One Swallow does not a Season make

Well, the game has ended and too bad we lost. I am sad that we lost but I don’t share the sentiment of many that we are doomed and condemned to another inglorious season.

I am certain there’s no way we would have a repetition of the immediate past season. It was our worst under Arsene. Yes we struggled to cope with the frenetic pace of City, tell me how many teams in the league wouldn’t? The only ones that look capable have spent tons of money to play catch and still don’t look close enough. Some are already certain Emery could never beat Pep but how far from reality they are. City played some of the best football the premiership ever witnessed on their way to the title last season while we had our worst. So, it’s natural they were the sleeker side on the day while we struggled in transition?

Does this mean our season is doomed!? NO! Our laboured defending and flailing in attack showed that we are work in progress. We will be a different proposition within a month no doubt. Any fan that thought we were simply going to overrun City must have been living in the fantasy world. It will take a few weeks but surely the players will catch up with the hardwork Emery has been trying to impact on them.

Its not easy watching ones team lose but there were many positives in the game to a discerning eye. And the result could have been different had Ozil and Xhaka come up with their A game. All through Ozil exhibited the lethargic form he exhibited in Russia while Mkhitarayan just ran around aimlessly when he did tried to contribute. We’ve played one of our hardest game of the season and lost so there’s now time to restrategise.

We should not forget that even the high flying Pep ended his first season empty handed but look where he is now. Who says Emery if he can’t achieve same level come close to him?

If all else fails to cheer you up this morning, take a look at mickydidit’s view of the game. See. not so bad after all! (ed)

Ratings (ed)

Cech – made a couple of decent stops and had one howler which could have been of epic proportions ….. 6

Bellerin – a little flaky but had a rasping drive which unfortunately went straight down the keeper’s throat ….. 6

Mustafi – chasing his tail at times trying to keep pace with City’s movement, but didn’t disgrace himself ….. 6

Sokratis – the look on his face after his foul on Aguero for the booking, was classic ….. 6

Maitland-Niles (Lichtsteiner) – Ainsley’s coming into contact with the lardy Walker was always going to end in tears. Lichtsteiner stepped in on the left and added a real sense of urgency and purpose – I like him already ….. 6 (7)

Xhaka – Still looked to be searching for full fitness, so the game bypassed him somewhat ….. 5

Guendouzi – once he got over his early ‘what the hell am I doing playing at this level’ nerves he was fine and didn’t look out of place at all. Could have done more to stop Sterling for the first, maybe ….. 7

Ramsey – I still haven’t got much of an idea as to where Aaron was playing yesterday ….. 5

Ozil ….. a fairly anonymous performance by his own high standards ….. 6

Mkhitaryan – looked a little slow of foot and thought against City’s rattatttat style. Not his best performance in red and white ….. 5

Aubameyang – Not really given much to chew on the whole game ….. 6


Lacazette – if Alexandre had scored that golden chance on 55 minutes with the score at 0-1, I’m sure it would have been game on. Wasn’t to be though ….. 7

Mickydidit’s view of an azure blue sea …. 10

Written by Akinzo


44 Responses to One Swallow does not a Season make

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Akinzo, thank you for allowing (??) us to use your comment for this morning’s post.

    I agree, our performance was OK. Like you I was disappointed by the inablity of Ozil and Mhiki to influence the game but many will fail against MC

  2. RockyLives says:

    Totally agree with this analysis.

    Quite simply, City were outstanding. Every one of their players knew what they had to do and did it extremely well.

    We’re just getting started and it will probably take half a season for Dick to have us purring along in the desired manner. If we can put the lesser teams to the sword in the mean time we should be in a good position for a Top Four push in the second half of the campaign.

    And with a new manager, a mostly inherited squad and a lot of ingrained bad habits to eradicate, Top Four is really the summit of our expectations this season.

    Title next season though!

  3. Rasp says:

    Thank you Akinzo (Raddy and chas too)

    There were more positives than negatives … and some of the negatives were addressed during the game.

    Unai is not one to be worried about reputation, status or waiting for the 73rd minute when it comes to making subs.

    Guendozi was a little nervy at first but kept going for the full 90 and was our most influential player having the most touches of the ball … Cech was second in that list!

    Torriera looked really good when he came on and provided some much needed pinpoint forward passes to keep their defence on its toes. Auba only really got some service once Torriera (sp?) came on.

