Don’t fall in love
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
How often did you fall in love as a youngster?
I distinctly remember thinking that I was in love on numerous occasions.
I remember forcing the feeling. I wanted to be in love. My mates were. They told me that it was brilliant. They told me that it was especially brilliant when she says it back. I did it a few times. It was brilliant. Then Chris Miles kept getting girl’s saying it to him first. Chris Miles didn’t even have to initiate. Then it happened to me. Even more brilliant. What a time! Everybody chucking the love around.
Then my heart got broken. I got dumped. Then again. The second time was because my girlfriend was trying to play footsie under the table whilst I’m desperately trying to not be nervous at her parents house for Sunday lunch. I threw up the spaghetti all over her Mum, ran to the loo to hide and then decided to jump out the bathroom window and run 6 miles home. Probably a justifiable dumping. My Mum told me to stop falling in love. That I was jumping in too hard, too fast and forcing feelings.
I actually stopped because Arsenal taught me rather than listening to my Mum. Limpar went to Everton. My favourite Arsenal player. Then I fell for Petit and he ran off to Barcelona. I stopped falling in love until Santi Cazorla showed up and I tried so super hard to pretend that he wasn’t worth it, but alas.
As I’ve grown up its still not easy to keep distance from players that you invest so much emotion in, but even though we’ve had fewer that are worthy, I can find myself slipping.
I was watching the Carabao Cup tie and thoroughly enjoying it. I was having a hard time focusing though as my mind has been drifting for weeks to the same topic…. upgrades to Arsenal’s midfield.
I’ve found myself already starting to fall for Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar. Two perfect upgrades. Transformative.
Then as I start to imagine a line up I get perturbed. How dare Aouar take Saka’s opportunities! Then what of Martinelli? Smith-Rowe is a similar line breaking player to Aouar. I think I love Smith-Rowe. Could he never get his opportunity? Then what of Mr. Redemption, Granit Xhaka? Partey will surely play with Ceballos and Aouar, right? Yet if our midfield is going to start opening their hips and passing forward, Granit may have to sit down. I watch Dani Ceballos take being substituted so personally and think that this may happen even more very shortly. Then I remember that the darling of the Arsenal Academy, Reiss Nelson, may not get any more chances.
Then I realize that the game is changing. It’s actually changed. More games, more intense, more injuries and therefore opportunities for many. Football is very much a squad game and our coach is very much inclined to surprising his counterparts with complex and varied ideas.
I hope I’m learning. I hope that I remember that the priority is the club. Not individuals. It’s the results, not the line ups.
I’m going to try but I sense that due to necessary competition it is going to be hard. It’s for the best but it messes with my emotions.
Don’t fall in love with the players. Their disappointments might just spoil what could be a special period for Arsenal Football Club.
Just love Arsenal.
- As the game was wrapping up I was again trying to control my emotions by coming up with reasons why it’s ok to lose. There were some valid ones, but nothing more valid than the belief that Arsenal Football Club get from the knowledge that they’ve beaten one of the best 3 teams in world football, 3 times in the last few months.
- Gabriel wasn’t a main feature but for a new player in a new league playing at a higher level against teams of a higher level and all this without being able to fully communicate, I am very impressed. He exudes confidence. with the ball and without it. His passes have punch to them and are not telegraphed. He is so alert and quick. Brave and strong. I’m falling in love again. Better stop.
- I love the shape that Cedric gets on his crossing. One of the differences in a good team and a very good team is the alternatives. In a good team you have a ‘decent’ back up. Someone who isn’t better than the first choice in any area. At bigger teams, the back up might not be as well rounded but he has one or two skills that are better than the first choice. Cedric might not be as well rounded as Bellerin or AMN, but he is better at crossing. Would be nice if we had an aerial threat to get the best out of him, and a few others.
- I always feel sorry for those players that only get one or two games in a row to prove themselves. Fans are increasingly impatient and judgmental which causes hugely unfair threads of disappointment. Players need trust and rhythm and without it only few will excel. I speak of Rob Holding who has been given both and is starting to show why he’s starting frequently.
