Arsenal 3-0 Rennes [4-3] “Never put bullets in your enemy’s gun” (Positive Needs & Hopes)

amn defence

‘Never put bullets in your enemies gun’

It must be tempting.

You are taught as a professional to give nothing to the media.
It seems like most every time a player does or says something to inflame the game, it backfires.

Players should not need extra motivation but I’m a guy and I get it.
The coach can do or say anything he wants but no motivation will beat my desire for an opponent to have to swallow his words. Maybe it’s a guy thing or just a human reaction.

Lingard probably didn’t think it would backfire when he called the Emirates ‘his dancefloor’ as I’m not entirely sure that Lingard has the capacity to think about repercussions.
After reading the post game comments after the United game it was obvious that this was used to motivate.

Ben Arfa was an easy target. You don’t have to prod him with a very long stick to get him to say something that will blow up in his face.

For as long as I’ve been alive I’ve heard of these stories. Players posting insults on the dressing room wall to motivate.

To be fair, I think Arsenal didn’t lack belief or motivation. They already came to the game with a gun.

Mr Ben Arfa…. never put bullets in your enemy’s gun.

black panther


* Yet another game where the coach had a large impact.
I believe the fast start came from the motivation said above, but also I think the players like having both Auba and Laca on the pitch at the same time, Ozil too and probably Ramsey also. Emery’s in-game management seemed a little risky after 20 minutes but ultimately worked out well. His substitutions were timed perfectly just as Rennes were fading we started attacking with ball carriers.

* Emery‘s decision to play 3-4-1-2 gave us the overloads out wide therefore nullifying Sarr and Ben Arfa for most of the night.

* I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Lacazette’s back tackling. I tell my centre forward to do the same thing early in the game because from that moment on the defensive midfielder feels pressure in his mind even if you’re not pressuring him.

* Without a shadow of a doubt Granit Xhaka has improved his defensive side of his game this season. Without this improvement his stay at Arsenal would’ve been very short-lived. As would his time on the field I think. He has become a more serious player defensively. Somebody on the coaching staff does need to have a conversation with him about the intensity with which he complains to the referees on a consistent basis.

* I was very glad that the referee seemed to read the pulse of the game and in particular Rennes’ clear desire to get any of our players sent off.

Rennes' Mozambicans defender Mexer (L) vies with Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg football match between Arsenal and Rennes at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ian KINGTON / AFP)

(Photo by Ian KINGTON / AFP)

* Could AMN be another player that saves us more money this summer and allows us to spend bigger in more needed area like Centre Back or Winger?
His last few performances have been significantly more focused, especially defensively. He’s attacking ability I don’t think was ever in doubt and the goals are greatly appreciated but he seemed to be way too relaxed about defending until recently.

* Has Sead Kolasinac been our player of the season?
Most improved player?
He at least deserves a mention in both categories.
To go from a player that almost everybody would’ve been happy if he was sold to one of our most regular potent attacking threats is admirable.

* For those who have read these blogs previously the season you may remember me mentioning that I’m surprised that other teams have not replicated City’s ability to score off the low cross the season. It isn’t so much the cross itself but the speed with which it’s hit. Our third goal would not have been possible if it wasn’t hit at a speed where the goalkeeper and defender could impact.

* I think our chances of staying in the top four and winning the Europa League live closer to the need for Koscielny and Sokratis to stay fit than any of the other players.
Mustafi as usual made some important defensive headers and brave blocks but at least twice gifted them opportunities.

* Nice to hear ‘One Unai Emery’ sang.
I’m sure he will greatly appreciate the love.


* The first half zipped by as the ball did across the turf.
The second half got edgy when we started to play with too many touches.

* I think that Ozil‘s strength currently is his reading of the game. He seems to understand, with the freedom that he’s given, whether the wings need to be overloaded or he needs to stay centrally. Perhaps with more games his defense splitting passes will come back as they have been largely absent this season.

* I’m a big fan of giving yourself the ‘first chance’ on crosses.
The ‘first chance’ is normally given to the defender at the front post who has a zonal job.
How many crosses are cleared at the front post? I would say at least 50% in every game. Lacazette has a tendency to wait for the ‘second chance’ and hope that the delivery beats the first man. Auba prefers the ‘last chance’ at the back post but needs perfect delivery which he got tonight.

* On free kicks and corners in particular you will notice the current trend of opponents overloading the back post after the ball is cleared.

When the ball returns into the box there is often an overload of attackers waiting for a simple chance. Arsenal need to pay attention to this.



* After the fans forum this week the main headline was that the club is not going to allow players to go into the last two years of the contracts without re-signing or selling.

Of that list Mustafi is the most likely to be sold and I wonder if the club will offer Sokratis and Auba enough years to encourage them to resign?
I’m thinking that they may both be offered one more year extension due to their age and hope that they don’t get a better offer elsewhere.
Sokratis may get a two year extension as CB’s often hit their peak mid-thirties.
To be fair to Auba he doesn’t really look like and play like a guy in his 30’s so maybe that will be a consideration?

* That the players keep their new level of consistency and focus when they come back after the break.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Petr Cech of Arsenal celebrates at full-time of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Arsenal and Stade Rennais at Emirates Stadium on March 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)


Arsenal have momentum. I hope they keep their motivation.

If they are lacking a little, it would sure be nice if Troy Deeney, Theo Walcott, Jamie Vardy and a few others would say something derogatory in the lead up to their games against us!

@mike_mmcdonald and

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