Have we found the Firestarters?
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
What’s the fastest way to create belief in sport?
Occasionally, you support a team who are so mentally strong that they make you mentally strong too.
Most of the time though we arrive at the ground/turn on the TV and hope.
I think the fastest way to create belief is to play players that others believe in and more importantly, who play with a spark.
All season I’ve wished we had ‘individual dribbling brilliance’ but it’s not just attacking players that offer a spark.
You can have defenders that cut out high danger and fire up the crowd. Not something you want to plan for though!
A keeper who saves a penalty. Absolutely not advisable to set up for this eventuality!
Alternatively, you can start Torreira and Ramsey.
One brings the spark through running that others are not willing or able to do and the other is the king of anticipation.
I’d say it’s hard to play with Lucas Torreira and not be infected with his intensity. Marry that with the energy of Ramsey and it becomes contagious.
As both players are capable of everything on a football pitch you don’t miss others.
For the next few months Arsenal should play ‘The Firestarters.’
* Ozil was more direct in his first choice. Often he slows the attack down by turning in a circle. See first goal.
* I’m impressed that Cech is coming close to matching Leno’s performances with little match practice.
* Far better delivery at corners.
I think that was Torreira too.
* I love to watch AMN run with the ball. He glides.
* Pressing is a risk if it’s not organized by a very good coach.
It’s first benefit is cutting off their best pass. Most good players can retain the ball when being pressed. You just take away any hope for penetration.
Emery’s press is so well organized and coached. You see this in the positioning of the players. Even if 2 or 3 press the first man, others are so well positioned to press the next pass.
The main evidence of a great press is that your opponent can not find breathe anywhere.
Napoli are one of the best passing teams in Europe and Koulibaly is certainly one of the best defenders in Europe. He was rattled and his teammates were too.
Well done, Emery!
* Ramsey was certainly aware that Italian fans were watching him.
I just wish that he’d met Unai Emery earlier.
He’s always had legs and willing but under Wenger’s ‘creative freedom/non confrontational style,’ Ramsey took advantage.
He needed a coach that made him a team-minded player.
He can now play in a 2 man central midfield because he’s not focused on being a center forward. What a shame we are losing him as he is peaking.
* Would love to see more of Torreira‘s line breaking passes.
* We are still missing many opportunities at the front post. Need better movement in the box.
* Playing Napoli is a lesson in concentration. They are so sharp off the ball especially upfront. Their lightning fast darts behind the defence seem to produce the greatest percentage of their chances.
* I think it would be more beneficial sometimes for Kolasinac to shoot than cut it back.
* If Napoli would’ve scored we could have done with having the most visible part of the crowd (lower tier) to the players, stay and watch the full game. Half had left on 80 minutes. Baffling.
* Very few teams have the 3rd man runner that Ramsey is. Let’s hope Arsenal find this option in the summer.
* Napoli played compact offensively so as to stay compact on transition.
I wonder if they will open up and play with more width in second leg. If they do they may pin us back.
* Often I find myself preferring teams that press us.
Arsenal have a tendency to take too much time against teams that give us time. The press makes us sharper.
* I screwed up a game for my team last week. I overthought.
I spent too much time thinking of all the ‘what if’s’ and lost sight of the fact that the last time we played this team, we were dominant, had a game plan that worked and mentally frightened them. And we won.
I’d like Emery to pick the exact line up, with the identical front foot pressing strategy in Naples.
Get one goal, they need four.
Start fast and without fear.
If they score early, you’ve got 70-80 minutes to get the one that forces them to get four.
Players want to play to their strengths rather than try to be clever.
Go for it, Unai!
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.