20 Comments

Wolves Tamed.

Well that was a pleasant surprise. A really hard working win, away against a team that is lauded for their organisation and solidity. It was a victory based more on endeavour than skill, but as Mikel says, that type of endeavour is non-negotiable if we are to get consistent results. He is clearly starting with the base before he starts putting on any icing. His philosophy is possession-based free-flowing attacking football, so I am happy to wait for it to emerge.

We scored two good goals and restricted them to one shot on target. No one can legitimately suggest that we didn’t both earn and deserve the victory.

Luiz, Mustafi and especially Xhaka, were magnificent. This isn’t an exaggeration, much as it must infuriate the hissy fit brigade.

No point me going over events you will all have seen, so I’ll just point out a few things that I think went slightly under the radar.

Tierney struggled. Now a I know he’s flavour of the month, but he really does struggle with his positioning when trying to stop his winger. He looks much better going forward than defending, something I’m sure he and Mikel will get right. His attitude seems exemplary.

AMN made a huge difference when he came on, at left back. Yes, left back! He is way more talented than he gets credit for. We rightly wax lyrical about Saka’s versatility, but Ainsley’s seem to go unheralded.

Aubameyang puts in an unbelievable shift, but his hold-up play and passing leaves much to be desired, that won’t change at his age, and maybe explains why Arteta is reluctant to play him as CF? Let‘s not forget though how brilliant he is on the left. It’s not like we lose his goals.

Saka, despite his fantastic goal, struggled on the right. He got better but it was still a struggle. It seems he was shoehorned into the eleven but even if he was, it can only help with his development. He is a mouthwatering prospect.

Sead is terrible at passing the football.  I know Mikel is desperate to have a left-footed CB, but he can’t be other than a very short term solution.

Ok, that will do from me, have a lovely Sunday and be careful out there.

Pedantic George.

20 comments on “Wolves Tamed.

  1. Ed I can come up with another record for Arsenal. Com
    Leicester city 2–5 Arsenal. 2015/16
    Leicester won the league that year. Away win for Arsenal within 5 years back against a team above us.
    Wenger’s Arsenal did the double against the champions that year.
    Hear you go again.

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  2. AMN is a very interesting player. If the press are to be believed, he owned up to being late in training or something, whatever the truth, hope this energetic , versatile and clearly talented player is firmly back in the fold, we need him.
    What impressed me yesterday was The effort expended, and them sticking to the plan, not derailed by a dangerous and skilled opponent enjoying a lot of possession , and a ref who looked to me like he was desperately trying to tilt things in Wolves favour in the second half, rarely have I seem our time wasting opponents at the Emirates booked as quickly and with such relish as Torriera yesterday.
    Some very good signs showing themselves under Arteta

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  3. Fair and balanced write-up, hugely enjoyable game although a very careful ‘technical’ encounter with neither side taking a swash-buckling approach, with few genuinely risky passages of play.

    Arteta’s approach reminds me of the England cricket team of the 1960’s – a side that didn’t always win but became incredibly hard to beat. Even now you will hear cricket legend and commentator Geoffrey Boycott talk about the need to secure the game before trying (ie taking the necessary risks) to win it. Mikel is absolutely striving to get the defensive basics right, and it is evident to all that his greatest coaching triumphs of this season include the drastic improvements evident in Mustafi’s game.

    I guess midfield may present MA’s greatest challenge as the attack is looking decent, a single certain re-signing away from being truly dangerous. I have huge confidence in Mikel to address all these areas with success.

    No-one’s talking much in the media about AFC’s prospects for next season (which is exactly how I like it) but I personally think it’ll be a stormer.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. well Andrew there was a piece done during the week about next season’s title race, they included Spurs in it but not Arsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, Mikel looks very promising, and Mustafi, how fantastic has he been. Looks a different player now the confusion evident under Emery has evaporated. So many players have improved, hope that reflects in more renewed contracts, starting with Mustafi.
    Guess he Mikel is working on some of the basics, discipline and resilience before maybe something more expansive at a later date, maybe next season. For those wanting the return of something resembling Wengerball, pepball, or Artetaball, I am sure that is coming, if some reports/ rumours are to be believed ,perhaps with one of the finest exponents, perhaps even the very embodiment of Wengerball on the pitch added to the coaching staff next season, but daren’t even hope on that one at this stage as Cazorla hasn’t yet announced his future plans.

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  6. I know they are only transfer rumors, but over recent weeks I notice we have been linked to several strikers, talk of them being replacements for one of PEA or Lacazette, mostly lacca, and the odd thing is that the type of striker we are being linked to, lots of big center forward types, some young, but several in their late twenties, such as 6ft 6in Wout Weghorst, who will soon be 28 and over the last 4 years, 2 in Holland and 2 in the Bundesliga, he is a 1 in 2 scorer.
    I do feel that we really miss a Giroud type CF, even if it is only as a sub. We have some very good crossers in the team, such as Tierney and Saka, but we win very few headers, or at least we score from very few headers.
    At times yesterday in the first half I felt we really needed a big lump up front that could hold up the ball, let us keep possession and get our midfield into play

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  7. Mandy wouldn’t it be great to have Santi as a player coach, it might also mean his talented young son joins our Academy, imagine that, both Cazorla’s son and Pires’s son in our Academy.

