The Unspoken Illumination’ – Positives, needs and hopes!
Personal improvement has never been and will never be headline making. (unless you are Pep perhaps!!
I was watching the game last night and suddenly I was struck by the absent headline of the ‘New Arsenal.’
It was just after AMN confidently breezed past Insigne on the way to gliding down the wing in his effortless manner.
I stopped for a minute, paused the TV and went through the Arsenal team.
It dawned on me that the majority of players who have and are playing currently have all improved. Many have improved significantly.
AMN… becoming a serious defender and a true attacking threat.
Sokratis… has not so much as adjusted to the English game, but the English game is struggling to adjust to him! Perhaps he is the reason that AMN is more serious now. I would say Lichtsteiner has put a rocket up our talented right back replacement too.
Koscielny… might be physically fragile these days but arguably playing with more consistency than ever before.
Holding… looked like he belonged before his injury
Kolasinac… could have/should have been sold last summer but is now becoming a better defender and a huge asset on the overlap.
Bellerin… like Holding, he was in fine form before his injury
Torreira… fatigue aside, he has instantly impacted the team this season and plays beyond his years.
Xhaka… like Kolasinac, many were ready to transfer him. Now playing with such control that he is seen as a vital cog to our team performance.
Ramsey… found Emery, found discipline. Playing with a maturity and regular threat that has been largely absent in his previous years.
Guendouzi… who else in Europe plays for a big club at 19 and will end up playing 2/3rds of the team’s minutes?
Iwobi… still a way off where he may get too but much improved.
Ozil… made accountable and now he performs 2 in 3 rather than 1 in 4.
Lacazette… all round game improved greatly.
Leno… did not play last night but been a match winner on multiple occasions.
There are probably more but that’s enough. Point made.
Since Unai Emery and his staff showed up at London Colney, the majority of Arsenal players have made significant improvement.
The checklist of improvements is growing monthly and many feel we are not even close to our potential, which I would agree with.
After last season in particular, the list of ‘improvements needed’ was almost overwhelming. That list has shrunk. Quite quickly too.
So, let us pay attention to what will rarely make headlines but is staring us in the face… If you want a better team then make the players better individually.
This is happening. No one has dug into the depths of this.
Be happy… it’s the ‘Unspoken Illumination.’
* Cech should be rusty. He looked quite polished to me.
* In a team where many are playing well, I’m often hearing that AMN was ‘man of the match.’
Due to his ceiling, we are just starting to see how good he will be.
* Who speaks of Nacho Monreal? We accept that he will always be good. So how good is a player who is almost always good?
* Is it fair to say that if Koscielny and Sokratis stay fit, that Arsenal should get into the CL?
* I think Guendouzi made Xhaka step up. I think Torreira’s defensive tenacity has made Xhaka a more serious defender. I think Ramsey’s attitude to his last 4 months at AFC has made Xhaka see the competition.
* A curling free kick from 30 yards!!
Don’t see that at Arsenal too much. More improvements from the much improved Lacazette.
* On the tactical front, the team managed a very tricky situation and not only stopped one of the free scoring teams in Europe to zero goals in two games but played as if they expected to.
* By far the greatest need is for Emery to get his game approach right for the remainder of the season.
He has proven that he can improve players, offer tactical flexibility, compete in the biggest of games but has yet to fully convince us that he can at least get the mentality right every week.
Do we have the energy to play on the front foot for the remaining games?
* Get Ramsey fit. Please.
* Find Auba’s fire. Although his goal output is admirable, his performances are patchy.
* That potential new players for next season are watching our potential.
Regardless of whether we make CL or not, it looks to me as if Arsenal Football Club is moving forward. Not just because we changed our motto, actual real progress.
Right now, we look like a team that will challenge next season. We still need some additions but Emery is squeezing the lemon hard and getting most of the juice out.
I would say we are becoming an attractive proposition again.
* I hope we remember to stand Zaha up on Sunday. Move Mustafi to the other side please!
If we crash and burn for the rest of the season I feel like I have seen enough to give me great hope.
I do not think we will crash and burn. I think we will qualify for the CL.
The impressive performances are more frequent. Simple.
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.