The champions of 4 out of the 5 Major leagues have the most possession-based football in that league. – City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG.
Only Juve is behind two rivals, namely Inter and Napoli.
So I would say that at the moment, possession football is winning. The philosophy being that if you have the ball, you can’t be hurt by the opponent and you can hurt your opponent. Now, you have to use the ball effectively and this is the key.
Interestingly in the EPL, the top 5 teams have the highest possession rate in this order: City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal.
You cannot play possession football all the time – I think all the teams mentioned above (except maybe PSG) are adept also at the high press. Again, if you get the ball in the opponent’s half, you can hurt them quickly because they have less time to react to the loss of the ball and if you do a good use of the ball, you will score or at least create chances. Barcelona is amazing at the doing that and so is City. Bayern and PSG slightly less so.
Basically, I believe Emery is more keen to turn us into a mix between Atletico and maybe Bayern type of team. The team that impressed me the most was the last Bayern Munich team that won the CL with Heinckes. They were lethal on transition and were good at possession but they were so balanced and so cohesive. The wings were very active – the mid was solid – the forward hard working and clinical. The only weak point was Dante who had that year an amazing season. Bayern is trying to recreate such a team now.
Possession football is very popular and effective these days. However, my feeling is that the teams with high possession are also the most effective at getting the ball back (hence the high possession as well). Unsurprisingly they are also among the richest clubs. The players in these squads can also adapt to these demanding systems – look at what De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero do at City and what Sane, Wijnaldum do at Liverpool or Rakitic, Verratti…
We don’t have confirmed players like that but I am hopeful over Maitland-Nyles, Lucas Torreira, Guendouzi, Iwobi and Kolasinac within our squad so things are not as gloomy as some may believe. We will only know how strong we will be for sure when the transfer window closes.
Where would we be without RC78?! Nice one! 👍
Well I’ve been scouring everything Arsenal for news… positive news…. on new players…. or players being sold… but nothing! A big fat zilch!! All I’ve found is that the team fly out to the states on Thursday… and.. wait for it… Unai has only become a patient at Bobby Firmino’s bloody dentist 🙈😎😳 arggghhhhh!!!
I beg to differ .During Wengers time,the high press plus perpetual
passing came unstuck against the big teams especially MU.
The problem is the fm overplayed and hence was repeatedly beaten
by the top teams.
Perhaps Emery being pragmatic will shore up the defence and then we shall see.
Hi Malaysian. I don’t remeMber us ever playing a high press under Arsene (certainly not in the last 4 years). I remember Alexis Sanchez running around like a lunatic and trying to press on his own then looking back at his teammates in frustration.
Have to agree with Malaysian!
One of the most frustrating periods in the AW era was when we went through the ” pass back, pass sideways, back, back, sideways,back, back”. Stop!! When the f*** are we going to get an effort on goal or even get into their half??
Possession figures were fantastic, but we weren’t winning. ( Think games against Leicester illustrated it best).
The key to possession football a la Shitty, as against fast break football a la Dippers, is dynamic forward passes to split the lines. This requires above all a Fabregas, Pirlo, Alonso, De Bruyne, dare I say Mesut player to make that dynamic pass.
I believe Ouzi could develop in that way eventually. But do we have that player in the Academy? Smith-Rowe?
Can you clarify what has led you to believe that guendouzi would become a player who could regularly make ‘dynamic passes’?
I have asked numerous times on various blogs exactly what he does, as I haven’t noticed anything in particular apart from running around, and yet no one has been able to answer that.
In the meantime did I not see that he played in 33 games last season?
There are now reports stating Unai doesn’t have a role for Bielik, so AC Milan are sniffing round him (Sod off, Ivan!)
What’s the betting we sell him for peanuts & watch him blossom into a world class CB.. and rue the day we let him go!!
If we do sell him – which I really hope is not the case – then we have to slap a mega fee on him… and finally make a profit!!!!!
