Stretching a point – Unai discovers the limits of his squad?

It really does feel to me as if the XG chickens have come home to roost. Or at least it does until I realise that the meaning of that statement is in the mind of the writer and as such open to interpretation by everyone who reads it.

The image that this conjures in my mind is one of Emery’s team resembling an elastic band. It has been exciting watching Emery stretch it as far as it can go and I happily admit that I think he has been able to stretch it further than I expected but it is now contracting back to its original shape.In other words, I believe we have seen the collective best of the squad that Emery has at his disposal and I don’t believe that he is able to make it any better than he has.

In fact with the amount of games that we have got coming up and the continually diminishing squad due to injuries, I only see us going backwards.

A bit gloomy I know, but this is what I would describe as the reality of our situation, or ‘our lot’ if you like. There are bright spots, it could be argued that the elastic band started contracting when we lost the extremely important Nacho Monreal and his return could put us back on our expanding trajectory.

I expect Torreira to start scoring goals. When Wolves reverted to parking the bus, Emery brought on Guendouzi and pushed Torreira forward, I thought this was a clever move as I think that the Uruguayan is probably only just behind Ozil in his ability to operate in the tight space that parking the bus ensures. What I am saying is that Torreira being quick and super accurate should start getting him on the score sheet sooner rather than later.

I really like the way that Emery is able to keep players feeling part of the squad but at the same time generating competition for places. Look at how enthused and determined Ramsey and Mkhitaryan looked when they took to the field on Sunday. Emery was also able to do this with Welbeck, of course, before his unfortunate early departure.

But pointing to Ramsey’s and Mkhitaryan’s facial expressions is, in many ways, clutching at straws. The reality is the reality. Is Iwobi likely to improve further this season, well I hope so but I seriously doubt it. Is Holding going to improve this season; again I hope so but I doubt it. Both have enjoyed meteoric rises under the stewardship of Emery but Holding is not going to start to be able to run any faster than he can already and Iwobi just can’t resist a blind alley.

Emery has had a good, hard look now and must have a pretty solid idea of what he needs. I doubt that he will be able to get everything on his wish list in one go but I do expect a new arrival or two in January and, with that, I expect Emery’s elastic band to start to stretch once again.

Written with a tooth ache so if it is a bit miserable, blame the weakness of the drugs.



23 Responses to Stretching a point – Unai discovers the limits of his squad?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    LB. Good if somewhat sombre read. Much to think about.

    I am sure you can find some stronger drugs in the streets of Ladbroke Grove, just ask for either Shady Sam or Big Legs Billy, both can help.

    A mixture of toothache and the Interlull has affected your mood 😀

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks for the post LB …. my response would be that we should all be grateful that we’ve overachieved at this point. We only have to reference the continuing carnage at manu 3 managers after SAF left to know that our club and our new manager are doing a very good job.

    Only supporters still sore at seeing AW leave could be critical of what UE has achieved in such a short period of time. He can only change the personnel slowly, but he has already changed the mentality in the squad and that was probably our most significant weakness in the last few years.

    You may well be right that we are about to be ‘found out’ … but the bigger picture is what matters and that is solidly ‘Arsenal’ … we do things the right way …..

  3. LBG says:

    “Doomed, I tell you we are all doomed”
    Thanks for the post, LB………I think.
    Sorry about your toof ache.
    Don’t agree, don’t agree, don’t agree.
    Holding is our Steve Bould and will continue to grow under Dick’s leadership. Nacho is ready to return and will shore up the left side. The Greek Chuckle Brothers will be the combination from Christmas onwards. A M-N will return soon and Dick will play him in his central midfield place. Ouzi will learn more about spacial awareness from Terrier, who will be Premier League player of the season. Aubang will win me a nice pot for goalden boot, and his mate will knock in 20.
    The Arse will win the Europa and Carrier bag Cups and come third in the Premier League. Totteringham will still be playing at Wembley in 2020 and Mrs disMay will be seen running through an Irish potato field being chased by Boris demanding sex. Call me psychic LBG if you want……..but none of those other things

  4. LBG says:

    I only wrote psychic cos I couldn’t remember

  5. chas says:

    Thanks, LB, are you still in Spain?

