d say in short, ’If you trust the coach to improve players and the situation, then look to that first. If not, look to signings. If neither works, then start shouting and screaming 👍🏻


* Most importantly, Emery has to be seeing the huge contrast in ‘intense AFC’ and ‘laid back AFC.’
Arsenal don’t work hard enough often enough.
Understanding that you can’t play like that for 38-55 games, but you could play like this for the first 20 minutes.
The phrase ‘hard work’ is overused.
Most of what we see is ‘work.’
Hard work begins when you are in some form of discomfort.
On the 68th minute I noticed that many of our guys looked exhausted.
Thirty minutes later they were still sprinting and pressing.
That’s hard work.
* When the game needs extra fire, Guendouzi is the first to step up
* Sokratis should be Arsenal’s captain
* From fatigue last week to pressing in the 96th minute 😳
* The fearless formation and start to the game.
Mr Emery, 

Front foot Arsenal is your best look.
British fans love hard work almost as much as winning. 
Please consider 😊

The Fans
* Improved delivery from set plays created all our best chances and goals
* Laca’s goal was high level. First touch of gold under pressure and yet again showing us his prowess from tight angles
* When AMN and PEA are sprinting and giving instant second effort, it’s a good day.
* The Bellerin situation is not good or it’s an opportunity for AMN to make a career. Much like Hector did when Debuchy got injured.
* Emery’s decision to put Ramsey on Jorginho and to play more compact in our defensive third led to frustration for CFC
* CFC should be competing for the league. They have very little lack. If they played a 4-2-3-1 with Giroud as a pivot for Hazard running off him, CHO on the wing and Kante in a two with Jorginho they would higher in the league. Sarri doesn’t seem to believe in rotation or substitutions like he should. All to our advantage!


* I don’t think we need this but Mesut Ozil needs to show he is at least a 3 in 4 game big contributor rather than 1 in 4.
This is a classic reason why I don’t believe in extreme statements.
If Ozil was a 3 in 4 guy I’d be wondering why Emery is doing what he’s doing too. He’s not. When he has his brilliant game I know what’s coming next time I watch him and for me, I’m over it.
Good for Emery in making Ozil accountable.
If your boss allowed you to be ‘on it’ on Thursdays and maybe Mondays but work way below your potential on Tues/Wed/Friday he wouldn’t be a very good boss, right?
* Guendouzi was great today but he will be tiring. I’d love to see Joe Willock be trusted like MG has.
* There were times when we went too direct. Perhaps Ramsey was too preoccupied with tracking Jorginho to be the connector. We won. It’s fine.
* I would like to see an exit plan beyond the long ball to AL/PEA, when our right back is in possession.
Bellerin was often stuck for options.
* If we persist with a 4-3-3 then I’d like to see Ramsey as the third midfielder. His perfect role that he’s never had the chance to play consistently at AFC.
* There were times that CFC hit 50 yard balls to Pedro and we didn’t shift and push SK to meet him. He travelled too far.
* Would like to see Kola shoot when he gets past last defender. His final ball is very good but he’s getting too generous.
* If we are actively trying to sell Ozil then today’s strategy of putting him on the bench and bringing on Iwobi may have been more irritating to him than not being in the eighteen.
Just wondering if that was an intentional strategy to upset a guy who doesn’t want to budge?


* That by some miracle, Hector’s injury isn’t long term.
* Keep an eye on Aaron Wan Bissaka at Palace. Highest tackle % of any player in Europe. If we had £30M now he would be the ideal Bellerin replacement/competition and an option to Torreira too, I feel.
* Keep an eye on Xavier Amaechi in the U-23’s. Bayern Munich are so maybe we should.
* Don’t rule out Krystian Bielik who is quietly having a great season at Charlton. In my opinion, he will be a similar but better version of Granit Xhaka in time, with more mobility and defensive abilities.
* If we are in for Malcolm, then I’d chose AFC over THFC and EFC if I was him. They have similar players and we don’t have anyone similar.
* Would like to see Pleguezuelo given a chance to replace Bellerin.
If we are looking for a quick replacement then Portuguese right back Cedric Soares is talented and not playing right now.
* Looking forward to Mavropanos vs Utd!
* Back to the world of ‘Arsenal is blowing up and I’m gonna be extreme about it before I even engage my brain’…..,
Is it possible that Sven Mislintat leaving so soon is a good thing?
Not that he is anything but very good at scouting but how much damage could it do us if there are years of conflict and delays over transfers because our management have egos and can’t agree. Arsenal haven’t been good at transfer windows for many years. I hate that a talented guy can’t mesh but I’m for Arsenal first before I’m for Sven and the upset that I feel.
chelsea losers


It’s a great day when Granit Xhaka outsprints N’golo Kante in the 89th minute!
I’m not making it up!
Mike McDonald 

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2 Responses to Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea: Gunners perfect the ‘boring boring stuff’ to seize crucial victory over Top 4 rivals. [Positives Needs & Hopes]

  1. Omar El-kilany January 20, 2019 at 5:54 pm #

    Excellent read Mike, level headed & balanced, always like reading your articles always make sense.

  2. Wilberforce January 22, 2019 at 1:11 am #

    Good read.

    Emery is finding the right formation and utilising the talent of Ramsey abd giving him cover.

    Gdog Xhaka and Torreira was bold but it worked allowing Ramsey to play behind the strikers. I also think that should be the formation to get the best out of Ozil in a swap with Ramsey. We can’t play Xhaka and G dog without Torreira and there is no room for Rasmey and Ozil in the same team.

    The 3 at the back works well with Kolasinac and Iwobi on the left but with Bellerin and Miki our R side does not produce. All Westhan did was shut us down on the L and our front 2 looked isolated.

    I really hope we play the diamond for a few games in a row now and we don’t go back to the 3 at the back. AMN looked better when he came on and I really like him but he had a poor game against West Ham.

    Really hope with the lack of funds we can start to trust the youth a bit more. We need width well we have Sakah. Willock deserves a game at the tip of the diamond with the protection of our 3 defensive players and ESR can also play in the middle.

    It’s a shame about Bellerin as I would love to see AMN be given a few games in place of Gdog as he is only 19 and will need a rest and I want to see AMN be given a change to play in his best position next to Torreira and in fron of Xhaka.

    Also can’t wait to see Mavropanos get soke games as he could be a regular started and I like the idea of him and Sokratis together.

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