As I sit here on Sunday afternoon writing this I am in a relaxed and reflective mood.
A weekend of seeing family, a BBQ in the sun and then a pub lunch in Epping Forest on Sunday in the rain, I have had a cracking weekend even if it meant I missed going to The Arsenal.
And The Arsenal result has certainly helped with my mood.
After a tough two opening games for Unai Emery, we face West Ham on Saturday, winning 3-1 in what was a fairly rusty display.
Some tried to paint Emery as a man under pressure. I saw one journalist say he was “favourite for the sack race”, and that he was under tremendous pressure from the Arsenal fans.
It was certainly a case of the journalist trying to create a story rather than report the news.
The only people I have seen being super-negative about the start of the Emery-era are attention seeking wankers in social media.
Regardless of whether they were previously Wenger-In or Wenger-Out, there is an equal number abusing Emery for RTs and recognition. On both sides, thy have shown themselves as not true Arsenal fans and are best off ignored.
As for the game, I was not at it as have only seen brief highlights on Match if the Day.
From the 8 minutes of football I saw, the following observations were made:
- Sokratis is the proper defender we have missed for a decade
- There is a player in Granit Xhaka; he just needs to be used correctly
- We need to play Lucas Torreira behind Xhaka
- Mkhitaryan is a different player when Ozil isn’t playing
There are clearly some huge positives to be taken from the beginning of the Emery-era; even if it has taken 3 games to get the first positive result.
The difference between the Liverpool / Arsenal punditry made interesting listening too.
They heavily criticised Arsenal for sending both full backs forward, but then praised Liverpool for employing the same tactics and saying “thats the modern game”.
It highlights that the “expert” pundits will change their mind on tactics depending on what agenda they want to pursue.
In this case it was criticise Arsenal & praise Liverpool.
What would have been good is for someone to take the time comparing the way both sides set up.
The issue is not that Arsenal’s full backs bomb forward, but the lack of cover they get from their midfielders.
Liverpool played with Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner sitting.
Both men would cover outwide when their full backs bomb forward.
Manchester City use a different tactic, with Fernandinho sitting between the centre backs creating a back 3 when Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy bomb on.
Arsenal’s problem is, and has been probably since Gilberto Silva left the club, that no one in the middle of the park covers the full backs when the go forward.
It just further supports playing Torreira and Xhaka together.
A two man shield will mean that we can have a solid 4 men covering the full backs when the are in the opposition box.
It is all about balance.
Whilst I have mentioned Liverpool. They are top. 9 points from 9; and are being talked up as potential champions. The crown already on their head.
But they have played West Ham (h), Crystal Palace (a) & Brighton (h).
Some perspective is needed.
Last season, Arsenal were awful in finishing 6th. Yet they beat West Ham (h), Crystal Palace (a) & Brighton (h).
So had we had Liverpool’s opening 3 games this season in 2017/18, we would have been top of the league, 9 points out of 9.
This season I would expect Arsenal to win all 3 of the games Liverpool have – we have already won 1 of the 3.
We are 3 games into the season. Just like Arsenal were not a bad team after losing to Manchester City and Chelsea, beating West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton does not make Liverpool a great team.
Have a good bank holiday Monday and it is back to football on Sunday with a visit to Cardiff.
Let’s be positive and ignore those negative attention seekers.