26 Comments

We’ve Got A Semi.

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Well how best to sum that game up? Perhaps that we played well without anyone playing outstandingly well? That’s not to say they all didn’t perform well, they did. It was a good set up and well executed.

If I take my tinted glasses off I would say that they had a stinker. But that’s not our problem.

Once Lacazette scored it was game over. Napoli had 70% possession and their goal threat was woeful. 20 shots with only 2 on target.

I’m not a fan of having 30% possession, but I can live with it if we keep clean sheets and win.

I think if we had kept a midfield 3 of Ramsey Torreira and Xhaka on the field we would have had much better control than we did. But we lost Ramsey ,I just hope it’s not the last we see of him.  His replacement, Mkhitaryan, was not at his best, or anywhere near it. Then Xhaka was removed and ElNeny, tidy as he is, is a step down.

On the positive side, AMN had a very impressive game.if we are going to persevere with a back 3, I think he and Hector are ample going into next season. I know he is supposed to be a midfielder, but you take your chance where and when it comes. I love the kid.

What is outstanding, is we have kept another clean sheet away from home, the upturn is coming just at the right time for us,i’m more confident of a top 4 finish now than at any time of the season. All in all it was a decent defensive performance.

With Aaron out for at least a few weeks it gives Ozil a clear run for what could prove to be a great end of the season.

Have a good night positives.

26 comments on “We’ve Got A Semi.

  1. afcstuff
    ‏ @afcstuff
    51m51 minutes ago

    Europa League semi-final details:

    Arsenal vs. Valencia
    May 2nd – kick-off 8pm (UK time)
    Emirates Stadium

    Valencia vs. Arsenal
    May 9th – kick-off 8pm (UK time)
    Mestalla Stadium

    Liked by 1 person

  2. COYG!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We outplayed Napoli. They did wake up for a bit and we left them space on the counter. But for the most part, they weren’t in the game. I mean we even had a player go off for a quick run to the toilet and didn’t really miss him.

    Of course Lacazette’s excellent free kick was the cause of that control too. A brilliant FK. I know Xhaka scored one against Newcastle (?) but this was a thing of beauty. I was reminded of Thierry Henry vs Roma.

    Auba had an iffy game, missing a lot of chances and I was annoyed we didn’t bring on Eddie for him, instead bringing on Iwobi. (Was Eddie on the bench?) I guess that remains one of my bugbears about Emery. He seems very reluctant to play the youngsters.

    Still, nothing to complain about with the performance overall and the fact that we’re in a European semi final. After throwing away an opportunity against Atletico last season, I hope we’ll take the chance at this trophy now. Sadly it won’t be Santi returning but a Coquelin and Gabriel reunion is still good. Just wish Ramsey will be able to make an appearance before he goes.

    (Arsenal trying to protect themselves by not even nominating Ramsey for POTY is another low from the new people at the club)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Not pretty but effective and that really is all that matters.

    Unai Emery too have rather effectively helped himself to the best start of any manager in Arsenal’s great history. Exposing as rubbish that he inherited “a mess” from Wenger. Many managers will give their organs to walk into sides that boasts the likes Auba, Laca, Özil, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kosc, Monreal, Bellerín, Holding, Kolasinac, AMN, Cech.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hoping emery will play more youngsters next season, guessing getting back in the CL is everything this year, still work to be done, but he is giving it a right go, very impressed.
    We will judge him at seasons end, but starting to look like his first season not only compares very favourably with prev Arsenal managers, it also sompares rather well with the most loved and anointed in the Prem league at the moment. Klopp, lest we forget, finished 8th in his first season, albeit from an October start. Believe Poch was similar. Not sure on Pep, but whatever he did, they bought, Emery certainly hasn’t done that.
    He inherited some excellent players from Wenger of course, and some useful additions as well.
    Hope they keep it up

    Liked by 2 people

  6. And on youngsters, just a word on AMN. Yes, he has his little moments, like the young and inexperienced do, especially when playing different roles, he is a bit under the radar compared to some, which is a good thing,but what a talented and versatile player, and he is just going to get better.
    He is one of those players it helps to see in the flesh , if possible, to really appreciate his talent and general dynamism, playing a back in the modern game isn’t easy either, they have to be defenders, wingers, playmakers, attackers. The magnificent Hector has his work cut out, but AMN can play in a number of positions.
    Look forward to seeing him develop

    Like

  7. And on youngsters, just a word on AMN. Yes, he has his little moments, like the young and inexperienced do, especially when playing different roles, he is a bit under the radar compared to some, which is a good thing,but what a talented and versatile player, and he is just going to get better.
    He is one of those players it helps to see in the flesh , if possible, to really appreciate his talent and general dynamism, playing a back in the modern game isn’t easy either, they have to be defenders, wingers, playmakers, attackers. The magnificent Hector has his work cut out, but AMN can play in a number of positions.
    Look forward to seeing him develop

    Liked by 3 people

  8. 79% passing for Kola is a lot better then some his less other efforts this season and last which sometimes hit the 60’s and even 50’s. Hopefully he can keep up the higher numbers for the rest of the season.