- The formation was fascinating. Almost a 3-5-2 with Willock (and sometimes Saka) playing in unoccupied space. This may well be something we see more of. A new tactical development. Players that are intentionally put in areas where opponents don’t want to go. Much like Kevin De Bruyne. I’d imagine if we get Aouar, it will be him or Willian that Arteta will try to get into these areas to create. I do wonder if the formation was more about the future than the present.
- It looks like Saliba will be going on loan. Surprising to us all, but if you understand his personal situation it’s for the best. Barely out of his teenage years, moving to a new country, doesn’t speak English, HUGE expectation from fans, had a very much broken season due to injuries and covid and most valid…lost his mother. The kids head must be spinning. We will likely have to wait for the dream and trust the club on this. Sounds like they are making a very intelligent decision.
- Pepe was Pepe. The Good, the Great and the Terrible. I was very encouraged to see him on the left as it’s certainly an option. Perhaps his biggest issue isn’t him? He is the kind of dribbler that needs opponents to bite. To their credit, they aren’t. When and if they do, he is so skillful with the ball as well as those jelly hips, he will have more success.
- I’ve been concerned for a while that the playing out of the back is more of a risk because everyone is doing it the same way, rather than the exercise itself. If everyone is replicating then coaches know how to anticipate and intercept. I was encouraged that not only were we more effective but we varied our exit routes. Very important.
- Two points on Leno….. 1) I commented in my last post that his distribution issue isn’t so much the kicking but that he delays it. I’ve had a second thought. Much like the players are being instructed to engage an opponent before distributing, maybe he is doing the same?
- I’ve been talking here for a while now that what football needs and certainly what Arsenal need is unpredictability. With football becoming a ‘passing patterns focused coaches game,’ teams are finding it easier to anticipate. It’s either this or the players are intimidated at having a lower ‘passing percentage’ at the expense of creating, or both.
- The clip (below) of Said Benrahma is EXACTLY what I’m talking about. It not only bamboozles the defender but shifts the entire defensive unit who were expecting him to pass it backwards.
- If you can’t be creative in the final third without fear of being reprimanded by your coach who is over obsessed with being countered on, then you may never break through a defensive unit that simply have to rely on their muscle memory reading the same plays as if this was American Football.
Saïd Benrahma, that is outrageous!pic.twitter.com/dgQqzccCN6
— Top Bins Talk (@TopBinsTalk) October 1, 2020
- If Pepe, who is fairly quick, could become electric over 5 yards then his lack of power and efficiency would change overnight
- On many occasions, the ball was crossed in only for the last AFC defender to unnecessarily make a play on it when it was going out for a goal kick. This is where Leno needs to help his defenders by reading these situations and communicating early.
- Andrea Pirlo, Glenn Hoddle, Cesc Fabregas. All had the ability to float lofted balls over the defence with the correct weight so as to not encourage the keeper. With many teams pressing high and leaving much grass behind them, we need a player who can see this early and make the pass. The runs are frequent. The passes are infrequent.
- It’s painful watching Xhaka being pressed. It illuminates the need for a midfielder who is press resistant and is comfortable to turn. Hmmmmmmm??
- Next topic on the coaching field needs to be creating opportunities. We are still creating very few chances. I maintain that an effective individual player will open it all up if we can just beat the first tackle in the final third and give the defenders a dilemma.
- I would love for Reiss Nelson to get a run in the team. I do wonder if Arteta has been told that he has to make something of our 72M man in order to encourage the owners to keep investing?
- Is Felipe Anderson a replacement for Reiss going on loan? I keep hearing rumours.
- I think Willock is too versatile and helpful at the tale end of games to leave on loan.
Klopp seems to like Arsenal. I think it’s more Arteta than Arsenal. We used to be a free 6 points for him, so the fact that we’ve won 3 in 4 must be a big shift.
I think in a few years time we will look back on this period and remember fondly how Mikel Arteta transformed Arsenal.
Just don’t fall in love with him.
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.