Through (unbeaten) in the Europa League after just 4 games and into the quarter-final of the League Cup. On papers things are looking good. But scratch beneath the surface and victories have masked poor performances.
In the League Cup, we beat lowly Doncaster 1-0, before needing an 85th minute equaliser and extra team winner to knock out Norwich. In both games, our opponents had chances to score.
In the Europa League it is P 4 W 3. Last night we had to suffer a horrendous bore draw which saw us through, but not in style.
We went behind against Koln (or Cologne?), looked open at the back in a 4-2 victory over BATE Borislav, and scored an 85th minute winner away to Red Star Belgrade before last nights 0-0.
Bar a 40 minute spell against BATE, we have looked poor in every game, and handed the opposition enough chances for them to have beaten us.
It is very easy to go the other and bash the side who are unbeaten in their 6 cup competitions and keeping the club on course to challenge for further honours.
I fully understand what Arsene Wenger is trying to do.
Give senior players not involved in the first XI a run out, to keep them sharp and involved, whilst blooding a few youngsters.
The problem is not the personnel but the formation.
The team plays 3421. That is the current formation. And like most teams, the formation of the first XI gets mirrored through the youth teams. This includes the second string we are putting out in cup games.
But if Arsenal want to continue putting out a B team, and want to ensure they are more competitive, Wenger needs to look at changing the formation. Currently there are too many square pegs in round holes.
Matthieu Debuchy and Rob Holding have performed well at centre back. With Shokdran Mustafi out, Per Mertesacker has been promoted to the first XI, leaving a gap at centre back which Mohamed Elneny has tried to fill in.
A CM, a RB and a CB playing in a back 3. No wonder we have given away so many chances.
I feel sorry for the wing back in Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson. Neither player is able to show his true attributes playing out of position. They are getting game time, but it is game time for the sake of it. Neither are getting a fair run.
Inside last night it was Chris Willock and Francis Coquelin. Coquelin thinks he is Xavi. Get lost mate.
Ahead we have Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere.
Walcott is not, has never been, and will never be a number 10. And Wilshere has always been better playing in the middle of a 3 man midfield, dictating play from deep and moving forward with play, finding space as he go’s.
With those two trying to create, it has meant Olivier Giroud has lack any decent service in the games thus far.
By changing to 433, Arsenal could have more players in their proper positions, allowing players to shine
AMN Debuchy Holding DaSilva
Elneny Wilshere Coquelin
Walcott Giroud Nelson
As players return from injury, Mertesacker would sit in the middle and Iwobi would replace Coquelin.
The team would be more balanced, more natural, and give us a much better chance of continuing or progress in the League Cup and Europa League.
Take the chance.