We have swapped Calamity and Gaffs in Mustafi for an Older Version Gaffster in Luiz


More Gaffs (credit Getty Sports)


Victor’s response to the GT Match review of Anfield defeat ………


I am a bit hesitant to criticise an article by someone who is a coach and so I will stick to some basic observations for which a coach’s badge is not necessary.

For instance, I did a critique at the time I heard that we had signed Luiz. I was aghast. This is a man who I loved to see on Chelsea`s team sheet. He rated even higher than Mustafi in the calamity department. I did put my concerns in print, which appeared as a comment on Gunners Town. I just could not understand why we were finally resolved to sell Mustafi as his gaffs cost us vital points and possibly a top four finish on at least one occasion; only to sign an older version of him. Within 3 games, he has cost us a penalty and two goals and possibly two points.


Costing us points (Getty Images with thanks)

I am terrified of the chaos he will cause against Spurs and I am sure Kane is straining at the leash to play against him. I wonder how many bookies are rubbing their hands with glee, whilst laying odds on the number of fouls Kane will extract from and whether he gives another penalty away. Perhaps he should wear mittens so that he can`t pull shirts?

Anyway, I do venture to criticise Emery because he has clearly given strict instructions to Leno to distribute the ball with his hands. Against Burnley, it was so evident that Burnley had their two strikers heading a row of four in constant touch of our box. They were followed by another rank of four, which is nowadays what you expect to see when the defending team retreats to their own half.

Dyche would have seen our match against Newcastle and he realised that if he pressed us in our own half using his defensive formation, he would block our full backs and compress play into midfield. We were physically weak against Burnley and they made the whole match very difficult for Willock. Liverpool did the same thing but with much more bite in the form of Salah.


Joe doing well but lightweight v big guns (Credit Getty Images)

I don`t know if their defence was as shaky as was rumoured because we did not press them enough. There were two chances for Auba and Pepe but generally, we were confined to our own half. With the midfield concentrated within our half, passes by necessity needed to be accurate and fast. Burnley managed that, but we didn`t. Liverpool did exactly the same and they picked up wayward passes and moved quickly with intent. We were walking on eggs most of the half and Emery had left Torreira on the bench and picked Willock, who is simply not physical enough and when we have Guendousi in tandem with him, we are not going to win hard battles.

The decision to play out from defence, starting with the goalkeeper means that we have to make two or three moves to get over the half way line. When two of those passes are from full back to full back and then to the nearest available player, with no purpose in mind, it is not surprising that the opponents have positioned their defence and pressed our team back again. We seldom played outside our own half. Leno has to match hand distribution with kicks up field, even if it is just to stop the other side getting comfortable because it was so easy to counter our play.


Playing out from Leno not working – Needs variety

Alas, I think Unai is pinning his hopes on his goalkeeper being his first attacker and it is not working, nor can it when we have a major cog in the machine who is even money to open the door for the opposition attackers.

I do have some sunshine in this darkened sky and I agree that Pepe will be world class when he settles in. I just hope that the painfully slow play that Emery inherited from Wenger does not contaminate his instinctive speed of thought and action that he clearly possesses. We depend on being able to match the speed of thought and action of Liverpool and City and unfortunately, that does not seem to be part of the Emery philosophy.


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5 Responses to We have swapped Calamity and Gaffs in Mustafi for an Older Version Gaffster in Luiz

  1. Arthur August 28, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

    I think you are making too quick a judgement. Everyone knew when we signed him he was prone to some errors but he does offer a lot more than Mustafi. He is a good passer, particularly longer balls, and he is much more of a leader. On his day he is a good player. You need to remember we got him for 8 million or thereabouts. At that price he was worth it. Of course we would all have rather we spent 40 million on a better player but we don’t have the money and those types of player aren’t usually available. The 80 million United spent makes our purchase look good. In the circumstances I think we did ok. We can make a better judgement in May.

  2. Phil Cowie August 28, 2019 at 7:18 pm #

    I’m with Arthur, on this. I also think Emery is using him wrongly. Looking at the Chelsea fans, many say he was a beast in a back 3, and a liability in a back 4.
    Maybe it’s because we don’t have our 1st choice fb’s at the moment, but I think we’ll benefit from a change to a back 3. Esp’ so once Holding’s fit again.
    AMN and Kola are both better going forward. And a Holding/Luiz/Sokratis back 3 them would give more solidity in behind to protect.
    Alternatively, once RH is available, i’d scrap Khaka for Luiz (keeping a back 4 with RH/Sokratis). If DL is going to have slip-ups, i’d rather see him as DM. He’s basically got the same skill set as Granit, but, he’s just better at everything.

    • Victor Thompson August 31, 2019 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Arthur and Phil. Thanks for your comments.

      In answer to some of your points; my judgement on Luis was not hasty. I have watched him for years playing for Chelsea and I stand by my opinion that he is a liability. He is deceptive because he does carry the ball well and he can make some brilliant passes.

      On the other hand he gives crazy penalties away and makes suicide passes in our box. He is an egotist and is outspoken in the defence, which were it not for his gaffs, would be a good thing. Unfortunately it is difficult to take orders or advice from someone who gave a penalty away with a stupid shirt pull. He then careered out of position to tackle the most dangerous player on LIverpool`s team and is left pirouetting onto his backside leaving Salah joyfully free to pick his spot.

      Those are repetitive traits which he has done througout his career and in my view his smooth looking attributes do not outweigh his liabilities.

  3. vince August 29, 2019 at 11:21 am #

    “the painfully slow play that Emery inherited from Wenger” – really???
    i think it is emery whose tactics of playing xhaka and douzi make us slow!

    • Victor Thompson August 31, 2019 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks for your comment Vice.

      When Emery first took over, some of the fans were carrying placards thanking him for bringing our Arsenal back. We pressed the opposition in their own half and the players ran back to cover for breakaways. It was exciting to watch and many fans thought we were heading for a top 4 finish.

      Unfortunately, he has juggled with the formation of the team and he appears to have instructed Leno to initiate attacks by throwing the ball to one of the defenders who is then tasked to continue the move by close passing to a colleague. hat colleague has to have spotted a midfielder or forward to pass to and move the ball forward. If these moves are done with forethought, speed and purpose and all of the players are in tune with the purpose of feeding Auba or Laca ( and now Pepe ).

      The first problem is that each of the players seem to have to look for someone to pass to after they get the ball and time is wasted deciding who that is. That is reminiscent of the final seasons with Wenger, when we played forwards and backwards at walking speed. It didn`t work then and it isn`t working now.

      We give the ball away because so many passes are made without confidence and with no threat behind them.

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