Ahead of our 5th game of the season, where are we compared to Arsene’s last season (2017)?
I’m looking at 9 main factors in trying to decide how much of a better path we’re on compared to when Arsene left. Make no mistake, this is probably an examination of Arsenal under Unai Emery as anything else. It’s early in the season and maybe we can revisit this at the next interlull to help time move on. Sorry to RA in particular for not having this ready for this morning’s post (I had a couple too many margaritas last night !!). Sorry too if I’ve missed anyone!! Hopefully not !! So
Goalkeeper and Defence
2017 – Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Debuchy, Gibbs, Monreal, Mertesacker, Mustafi , Gabriel, Koscielny
Grade – 6/10. Merts was a bit of a loss, Nacho will be too.
2019 – Leno, Martinez, Bellerin, AMN, Kolasinac, Holding, Sokratis, Luis, Chambers, Tierney
Grade 7/10. Leno is (will be) an upgrade, Holding is better than anyone else we had and we have a little better overall quality in the middle and Tierney should also be a good upgrade.
2017 – Ozil, Elneney, Ramsey, Xhaka, Coquelin, AMN, Wilshere
Grade – 6/10. Obviously very affected by injury (didn’t even include Santi) but overall, where can you see any ball winning coming from? However also obviously very creative.
2019 – Ozil, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock, Torreira, Guendouzi
Grade: 7.5/10. Definitely more strength and tenacity defensively but also with plenty of creativity. Even if you’d argue there was more going forward in 2017, it’s hard to create without the ball.
2017 – Giroud, Iwobi, Oxlade, Sanchez, Walcott, Welbeck, Lucas.
Grade: 6.5/10. Obviously Sanchez was dangerous and Giroud was a huge weapon in the air but we hardly used it !! Not enough quality wide and very one dimensional as far as goal threat.
2019 – Auba, Laca, Pepe, Nelson, Martinelli
Grade: 8.5/10. There’s a lot of firepower in this group. Probably not quite deep enough but wide players are much better in my opinion.
2017 – Wenger, Bould, Gazidis, Law.
Grade – 4/10. This group oversaw a steady decline in player quality and mentality which I think when you compare it to this year, is very stark.
2019 – Emery, Ljungberg, Edu, Sanehlli, Vinai V
Grade: 7.5/10. Mostly based on this summer transfer window but also the team just seems a little more steely and solid. It’s early but I also think we should bear in mind the losses of Bellerin and Holding last season at a time when we were on a very good run.
2017 – Kroenke, Usmanov, Fanshare
Grade: 4/10. Did very little to help a sinking ship. Is it the fact that now KSE knows putting its own money in will reap benefits back to them alone? (This is also a great subject for a later post that I’d like to tackle !!)
2019 – Kroenke
Grade: 7/10: Got to give credit where it’s due. At least for right now. Substantial improvement
2017 – Arsene talked a lot about it but who would you say showed a good mentality from all of the 2017 lists? For me, Nacho, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere and Alexis would be the only ones I would want in my squad today for their mentality.
Grade: 3/10: Stemming from the manager I believe this has been the biggest failure at Arsenal during the later Wenger years. A team crying out for leaders, there were none.
2019 – I’d pick Leno, Holding, Sokratis, Luis, Ceballos, Willock, Guendouzi, Auba, Laca, for sure as players I think have a great mental presence on the field. I’d probably take Torreira and I’d imagine Tierney too but I’m not sure.
Grade: 5.5/10: Substantial improvements here. There are 3 or 4 players that need to be moved on before I would rate us higher and an addition or two would help.
Defensive Ability 2019
Grade: 5/10. I am starting to understand better the massive correlation between a good defence and a solid defensive midfield. Until we fix that issue, our defenders are almost over achievers.
Attacking Strength 2019
Grade: 9/10. Similarly to our defenders, attackers allowed to play freely without fear of losing possession leading to goals being conceded will be better with good midfielders.
Fear Factor 2019
I think teams facing the current Arsenal team see a different proposition to a couple of years ago. I think we’re going to win a few games through not being intimidated that we wouldn’t have before. I’m not sure we’ll intimidate too many at first but hopefully once our front 3 get firing, that’s possible too.
Summary: I’m not saying everything is rosy in the garden, far from it. But from a more stable ownership model through better overall management to an overall more balanced and athletic squad, I think we’re on the right track. What do you think?