‘THE £100 MILLION UPGRADE’
Positives, Needs and Hopes
I’ve decided to not cause myself any further pain.
It would be super easy to go in two footed on that selection and performance but no doubt you’ve read that over and over already as it’s 35 minutes after the final whistle and that’s all I’ve read.
The short term and long term future still looks good. We would like to come 3rd but 4th will do and we are 4th.
Saturday night for me was spent thinking about two Palace players and hoping that they’d have an off day. More to the point I was thinking about two players in regards to this summer.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka at first thought is not a player we need. Bellerin was improving and AMN continues to improve.
Here’s the thing though….. Arsenal are good but Arsenal could be great.
To be great you normally have to spend big to add that 10-15%.
I think Bellerin is good. I think Wan-Bissaka is great. I don’t see Bellerin ever being great unless he is pushed to be.
Wan-Bissaka is a blend of a modern day full back and an old school one.
The modern day full back spends as much time attacking as defending and is expected to be a winger as well as a defender. AWB used to be a winger as an academy player and has skill, power and pace going forward. We don’t see it much as he plays for Palace.
Defensively he is ridiculous. He has been dribbled past 8 times this season. Read that again.
The boy has everything.
Wilf Zaha is an Arsenal fan. That helps.
If you watch him often you’d see that he also has everything. Again, playing for Palace you don’t get to see it often as he rarely has opportunity to show it. His popularity has waned over the years due to his diving and whining but let’s be fair, these aren’t skills.
He has goals, unreal strength, better ability to shield than any other winger, pace, quickness, versatility and most importantly his has individual brilliance in abundance.
Alex Iwobi has some of these attributes and like Bellerin he is good and improving.
I think Zaha is great. The difference for me is natural ability and confidence.
Zaha is a natural dribbler. Iwobi looks like he’s learnt how to dribble. When Iwobi is one on one he doesn’t have the confidence to believe he can beat his man. Zaha expects to beat his man.
The difference in good and great.
I’m not a fan of his diving and I think when he goes to a bigger club his tendency to try to hold onto the ball too long will disappear as his trust in others grows.
Beyond all this, I think that Zaha has a big point to prove as Utd didn’t trust him.
This summer Arsenal are looking for upgrades.
If I was the transfer committee I’d buy both of these players.
You solve three, possibly five needs with these two transfers. We get the individual brilliance we’ve needed all season in Zaha. You get the flexibility to use him as a CF like Palace have done many times as an option to Laca and Auba.
Wan-Bissaka would allow you to replace Ramsey with AMN in his natural position of CM. I for one would love to see AMN breaking lines through midfield in a three. As a side note I don’t think that a Ramsey replica exists as the game is more about power and ball carrying from midfield than goal scoring midfielders.
You could quite easily play AWB on the right side of a back three with Bellerin at right wing back or AWB as RB in a four. So, that’s a right back, centre right back, central midfielder, winger and centre forward gained by signing these two.
I’d move fast as I think it’s more likely that both will end up at City. Zaha may replace the disappointing Mahrez and/or the moody Sane. Danilo is off to Inter and AWB will be mad competition for Walker.
£60M for Zaha, £40M for AWB.
The £100M upgrade.
* Leno did his best to keep us in the game. He’s been stitched up twice by Mustafi who had the gall to blame him. You don’t leave a ball for a keeper because you ‘think’ he should be there! 😡 On to Mustafi later…
* AMN continued his good run of form with many bursts. If you stop the tape at the point he looks up, you will see the lack of decisive movement in and around the box. Not his fault.
* Ozil’s goal was inevitable the moment he went through. As he is the only player in the world doing this, keepers have no way to practice saving his ‘chop.’
* Credit Auba who decided to step up at 1-3, take the initiative and try to make the difference.
* Credit also Iwobi who set up Ozil’s goal and buzzed around, retaining possession well and trying to make the difference.
That’s the thing though. When Iwobi comes off the bench I expect ‘buzzing around’ and ‘ball retention under pressure’ as he is good. I don’t feel that he is going to make the ultimate difference. I felt this years ago with Limpar then Overmars. Even if they weren’t having a good game, I trusted their skill set. The only players at Arsenal that makes me feel this way are Saka and Amaechi and they haven’t been trusted yet.
* ‘Toxic Arsenal’ is not too distant a memory.
I think it would serve Emery well to claim Mustafi has fractured his eyebrow or similar as Mustafi could single handedly turn the fan base.
I understand that we are not flush with money and they need to protect his value but the very next time he does something brainless the whole atmosphere will change. It will make him more nervous and far more likely to have two brainless moments.
For as much as the fan base generally don’t appreciate ElNeny and a few others there is nobody that comes close to the way they feel like Mustafi.
Emery has to recognize this and get the pulse of his fans and be done with him.
Play Monreal and Mavropanos at CB with Kos and Sokratis and play a back four where less CB’s are needed.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Shkodran Mustafi could derail our season all by himself.
* Passing the buck…. this game (like many others) was crying out for someone to take the initiative. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pass and move but if you haven’t got your one touch game or combinations working then it is a case of ‘you try, I can’t figure it out.’
* I’m trying to have original thoughts but I’m a scratched record when it comes to some of this.
‘Intense Arsenal win.’ ‘Laid Back Arsenal struggle.’
I can tell within 2 minutes whether we are going to find the game easy or not. It’s all linked with intensity. I see no reason why the midfield four couldn’t press intensely as they were all fresh. If the issue is that you are trying to keep Auba and Laca fresh then start your press in midfield.
As mentioned also in the previous few blogs, I think Emery’s line up sends signals to his players and they become complacent.
Only way to combat this is to have replacements that are equal. That takes time and money.
* Let’s support Mavropanos. It can’t be easy being out for 11 months and then thrown in at the business end of the season, twice.
* @grahamb195 made the very good point that starting with a back three as well as two DM’s caused a detachment to the attacking players.
Guendouzi has become too safe recently and rarely plays the one touch over the shoulder line splitting balls or his through balls either, anymore.
* I saw a video on Twitter of a fan getting a selfie from Xhaka after the game and his comment wasn’t one of a happy boy. He obviously felt like he should have played and it probably speaks to a dressing room concern at the ‘ElNeny/Guendouzi’ pivot.
I’m hoping this doesn’t cut too deep.
* I’m hoping that someone can hypnotize Unai Emery before the Wolves game.
“Wolves, Leicester, Burnley and Brighton are actually Liverpool, Spurs, Napoli and Utd, Mr Emery. You must press them intensely the whole game, Mr Emery.”
Remember this time last year or even the beginning of the season.
Would you have accepted being in the EL semi finals and 4th in the league at this point, as Emery’s first season?
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.