Good morning Positives,
An interesting afternoon at the Ems I am sure you will agree, and once my pulse had slowed to a respectable rate courtesy of Mr Dean’s final whistle, supplemented a bout of traditional self medication using the traditional method, a game to look back on as genuinely entertaining.I shall take the point.
Needless to say I set myself up for a bumpy afternoon quoting the OneBoro website on Friday concerning the best expectation of the visitors was a good “do-ing”, as their correspondent so succinctly put it. Fool that I am, listening to football bloggers. I was not the only one though. The bookmakers had Boro at 12/1 before kick-off yesterday. In fact the Tees-side club were by no means done. While I guess Karanka and his boys went home thoroughly satisfied on another day, with a keeper facing them less sharp than Cech, it could have been their famous victory. Another clean sheet, four so far, and if he keeps up his average it will be another set of Golden Gloves come May.
Of the game itself ? In spite of the result I thought we played well as a team. As you all saw we faced a well organised side who defended deep and denied Sanchez any space to do his work in the final third all afternoon. Every time we got into the final third we faced a wall of nine blue shirts, a bank of five behind a bank of four, as well as Valdes all day. With our Chilean tiger mostly leashed, and only one scramble and one late burst that got him in on goal, we relied on the players behind him to come through, in both senses. The players behind Alexis I think stepped up, tried to create, tried to take on the Boro defenders and make space and time when very little was available. Iwobi, Theo and Ozil can all take credit for their contribution. My only criticism of them was they perhaps could have tried to get more into the box themselves as targets. I felt that when Perez and the Ox came on we shifted the gear up a notch and for the first time had numbers in the box and the MFC back line wobbled.
The base of our midfield Le Coq and Elneny worked hard and again I did not see much wrong there. We missed the eye of Santi but I would not put down our lack of a goal to his absence, it would be too simple. We did not solve the Middlesbrough puzzle.
Of the visitors ? Adama Traore was a name that rang a bell although even the Arsenal website had no picture of him. I remember him coming on for the final five minutes in our game at Villa last season, by which point we were home and hosed, and him running past Nacho twice. I remember (honest) puzzling why they had not put the youngster on earlier as he looked deadly. So it proved yesterday, with the boy beating Kosc and Bellerin for speed – THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN! (the only man to beat Hector for speed once was Neymar as far as I know). Bizarrely, until his start yesterday Traore had played only twice, from the bench, for Boro since his arrival in August. A great display of strong, very fast attacking football. And just 20 – I hear the rustling of football agents in the undergrowth!
Teams are accused of “parking the bus”. It is a term of abuse apparently, invented by that Portuguese clown. Accordingly I am not sure what the term means. Boro are not Barca or Bayern. I could see that if they turned up at the Ems, played one man up, held on and celebrated with their fans a 0-0 draw they could be accused of failing to play the football they were capable of, and spoiling a potentially entertaining spectacle. However I don’t really see a team in the position that our visitors are in the PL, with the players they have, rolling up at the Emirates, doing other than they did yesterday.
So as the ashes of one PL game smoulder and gently fades away we have but a short break before Tuesday and Reading. In the meantime enjoy your day of rest and the fresh air of a mild Autumn day.