8 games gone and Arsenal are Xrd in the league.
It feels like there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the club at the beginning of this season.
Yes, the Watford draw was a disappointment, and we did not seem to go out 100% for the win against Manchester United, but things have certainly not been as bad as some fans make out.
The international break has come at a good time for us, and we will return a different team after it.
The 2 weeks off will give Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney extra recovery time from their long term injuries.
The fact that we are top 4 without Bellerin, Tierney and Holding means we have plenty to be optimistic about when they return fully. All 3 have shown in the mid-week team that they will improve our 1st team upon their return.
Tierney and Bellerin will improve us defensively and provide quality from the flanks.
The Scotsman has already shown that he is probably the best crosser of the ball at the club and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be licking his lips.
Aubameyang must know that everytime Tierney has the ball on the left he must attack the 6-yard box and a pin point cross will be swung in. Tierney can do for Arsenal what Andrew Robertson has done for Liverpool.
On the other flank we have missed Bellerin; especially in defensive situation.
Bellerin is underrated defensively, rarely does a winger get the better of him. He will make our back 4 look a lot stronger.
Both Tierney and Bellerin will also change the way we defend corners. Both are blessed with electric pace and with Bellerin on the half way line and Tierney in the space in front; we will be a lot harder to break against.
Holding is solid and reliable at the back – and is also a good passer of the ball. It has to be him +1 between now and the end of the season.
When we line up against Sheffield United on our 1st game back, it will be like having 3 new signings at the back. The defence (which has looked shaky this season) will improve 10-fold
The extra 2 weeks will also be key for the development of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe.
Both new signings have looked good in part this season, but have not set the world alight.
Pepe especially looks like a player feeling the pressure of his price tag.
Everytime Pepe gets on the ball he is trying hard to make something happen. Trying to provide game winning moments. The problem is he has yet to do anything game-changing.
Worryingly he is also not doing the basics right; miss-placing easy passes.
He has been dispossessed 12 times in possession this season; more often than any other Arsenal player.
Whilst it expected that your winger is the most dispossessed player in the team, it is a concern due to how little game time he has had. Dani Ceballos is the 2nd most dispossessed player in the team.
Hopefully the international break will do them well and give both a chance to build confidence going into the English winter.
By the time the international break is over, we will have a new look back 4 and it will feel like we are a completely different team.
Against Sheffield United I expect us to line up:
Plenty to look forward to. I am off to Morocco so do not expect a blog for a couple of weeks.