    Replacing the rather anonymous Ramsey (may not be his fault) for the much sharper Laca brought an immediate improvement as well. We were beginning to get on top of City and the high press was working when we conceded the second against the run of play, but could still have scored three times after that.

    Sokratis is solid. I’d instruct Mustafi to just give the ball to Guendozi or Torriera (those two would be my chosen DM pairing) because Mustafi can’t find a forward pass to save his life.

    The City keepr showed what a modern keeper can do to instigate an attack, his distribution was excellent .. even though he looked dodgy on the few occasions we pressed him. Cech kept rolling the ball out to our CDs and playing them into trouble, I’m hoping Leno has more of the skills of the City keeper.

    Mikhi didn’t work hard enough defensively and didn’t take on their full backs often enough or try to get behind in the same way that nonce Sterling did for City.

    I hope Unai sticks to his beliefs and is brave enough to hook any of Ramsey, Ozil, Mikhi or Xhaka off when they’re not performing.

    All in all, I’m not disappointed because I could see what we were trying to do and only a complete fantasist (me pre-match 🙂 )would expect it all to come together in the first game against the best team in the league.

  4. gunner smith says:

    Agree with the headline.At least Arsenal didnt lose 5-0/6-0,etc and if the strikers didn’t miss it could have been a different story.
    Remember this is the epl the toughest league to win in Europe if not the world.
    As for Guardiola I don’t think he will dominate like he did in Germany and Spain.I might be wrong but there a nucleus of at least 5 clubs
    which are capable of winning the epl.
    The next match against Chelsea will show how the gunners can perform under pressure.

  5. Eddie says:

    i am not disappointed, well not a lot at least. I was worried it would be a thrashing. But it wasn’t. We put up a fight and a couple of times were within a chance. Unfortunately, our strikers are not good enough, still cannot score. I didn’t expect Abemayang or Lacazette to become great all of a sudden, why should they. Unai is not going to teach them how to score, is he? That is probably my biggest disappointment – that we didn’t buy a striker

    Otherwise – good fast game, City awesome, Sterling going from strength to strength, horrid Walker still horrid, I think they will win the league again with their eyes shut. Ffs they had Sane and de Bruyne sitting on the bench!!

    New players tried harder than their old teammates, pretty normal I’d say. Let’s hope the old will not regress to be in line with the likes of Ramsey, Xhaka and even Ozil.

  6. Eddie says:

    is that micky’s arse? no way! I bet his is hairy.

  7. chas says:

    Cheers, Akinzo, a thoughtful and measured assessment of what was always going to be a hugely tricky opening fixture.

    City just ooze confidence and we really needed some sharp finishing to knock them out of their stride. It just didn’t happen but I’m confident it won’t be long in coming.

  8. chas says:

    He’d have to be a special kind of contortionist to be able to get that kind of view of his hairy posterior. That and a detachable head.

    From Micky before the game yesterday…

    Just remember this, if you’ve just spent time and money going to the game, you’re sitting next to some fat know it all in a tight football shirt and we lose, I’m lying near the azure blue sea in Italy with my nose four feet from the best ass I’ve seen in my entire life
    I’ll be fine

  9. Akinzo says:

    Raddy, Rasp thanks for sharing my optimism. I nurse no fear that Emery is capable of turning the fortune of the team around. That was evident in the improvement of the team from the lethargic performance in the first half to a threatening side that came close to equalising in the second half. I am elated we’ve gotten the City game off our path now. The significance of the loss will be reduced expectations which would benefit the team immensely. And now we are beginning to know which of the players could be relied on and ones to take the chop

  10. chas says:

  11. chas says:

  12. chas says:

  13. Eddie says:

    chas – are you saying it wasn’t his own arse DidIt was looking at?

  14. chas says:

    Having re-read 10:37, it’s obvious he was referring to his nose being only 4 feet away from his own arse.
    How silly of me!

  15. Eddie says:

    got you. I took a tape measure and it is only about 90cm (3ft) from my eyes to me arse. DidIt is taller than me, but not whole foot taller.

    This brings me to even more intriguing question – what was he doing so close to someone else’s arse? Sniffing?

  16. Eddie says:

    forgot to say – Lichtensteiner was the best player on the pitch yesterday.

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    Well it was just the first game for Unai and his new players and tactics and it’s obvious that it will take time for things to gel so the name of the game is – patience.

    I still feel sad in the way we played especially the endless pass backs to Cech which he was not at all comfortable in receiving. It was a huge surprise that Pep didn’t have his players capitalize on that in the second half.

