Alternative Qarabag – exciting prospects give us a glimpse of the future?

As things stand we have very few options on the right: Ramsey and Ozil have been deployed out there with very little success; I mean what’s the point in tasking Ozil with tracking back and worse, what a waste? Ramsey is slightly better in the sense that he is more naturally aware of what is expected from someone playing in that position but with all the best will in the world, his main drawback is that he is very slow over the ground and when tracking back with pace is one of the principal yardsticks in which a player is gauged on the flank, the Welshman will always be seen as being lacking. Aubameyang and Lacazette drift out there from time to time but obviously offer no defensive cover or token at best.

Then there is Mkhitaryan, I have read on a few occasions how Henrich seems to be one of Emery’s favourites and is the reason why, on occasions, when it seems to make no sense, he gets the nod ahead of Ozil. I don’t see this at all. In fairness, on the flank, Mkhitaryan does offer something going forward, he does have good close control and does try to track back, certainly does better than any other player that Emery has used in that position, but that is not saying much. And this is where I bring you back to the match you are trying to forget or more than likely had forgotten: Qarabag.


The most interesting point for me was how Emery deployed AM-N; he started as predicted at LB which, as we know, he can play but as we equally all know, there is so much more in his locker but second half Emery put him wide right and he almost created a goal with his first very exciting foray into the 18 yard box.

I think a lot can be read into this. What is becoming apparent is that Emery loves a mobile player with good close control; the ability to push forward but, above all, the player must be able to defend (did I just describe Torreira?)

You see where I am coming from. If you think about it, AM-N has all of those qualities plus one further special gift: he is fast and when he gets going he is very fast. I expect Emery to play him out there far more in the near future.

A couple of other thoughts: I like the way that Saka is being fast-tracked, yes he is the latest hot young prospect that we are all getting excited about but, hey, what is wrong with that? Cynics point to a long line of players that people like me have got excited about but have fallen short of what was hoped for (I thought Jack Wilshere was the next Maradonna but hey ho we can’t get them all right) However, I would argue that to not to get excited about the next hot thing is to miss out on an incredibly important and uplifting part of supporting a football team.

Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Young Bukayo, only seventeen, started the game naturally nervous, he may have trained with Ozil and Lacazette but playing along side them is understandably going to take some time to get used to. It was noticeable that he got better and better as the game went on and having drunk some of Unai Emery’s half time magic drink he, like every other player at the club, came out in the second half a changed man. It also helped when Lacazette went off and then finally Ozil; the young man was then surrounded by players up front that he is used to playing with on a weekly basis and the reason for him being fast tracked became apparent. The man possesses superb close control and can seemingly go past players at will; he was in the right place at the right time to receive AM-N’s deft cross on the break to leave Saka one on one with the keeper but unfortunately he fluffed his lines and missed. As for when he is likely to break into the first team, hmmm, I wonder if he can defend. If so, then fast tracked really will mean fast tracked.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The last player I want to give a bit of attention to is Zech Medley, still only 18 but as nervous as Saka started, Medley was the absolute opposite; he came on and immediately went to take up his natural central defensive position only to be told by Koscielny to go out to the left, did this make him nervous? Not at all, what we have here is a left footed, tall central defender who can obviously play LB with close control skills that are so good I can’t even think of a comparison. Ohh, and the other reason that he gets a mention above others is that he is one of us, a boyhood Arsenal fan and that will always count for an awful lot in my household. COYRRG.

Written by LB


34 Responses to Alternative Qarabag – exciting prospects give us a glimpse of the future?

  1. chas says:

    Excellent, LB.
    Almost made me wish I’d stayed up for the second half!

  2. chas says:

    Tried to put the snow on the site but the arseholes have removed it as an option, presumably you have to pay for it now!

  3. LBG says:

    LB thank you, from one who was there, for your intriguing observations.
    Having defrosted now myself, I am inclined to agree with practically every thing you have said here. I will certainly give Saka and even Medley more credit on the day than I did on the way home on Thursday night. Both were significantly nervous at the start, and their errors were perhaps more deeply etched on my “frustrated” mind than later good things. And, as I’ve said before, TA didn’t become the player he was without making cock ups early on alongside David O’Leary.(Although where he got the experience for rugby league, heaven knows!!!)
    The confidence to take wide defenders on was eventually evident from Saka by the end of the game, and that has to be praised.
    I think a further reason for my frustrated comment immediately after the game was because Carrier Bag were a poor team from the start, if prepared to run hard and play 11 behind the ball, and I hoped the youngsters would “take them on from the start. Too much went back and across, through Elneny, in the first half, without creativity. I would have put Ouzi on quite early on and got his energy to galvanize youthful talent, myself.
    Lastly, and back on my hobby horse, I think A MN is wasted wide. His best efforts on Thurs for me were when he came inside and took the ball at speed centrally to attack the heart of the opposition. That’s where I want to see him make his mark.
    Good to share views with a fellow Eskimo masochist!