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  8. it seems yesterday was Arteta’s 21st game in charge of Arsenal and we had our 10th clean sheet from them. Not bad for a team with “uncoachable” defenders, not forgetting that MA has barely picked his one real defensive midfielder, Torreira.
    Jeez we’ll not concede a goal at all once we sign Partey and Upacamento

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For a team supposedly on the brink of total collapse, 10 clean sheets out of 21 games played under Arteta is a remarkable achievement by any yardstick although no doubt some will reflect more on the number of draws in that run as two points dropped rather than one point saved on each occasion. Some more tough games coming up but I will view anything other than defeats as real progress.

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  10. And yes, Eduardo, the MSM narrative is already appearing to lag badly behind the arc of reality, tut, tut.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A bit old-fashioned of me, but well as Mustafi played (and plays) I’d love to see a real big fellow at the back who is going to see off crosses and long throws in a way that we don’t quite seem to manage so well just now. And Ed’s tip for a new big striker, Wout Weghorst, would certainly give us that physical presence up front that we haven’t quite got just now.

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  12. Cazorla player coach, please make that happen! If ever a player summed up the traditional values of the club

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  13. burnely 1-1 sheffield utd is a good result for us.

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  14. All points correct George, which is why when the fickle blogs slag or laud players to an extreme it is likely that eventually they will be proved wrong.
    The deadwood were the stars of the show and the favourites struggled. Saka probably had his worst game in an ARSENAL shirt as everything he tried went wrong but to his credit he kept going certainly wasn’t afraid of receiving the ball and took his goal really well.
    I keep saying Sead is lovable but he just can’t defend and scares the life out of me. I think he will be gone soon but I would love to see Sead succeed.
    Wolves are an excellent side they pass the ball well have speed down the flanks can cross well can shoot from outside the box use the long throw and are excellent defencely the fact we won this game with some players struggling shows how hard the team worked.
    When you look at all the circumstances this was an absolutely massive win and sets as up nicely for the home game against Leicester where they will use the same tactics of sitting deep for long periods and try and catch us on the break. If we can deal with this tactic and impose our own game then we will be a very useful unit.

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  15. “At times yesterday in the first half I felt we really needed a big lump up front that could hold up the ball, let us keep possession and get our midfield into play”

    After Giroud left was when our game started falling apart. Our strikers were too similar and therefore, too predictable to the opposition. The HFB definitely gave us an alternative way of playing and as many goals that he scored with his head, he also scored some corkers with his feet and assisted some memorable goals too! Yet another unfairly maligned player of the modern age.

    If Arteta can get Santi onto the backroom staff, that may even rekindle my interest in next season!

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  16. Ed
    I thought of those Wieghorst links while watching us in one of recent games as Tierney put in a couple of crosses made for a tall guy or great in air striker.

    Pretty sure all of Lacazette, Aubameyang and even Eddie have scored with a couple of nice headers, but none the type you really fancy in a relatively even contest with big centre half from a good cross.

    Not just Tierney either, believe Soares has good delivery and Saka definitely capable of good crosses.

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  17. I hope we’re taking a look at striker in Osei-Tutu’s loan team. Not just big but fast and, though raw, looks to have real shades of Drogba to him. Plays up top on own a lot and fights with both centre halfs, runs channels, strong in air, and from what I’ve seen has some technical ability,too

    My theory is big striker’s often a bit later than their smaller counterparts to really find their feet, know how to use their strengths, so fact he’s 23 or something and only seems to have really got going last year or so doesn’t mean he isn’t capable at higher level.

    Think Ollie was about 23 before came together for him and Drog was similar as well.

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  18. Mikel Arteta was back in the company of the media on Sunday night as he held his pre-Leicester press conference.

    Our head coach was quizzed on a range of topics, covering everything from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette’s futures to what he’s watching on TV in his downtime.