    The mid-field was left lacking until Torreira came on – he will make a huge difference.

    The one word that dominates my thought on the game is cohesion (lack of) prior to Lacazette being introduced our offense looked

    Our key players looked either out of sorts or out of position –


    The upside is that they can all play a lot better.

    Were we lacking or were City just too good – maybe a touch of both.

    Chelsea up next but then we have a run of eight winnable games.

    West Ham
    Cardiff City
    Crystal Palace

  18. GunnerN5 says:

    Eddie. we got to see four of Unai’s new signings and they all looked very solid – Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Guendouzi and Torreira – which is a good omen for the future.

  19. fred1266 says:

    Hey micky where do you get that view from the upper tier

  20. Eddie says:

    GN5 – yes. I liked all of them, but especially Matteo and Stephan.

    fred – mirrors 🙂 🙂

  21. fred1266 says:

    Buy another striker Eddie why though, we have two of the best just there service for them was poor lacazette should have scored but probably the nerves got the better of him,

  22. LB says:

    I haven’t seen the game yet but wanted to say thanks for the read Akinso. I am guessing that BR did the player ratings and if that wasn’t top reading enough there is a quality Rocky comment.
    Hey Slim, what’s happening I value your take on things?
    Got the game recorded, won’t get to see it till the end of the week but I am not in a big hurry.

  23. Aaron says:

    So, after watching the game again, I observed that pup uses the same type of tactics of Simeone, but when his team presses. (serial fouling) Looking at the analytical findings on another site, the Xg does not tell the whole story.
    Everytime the Arsenal were put under pressure and were about to move the ball around the press, $h*ty fouled, and fouled and fouled. This does not allow a team to break at speed against them. As everyone who has watched the Arsenal for a while, when the team slows down in the final third, they labor to score.
    Hopefully, Emry observes this, and reacts to this type of tactic. Litch and Laca were definitely putting their foot in a few tackles.

    As mentioned above, Cech is too slow in his decision making when passing it out of the back, Leno just fires passes everywhere. It is like watching a team with 10 players and a shot stopper versus a team with 11 players and a shot stopper. Want to see Ramsey, Miki or Mesut, Xhaka, and Cech on the bench for the next game.

    Good ratings but Bel needs to drop a point as both goals came from his side, along with Guendouzi as he got burnt 2X of both goals. But, with Torriera in there next week and thereafter this won’t happen as much. Ramsey is the same as Miki, and Mesut and 2 of them need to be on the pine next week. Cech also needs his score adjusted downwards and his passing and distribution compared to Leno’s is slow as molasses.

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi Aaron, you’ve got a point about their tactical fouling, I commented on it during the game. Also, 60 minutes into the game and at 1 nil up they were slowing everything down and playing for time.

    I believe Pep coaches this … anything to disrupt the rhythm of the opposition.

    I’ve never seen anyone walk off the pitch as slowly as Mahrez … and they are the mighty Man City, 1 nil up, playing for time?

    Clearly Guardiola believes in marginal gains. Apart from pressing as a team, and maximising the potential of his players, he focuses on undermining the opposition. This was graphically illustrated by the length of time our players had to wait to restart after the second goal, the ref was weak and should have pointed at his watch. All this served to frustrate and demean our players. Pep wants to win the mental and physical battles … we need to improve in both those areas … and I’m sure Unai knows this.

  25. Aaron says:

    No doubt. I was watching $h*ty waste time on throw in’s, and at the 50 minute mark. Need to proactively deal with this when the Arsenal play teams that use these type of tactics or just mirror it, and most of the time the talent of the Arsenal squad will do. But, when up against the top 6, Emery will need to be fluid and adjust his squad to match the team, and were the Arsenal are playing. A la moaninho’s tactic for going for a point in away games against top 6-which is better than 0 points away for an entire season.

  26. Rasp says:

    Yes, the new guys were all snapping into the tackles … unlike our established stars who were still in ‘last season mode’ for most of the game.

    I also agree that Cech can’t play the style that Unai wants, he’s a decent keeper, but not a great footballer, I hope to see Leno between the sticks in the near future.

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    Cech is the better “stopper” but Leno definitely has better eye to foot skills.

    From what little I’ve read about Leno the word is that he is prone to make mistakes resulting in goals – but so are most goal keepers.

    If Leno is our future we need to get him indoctrinated into the EPL style of football sooner than later.

    How were the crowd around you reacting Rasp?