  4. LB says:

    Eskimo masochist, that is funny but the more I think about it the more accurate it becomes 🙂

  5. LB says:

    Excellent title and pics again Chas but what I aways like are the tweeks, I enjoy sitting back and thinking, ohh, that is how you do it.

  6. chas says:

    Ha, I think I added three commas!

  7. LBG says:

    Preferred team for Sunday
    Bellerin Lichsteiner Kos Nacho
    Terrier Xhaka
    Laca Aubang

    Team I think will be selected
    Bellerin Nacho Kos Wardrobe
    Terrier Xhaka
    Iwobi Ozil Aubang

  8. LB says:

    The thing that struck me LBG as I was looking at your line ups was that no matter which way you cut it Medley has to be on the bench and that could turn out to be interesting.

    I think Emery will go for belt and braces again.


    ———-Lichsteiner, Kos, Nacho

    —Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Wardrobe

    ——Mkhitaryan, Aubamayang, Iwobi

    Cech, Medley, Lacazette, Ramsey, Ozil, Guendouzi, Maitland-Niles

  9. LBG says:

    Agree ‘re Medley, LB, but, at risk of repeating, think Thompson is as good potentially. Is he injured?

  10. chas says:

  11. LB says:

    That really is worth a watch.

  12. chas says:

    Just watched it through.
    I couldn’t recommend it more strongly.

  13. LBG says:

    What a magnificent video. Piviledged to have been there to see his return on Thursday. Legend of a man, legend of a sportsman, legend of an Arsenal player.

  14. LBG says:

    Hey LB, you’ll like this suggestion from the London Metro paper for a line up tomorrow!
    Working on Kos not playing two games in a week, they suggest

    Lichsteiner Medley Monreal
    Bellerin Terrier Xhaka Wardrobe
    Micki Aubang Iwobi

    Wouldn’t argue too much with that to start, except would start with Mesut, if fit, then hit them with Laca and Micki after 60mins.

  15. chas says:

    Nacho’s bow legs make me laugh

  16. Aaron says:

    That was a positive post LB!
    Enjoy the emphasis on what they Arsenal have as opposed to just buying the talent of entire countries.

    Some solid talent there, and with Freddie and Per overseeing their arcs, you can say I am one happy guy.

    AMN central please, and want to see Mavro healed up and ready to play. Conundrum on who starts center, maybe Nacho, but not sure if Kos can handle 2 games in a row.

    Seem to remember achilles surgeries taking 9-12 months to fully rehab, but then again maybe super Kos has some Kobe like DNA.

  17. LBG says:

    Thoughts AAers on Denis Suarez from Barca for surely a miseryly £12m and/or Cengiz Under from Roma for a lot more?
    Ramsey and Danny replacements.

  18. LB says:

    I cycle around Richmond Park on a regular basis and shouting Fenton is pretty much everyones running joke — including mine.

    Did Koscielny really play a game of football on Thursday; he probably had more of a challenging run out during the half an hour he was on the pitch in the recent under 23 game. He will surely start tomorrow, although, I would be surprised if he started against spuds in the week. So maybe that will give Medley a chance?

  19. LB says:

    Sounds like a question for RC, I can’t comment as I don’t know them.

  20. Big Raddy says:

    LB great read. Thank you

    The Kos vid is inspiring.

  21. Big Raddy says:

    Spurs fluke another extra time win. They are becoming the new MU.

  22. chas says:

  23. chas says:

  24. chas says:

  25. LBG says:

    Chas 0721
    Sound effects would be him chuckling!

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    7.21 Let’s all laugh at Tittenham

  27. chas says:

    Only in the first shot of this goal do you see how Mesut starts moving into the exact spot where the ball is going to land even before it’s headed.

  28. LBG says:

    Medley sings his first team initiation song at Southampton hotel. I wonder LB are you the new Arsenal soothsayer?

  29. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

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