By 1970's Gooner
There is a debate currently being discussed among Arsenal fans and journalists on whether Arsenal can sustain this winning run. This is logical as Arsenal, although scoring a high number of goals, are also conceding a high number of shots against them.
Fulham for example had 21 shots against our goal and others that have been put to the sword recently such as Watford or Everton had a high figure especially in the expected goals statistic.
This is despite only conceding one goal per game in the last 6 which is a good statistic but does not take into account that either our goalie had an exceptional game (which may not last for ever) or the opponents forwards were not in goal scoring form (which may also not last for ever) or both.
Emery has only corrected these 2 weaknesses which may account for the recent better outcomes and performances:
1. Better passing out of defence by the goalkeeper. Cech initially struggled badly (and he was not aided by his defenders who were not taking appropriate positions so as to allow him to pass it to them efficiently).
Both Cech and Leno, if you've noticed, opt now to pass it long if they feel they are in danger whereas before they insisted on continuing passing the ball around their area in dangerous positions.
This has allowed the whole team to play further up the field without being put under tremendous pressure in front of their box.
2. The second weakness corrected is finally the deployment of a genuine defensive midfielder whose main purpose in life is to protect the back four. Emery unleashed the little terrier and suddenly the whole team is now much more balanced for a change. Something that Wenger failed to recognise in the last 10 years...
3. The third weakness which has not yet been fully corrected, but it could soon be, is not playing both Lacazette and Auba up front together from the start.
Failing to do so not only deprives the team of its most potent strike force but makes the team more unbalanced when without the ball as Auba, when deployed on the wing, cannot not really help out defensively.
Lacazette is now undroppable so Emery has a dilemma. Does he start with Auba on the wing or play Iwobi who has really excelled in that position and added incisiveness going forward and much needed defensive duties when without the ball.
The answer is to opt for a 4 4 2 system where the brothers in arms can play up front and deploy undroppable Iwobi on one of the wings and choose another from Ozil (?), Ramsey, Miki and Welbeck on the other wing.
This formation, I believe, will bring the best out of the assets the team currently possesses and also prepares it for Ramsey's departure which increasingly looks like happening.
It also does not look promising for Ozil as he is not really a winger so he will tend to drop in rather than than hug the wing. This will, along with his reluctance to drop back and defend properly, unbalance the team again.
4. Find a new midfielder other than Xhaka.
Against Fulham Xhaka played an withdrawn role not venturing too high up the field and thus not leaving gaps behind. He didn't shine but then again he didn't make the errors he is usually prone to. The central midfield looked more compact.
So if this is the way to go (which I really hope so) what is the need to deploy an attacking midfielder in a sitting position when you will not use him as such. Better to deploy another central midfielder alongside Torreira and make the midfield a real barrier, a no go area.
5. Added to the protection a 4 4 2 system with two central midfielders sitting deep can bring to the team, Emery needs to correct the major weakness in defence.
Mustafi has not really improved over the last 2.5 years he has been at Arsenal. He keeps making silly errors and positional mistakes which very often result in goals conceded.
Emery can opt to give Holding a run in the team and / or wait for Koscienly to return who will, if indeed he returns healed from his problem, add the defensive nous and speed that is clearly lacking from Mustafi.
Make these changes Mr Emery and we will be challenging for the title.....
Tuesday, October 09, 2018
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