A Necessary Chaos
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
Watching Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal was a frustrating experience for me.
I know I wasn’t the only one that felt that Arsenal wasted his best years. A potentially world class player who was never played consistently as a box to box midfielder in a midfield three. What happened was that he became the lightning rod for criticism as he was accused of vacating his ‘job,’ rather than being set free. What a waste.
Joe Willock’s career has just started in comparison to Aaron Ramsey. In his short career to date he has been used in a variety of roles. This is good for his development and he can’t expect the shape to be dictated by his presence as he hasn’t justified this yet.
Here’s the thing though…. Arsenal need more goalscoring options. Arsenal need to offer opponents different questions beyond the easy to mark Lacazette and back post Auba. Arsenal need a midfielder to consistently get 10+ goals. Arsenal need a player who gets opponents coaches talking pre-game, taking account for his presence and allowing Auba more room. In amongst all of the much needed structure that Arteta has thankfully brought, there is a desperate need for the chaos that Joe Willock brings.
It was asked of me on the post match GunnersTown Pub Podcast what he needs to do to get in the first team. I say that he needs to keep doing what he’s doing and ultimately, he can’t be ignored. He’s alone in having this skill set at Arsenal and he is an obvious solution to our biggest problem.
The most relevant piece of this discussion is whether Arteta will loosen his structure in PL games like he has for Willock in the EL and allow him to do what he did against Molde.
I think Joe Willock has become a necessary chaos.
- Staying on Willock…. England once again chose 7 full backs for their squad. How about leaving a handful of those at home and picking a guy who can do what nobody else is doing. An excellent bench option if you decide to drop structure in desperate search of a goal.
- The decision to switch Pepe and Willian was crucial. It was also intelligent as Eddie is a 6 yard box striker who needs a left footer on the left, going outside and sliding balls across not delaying and bending them in.
- That was such a Pepe game. He couldn’t get anything right in the first half but he didn’t hide and became pivotal in two of the goals. Kudos to Pepe.
- I liked how we didn’t panic at 0-1. Didn’t start tossing the ball into the box to lil Eddie. Kept the faith and kept moving off the ball to create openings.
- Luiz has found his passing range again. Will he replace an impressive Holding and does his preference to a back 3 hold greater weight than his passing ability?
- One way to increase your goal tally is simply to get more players in the box. I paused 3 times during the game. Always 5 in the box.
- Not sure if this is a positive or a need but throughout the season we have picked off many diagonal switches. These are the ones where the full back hustles across and wins the header leading to a wide open transition. I’d say that coaches use this as a training ground thought and plan how to position their players for a fast break.
- It was interesting that Xhaka played higher. He wasn’t trusted in the back three after Leicester. I think Arsenal are likely moving away from Xhaka. I think the fact that we don’t feel comfortable playing vertically through the midfield with him in it, only feel comfortable with him playing with some and not others and now shifting him from his previous attacking position shows that Arsenal are spending too much energy devising a strategy to protect his weaknesses. In stark comparison we have other midfielders that are not targeted or pampered like this.
- It seems that like clockwork Willian has two bad first touches every game. So strange for such a technical player.
- Kolasinac is such an odd player. Strong but not trustworthy as a defender. Powerful yet lacking as an attacker. What is most noticeable though is his insistence to not open his hips and play forward when he receives it on the sideline. Needs to be braver. Maybe pretend that the guy pressing you has a knife.
- Eddie needs to make himself bigger when receiving with his back to goal. He’s too vertical, allowing the CB to repeatedly nick it. I think he prefers to stay vertical so he can flick and turn.
- Pepe has elastic hips. That’s important for a winger. Trouble is that it seems that every defender who marks him has been to the ‘Don’t bite on Pepe’ symposium. He’s waiting on this so he can go past them. He needs to be more pro active. When a player does a step-over, let’s say, the opponent temporarily freezes. That’s when you accelerate and change direction.
- I can be prone to a conspiracy theory. Here’s one…. every Tuesday on a week where there is a Carabao Cup or Europa League game, there is a little old lady (probably in a Spurs shirt) that is hiding in the bushes at Colney with a dart gun aimed at Nelson and especially, Smith-Rowe. This is getting frustrating. We need to locate this lil old lady and take her dart gun away.
- I wonder what Balogun did to not get a place on the bench? Seems like we didn’t need 11 A team players on the bench against Molde.
- I’m sure Willian gets the nod vs Villa. He was the one subbed early and he is the one with more defensive discipline to help with Mr Grealish.
- Are you looking around for a striker like I am? I’d love to think that Erling Braut Haaland would consider us in the future. I’ve been looking for someone similar. I like Patson Daka. I’ve found another thanks to the prolific Gilles @_Grimanditweets His name is Darwin Nunez. Twenty one years old, fast, powerful and huge talent. A name to remember.
There are a few ways to find out how respected your coach is. One way is to watch the B team. Are they motivated? Do they believe that it’s worth it to give their best?
Beyond the need for Willock’s chaos, I was again encouraged that the B team played with a seriousness. Willock wasn’t the only player who felt that it was worth playing his best.
A big compliment to Mikel Arteta and the accountability that he has put in place.
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.