This isn’t the news I was hoping to come across 🥺
Sue – I think all credit is due to Peaches and Rasp who are brilliant at keeping the blog going. No news about players but Saliba is edging closer and Emery very keen on your Zaha… The deal could be 45 Mln plus Jenko plus bonus.
Malaysian – again, why do Barcelona and City manage this possession and high press? They have the players to do so. When we did have the required players, we were successful as well. It s just that it was a long time ago (2006 for me and maybe 2008?). I think we could play this type of game with 3 more starters in our team. CB, DM and FW. I love Kos but he s the one who wants to go and we should allow him to go back to France. Bordeaux and Monaco still keen. We need someone to replace him.
El Neny will also leave, now the big deadwood are Mustafi and Xhaka. None of them brought the solidity and intensity sought although they have good attitude. We just need better than them to compete for Top4. Emery will not sort our defensive woes with the current CBs and DMs. It is that simple.
Hi jjgsol, RC78 was unaware that we were using his comments for a post and so may not be able to respond straight away.
Personally, I did see Guendouzi attempting dynamic passes, mostly they weren’t quiet good enough, but he’s only just 20 and it was his first season in a new league so I’d cut him some slack. There aren’t many 20 year play makers out there. hopefully with the right coaching and with players of the right calibre around him, that side of his game will improve.
… oops .. there’s RC78 right on time … over to you 🙂
RC.. yes I agree & applaud them for it – as it can’t be easy – I just meant you speak a lot of sense & I like reading your comments (& will like them even more, when you say Wilf is over the line 😀)
Saliba to undergo medical – he has arrived for 27 Mln EUR plus 3 mln bonus. He will be loaned back to St Etienne.
Lemina being monitored by Arsenal and Utd. I hope not. The guy is good but overrated.
Stats for Guendouzi. All the running around was Not so effective in the end but he s plying his trade and learning. I think he ll be a very good player for us in the years to come and that Emery s tutelage on the use of the ball and also on how to recover the ball will be great for him. Am more excited about AMN at CM than I am about Douzi but he is gonna do well – he has the engine and the drive and his dribbling is quite good. He needs to now recognise situations better to improve his decision making but he can be a player like Parlour for us (not as great but in the same mould) while AMN will be our new Vieira.
There are very few teams that play with a 10 now, they play with a regista like Pirlo in some teams but it seems that most teams are now playing with two 8 like Gerrard/Lampard rather than having one real playmakee. The 8s are covered by a real 6.
I think we have AMN, Torreira and Douzi that can become very good 8s and also Kola (my next post). If Kola and Willock are not being used as 8 next year, we need to buy one more 8 that is maybe more experienced or proven and as previously mentioned, I think that Doucoure could be of real use there and could be tempted – Ndidi as well. However a new name should be explored as Inter Milan have put Naingollan on the transfer list while Vidal will also be allowed to move from Barcelona. So here are a few names to boost our squad to help us meet the demands of Emery and maybe more successful football?
So all I can tell you regarding Ouzi is the following. I am a season ticket holder and see all home games. I record all games possible home and away and watch all a second time when possible, even the depressing losses!.
I have witnessed, IMO, particularly in the first half of the season both an energetic worker in midfield together with a player with an eye for that dynamic pass ( as also witnessed in Terrier). This is to contrast with the slow, ponderous diagonals from Xhaka, which, given our lack of a dynamic winger to use such passes, make what “skill” he has in this area largely useless as far as I’m concerned.
Both Ouzi and Terrier were distracted, as I commented recently, but the bad attitude of some of the more experienced players in the second half of the season especially when the chips were down. Ouzi’s main failing is positional and body shape which gives the headless chicken impression that I think you are referring to. He can be coached. Robert Pires would do him proud.
RC, I am at a loss that you still include Kola as a potential for the future. Like to be proved wrong, but cant defend and final ball rarely good.