    Read on for a full transcript:

    on what he hopes these next three games will show about our progress…
    Well now we are on a good run, we’ve got some momentum and we’re getting to the crucial point of the season where we’re going to face the top teams in the next two weeks and we’re just trying to get prepared as well as we can. We know how important these games are going to be for the future of the season, so we are very focused and committed to trying to do as well as we can.

    on Jamie Vardy’s goals and performances at the age of 33…
    When I look at the games of Leicester, there is still the energy that he has in every single game. It’s incredible to be consistent in the way that he’s done it in the Premier League. Credit to him, he is doing so well.

    on whether he thinks we can still make the Champions League if we beat Leicester and Tottenham…
    I think we have to win every game and then wait and pray. It’s not about winning one game. I think we need to go game-by-game. A few weeks ago, we were really far from even thinking about Europe and now we are a little bit closer at the moment. So let’s go game-by-game and see where it takes us.

    on why he thinks teenagers are making such an impact in this league season…
    Because they’ve been really well prepared. Credit to all of the academies in the country and the systems that we have in place now in England, that are giving really good formation and education to the players. Because, at that age it’s not just about having the qualities or the game knowledge or whatever. You need a structure around the club to support that path for the young players and as well, with how well they are mentally prepared for the pressure that they have to deal with every day.

    on whether Ozil and Guendouzi could play this week…
    Still, the situation is as it was before.

    on what he expects from Leicester under Brendan Rodgers…
    Well, I think Brendan and his staff have completely changed the style of play and the way they approach the games. It’s very clear what they are trying to do. They are very dominant. They’re one of the teams that has better possession in very difficult areas as well. In the Premier League, they’ve been really consistent – even though they’ve had some difficulties in the last few weeks – but since they joined, they completely changed the way they are playing and I think they proved against big teams as well that they’re going to sustain that influence against the stronger teams as well. Credit to them for what they’ve done.

    on how we ensure we don’t lose our momentum now…
    Just by pushing the players every day. They are realising that that’s the only way to try to compete with the top teams in this country. There are still a lot of things that we have to improve and we have a huge margin, but that has to be something non-negotiable, that has to be a must in every game and every training session. We can build from there.

    on Emi Martinez’s determination to take his chance…
    That’s what he’s been trying to do for a long period now at the club. As I said before, his preparation and his attitude has always been spot on. He’s been very respectful and very patient and now that he has the opportunity, he is grabbing it. But at this level it’s not about two, three, eight or 10 games. It’s about the consistency over a lot of games and that’s what he needs to prove now.

    on if he thinks the restart came too soon for us judging by our results…
    I don’t think so. I think we were well-prepared. I think they were two very different games. The game at City started with two accidents very early in the game that cost us a lot with two big injuries. Then, don’t forget that we played 45 minutes with 10 men against one of the top sides in the country. The second game against Brighton, we completely dominated the game for large periods of time and then when we were 1-0 up and we could’ve scored the second one, we just gave the game to the opponent. So it’s not like it was bad performance or attitudes or effort or anything like that. It was different situations that we have to deal with and we didn’t do well enough in those two games.

    on how pleased he was to see Lacazette score and Martinelli sign a new deal…
    Yes, we’ve had some positive news in the last few weeks about some young players committing their future to the club. Asking about Auba, you see again the way he played and the energy and the effort that he put into the game and how he helped the team in crucial moments, it tells you how involved he is in what we are trying to do and it’s the same with Laca. I’m delighted for him because he completely deserved it. It’s been a long time since he scored away from home but he scored a crucial goal for us again. Not only that, but his contribution when he stepped onto the pitch was massive.

    on whether he thinks we could see Messi move to the Premier League…
    I have no clue! It’s not a question for us, but obviously, if he could come and join this country, I think it would be a huge plus for the country, for the league and for everybody to have the opportunity to enjoy him.

    on Lacazette’s contract situation…
    We have to have a chat about the next step with him and get his ideas and his feelings. As I said, I am really happy with him. He’s a player that I’ve always liked, even when I wasn’t here, because of what he brings to the team: his qualities, his ability, his work rate. So let’s see. Now we are in a crucial moment. It’s no time to talk about a lot of contract situations. We still have time and we will do it in the right moment.

    on relentless games and press conferences and how he stays fresh…
    My bed! My bed! I sleep whenever I can and try to rest and put my head a little bit off. But as you said, TV and movies, yes sometimes. I just finished one right now but unfortunately the movies that I am watching now are Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool and all these other games.

    on what he’s just finished watching…
    How to Get Away with Murder. It’s a good one, I recommend it.

    Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

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  19. I do not understand the answer about Ozil.

    Is he still unfit because of a back injury, or is it because he does not have the “right attitude”?

    In the meantime, are we looking at another emerylike mirage, or is there a long term plan that will return us to the attacking side that we all know and love, or simply to another mediocre pressing side that can counter-attack?

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  20. The leg break to Welbeck was a blow for the squad, the attack has been missing an option since.

    Giroud was good for us, but he was dropped for Welbeck in the final in 2017, and Welbeck despite his below par finishing for a top level striker was magnificent that day, bullied the opposition defenders like Costa was meant to, and very unlucky not to score. He was in fact England’s leading striker when he got crocked. That Arsenal still manage to recruit top level players with the lack of protection they receive; its a minor miracle really that players still dream of playing with top coaches like Wenger or Arteta, luckily for us.
    (Never mind the cowards who can’t even call what occurs on the pitch, as they are cowards)

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