Good Evening Positive AFC fans,
The first game of the 2018/2019 season under the belt, so to speak, and I feel a lot better with that opening obstacle concluded. A real thumping would have cast a pall over my week and I could not have that. Not the result we hoped for but a team performance that I thought was good overall.
Of the parts that impressed me most our teenage debutante Guendouzi stood out, and he earns his first MoTM award. Matteo was able to cope with the physical demands of the game, tackle cleanly, and showed himself able to control the ball with no time or space. There was some pre-match discussion on SKY about the speed/pace of the English PL game troubling foreign players. He had no obvious problem I saw. For the young Frenchman to put in the full 94 minutes with no obvious slacking toward the end also suggests good stamina. Lichtsteiner’s introduction at left back, although the circumstances of it were unfortunate, showed us what the highly experienced Swiss can do. He reads the game well and has that edge of cunning that we need in a cruel, cruel football world. In Michel Oliver’s face, pointing, shouting, even tearing a strip off Mesut at one point. On another day his goading of Aymeric would have seen the opponent on his way back to the dressing room with a red card for his cranial lunge. I like him.
I thought Petr pulled off a string of good saves today, and for a period in the First Half kept us in the game.. The notion that he should have done better on the Sterling goal is bollocks. The kicking out or passing out from the back though between Cech/Matteo/Sokratis/Skhodran ? THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES!! Sort it out Mr Emery.
Of things we could have done better ? We created a number of half chances and potentially useful positions on the Citeh final third that we did not exploit. We looked rusty. At the key moment the pass to an Arsenal attacker went astray, too long, too short, Auba went left as the ball went right et cetera.At 0-1 we all know a goal for us would have left Pep’s boys reeling. Against good teams like Citeh we can expect only limited possessions around the opposition box and I felt today it was not used as it could/should have been. Scoring goals eh ? That is a thing.
I would also like to see more of Mkhi on the ball and challenging in midfield and that it was Aaron who got the hook first and the Armenian playing the full match was a surprise. He did OK but in the first 35 minutes he did not provide AMN with enough support. He worked better with Hector after the changeover but even then he had a air of Theo at times, always available but never involved.
Onwards to the Bridge next week to meet the currently table-topping Chelsea. Probably a busy week at Colney, identifying the parts of the machine that need to be sharpened, tightened and oiled.
Enjoy your week.