I personally believe both AM-N and Smith-Rowe are going to be better in the end further forward but centrally where they can run at back lines with trickery and pace. For this reason I want a Vieira, box to box but primarily disciplined defensively player to replace Xhaka.
Good work by the team and RC78, the deal for Saliba edges ever closer – it’s so exciting. 😉
Anyway, all being well we could have two really competent and interesting young centre backs coming into the squad in 12 months time in Saliba and Ballard.
I saw the first half of the friendly with Borehamwood on TV and among the rustiness in our defence I thought that Dom Thompson stood out and looked really skilful and strong at left back.
The issue for now is the next 12 months and do we have the defensive resources to gain a top four finish? Surely if Koscielny leaves we must have another centre back lined up?
that is the first time I have read Regista (that I can remebmer) so thank you RC78, I like new terms and thought I knew most of them but pleased to know I am still ignorant to some of them
I also agree and wish to thank Peaches and Rasp for making the off-season bearable and keeping AA strong
Hope you are all well, Bloody cold over here. Sometimes it drops below 10degrees at night
Been propounding Dominic Thompson for a good while now. Pure left foot, plenty of guts, converted, like Cashley from wide attacker.
Only problem at weekend was up against a n quick and strong older player with nous. Thompson tried to intercept a couple of times and was left for dead. Learning process.
LBG, I see about 10/12 home games a season and the odd away game (Cardiff last season, a white knuckle ride) and I have to agree with your assessment of Guendouzi, he’s still a kid and learning his trade, but I really like him, to me he always looks to go forwards, tries to be progressive, not sideways and safe.
Last year would have done his development a lot of good, he’ll be a year older, stronger and wiser this season, so I’m hopeful of big things from him.
Those kinds of games are what our young players need LBG and yes I have noticed you promoting Thompson.
It’s why I like the Checkatrade trophy, it’s the kind of experience our youngsters used to get in the old Combination.
Sue – any thoughts on Kola playing in the middle of the park:
AMN, Chambers, Kola
VP – glad I can add some Italian vocab to the discussions…lol
Excellent stuff, RC, just wish I had any views on possession and/or pressing tactics among the top European teams/EPL!! 😁
Just a little concerned that you look like an angelic schoolboy in your photo, and yet you say you are married with a family — have you discovered the elixir of youth? 😁
Oi — yes, you GN5 — where the sod are you?
You have no right to withhold your wit and wisdom, not to mention your classy Posts from your AA fan club!!
Get your ass back here – and do your duty!! 😁
Not to state the obvious, but surely all 5 of the teams mentioned have also been the top spenders in their domestic leagues during the last 5 years or so. The fact is they have the best players in their respective leagues, so the type of football they play almost becomes irrelevant. Of course they have possession, they have better footballers. Of course they defend better, they have better defenders. Unfortunately we can only play the type of football that our players are capable of. Against the poor sides in the league we can dominate and hold the ball and press without it, but against the mid-table sides we will probably have a share of possession and therefore we will have to learn to hold our shape a bit more and be more patient, and against the big sides we will probably be on the back foot and looking to play on the counter.
You could argue that it’s far easier to be a Man City player than it is an Arsenal or Leicester player for example. At City, you know your side is going to dominate every game and your job is the same each week. However, playing for a mid-table side, you have to adapt far more to your opponents and understand how your job will change in each game. I would say this is something we certainly struggled with under Wenger and it was something that Wenger seemed to fail to accept towards the end. He always felt we could dominate any side even though our quality had dropped so much. It wasn’t the case. Of course Emery will want a style of play and a plan A, but given that we are so far behind the big clubs now, if he is to succeed where Wenger failed then he must also have useful back up plans and understand his players limitations.
LBG. Thank you for your comments.
I am not a season ticket holder and only rarely go to matches.
I watch the games on Sky (not BT) and can say that in all the games I have seen, his contribution has been negligible.
Let us, that he is young and still learning his trade, that is fine, but why did he play 33 games last season?
