‘The Birth of the Future’
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
I’ve been waiting, wondering and hoping that we were going to get this performance.
If you read often you may have got bored of my ‘need’ for Arsenal to play at a quicker tempo in the final third, the need for 1 touch to become a part of our combinations.
It seems clear that this is what they have been working on in Dubai.
With two thirds of the league playing with two low banks of four it has been much needed as we don’t have the dribbling ability out wide to go around the block so need quick combinations to unbalance.
This has been the quickest improvement and most obvious change so far under Unai Emery.
My second observation was the pressing.
It’s not new for Arsenal to press individually and collectively but it is new for us to do it for 90 minutes against a team like Newcastle.
We normally save this for the big six games.
Looks like we’ve decided to take all the games more seriously.
Have we just seen a new style?
Have we just seen ‘the birth of the future?’
An exciting look for an improving team and a commercial to show any fan what can be accomplished if you give time to a talented coach.
* I’m a big fan of Ramsey’s finish. I just love players that choose finesse over power. It shows such intelligence and confidence.
* Lacazette’s first touch has improved recently. He has to deal with the smallest spaces whilst receiving the firmest passes. A center forward’s first touch will make or break them and Lacazette is improving in this area.
* AMN got better and better as the game went on. His ability to penetrate on the dribble and willingness to go past his opponent is refreshing.
I’ve always thought Bellerin plays within himself for a player who started as a right midfielder and maybe this will push him to improve upon his return.
* Elneny was very good during his cameo.
I think it’s very hard to find a player that is ok with being ‘the last option.’
Just a thought.
* Big credit to Emery for playing a team made up of mostly players who were fresher than those who were on international duty.
* I’m not lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch Arsenal live. Occasionally though I can see that Lacazette has made a darting off the ball run behind the defence.
He seems to do it an awful lot for a guy who rarely gets the pass.
I’ve always wondered why Guendouzi and Xhaka in particular, don’t try to find him. I’m only seeing a percentage of the runs as I know that those who go to the games see all of them.
* Ozil is having a positive influence. No doubt. I’m just wondering when his vertical game will return?
He is dragging players into areas they don’t want to go, consistently combining out wide but is yet to thread the eye of the needle like he used to. Is it the need for better runs, confidence or just his tendency to pick the ball up deeper?
* I still maintain that Lacazette would be up with Auba’s goal tally if he matched his movement outside the box with better movement in the box.
Specifically, I think he should get the ‘first chance.’
I teach my CF to always position himself where he can be the first player to touch the ball on a cross.
Unless there is a player playing zonally in front of the front post, there is always the opportunity to get the ‘first chance.’
Two runs, zigzag, lose the defender, front post, BINGO!
* Has Kolasinac been instructed to not make the run behind? Are we trying different methods but ignoring what was successful for a large part of the season?
I think we should include this option.
* Mustafi’s passing in the first half was a comedy show.
* I’ve always wished that Ozil would use his right foot. He can often delay an attacking thrust by turning in a circle when a vertical ball could be hit with his right foot.
* I’ve been able to watch Xavier Amaechi recently.
There are no guarantees that potential is fulfilled but this guy has wonderful feet and dribbling ability.
Will Amaechi and Saka get a proper chance at Arsenal or will they follow the trend of skipping over to Germany.
As young as they are, Jadon Sancho is barely older and is only behind Messi for assists in Europe.
I would love to see one of them on the bench for the rest of the season as an option.
We could save ourselves £40M+!
Guendouzi was/is trusted and he plays a position where very few big clubs in Europe are willing to play someone 20 or under.
The next step for Arsenal is to be able to replicate this impressive home form on the road.
I’m starting to feel very confident in this happening.
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.