I agree with Dave`s analysis of the Watford match. In contrast, against Everton, I regretfully strongly disagreed with Marble Halls preview and particularly his selection for the game as he suggested Guendouzi and Elneny should play. I suppose that is why Football is such a fertile ground for diverse opinions.
Surely the performance and the result of the Everton match taught us that Elneny and Guendouzi should never be played in the same game. It seems to be quite universally agreed that we did not have a midfield against them and Everton had an easy time against us. In comparison we were at Napoli`s throat from the start and with Ramsey in particular, we bossed the midfield. Against Watford, we gave them a lot of respect because like them or not, like their brand of football or not, they are very physical and they are dangerous.
We were lucky to get a freak goal completely due to a magnificent example by Aubameyang pressurising the keeper. Ben Foster did not know what had hit him. For the rest of the game it was quite evenly balanced until Deeney showed what an overstock of testosterone can do when he showed contempt for our mighty midget, Torreira and simply tried to run all over him whilst lashing out with his arm to swat him on the way past. Contrary to his own opinion of Arsenal`s players lack of `cojones`, I would be quite satisfied with those we have who can carry a normal degree of combativeness into the fight and keep 11 men on the pitch.
One of those men must be Ramsey, who has been superb in recent matches and for me it is a tragedy that he is leaving. Torreira is another, who along with Xhaka should be our midfield. They will handle Mertens & Co. while the improved Mustafi can cover if our ironman Koscielny is unfit. Monreal is reliable and Maitland-Niles has improved as well.
I don`t think Mkhitaryan should be any better than a sub for the rest of the season as he does a lot of running and does put the effort in but he has squandered too many gilt-edged chances to score, only to miss by miles by slicing, hooking or ballooning shots all over the place. Tiger Woods didn`t do as many of those as he did.
Napoli are a good side and they will want to score early to get back in the game. I happen to believe that our firepower is superior to theirs and I would play Auba, Lacazette and Iwobi up front (but fluid in their positioning) and take them on to get the first goal. One goal means that they have to score four to win! I expect that we will have a tough time initially so I am not sure if hard games suit Ozil. We will have to win the midfield battle early on, and given our continually changing defence, I don`t think it would be sensible to try to `park the bus`. We cannot afford some of the mistakes we have made lately and got away with, and unfortunately, Guendouzi is repeating his habit of making aimless runs and passing the ball directly to an opponent. He is also dispossessed too easily so with the severe programme that we have in store I would use him sparingly. On current form, the first name I would have for the team selection is Ramsey, followed by Laca and Torrieira.
By the way, we have just completed four games in 9 days and there is a similar programme ahead, so if some players appear tired, please support them and cheer them on. That will cheer up fans and players together
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.