When Jack did that, everyone criticised AW and blamed that and him for his injury problems.
I think the answer is simply because Guendousi does a lot of running around and ticks UE’s high press and high action boxes.
Whether or not he achieves anything seems to be irrelevant.
I see no point in getting excited about our paying a lot of money for a player that we will not see for a year. What on earth is the point of that?
Hi fgg …. prior warning for you … your comments from yesterday were so good that we’ve pinched them and you are going to be the author of tomorrow’s post 🙂
Keep writing comments like the one above and you’ll give us enough material for a fortnight … top work!
Emile Smith-Rowe (No.32) promoted to 1st team.
So, back to defense, really.
If Emery goes with Kos, Sok, Mon and whoever on the right and left or back 3 with wing backs like Kola- 51 goals are a comin’.
No pace in central area, and no positional awareness out wide (Kola)
If the Arsenal let Bielik go they are mad, as Kos is going one way or another, hopefully sold and load managed till the end. He will not get that here.
Saliba is one for the future, but will Emery be around to see this kid grow?
The Arsenal need a Cesc type player to play on the counter or split lanes, the Arsenal do not have anyone with Modric type skills with the ball nor the engine.
The Arsenal do not have the type of players to do the high press and possession type futbol period. They can pretend at it against the lower clubs, maybe, but against top 6 that is a bridge too far.
Yes, occasionally the Arsenal can do it to one of the top 6, oh Auba and the missed pk, but to win against those sides the Arsenal needs to win on the road. Not happening with Emery in charge.
Emery does not have the budget to compete with many clubs, he will have to do it another way.
I know I seem like sky is falling type of person here, but I am a realist. Emery did not build this squad, but was instead handed the keys to an empty shed. It is going to be rough going until ALL the deadwood is cleaned out. If the Arsenal want to try and compete they will not be able to do it with a band aid type mentality. They better unearth some gems, or these few years will be unmemorable.
The question is, will Emery sort out the defense? Any defenders coming in that can play this year yet? No, just rumors or Saha, who along with Auba and Laca will be waiting to get the ball at midfield (Guen is not that player yet), and a left back that will probably be acquired by a team with ambition.
Thanks for the warning, I’ll make sure not to visit the site tomorrow! 😂
You say that Emery was handed the keys to an empty shed, but then go on to say that he needs to clear out all the deadwood…am I to assume then that the shed is a rickety old thing made of deadwood, and therefore, if he clears out the deadwood he’ll have no shed at all and just a set of keys!?
I think I agree with you, but I’m very confused about what I’m agreeing to!!! 😂😂😂
Great topic for conversation RC78 ……… often a good long comment has all the meat and bones for a post without the agony of writing under pressure.
Next to me at The Emirates sits a lovely lady in her 80’s and she is regularly huffing and puffing during the passages of play that are pass, pass, pass, pass back, pass sideways, pass back again ……. it’s very aggravating to think that these guys are footballers and yet they are sometimes at a loss to know what to do with the ball.
The need for a player who can deliver a pass that leads to a bit of excitement is much needed. As others have said, our possession football has gone very stale. I agree with others about Guendouzi, he did look like a guy that liked to play great forward passes and Torreira did too. That all dried up towards the end of the season sadly.
The “shed” is empty in that there are limited tools to work with in reality as a squad. The deadwood are players who are really not built with the type of futbol Emery has on his mind, especially over the course of 70+ games.
I just looked on my account & to my amazement… on the ST waiting list.. my position is 65380!!! Wow!!!
RC.. I haven’t really thought about Sead playing in the middle of the park.. we all know he’s not the greatest defender, but he’s brilliant going forward….who knows it might work??!