  28. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, I was sitting 3 down from a loudmouth gobshite who held court at half time and slagged off the team and the manager whilst his audience listened intently. When the guy sitting next to me came back for the second half I asked him why he listened to the idiot … he said he’s always like that … but then we had a good friendly chat for the rest of the game and he even began to join in with the singing.

    The crowd were pretty quiet for the first hour. Then we got a couple of bad reffing decisions, followed by some tasty tackles by our new guys and all of a sudden we found our voices …. but sadly their goal rather took the wind out of our sales.

    Like the payers, I think we just needed that first league goal under Emery and the confidence will come flooding back.

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Thanks for that Rasp –

    Well I guess once a loudmouth always a loudmouth nothing will please some people. I still worry about our overall fan support – especially if we (very possibly) go through a steep learning curve.

    I’m not particularly patient myself but I understand that change does not come without issues.

    A wise man once told me that –

    “You can have change without improvement”

    but –

    “You cannot have improvement without change”

    We need improvement so we have to expect and be patient with the changes that are needed.

  30. Red Arnie says:

    Great work, Akinzo, and Chas and Raddy. 🙂

    And a great sniff, Micky. 🙂

    I am not unhappy with expectations getting a bit low. I think it helps. New-ish team, new manager, new setup. More positives than negatives. On with it!

  31. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. I do not believe that one cannot have improvement without change. You can. It is called practice and practice makes perfect. Though in this instance I am thinking about life.

    As to the fans – if i11.45is true then we have a long season full of acrimony because there are going to be some losses as we become Emery’s Arsenal

  32. Big Raddy says:

    Not much Raddy input into the post apart from a little fiddling and the pics. The ratings are pure Chas.

    I know where Micky is and as he is on holiday with his family. I assume the ass in question is Mrs Didit (or gd forbid Miss Didit)

  33. wally says:

    Thought we did a good job keeping our shape defensively. For a change not yelling at the tube to get back, get back. Packed the center and forced them wide but didn’t do a good job of winning the ball once we had them on one side.
    Going forward was another story, not a good one. Still looking for someone who could boss the field. Emery still appears to be looking for the combinations that work. This will probably take some time.
    It’s early days and all things considered not a horrible start. Teething still going on and may take a couple of months to get thru it. It’ll get better.

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy, it could well be that the change needed is “Practice and Practice again until it’s Perfect” especially since we have a new manager, a new system and new players and new supporter expectations.

  35. Gööner In Exile says:

    I think my biggest disappointment was lack of change in the shortcomings, the goals were far too easily given up, and they had plenty of other chances that with better finishing they would have beaten us by 4 or 5.

    We as fans have often looked at Spuds and Dippers in recent seasons with envy. The main difference between our rebuilding and there’s is perhaps they didn’t have many “superstars” in their squad. But they rebuilt with youth and bargains. When GG took over from Howe he got the hungry youth team together plus some canny signings and created a great team prepared to do his bidding for first team appearances in the top league.

    It pains me to say it but if Emery is going to reshape our style he needs to use the players at the club who can be coached before their fear gets the better of them, which means a player I love (Ozil) can’t feature neither can Mustafi or Cech. We still have time to sell a few men to European clubs, and I believe as fans we would embrace a youthful side trying to form a new identity. We know the players we have raised have the technical ability put them in and let them go. Top 4 is a big ask this season so I would like Emery to be bolder.

  36. fatgingergooner says:

    Özil will either have his best season at Arsenal, or he will be off at the end of it. He loved playing under Wenger, but I’m not sure he will get the same freedom under Emery and I think he will start to sulk. I’d love him to really embrace the new system and put his heart into it, but the first signs on Sunday didn’t fill me with hope.

    Enjoyed our overall set up though and you can see what Emery wants us to be. I’ve wanted a pressing game for years and when it’s done correctly it’s very difficult to play against. It will take a couple of transfer windows but Im very optimistic for the future.

    I’d like to see this line up at Chelsea:

    Lichsteiner Mustafi Sokratis Monreal
    Geundouzi Torreira Ramsey
    Özil Lacazette Aubameyang

  37. Gööner In Exile says:

    One thing keeps bugging me why Ramsey in the number 10 role?

  38. fred1266 says:

    I agree ozil much better in that position and surely would have worked better on the wings

  39. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Stopped watching AFTV after the first couple of weeks. Repetitive and inane.

  40. chas says:


  41. fred1266 says:

    I actually never watch them, but the when I visit I actually attend the recording and realised they are insane that why I decided not to go on and speak when I got the chance

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