    I think it was that last 10 minutes or so of the Wolves game which has left most of us so deflated going into the interlull.

    Even the first 80 odd minutes weren’t that encouraging. Wolves dominated us in the first half, being excellent defensively as well as dangerous on the counter.

    In the second half they restricted us to just the one gilt-edged chance which Auba missed and they looked pretty comfortable besides that. This from a newly promoted side which made us look amateurish in contrast.

    That last ten minutes echoed back to numerous games over the last half a dozen years of the Wenger era. First, Leno saved us when a Wolves breakaway from an attack in which we had 9 players up (sound familiar?) resulted in a one-on-one at the far post. Then, we got back level with Micki’s somewhat fortunate equaliser.

    After the equaliser, Wolves dominated and had two other great chances to win it; another one-on-one with Leno and the shot which cannoned off the woodwork. We had none. No common sense was shown by the team.

    Bournemouth away will tell us what Unai has come up with over the break to sort things out but we have to be more solid in defence and begin to create more chances up front again.

    Haha, I enjoyed that rant.

  6. LB says:

    Yep, still in Spain.

    I liked your brother’s 9.51, that really is far better way of looking at things.

  7. chas says:

    Yep, I agree, far more optimistic.

    If even a quarter of that came true I’d be happy.
    Mind you, the thought of Steve Bould playing in the today’s Premier League gives me the eebie jeebies. 🙂

  8. chas says:

  9. chas says:

    More xG based bollix……

  10. LBG says:

    Ramsey to Bayern Munich?

  11. chas says:

    With him just having had twin sons, I suppose now is as good a time as any to uproot his family.

  12. Rasp says:

    Just a thought … these clever statistical analyses of Arsenal against ‘N’ this year compared to last are pretty spurious … since not only have Arsenal changed, but the opposition will also have changed (manager/players = for the better/worse), the only constants are the names of the two clubs involved.

  13. chas says:

    That one above is even more spurious as it compares performances against Cardiff, Fulham and Wolves with ones against Stoke, Swansea and West Brom. Not even the team names are the same!

    Under Arsene, we were continually failing to get the results our high xG suggested we should be getting.
    Under Unai, it’s the opposite.

    At least it proves something has changed for the better. 🙂

  14. chas says:

  15. chas says:

  16. Big Raddy says:

    6.26. Is that true or just fake news?

  17. VP of Oz says:

    just for the record, I supported AW up until the day he left
    I was very worried with talk of explayers coming in to replace him
    I was greatly relieved we got UE
    I fully support UE and he is doing a great job

    as for the results UE start-up vs AW wind-down, I think you should also somehow factor in, the impact of ‘lack of fan support’ towards the end of AW era. I think this had a deciding factor on some of the poor performances. Fans wanting AW to failure and wanting the Arsenal to lose cup games/finals etc. in the hope that would force AW out.

    If you’re going to do comparisons than you need to consider not just xg (whatever the hell that is) but goodwill vs bad and the atmosphere that that creates at the ground, on the players and on the coach. Those small margins between winning and losing in close games can be effected by the supporters to a degree…

    I personally believe that supporters effected our FA cup exit and lost us the chance of a historic three-peat in the FA Cup 2016 against Watford. Our first loss in the FA Cup in almost 3 years under AW.

    Why are all the Arsenal fans getting mad that Arsenal did an Arsenal? Did you forget you support Arsenal?

    The crap on ArsenalTV was unbearable etc.

    I’m loving the UE era. I think he is a perfect fit for us and proof that the Arsenal got the choice right. But there are still a lot of supporters (I cant call them fans) who are ready to turn if we dont continue to get the results they desire.

    All I can hope for is onwards and upwards.

    As for Ramsey to Bayern rumours, this sits nicely along the AW to Bayern rumours.

    cheers & good morning to all.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    6.24, Very interesting and informative.

    Just watched the national anthems in the USA/Eng game. Surprised no-one too the knee 😀

  19. chas says:

    From 28th September 2018…

    “They become the fourth Premier League club to voluntarily commit to pay a real Living Wage based on what people need to get by, not just the government minimum.”

  20. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    That is an absolute disgrace. Shame on them.

  21. chas says:

  22. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

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