Morning (afternoon) all !! FGG’s comment echo’s my thoughts entirely. To sum up, we will need to vary our style of play on a game by game basis based on the limitations of our current squad and the potential for top quality additions (since there are unlikely to be any). Which is why I think UE is the man for the job
Welcome back, Edu 👊
I’ve put his pic in the sidebar Sue …. handsome devil 🙂
Spot on, Rasp! Real nice picture 👍
It s funny because despite some differing views. Most people agree that our defense is the priority and that we need a Modric type of player too to find that unsettling pass. I think that we can definitely get good players that are either in the EPl or would like to come. Vidal and Naingollan won’t mind joining and they are relatively cheap so we can one of them for example. Gueye will be less thsn 40 Mln and Aldewereid can pbbly join for 25.
Aldewereid, Naingollan, Pepe would cost us 130 Mln EUR. We need to sell well but it s possible. Lille wouldnt mind if we loan them Saka for example and we can pay them in installments, they re making good money off their sales likes Mendes, Kone to Lyon.
I could have told u guendouzi wasn’t effective
Did you follow the stream between RC and myself yesterday, teasing out whether possession and pressing tactics were mutually exclusive or not?
I have not had much to comment on today as the ‘possession/ pressing’ strategies were discussed at length by both RC and myself yesterday. (my 3:15 yesterday focused on both the possession and pressing game not being mutually exclusive, which was not the original position of RC’s theme.)
RC writes very well, and all credit to him, and our comments on this subject have brought further comments today and that is pleasing.
I am a little indignant, because if you answered yes to my opening question, above, you would see that this was a conversation between both RC and myself — with both directly involved — but it seems I did not exist in your mind.
I really do exist, you know, because without my input to the conversation, yesterday, you must be implying RC was talking to himself?
Hi Redders … a thousand apologies …. I’m flying by the seat of my pants at the moment. It’s my busy season at work and all I can do is dip in and out when I pass my desk. The posts are usually cobbled together in the 20 minutes I get in before the staff arrive. Please don’t take offence, I value your input. Today’s post resulted from a quick scan … not an in depth dissection of the days comments.
I have to be honest and say that I had time for Elneny, as a player, because altho he sometimes could bugger things up on the pitch, he was a wholehearted and enthusiastic if limited player, probably acquired towards the end of AW’s reign as a result of the previous, and still existing transfer funding austerity.
It seems that he is still a decent person despite being shown the door, because instead of seeing his contract out, as he would be entitled to do, today he allegedly has agreed to take a financial haircut to enable the deal with Bordeaux to go thru.
For me, I would rather have kept him on and seen Mustafi waving goodbye first instead.
Oh dear, Suzie Baby will not be happy. The Express reports;
— “Arsenal want another transfer completed after William Saliba but it’s not Wilfried Zaha
ARSENAL are instead looking to sign another centre-back once they have completed the transfer of William Saliba from Saint-Etienne.
Boo-hoo — there will be tears!! 😂😂 ….. 🤪
I haven’t taken offence, Rasper, I know you are trying to do too much — but I cannot go too long without pulling your leg.
RC is excellent, and I enjoy chatting to him because he responds to gentle prodding with intelligent reasoning.
But you know I have never been able to stop myself teasing you — especially once I realised you are 10 times better than me at the Times Crosswords!! 😀
And I forgot to say, Rasper, I won’t be a pest to you again — well, until at least the start of the season!! 🤠
Umm, has anyone noticed that the avatar beside my name looks like a busty young lady with pigtails?
I trusted the doctors, so I hope they have not been playing fast and loose! 😳
To me it looks like a cows face. Should I be worried!? 🤔
It does look a a bit like a cow, now you mention it — but which bit.
Perhaps we could use this as a blog-Rorschach ink blot test (you know the one, where psychiatrists ask patients what they see in the ink blots) — they might be a bit worried about you.
No – I got it – a nose, a tongue, two eyes and a poll. Quite adorable really.
Bloody hell, they’ll be worried about me too — what have you done, FGG — just imagine what Terry will see when he comes on!! 🤪😂
Nice post RC78, very hard to argue against those facts.