    Looking at the next away fixture Wolves will probably have more of a threat in front of goal then Napoli. But Palace first.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shard
    Hello! I wouldn’t say the Gunners threw it away against Atletico but I would say that Antoine Griezman is levels above the Napoli forwards! Especially when up against a hobbling doped up Kozza, not like last night’s top level vintage now that he is not playing so obviously through the pain barrier with reduced mobility, true club legend that he is heh.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Palace will be tricky and patience might be required. They know we will be tired, a physical team, masters of the dark arts, a serial diver and an impressive year on year penalty count, often twice ours. And a keeper who is completely ignorant about the activities of the Nazis to boot.
    Tactics will be straight out of Watford and Everton’s book.
    We will be missing Sok I think??, and certainly Rambo. Not sure Kos can play so many games.
    Tricky, but can be done.
    Hopefully wolves wo t be so motivated at this stage, but we shall see

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  11. Palace will be tricky and patience might be required. They know we will be tired, a physical team, masters of the dark arts, a serial diver and an impressive year on year penalty count, often twice ours. And a keeper who is completely ignorant about the activities of the Nazis to boot.
    Tactics will be straight out of Watford and Everton’s book.
    We will be missing Sok I think??, and certainly Rambo. Not sure Kos can play so many games.
    Tricky, but can be done.
    Hopefully wolves wo t be so motivated at this stage, but we shall see

    Liked by 1 person

  12. fins

    It’s semantics I suppose, but we got handed a boost against a tough opponent with their early red card. Despite a lot of chances we only scored one, and in the last few minutes gave up a stupid away goal. I think of that as throwing it away. My guess is the players do too.

    This season we’re a deeper and better squad, Kos is in better health (touch wood) and our opponents aren’t as tough. Hopefully we can win. I’ve never seen us win a European trophy. 2000 was annoying as hell, 2006 was sad but it felt like our time would come again. Thanks to the stadium financing and corrupt officiating, it didn’t. Getting the EL this season would be a bit of a salve and maybe even a stepping stone to the biggest prize one day.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Shard you’re right, the Atletico players celebrated that away goal like they’d won the tie.

    Like you say I’m just appreciating the better defence this season with the better or fitter defenders in the squad. Be interesting to compare Papa opposite Gabriel, I suspect that Sven’s rotting head atop that spike will still be smiling.

    Valencia will probably be a tougher test then Napoli? If the Gunners can somehow rotate through the next week and get through the SF then it’s fingers crossed the Chelsea manager doesn’t start Giroud in the final and that Rambo recovers in time for that late May kick off…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’ll be Frankfurt in the final, not Chelsea. That’s my prediction anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Valencia! 1980 can finally be avenged and laid to rest

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I don’t know about 1980 Mandy, but I still remember John Carew’s goal.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. We are already at the business end of the season and we are in an enviable position where every game still matters and every result still counts. Hugely.

    There is little to be gained from speculating too far ahead of the next game but I do think it’s worth celebrating last night’s result.

    An away leg many had marked up as a potential downer for our lads yet the truth is, Napoli were more interested in grizzling their way through the encounter and testing the patience of the ref than challenging our two-goal advantage.

    Given the somewhat lengthy run of games without a clean sheet, the current run of these elusive beauties has almost become the surprise of the season, given the ‘like-clockwork’ tendency of our defence to generously concede goals before half-time for much of the season.

    To get two clean sheets against Napoli, home and away, is not without significance although we all know not to read TOO much into any one achievement (or disaster).

    Nonetheless, we CAN take great encouragement from our trend towards defensive parsimony coupled with our ability to at least create myriad chances up front, even if we are missing one or two too many for comfort. That Emery’s first 50 games has generated some kind of winning record is remarkable and in some ways speaks for itself although if one thinks too hard about it, it perhaps raises more questions than it readily answers.

    At the very least, Emery is finding some kind of balance between defence and attack, even if the end result, visually, is not always as ‘pretty’ as we’d prefer. I think I read somewhere that Napoli had more possession than Arsenal (perhaps Eduardo can confirm?); if true, this willingness to cede possession is likely to be no mere accident. At the very least, going forward, it signals an end to long periods previously of apparent dominance before being hit on a sucker counter-attack. Last night, we never looked liked going down that path.

    The greatest irony of the season may now await us – finishing top 4 whilst winning the Europa Cup. Of course, losing the cup and finishing 5th is also a possibility but I’d argue that the former at least FEELS as though that would be more likely at this stage.

    And that’s the greatest compliment we can pay Unai after last night.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. This is a crucial week, win all three and we one foot over the line however that looks really difficult.
    Palace will be difficult on Sunday especially with no Papa or Aaron and a difficult decision whether to continue to play Kos or let him rest now or maybe better in midweek.
    The right rotation in these games are critical to stop us looking stale like we did against Everton.
    After city the spuds run in is easy so the final CL place is between us chelski and manure.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. It’s in the blog Andrew, Napoli had 70%of the ball.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Doh! Of course it is, my apologies. (The dangers of reading a blog and not commenting right away!).

    I remembered someone tweeting that figure right after the game (not you) but couldn’t be sure it was a reliable source as it seemed so unusually high.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. spurs lots their 11th BPL game of the season today, meaning that all of Arsenal, Chelsea and Man UTd can overtake them tomorrow if they win

    Liked by 1 person

  22. sorry cfc play on monday not tomorrow, but point still stands,

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Cannon Insider
    ‏ @CannonInsider
    10h10 hours ago

    The run-in, revised. #AFC

    SUN, 21/4: Crystal Palace (H)

    WED, 24/4: Wolves (A)

    SUN, 28/4: Leicester (A)

    THU, 2/5: Valencia (H)

    SUN, 5/5: Brighton (H)

    THU, 9/5: Valencia (A)

    SUN, 12/5: Burnley (A)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Unfortunately spuds have the easiest last four games with none of their opponents in any sort of form and will probably win all four games finishing on 79 points. That would leave us needing to win four and drawing one of our last five with a better goal difference to go above them.
    Manure have two easy games last but have Everton, city and chelski before hand. If they drop points against Everton and city it may be helpful if they then beat chelski.
    Obviously the major game for us at the moment is palace as it’s our next one and we need to make sure there’s no European hangover and we can cope without Papa and Aaron.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Jon Moss is ref for the game tomorrow, oh dear.

    Liked by 2 people

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