I think we are putting together a squad that can do that type of high press. Especially with the new academy players promoted. We’ve got a lot more legs.
Emery is obviously changing the mentality of the squad and lying down strict instruction more similar to the likes of the teams that are making the press work. We’ve moved away from the looser, creative game. Sadly in some respects for me. Discipline is the order of the day and in the intense drilling from Emery I feel we will be able to effectively play a modern game.
Not sure if this has been covered on here recently, but did anyone notice the comments about how the club have intentionally put out the message of only having a small transfer budget so that it would put them in a better negotiating position when looking for transfers? I did wonder myself if there was some sort of tactic behind the reported £45m transfer kitty as it did seem to be constantly reported in the papers even more so than usual.
If it is indeed a transfer strategy, I have to say that my personal view on it is that it’s a very poor one and a little bit desperate. Years ago it probably would’ve worked, but with big clubs snapping up all the young talent so quickly these days, and with the shortage of available talent that there is, I just believe this once again makes us look daft. I feel that this is very much a sellers market and if we don’t cough up the money then clubs know that somebody else will. The PL especially is now so wealthy that teams down the lower end of the table no longer have to settle for poultry fees for their top players and in some cases they don’t even need the money offered by the big clubs as they have plenty themselves. I don’t see how telling Palace we only have £45m will make them knock £30m off the asking price for Zaha. We all know that it won’t. £45m is here or there to them these days as they get over £100m a season just staying in the league, plus they’ve just got £50m for their right back, so why would they sell?
Good evening all and nice to read all these comments. Sometimes I write multiple posts in a row… Just to save you guys not having to read very loooooooong posts as opposed to having a conversation with myself.
As of El Neny, am happy to put him in the same one way airport shuttle with Mustafi and Xhaka.
Moooooo!!!! If only your avatar was a wee bit bigger, we could check out your udder, RA 😆
PS Sod The Express 😀
Agree that our transfer kitty is pbbly larger tham 45 mln.
I see we’ve signed another Brazilian nobody today. What is this club doing!? He’s only got 3 letters in his name ffs, how are we supposed to generate money from that? Never mind the fact he’s 41 year old and just sits in midfield doing sod all. Might as well keep Elneny!
Chas and Ants i just book my plan ticket so see you in December i would be attending Brighton, West Ham and United game once it before Monday 16th so not ducking me this time
Sue mark those dates also think u have a pint for me when u lose the Zaha bet
Where are you from then, Fred? You’re expecting me to lose the bet?! 😜
I have read that Pavoletti would be a good option. He s a ST, very good in the air. Scored 11 of his goals through headers. You guys know him? I d rather go for Haller, Mitrovic and Milik as a Giroud-type of St becausd I have seen them play buy apparently that guy is good, even called up to the Italian squad
I would’ve liked a cheeky bid for Isco. He was unplayable 18 months ago but seems to have found himself out of favour at Madrid in recent times. I think Zidane likes him so he’ll probably end up back in the first team, but if not I’d like to see us try and grab him on a loan with a view to a move. He can open defences and if he gets anywhere near the form of a few seasons ago he’s be great to watch.
Am from Trinidad
Yea especially since Zaha not even coming
There you go Slim, you answer your own question as to the club’s negotiating strategy.
Put in a cheeky deal for Isco and see if it flies. (Good idea by the way)
Same goes with Zaha.
Valued at £75mil according to who?
There is a very truthful saying: A house is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.
We put in 40mil bid for Zaha and by doing so we flush out other bidders, if Man City come in we walk away. But…..if no one else comes in and Zaha really does want to come to THOF then the club has negotiated well.
Arsenal have been negotiating deals for a while now.
Oooh nice, Fred!
Ha, we shall see…don’t count your chickens though 😜.
Morning all …..
…. New post from FGG ….
It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this paragraph as well as from our dialogue made here.
First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was curious to find out how you center yourself
and clear your thoughts before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my
thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to
figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?